How to pick a starter project that'll make someone quit

Ever had “hiring manager’s remorse”? It’s where you regret hiring someone immediately after they start. It could be that you don’t like their face, or just want to see the world burn. Worse, they might have mentioned they like jazz. Whatever the reason, this post is here to help you make them quit on their own by picking the worst starter project for them.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
1 Like

Tech debt. The starter project should be central, poorly documented, use antiquated tech, and be an explosive landmine of tech debt for the n00b.

Had this come up recently. Depends on the experience of the candidate.

A new person to the field need to have a bunch of tasks that seems like you are going to build a generic project. Something like:

  1. start a project in the language of the team
  2. write an API route with x model (if the person is doing APIs, choose whatever they are working in)
  3. add swagger
  4. save and get the data from database
  5. unit test
  6. etc

Once the person gets to that point, now it is time to introduce the useful project. Design patterns are harder to tell about, so I skip them for now. Something I might talk about but higher level concepts I wait to explain till they have an idea of programming.

Sometimes it is hard to gauge when to start each activity, but once they do it and you can see how fast they work, then you can skip steps where needed.