Do You Really Want to Hire a "Rockstar"?

egomaniacal train wreck

I've seen a lot of job listings looking for "Rockstars" over the years, especially in the web development and design world. Recently, I've realized how bad that idea actually is. Having been a musician for over 10 years, I've met a lot of these "rockstars", and that led me to the main theme of this article. Do you really want a "rockstar" working for you?

OK, let me get one thing out of the way. Yes, I know you don't mean a literal rockstar, as in someone who plays to sold out venues for a living. However, those are the character traits you're asking for, isn't it? Let's examine those for a minute. In my experience rockstars USUALLY have one or more of the following traits:

  1. Arrogance
  2. Laziness
  3. Egomania
  4. Inability to take criticism

Is that who you want to hire? These obviously don't apply to all musicians, but after you've met enough of them you start to see some patterns. To be fair, this is totally excluding the good qualities of musicians like creativity, dedication, and courage. However, when you say you want a "rockstar coder" what exactly does that mean? Do you honestly want some egomaniacal train wreck, who can't take criticism running your dev team? Maybe I'm reading to deeply into an overused buzz word for applications, or maybe it's time to ditch the "rockstars" and find your companies a better personality.

Back to archives