Years ago back when I worked in cubicle land, we were hiring junior software developers. They didn’t have to have a ton of experience, just a willingness to learn, and some demonstration of their software skills. Like: show me a program you wrote (any language) or a web site you designed. Anything.
And there was this one guy I talked with who seemed super sharp, but had virtually zero experience writing software. When it came time to do the show-n-tell part of the interview he whips out his laptop, brings up a website, and spins it around to show me what he made.
A website of tiny ceramic frogs.
Not for sale. Just… all these ceramic frogs, organized into categories. Frogs on bicycles, frogs with hats, frogs sitting on lily pads. It was a virtual museum of ceramic frogs in web form.
I scrolled through his online collection of frogs, slightly baffled.
“This is your website?” I asked finally.
“You coded this yourself?” I popped into view-source mode and poked around some incredibly well-formatted, well-commented html. I nodded slowly. This guy was meticulous.
“So… where’d all the frogs come from?”
“I made those too,” he says, beaming.
And while I’m processing this he rummages in his bag and pulls out a little ceramic frog working at a computer terminal. He places it on the table before us, next to the laptop.
“And THIS one,” he says, “I made for you! As a thank you for the interview.”
It was adorable. I hired him on the spot. I mean, why not? Worst case he’d wash out in 90 days and we’d hire somebody else. He turned out to be one of the best developers on our team.
And yes, his cubicle was loaded with ceramic frogs.