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Is Personality More Important Than Experience?

Should hiring teams prioritize qualities beyond years of experience? Share your views on building a dynamic team.

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Top comments (6)

theaccordance profile image
Joe Mainwaring

I've hired on experience without considering personality before, and it ended up putting an asshole in a position of power over other team members.

I wouldn't rank personality over experience, but today I very much view them as equals while considering a candidate.

dagnelies profile image
Arnaud Dagnelies

I rather see it as a mix of both. The "package" must be all right.

chasm profile image
Charles F. Munat

No. Neither are very important. Most companies hire foolishly because they don't understand what makes a great dev.

What makes a great dev is exactly the same quality that makes a great human being: maturity.

Immature people are all about themselves. They are worried about "who" they are, about their "identity" or, worse, their "brand". They tend to be very insecure (or, conversely, cocky, which is just a cover for a deep insecurity).

They are always comparing themselves to others, and whether favorably or unfavorably, it's a problem.

Immature people have regular impulses to do the wrong thing. At best they are able to restrain themselves by acts of will, but eventually they yield to temptation. They know the right thing to do, but they struggle to do it. The wrong thing seems so much more desirable.

In contrast, the mature adult always does the right thing. Not by force of will but because it's the right thing. Because they are mature adults, they no longer feel the impulse to do stupid things.

Mature adults have gotten over themselves. They do not obsess about "who" they are or who they want to be. They do not compare themselves with others. It doesn't interest them. They have lost interest in I/me/mine. They can take care of themselves so well that they have a surplus — and they do this at no one's expense.

Now they can use that surplus to benefit others. The infant whines, "what about me?" The adult asks, "how can I help?"

When you work with true adults (good luck finding any), everything is easy because everyone is working for the benefit of the whole, not for their own gain. An adult will instantly pick up and do the nasty work. Why? Because it needs to be done.

For an adult, joy comes from the success of others and of the whole. They never even think about their own contribution except to ensure that they are carrying their own weight and then some.

Experience is largely irrelevant. Experience tells you nothing about the quality of that experience, or the variety, or what was learned. Suppose I have twenty years of experience failing and have learned nothing from my failures. I've got twenty years "experience". Am I good hire?

And experience often leads to the sunk cost fallacy. Not wanting the ego deflation of becoming the "newbie" again, experienced people often cling to what they already know, resisting all efforts at change. Adults have no egos. They are outward-focused, not inward-focused.

Personality is for celebrities. An adult is warm, friendly, open-minded, empathetic, honest, dedicated, hard-working. These characteristics are what count, not personality. Whether I like this or that TV show or this or that sport or whether I talk too much or too little is irrelevant.

Personality only causes problems when the humans involved are infantile. For adults, personality is effectively irrelevant. If I am an adult, then I can work with pretty much anyone. If I am an infant, then good luck finding anyone with whom I can consistently play nice.

So, which companies are hiring for maturity and adult behavior? Do you know of any? I don't.

And to be clear, this is not about age. There are very mature, adult 20-year-olds and plenty of incredibly childish 50-somethings. Again, experience does not equal maturity. Some experience may be necessary to mature, but it alone is not sufficient. We need role models. And mentoring.

I have mostly given up on "enterprise" ever understanding this, but I guess infants need jobs, too. It is never the infant's fault. We as a society have kept them infants. It's on us. But I prefer to work on teams of adults. When you are surrounded by adults, it is pure joy.

learnwithparam profile image
Paramanantham Harrison

It is one of the most important. With advancement in AI and tools, seniority or experience isn't about number of years.

  • Willingness to learn from other's failures
  • Willingness to read other's code and contribute agile improvements
  • Willingness to listen other's opinion while architecting
  • Willingness to balance product features and tech brilliance based on business need These are few important traits, and it comes with experience 😉

So in my opinion, it isn't neither or nor. But personality is more important than experience if you are willing to improve constantly.

jmfayard profile image
Jean-Michel (

That seems obvious, programming is a team sport.

dsaga profile image
Dusan Petkovic

I think it should be like that, but experience does take precedence