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The person in question is a hobbyist programmer since their childhood and wants to make a transition to junior developer. S/he has never worked before.

A few facts about the person:

  • The person is passionate about programming, and quite knowledgeable as well.
  • S/he knows his/her data structures and algorithms.
  • Knows 2 languages - in one his fairly proficient.
  • S/he doesn't have university education - studied CS for one year and then had to quit.
  • S/he has a portfolio on GitHub with 3/4 small applications.
  • S/he participates on Stack Overflow with reputation around 1500+.

S/he had 2 psychotic episodes in his/her life when s/he was convinced everyone was talking about him/her behind his/her back. The person believed that there were cameras everywhere watching him/her, and grandiose thinking that s/he is special in some way and has some special mission from God. The person had to be hospitalized and their symptoms receded after 1 month of care. Now s/he is on daily medication and acts/thinks like the average person.

Could such a person be hired? What questions should s/he be prepared for?

closed as primarily opinion-based by paparazzo, Masked Man, Philip Kendall, Monica Cellio May 8 '16 at 19:00

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    If the condition is now being properly treated and medicated, why should it be brought up at all? – Jane S May 8 '16 at 13:39
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    Some folks do use alternative pronouns because they don't feel either of the standard ones adequately describes their identity. However in this case I'm guessing it's just a desire for anonymity in this question. – keshlam May 8 '16 at 14:08
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    You wouldn't put that you were diabetic or had any other "under control with treatment" condition on your resume, why would this be there? I might well hire this person -- why not? But there's no reason to go around putting diagnoses on your resume, especially those that don't require any accommodation or special consideration – Kate Gregory May 8 '16 at 14:51
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    @JoeStrazzere A person has to start somewhere. If everyone starts asking for job experience, the candidate will never gain job experience. – cst1992 May 8 '16 at 16:22
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    The fact that s/he "couldn't" finish school would be a red flag for me, regardless of the root cause. – Lumberjack May 8 '16 at 17:47
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Keep in mind, in many countries, specifically refusing to hire based on mental illness might be considered discrimination based on disability, and possibly illegal. If (s)he has marketable skills as a developer, and the disability is managed, so that (s)he does not require unreasonable accommodations, then yes, (s)he should be hirable, even if the reality is there is a huge stigma on mental illnesses. (S)he should avoid disclosing during the hiring process to minimize discrimination, which I think is perfectly reasonable, because it sounds like (s)he doesn't need any accommodation that would be a particular hardship on the employer, as long as his/her condition remains stable as it is now, and (s)he has a reasonable expectation the (s)he will remain stable.

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I would hire hir for a job that fits hir skills; under control is under control, and many of us have chronic conditions that could be problems if they flare up.

However, without either degree or prior experience I would be skeptical about those skills and would certainly hesitate to offer a technical position beyond the most limited until capability had been proved. Effectively, a degree is a recommendation.

Going back for a degree would fix this. Or applying for a marginally technical job and working hir way up from there by demonstrating competence in progressively more challenging tasks... If those entry jobs exist.

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    (For those who haven't encountered it, "hir" is one of the many attempts to create gender-neutral pronouns. I'm not wild about it myself, but it's a lot easier to say than he/she. Some folks do prefer it; all I ask is that they not fault me if I forget to use it.) – keshlam May 8 '16 at 17:47
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Would you hire a developer with paranoid schizophrenia?

Short answer is 'No I wouldn't'

Not for a position which is easy to fill. I'm not a psychiatrist, I don't know any, and I have no real idea whats involved but I wouldn't take the risk, because if the person needed some attention I wouldn't know what to do.

The only way I would take such a person is if they were sponsored in some way so there is a clear advantage for me.

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The first question to answer: Would you hire that person if he or she didn't have paranoid schizophrenia? The second question: Does your company as a whole either want to help disadvantaged people, or does your company have an advantage from hiring them? (In some countries, there might be some requirement to hire a certain number of disabled people, and this one might count as disabled without requiring you to make any physical changes to your offices). I am asking about "company as a whole" because that wouldn't be your decision, but your company's.

But you really need to get some expert advice what this particular illness means in practice. I had a colleague with some serious mental problem who I would recommend with good conscience to anyone looking for a good software developer working in company of grown-ups. There will be others who I wouldn't want anywhere near my workplace. That's something you have to find out. Plus what legal obligations or problems you might have along the road.

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I'm impressed with her credentials. I would hire her if I were in your position. But then you should consider having a good rapport with her physicians, or at least your HR department would have good rapport with her physicians.

I would recommend using Care Circles (an Android app) or a Slack channel dedicated to monitoring her condition. You should include in that channel/group: the prospective developer, her caretaker/trusted family members, you/HR department, her teammates. But first ask her doctors about her. They might have an insight on how you would address her needs while benefiting from her skills... assuming you're hiring her.

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