My current workplace uses the following question as part of its recruitment process for Perl developers:
Q. How would you rate your Perl skill on a scale of 1 to 10?
When I first interviewed here, I told them I was a 7 on a worldwide scale including people like Larry Wall, but a 10 with regard to commercial Perl programmers in Australia. Having had a lot of exposure to the international Perl world, travelling to conferences and user groups, meeting some of the really big names and so forth, I think I've got a fairly reasonable view of my own skill level. Meanwhile, a surprising number of our applicants seem to rate themselves as an 8 (+- 1) with no further explanation or qualification.
Leaving aside how pointless a single integer rating is as a measure of expertise (and believe me, that conversation's happening elsewhere), I find myself wondering: what is a 10?
Here's what I came up with: "Has regularly contributed code to the Perl interpreter; has contributed at least 5 major CPAN modules with high CPAN ratings/CPANTS score/depended on by other major modules; has written well-regarded books and/or articles on Perl; has spoken at international conferences on Perl; has received grants from The Perl Foundation; can obtain personal reference from Larry Wall."
(Obviously Larry himself is 11 on this scale.)
On IRC, TonyC pointed out that most of the things I listed are irrelevant to my boss (for generic values of "my boss", I guess, since I don't think Tony's met him.) He's got a point. Most organisations looking to hire Perl people -- especially here in Australia -- aren't looking for Larry or Damian or MJD or a pumpking. They're just looking for competent commercial software developers.
Thing is, the more-or-less-average Perl people out there will be applying for these jobs ranking themselves as 8s against the pool of competent commercial software developers they've met in their previous jobs, while the enthusiastic, dedicated ones who've been exposed to the broader range and deeper depths of Perl through involvement in and contributions to the Perl community, and picked up skill and knowledge through it, will *also* be rating themselves as 8s -- or lower -- against a broader scale.
I'm not sure I have a point here, other than that getting people to assess their Perl skill on a range of 1-10 isn't going to get you any useful answers.