Hiring Your First Developer? Read this First
Hiring the right developer can be a more daunting task than many first time business owners might realize, but there are strategies and techniques you can employ during your hiring process that will help you find the right fit.
Where to Find Potential Candidates
Your first task is to find a large pool of candidates to choose from. You have several avenues to choose from; these include online boards and sites, personal networking, and even hiring interns and college students, amongst numerous other options.
Planning to source your candidates online? There are hundreds if not thousands of websites dedicated to helping businesses and entrepreneurs find and hire talented developers from a host of backgrounds and specialties. Find qualified freelancers on Upwork.com with referrals, reviews, and samples of their work.
Looking for referrals? The age-old adage says, “It’s all about who you know”, and this couldn’t be truer in the case of seeking out development talent. Reach out to colleagues and well-known industry professionals on LinkedIn to ask about their experiences with developers; they may have valuable leads and references for candidates that you’ll know you can trust.
Interns and students have also proven to be a viable source for small startups looking to cut costs. There are talented college students in both undergraduate and graduate programs often willing to work with small companies in order to gain experience in their field and expand their portfolio. Many times, these interns make the jump into full-time employment once they’ve received their degree, meaning you could be investing in long-term help.
Outsourced Vs. In-House Employees
In-house employees are ideal for companies that have long-term development goals. Working with an in-house employee makes for easier collaboration and management of any given project. However, it’s not the right choice for many companies, and for good reason.
While small startups and large corporations alike may have their misgivings about outsourcing important development work, there are just as many benefits as potential drawbacks to this particular endeavor. For one, it tends to be cheaper overall. While there are exceptions to the rule, it can’t be denied that outsourcing to offshore developers can see you saving thousands of dollars per year. A full-time employee who works on the premises will require equipment, a salary or per-hour agreement, along with benefits, including health insurance and 401(k) options if you so choose. In contrast, an outsourced employee can be hired for a specified amount of time, for a predetermined price.
If you’re still determining your long-term development needs, outsourcing can be a wise choice. Hiring an in-house developer means committing to finding projects to keep them occupied for the foreseeable future, while outsourcing provides flexibility to end services once your designated project is completed.
While management issues and communication problems are a valid concern when outsourcing development work, there are a variety of programs out there which are designed to help streamline the process, such as ALM tools by Inflectra. These types of programs are designed to help product managers oversee the development process from beginning to end, with live updating and quality assurance features that can expedite the development process while decreasing the opportunity for costly mistakes and reworks.
There are benefits to both options, but many companies just starting out find that outsourced developers can do the work, and fit their budget.
Cultural Fit is Important
If you’re hiring a developer to work in-house and become part of your full-time staff, it’s important to ensure the individual can handle the tasks designated in their position while also proving to be a cultural fit. Discord in your company, especially in a small startup, can prove disastrous. As you begin the interview process, consider their communication style; the right collaboration can do wonders for your company’s productivity. You may run into a bevy of developers that may not be overly outgoing or talkative, and that’s okay. However, there is a significant difference between a candidate being introverted, and being a bad team player. Make sure to have everyone on the team meet with the applicants during the hiring process, and listen dutifully to any feedback they may have. You may love what a developer brings to the table in his or her work – you won’t love dealing with discord amongst your employees down the line.
Do Your Research
You’ll find hordes of “eligible” developers during your search, but there are many risks inherent to hiring a practical stranger, especially if you’re using a freelancing website. Anyone can list out credentials; make sure you investigate their claims by checking out their qualifications, talking to references listed on their application, or searching for reviews on their profile. It may extend the hiring process, but save you time, money, and frustration down the line, making it worth the extra effort.