5 Tips for Hiring the Right Web Developer
Erin Thompson Erin Thompson

A web developer will be one of your most crucial hiring decisions, that's the individual who will create the online window of your company and enable you to interact and work online with your customers.

So, it's especially important that you choose the right talent the first time to avoid wasting precious time and money. Otherwise, you risk hurting your business while seeking a replacement.

Here are five tips that can help in the selection process:

1. Feel for values first, then look at work experience.

When you hire web developers, their personal attributes are the most important consideration. While experience is important, the bigger predictor of your success is someone's fit with your company. Are drive,  integrity, determination, persistence, curiosity, important to you? Whatever characteristics make up your values,  you want to ensure that the web developer will fit within that.

For example, a superior web developer who has worked for a giant corporation may not do well at a startup. Why? A startup typically requires traits like versatility, adaptability, risk-taking and a self-starter attitude, but these traits may be less important at the Enterprise level.

2. Take your new developer for a test drive

Although you might think you've secured your ideal candidate, just to be sure you should give him or her a small, non-critical project to complete with a deadline. Now you are in the position to observe the person in action and collect additional information past the job interview.

You will quickly see how efficient the candidate is in delivering products and how buggy or perfect the final outcome is. Did he or she go above and beyond to get the product delivered?  Was the project late? Were there any excuses thrown around?  How creative was the solution? How well did he or she work in a team and communicate obstacles?

3. Choose a developer with aptitude, not a skill set.

In the tech space, skills can quickly become obsolete every two years, or so.  It's ideal to hire a web developer who can learn new technologies easily and quickly rather than someone who knows a specific technology now but may not adapt well with something new and challenging.

The easiest way to detect whether someone will adapt well to change is to ask questions that will reveal whether a love for learning. For example:

  • What new programming languages did you learn recently?
  • What are your go-to resources for learning new tech tips and tricks?
  • What are your favorite technology conferences and have you attended any?

4. Don't quiz or ask questions about programming trivia

These are examples of trivia questions you want to avoid asking when interviewing:

  • Who is the primary creator of the Java programming language?
  • In what year was PHP released?
  • What is the origin of the Python scripting language's name?

Trivia questions are often a terrible way to determine if someone is smart and integral. This method will just single out people who can memorize things.

As a rule of thumb for conducting technical interviews, never ask questions that can be easily searched for online, focus on open-ended questions and listen to how it is answered. What to look for is how much passion developers show in their answers and how well they communicate.

5. Hire slow, fire even faster

Take all the time when hiring, but if you realize the person isn't working out, let him or her go as quickly as possible. An ineffective web developer can be disruptive to the entire team and potentially prolong a project. Everyone makes mistakes and feelings can get involved but missing deadlines are especially detrimental where resources are tight and the ability to develop and improve products quickly and efficiently can make or break the project.

The fire-fast rule can be difficult to adhere to in small companies where there's often a feeling of everyone being in it together and forming close friendships. But don't let that get in the way.

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