Mistakes to avoid when hiring developers

With so many languages, technologies and specialists, navigating the world of tech recruitment can seem like a daunting task. Knowing what to put in the job advert, where to post it, how much to offer as a salary, what to look for in a technical CV and how to interview the candidates are all potential banana skins, but here are some helpful tips.

What to put in the job advert

How hard can it be to write a job advert? Not very, but the trick is writing a good one. Just as you scan through the hundreds of job applications you receive for your posts, jobseekers scan through even more during their search. Competition for top talent is fierce and a job advert is your chance to make your company stand out from the crowd. Here are some things to watch out for.

  1. Don’t confuse a job advert with a job description

Job descriptions are a list of responsibilities filled with technical information. What a job description doesn’t do is tell the person reading your advert why they should be excited to work for you! Focus on what the employee would be doing and the impact they would make. Developers are super interested in what technologies they will be working with and what they will be making.

  1. Don’t use made up job titles

Sure, Java Guru or Ruby Genie sound like awesome job titles, but how many developers are going to Google and searching for guru or genie jobs? Keep it simple. Use orthodox job titles. If you’re unsure, check for similar job roles online or consult with others in your company.

Where to post your job advert

You might be posting your jobs adverts in the wrong places. Developers have their own online communities which often feature job boards or pages where users can post interesting opportunities for others or recommend people for roles.

  1. Find out where developers are hanging out online

You can then get someone to post the advert there, highlighting the opportunity to all of the developers who might be interested. Many forums or online communities have job pages which amalgamate job postings. A common place to find developers is on Stack Overflow.

  1. Use the expertise of others

Job boards and recruitment agencies have an unparalleled reach and lots of developers trust recruiters to find the right roles for them. You have generic recruitment agencies which post jobs from all sectors and you have niche agencies that focus on specific roles or industries. Lots of developers like niche recruitment agencies because it means the jobs they are looking for are relevant to them and they don’t have to wade through mislabelled jobs that they aren’t interested in.

How much to offer

The demand for good developers is outweighing the number of applicants. Pearson Frank has just completed its inaugural salary survey which outlines average salaries for junior, mid-level and senior developers around the world. Salary surveys give a good indication of what you can expect to pay in specific niches no matter where your company is located.

According to this data, you can typically expect to pay around £40,500 for a mid-level web developer.

What to look for in a developer’s CV

CVs should be used to screen out rather than to hire, but what should you be keeping an eye out for?

  1. Focus on what the developer has worked on

Look at completed projects and what they have achieved rather than the number of years they have been programming.

  1. Be critical of errors in CVs

If there are a lot of mistakes in a CV there is a chance you can expect the same from the code being put together by the developer. There’s more to development than writing code. Documentation and emails (both internal and to clients) can also be expected. Also, if your development team isn’t communicating effectively that could lead to issues further down the line.

  1. Look for evidence of passion

Side projects, extra-curricular activities, exploring new technologies or languages. The best developers never stop learning.

How to interview a developer

Once you have sorted through the CVs, your next step should be to arrange a phone screening interview to speak with the developer one-to-one and find out more about their motivation and passion for coding. It’s also where you ask the ‘typical’ interview questions.

At some point, though, you are going to need to do a technical assessment to see if your candidate can walk the walk. If you have no programming experience of your own, you’re going to want to find someone who does and ask if they can help you out. This could be someone already at your company, a friend or someone you pay on a one-off basis. Thankfully, there are some handy resources from sites such as Test4Geeks that offer programming tests for use.

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