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7 Important Tips When It Comes to Hiring a Web Developer

The internet is heating up with some 2 billion websites sitting on the web and 4.2 billion people trying to access them.

Maybe you’re a business owner that wants to find a contractor to get your new website up and running. Maybe you’re a design firm that’s having trouble keeping up with demand and needs to add team members fast.

In either case, you’re interested in hiring a web developer and, consequently, this article is for you.

Hiring a web developer can be a tricky process. If you know a lot about web development, you may gear your interview too much towards technicalities, which can rob you from understanding your candidate more holistically. If you know nothing about web development, you might have trouble weeding out incompetence.

To help make the hiring process easier, here are some hiring a web developer tips.

1. Ask to See Samples of Previous Work

While it’s not the “end all be all” of things to ask for during a web development interview, asking to see a prospect’s samples is a good jumping off point.

Portfolio pieces can always be… embellished. For example, people might share samples of work they had only a small role in bringing to fruition.

Still, if a developer brings you samples that are unimpressive, this can weed them out quickly.

Many development prospects will have links to their work on their personal website. If they don’t, consider the quality of their personal website and draw conclusions from there.

2. Skip the Programming Quiz

One of the most common things we hear from design firms looking to bring on new people is that they subject their candidates to lengthy programming quizzes.

Here’s the thing with programming though…. Very few elements of it are memorized.

We’ll take a programmer any day that’s fully competent and needs to reference solutions to problems as opposed to one that has a few solutions memorized and has less building aptitude.

Coding quizzes reward those that can memorize things. A good memory isn’t the top quality you should be fishing for when hiring a web developer.

3. Consider Sensibilities

Some coders just take direction, complete tasks as they’re assigned, and repeat the process.

Working with these coders is a lot like working with robots. They’re not really going to move the needle for your business.

What you want more than a code monkey is a collaborator. A collaborator has opinions and a creative vision that they can share with you, which can push a project to the next level.

Because of that, when hiring a web developer, learn about who they are.

Are they interesting? Do their sensibilities lend themselves to the kind of projects you work on? Would you enjoy collaborating with this person?

These are all important, non-code questions that you need to get to the bottom of.

You can read more here about questions that are important to ask developers.

4. Start with a Small Project Then Work Your Way Up

Even if a developer aces an interview, they may turn out to be a bad fit for a project or your team when you put them to work.

To minimize the blowback of making a bad hiring choice, try bringing on a developer for a small project before hiring them to complete a massive one.

When you start a developer off small, you can learn about how well they take direction, if they can turn things in on time, and how they jive with your broader team.

If they nail your smaller project, great. Integrate them onto something bigger with confidence.

If they fall short of expectations, let them go. The sooner you let a developer that’s not a good fit for your team go, the sooner both of you will be able to find a better match.

5. Ensure Your Developer Knows Core Languages

Development firms know to ask about this, but non-tech businesses might not.

Today, many people who brand themselves as developers can’t code. They only know their way around WordPress.

Even if your site is being built in WordPress, you’re going to want someone who can customize your site via coding.

Therefore, when hiring a web developer, make sure they’re competent at HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

6. Understand What Tools They Work With

If your design firm has a workflow that leverages certain tools, be sure to ask whether or not your developer candidate is familiar with those tools.

If they are, you’re going to save yourself a lot of time getting your prospect up to your team’s efficiency level. If they’re not, ask them what tools they use and why.

You can learn a lot about a coder’s ability to manage a project by looking at the tools they use to complete them.

7. Probe Their Ability to Visualize

This point ties back to our third point about understanding sensibilities. When hiring a web developer, you want to make sure they have vision.

Test their vision by asking them to describe what sorts of features they think would be important to include on a website within a particular industry niche. Have them answer creative interview questions to see how their mind approaches obscure situations.

Web development is an art that’s as much creative as it is technical. If you don’t probe for creativity during your hiring process, you’re going to end up disappointed with what you get.

Wrapping up Important Tips When It Comes to Hiring a Web Developer

Whether you’re a design firm or a business looking to bring on a contractor, we recommend leveraging our tips above when hiring a web developer.

If you do, you’re going to raise your chances substantially of getting matched with the perfect candidate.

For more tips on how to optimize your hiring practices, read new content on “At Your Business” today!