RANT: Settle for less C++ or less Finance experience?

Abraham Lincoln once told a story of a neighbor who found himself in a tight situation. He was traveling home one dark and rainy night. There were few bridges in the country and he came to a stream that he would have to ford. But because of the darkness and the rain, he couldn't see well enough to know just where to cross.

Lightning flashed and he saw his way for the briefest moment. But the man was perplexed because there seemed to be more thunder than lightning. The poor man just stood at the edge of the stream in his confusion about how to proceed. He finally prayed, "O Lord, if it is just the same to you, give me more lightning and less thunder."

The story reminds me of the time I was trying to fill a Quant developer position. After weeks of phone interviews with no luck, I came to realize that applicants fall in one of two categories

  • Applicants that have strong C++ experience and average financial knowledge. A high percentage of them comes with a formal Computer Science degree.
  • Applicants that have strong financial experience and average c++ knowledge. They tend to have a formal Applied Mathematics degree and/or CFA.

It became clear to me that I had a decision to make

  • Continue to hunt for the perfect candidate (strong C++ & Fiannce), or
  • Work with my current pool of applicants

Time was not on my side so the first option was out. The second option presented a "less thunder or less lightning" kind of dilemma: less C++ experience or less Finance? It was an easy decision since the hiring was for a large painful project with a series of radical changes in technical direction & leadership.

Category: C++ Quant > Fix the Job You Got

1 comment:

  1. What's the decision you made? I failed to see why it was easy.