Time to Hire a Software Developer—But are They Exceptional?

Time to Hire a Software Developer—But are They Exceptional?

Hiring can be a challenge. Hiring in the IT department even more so. But hiring a software or web developer can be downright painful. Beyond the technical knowhow, you have to have the right technical “eye” and testing methods to determine whether a candidate is a good fit for your IT staff.

Whether you’re an IT leader or technical recruiter, here’s a few characteristics and interview tactics to help you identify, shortlist, and hire a software developer that’s truly exceptional.

Characteristics of an Exceptional Developer

 

1. They communicate well.

Good interpersonal and communication skills are a must, even as a developer. While the stereotypical developer may be seen as introverted and purely logical thinkers, an exceptional developer breaks this stereotype, easily interacting with peers in a way that fosters collaboration and teamwork.

They will be able to talk about the solution to another developer or an end user in a way they both easily understand. That means the developer can speak both technically and in layman’s terms. This communication skill ensures that the developer is clear on what needs to be done and that the user will receive the right functionality.

2. They think ahead with their solutions.

A great developer can intuitively architect a web or software solution to anticipate future requirements and alternative applications. In contrast, an average developer simply builds a solution that’s exactly what the client asked for (and nothing more), meaning any non-linear, future needs will require reworking what was originally delivered.

3. They have an impressive portfolio.

The quality, complexity, and variety of work a developer has done speaks volumes about their experience:

  • Quality—low defect counts in their coding.
  • Complexity—number of functional or operational aspects, intricacy of logic trees, and the ability to think about efficiency and processing time (i.e., not just getting the job done, but getting it done quickly and efficiently in terms of computing power).
  • Variety—how different their past development jobs have been and/or the level of individuality shown in the jobs they have executed (i.e., not a “one size fits all” approach in their work).

 

Interview Tactics for Hiring Great Developers

Developer hiring requires that you go beyond the typical Q&A format of most interviews. Namely, there are two primary “testing” methods you should employ to identify a great developer.

To test their communication skills, have an end user present a concept or requirement during the interview for the developer to interact with. Consider the questions the developer asks, and how they explain things to the user. You’ll know the developer is exceptional if (1) the developer digs deep and identifies the user’s real needs and (2) the user and developer walk away from the conversation with the same picture in mind for the solution.

To test the developer’s technical skills, provide them a piece of code with errors and inefficient architecture. Observe how they break down the code, what errors they spot, and what recommendations they have for making the architecture more efficient. The more errors they identify and the more insightful their recommendations, the more exceptional they are.

In addition, they should also be willing to showcase their work, such as a web solution they created, by bringing in examples via a laptop/mobile phone. They should walk you through the solution, show and explain functionality, and demonstrate how they dug into the user’s real needs and met the client’s requirements.

Where IT and human resource planning meet, Factum is there to help.

Factum is a boutique consultancy with a solid track record of helping organizations develop their IT staff to effectively support business operations. Whether you’re growing or restructuring your IT department, we can help ensure your human resource planning is well thought out and in alignment with your strategic goals.

Schedule your free discovery call today to see how we can help you make the right choice—whether you want to hire a web developer or any IT personnel.

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