101 Tips for finding the right developer

Here are 101 tips that would help you find the right developer for your business. With the right software experts, you can achieve your client’s dreams.

Finding the right developer is often the biggest challenge faced by IT and software companies. Since web projects can be of different magnitude, type and purpose, choosing a software development expert would depend solely on your requirements. Often, it can be difficult to find the right person because it is not possible for a single developer to have all the qualities.

Hence, we have performed deep research and surveys and have come up with 101 tips to help you find the right software person for your project. Choose the tips that would be more suitable for your requirements and it would help you get the right fit.

1) Look for values
The programmer should be able to add value to the team, meaning he should wok towards formulating the business value and upholding it to the highest level while delivering his project. He should also start adding value to the team he is working with, meaning he should be an asset in more ways than one.

2) Take time to hire
The hiring process itself should be intense. If you hire in a hurry, you may not get the right person, so go through all the process of hiring before choosing the person fit for the job.

3) Conduct a coding test

Give the prospective employee a coding test to check whether he would be the right person for the job. If not, you are wasting your time.

4) Check attitude
Check the barometer of their attitude and how they respond to work stress before hiring. You don’t need a frail person crumbling under pressure, do you?

5) Involve senior developer
If you are planning to hire a new programmer, then make sure you keep the senior people in the team aware of what is happening. Give them also a chance to sit at the interview board.

6) Have several rounds of interviews
It is not that the hiring managers are conducting several rounds of interviews for the fun of it, they do it because that’s how they will be able to hire the cream of talent. The final round of interview will be able to tell you whether a prospect is good for your company or not.

7) Invite them for lunch
Inviting applicants for lunch would be a great way to have a casual discussion with them. You will also be able to gauge how well they will gel with your team.

8) Spend one day with them

When you are hiring developers online, spend an entire day with them to know more about their personality and to know whether they will be good for the job.

9) Ask them why they left their previous jobs
It is always important to know why a developer left his previous job – is it because his job was not paying well, or not challenging enough? Is there some other problem?

10) Find out whether they are team players
Everything will fall naturally into place when developers are team players and respect each other’s skills and shortcomings. If there is competition among members of team, your project will suffer.

11) Conduct hackathons
Hackathons would be able to help you look beyond resumes and interviews and check on the applicant’s productive capabilities. Hackathons are trendy now, so make the best of it.

12) Visit conferences (to meet potential developers)
At conferences, you can meet with a lot of talented developers, don’t let this opportunity go because even if the developer is not thinking of joining your company, he might just do it, after he’s done talking with you.

13) Find out whether they are good at networking
Software programmers must be good networkers as well, as this would be helpful for good business outcomes and for web development.

14) Conduct conferences
Your company can host a conference directed specifically to developers specializing on a specific technology. This would bring several skilled developers to your doorstep.

15) Invite good developers to speak at those conferences
In order to check whether these developers are really as good as they exhibit, invite them to speak at the conferences; you will be able to gauge their experience level in that manner.

16) Introduce the developers to the team before making a hiring decision

When you have marked a few developers whom you are considering for hiring, then let them meet with the current team; perhaps that would help you concentrate on the most wanted ones.

17) Ask a non-technical person to attend the interview
Get a non-technical person to attend the programmer interview, because he would be assess from a different point of view how the candidate would be able to handle deadlines, work in a team, manage tasks and so on.

18) Find more out about their personality
A person with good character and moral values is always in demand. You can shed light into their personality by asking a few personal questions, the interests and dislikes.

19) Ask about their hobbies
It is also important to know what kind of a person you are hiring, so inquire about their hobbies to know what interests them.

20) Find out whether they have a blog
Blogging is not a hobby anymore, it has a serious role to play in whatever industry you are in. A developer with a popular, high-ranking blog is definitely an asset; don’t let him go.

21) Find out whether they have an online presence
A developer with an online presence will be easily searchable in Google. You can gain more knowledge about him and his work this way. But then, there are developers who prefer to keep a low profile, but are still excellent in coding. In that case, you will have to tap other methods of finding such a developer.

22) Introduce him/ her to the CEO

Get the opinion of the CEO and present the programmer’s credentials and work abilities before giving the final word.

23) Check their ability to test solutions
Words are sometimes not enough; you need to conduct tests to check whether the programmer can indeed code and solve glitches in software development.

24) Find out what their opinion is on software quality
The programmer’s knowledge on SQA or Software Quality Assurance is an advantage because that would mean a lot for your business.

25) Ask them about their idols in programming
Whom do the candidate idolizes? That would be an advantage to know because you can expect their work to follow in their footsteps; and you can gauge what they expect to achieve.

26) Ask them why they went into programming
Passion in whatever you choose is an advantage, so you should know their reason behind taking up the programming job. Is it just a job for them? Or, are they really interested in making a mark in the software industry?

27) Ask them about their education background
Your programmer should have a background in mathematics and science. So ensure they have a basic education in both.

28) Ask them about their most important lesson from their degrees
if you want to know more about the character of your future staff, you must know what they garnered through their education. Sometimes, there is something more than just academics.

29) Find out about their leadership potential

Not all software experts are good leaders; some tend to lose their focus when they take the leadership role. Hence, if you want a good leader in your expert, make sure hire such a person.

30) Check their communication skills
A good software expert must be good at communication as well. This is because people skills are very important while working in collaboration with other team members.

31) Check their Email replies: Where they properly formatted?
Check whether your prospect follows email guidelines and etiquette. His/her email should not look or feel like spam after all.

32) Do they know about cyber security?
Ensure your programmer has at least a minimum knowledge about security; the minimum knowledge, would of course, be dependent on what your preferences are depending on the program, code, libraries used and so on.

33) What do they know about scalable IT solutions?
A thoughtfully planned web application should be scalable seamlessly. Is he familiar with the main agile approaches for handling scalability requirements?

34) Ask about their opinion on documenting software
Ask them what they know about documenting software. It is actually very rare to find developers who can document their own code.

35) Show them a piece of code, and ask them about their opinion
A true developer should know all about codes, so you can definitely show him a code and check how much he knows about it.

36) Check whether they are punctual to the interview
Punctuality is a virtue important in any job that you do. It is so in software development as well, because maintaining deadlines is very important.

37) Ask them about how they reached to the office
It will help to lighten the mood and take off the pressure during the interview. You can keep that as a starter perhaps, as a preclude to asking questions.

38) Check whether they are asking questions

Asking questions is an important skill for a developer, as he needs to find out the exact requirements from the clients

39) Check whether they are curious about learning new technologies
You need a very resourceful person as your employee, so if the need arises, he must learn new technologies and perform the necessary moves to take the project forward.

40) Call the previous employer and find out about the programmer
The programmer may look like a dream come true, but you still need to find out more about him from his previous employer. It will shed light on his character and loyalty.

41) Call the second last employer and speak about the candidate
In order to know about the candidate, you must discuss him with his second last employer as well. It would help you understand how he evolved and developed since his last job.

42) Ask them about their opinion about the office space
It would be a good idea to know their opinion on office space, after all they have to spend hours working on projects, you need to know whether they would be convenient.

43) Have they worked in some kind of leadership position before
This would be a good thing to know, especially since, in the future, you would want him to take up a future leadership position.

44) Ask them hypothetical questions
Like “If the water in the office is finished, and the admin person is not reachable. What would you do?” A good answer would be “I would try to find out the number of the water supplier people and order new water”. The ability to take initiative is important here. You may have the making of a new leader here.

45) Try to reach a previous or current work colleague and ask about their opinion
Before giving the final answer to the applicant, you can ask the advice of current colleague that they have worked with in the previous workplace. It will shed more light into the developer as a person.

46) Ask them about their salary expectation
Of course, it all boils down to money, so get that cleared before making further commitments.

47) Ask them what they would like to want, apart from the salary component
Are they expecting any perks and bonus, apart from the salary. If so, what is it?

48) Check what kind of office culture he/ she prefers

The workplace is a space your developer should enjoy coming to and deliver commendable productivity. In that case, you need to provide the culture he/she prefers.

49) Check with them about their ability to communicate with foreign clients
One of the major requisites when you are hiring someone for your company is knowledge of different languages. Bilingual proficiency is a must, and he/she must be very good in English, and understand the differences between UK and US English.

50) Check their experience in communicating with foreign clients
You can crosscheck their claims by confirming this with previous colleague or employee.

51) Find out whether they know the basics in selling
Especially in small companies, everyone needs to be a salesman for the respective company they are working for.

52) Ask them about their best piece of work so far
The developer would be proud to show you what his best work would be. That would give you an idea of his skill-level.

53) Ask them, what they are especially proud of, when it comes to work
Your prospect would definitely have a special skill that he is dying to show you.

54) Ask them to hold a 4-minute presentation about one of their key technology skills
To know how much your developer is skilled at a special technology, allow him to do a presentation. Note the flow in which he speaks, how he is handling the topic, his confidence, attitude and so on.

55) Ask them about their opinion on multitasking
Developers must be good at multi-tasking, but not at the level affecting productivity. This must be something you should look for in a developer.

56) Are they able to set goals for themselves
A good developer must be able to set goals for himself without waiting for the boss’s prodding and make sure he achieves them even when there is no one looking over his shoulder.

57) Check whether they are self-motivated, or whether someone always needs to be behind them to finish the work
A self-motivated individual will not need someone after him to check on work progress.

58) What does professionalism mean to them
Get the definition of professionalism from the expert’s own mouth. Does his idea of professionalism match with yours?

59) Find out how they act under pressure

The software expert in front of you may be talented and skilled in the best way possible. But you need to make sure that he maintains his productivity pace even under pressure.

60) Find out whether they can stay calm and friendly if the client becomes angry
Whatever software you come up with, it is very important to know that the client has the last word. If the client is happy, you are happy; if the client gets angry, well, you’ve got to make him happy. There is no way out.

61) Ask them, what the latest technology was, in which they were working
It is always an asset to have a developer who is skilled in the latest technology. So make sure you don’t miss that question.

62) Does he/ she contribute to a open source community?
Does your applicant give anything back to the open source community? What is his opinion on that? Does he value the interaction with fellow developers? If the applicant contributes to open community it means he wants to do something good, something meaningful.

63) Ask them what the future of software development will be?
What is the applicant’s opinion on the future of software development in 10 years’ time?

64) Check with them, how they would deal with adversity. Example
What if the company needed to move to a smaller and much more simple facility, would the developer also move there? – Is the developer ready to adjust if the company goes through adverse conditions? Would he want to continue with the job?

65) Who was their biggest mentor?
There must definitely be a mentor or idol behind every man’s success. Whom does your expert see as his mentor?

66) Ask them to rate themselves on a scale from 1 to 10 when it comes to their technical skills
Self-assessment on the right note is not an easy thing. You can check this when you ask your applicant to rate himself.

67) Ask them how they found their last employers
Get a hint of your would be developer’s networking skills by checking into how they heard about their previous employers. The wider the network, the better they have knowledge about what’s happening in their field.

68) Ask them about how they found your job offer
This would let you understand how they keep themselves updated on the latest happenings in the tech world.

69) Ask them, why they think the last employers hired them

This is probably a question every HR manager will ask a new applicant. Though clichéd, it is very important to ask this and hear the answer.

70) Are they interested in things outside of software development?
This would help you understand the person beneath the software expert persona.

71) Check their willingness to work under the project manager, once they join in your organization
A software expert must be willing to work under the project manager until he is whetted to the rules and regulations within your organization. Would he be willing to do that?

72) Will they be ready to listen to other team mates?
How good a team worker would the new recruit be? If he is not willing to accept the opinions and suggestions of the rest of the people in his team, then it would be really difficult.

73) Do they know what globalization means?

Knowledge about globalization is an important component in business and technology. This would help developers build apps according to the needs of the consumers.

74) Have they worked with remote teams?
The developer’s experience in working for remote teams would be an asset.

75) Have they worked directly with a foreign client?
Working directly with a foreign clients gives an idea to the developer, on how to behave towards these people. Most of the time a foreign client will be more punctual or is interested in a specific kind of treatment.

76) What is their opinion about junior developers
If you are hiring a senior software person, then he must act as a mentor to the juniors in your company by guiding and advising them. Is he ready to do that?

77) What does integrity mean to them?
Integrity is a character trait, your staff should have. There are no two ways about it.

78) Ask them about their willingness to change.
Especially in today’s times, the world is changing rapidly. So developers need to change according to the prevailing situation.

79) Has he/ she strong expertise in your domain?
What is your specific domain? Can your developer relate to that?

80) Read your companies values to them, and find out whether they can relate to it

This is very important to know if you are hiring the right person. They should be able to understand and relate to your company’s values, or else, they might not be able to uphold them later.

81) Ask them whether they can handle software project from end to end
Especially in smaller companies it is sometimes important, that the developers can implement a project from start to end.

82) Ask them if they can work independently
Just as the programmer must be good while working as a team, he must be equally productive while working independently too.

83) Ask them about their opinions about the business side
The business side is usually the side, which gives the requirement for the software to be developed. Sometimes the business people do not know about software development. So it will be interesting to know how they handle these kinds of people and requirements.

84) What kind of books are they reading?

A well-read person is always an asset. It would be good to know what kind of books he/she is interested in.

85) Find out what drives them
Some people are motivated by money, some are motivated by building great things or showing the world how good programmers they are.

86) Connect with them on social media
An ambitious person would be active on social media to grow his professional network by sharing knowledge and building his own personal brand.

87) What is the biggest challenge they have overcome?
It would be interesting to note the biggest challenges faced by your new recruit, and what measures he/she took to overcome them and prevent them from occurring in the future.

88) Check whether they have a “Can Do” mentality
In software development, it will be usually about creating new things, which were not there before. Are they having a “Can Do” mentality, or will they doubt any new requirement which comes up.

89) Check their marks in the Bachelor and Master level
It would be good to know the educational qualifications of your applicants because it would be good to know whether they were academically brilliant.

90) Check whether they have lived abroad for some time
It will help a developer, if he/ she has lived abroad. They will see things from a different perspective.

91) Who are the software developers they admire?
They would strive to learn from software developers who developed very famous apps and eventually, make their own style.

92) Check for gaps in their CV’s

Even if you are busy, take time to go through their resume minutely because the interview would be the best time to clear your doubts regarding their professional and personal life.

93) Verify with the previous employers
The developers joining and leaving dates. In order to ensure that the programmer is telling the truth, it wouldn’t hurt to confirm the dates of joining and leaving, with the previous employers.

94) Give them some logic test
Being a logical thinker is a personality trait your programmer should have. After all, they will often have to follow the rules of logic to do their projects and to figure out solutions.

95) Give them a small team work task
This will work of course only, if there are several programmers attending the interview. It could be about building something with paper or solving a problem.

96) Where do they see themselves in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years
What are the milestones set by the applicants for their own career. Do they seem ambitious enough or do they prefer to go with the flow?

97) What kind of long term professional goals do they have
Does your programmer like a person who will follow the goals? What does he plan to achieve in a time-span of say, 5 to 10 years? What goals have they achieved in their previous years? Have they stuck to the previous goals?

98) What subject did they like the most during university or diploma studies?
It would be interesting to note the programmer’s favorite subject and whether the career he/she chose had any similarities to it.

99) Which would have been the second choice as a profession, next to software development?
If the applicant had not chosen to become a programmer, what else would he have become?

100) Why do they want to work in our company?

Apart from the monetary benefit and position, perhaps, what is the other reason why your developer would want to work with you? Is there some personal reason or motivation behind it?

101) How do they speak about their previous companies?
Are they speaking positively about their previous companies or badly? If they speak negatively, the chances are high, that they will do the same in your case as well.

Interesting links about the topic:

6 Tips For Finding the Right Developer
Steps to Find the Right Software Developer for Your Startup
How to hire the right developer

Pictures: Flickr.com/ Joone Hur/ Murch/ Software/ eye dropper/ Osse/ Regan/ Steven Lilley/ Oregon Department/ Flazingo Photos/ Helder da Rocha/ PROSteven Lilley

The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.