What do I look for when hiring an engineer? Oh, wow, that's a deep question.
The ability to work with other human beings is #1. Are they empathetic to their users and to the people around them? Do they enjoy learning? How are they at communicating with their teammates? How do they handle disagreeing with somebody?
Can they work on a team? would be the summary question, I think. This is what distinguishes good programmers from great ones.
I take it as given that engineers I'm interviewing are smart people and can write software. This is the advantage of hiring at npm: I can safely assume that! This is such a surprising and wonderful experience that I've never had before at a company. (Downside: every time we hire I have to turn down amazing candidates who absolutely could be wonderful with us, but I can only pick one. This is painful.)
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