On one hand, you have companies complaining that they cannot hire a software developer at a reasonable price. One the other hand, you have a lot of developers complaining about their work conditions while rejecting job offers every day. What happened here?

This paradox can easily be solved by introducing the concept of incompetent client. Let me give you a few pointers on how to recognize if you are one:

  1. Outsourcing or importing cheap developers: local developers will notice that your company is so badly managed that you have to resort to outsourcing or importing naive or desperate immigrants. And yes, I’m also looking at you FANGS.

  2. Focusing on minor details instead of your users’ needs: if your feedback is always about the color of buttons and never about your (end) users’ needs and issues, developers might start wondering if you have any users at all. Who wants to work on a project following your whimsical instructions, never making a positive impact?

  3. Not being able to judge the work based on its own merits: you want to hire a developer but you have no clue on the results that you expect. So you’ve decided to pay hourly and see how it goes. What could go wrong?

  4. Being delusional about your employees level of competence: are you hiring because your employees can’t to the job? Shouldn’t you fire them first and hire better ones? Alternatively if it’s their manager preventing them from doing their job, fire him first.

  5. Being delusional about the state of your systems: your systems are so fucked up that building a simple feature / fixing a bug takes weeks? No, I assure you, this is NOT normal! How on earth did you let that happen?

  6. Wanting free work: you’re requiring some free work from you future hires so that you can evaluate their motivation to jump through hoops. Let me quote Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord for you:

    I distinguish four types. There are clever, hardworking, stupid, and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and hardworking; their place is the General Staff. The next ones are stupid and lazy; they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the mental clarity and strength of nerve necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is both stupid and hardworking; he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always only cause damage.

    So stupid enough to do free work, and hardworking enough to jump through your hoops? What does Kurt say about those?

If you recognize yourself in some of those points, stop being a whiny hypocrite and get to work to fix them. You’ll be surprised how easy it becomes to find a developer at a good price after that!

(And developers, do yourself and the world a service: fire those incompetent clowns!)