How to identify developers who will add value to your team

As the pace of technological evolution becomes faster and faster, it’s difficult for hiring managers to pinpoint exactly what skills their teams require.

Hiring developers is a challenge for startups as well as existing companies. As the pace of technological evolution becomes faster and faster, it's difficult for hiring managers to pinpoint exactly what skills their teams require.

In addition to having the technical skills needed, the developers you hire should also fit well with your existing culture. Here are a few things to consider as you build your team:

Conduct a skills assessment of your current team

Unless your organization is just getting off the ground, you likely have a development team in place already. It may be missing some key skills, but this is actually the perfect launching point for this task. Before you go about filling necessary roles, you'll need to make sure you fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of your current team.

Identify the most important goals of your next project, determine which skills are needed, then look at your team to find skills gaps. During this process, you may discover that some of your team members already possess the skills you need, even if they haven't been able to utilize them yet. However, if that worker doesn't have the bandwidth to support an extra project, you may still need to make another hire.

"Sometimes, you have to be creative – especially in a market where IT unemployment is extremely low," mentions Katie Hackney, Division Director of Beacon Hill's Technologies Division in Columbus. "In addition to evaluating internal skills, companies who are open to hiring developers who have a solid core knowledge base, and then training them on the specific tools and technologies used in their organization, typically have more success finding and hiring candidates in a shorter period of time."

Identify other stakeholders to involve in the interview process

If you're worried about hiring developers because you lack deep knowledge about the development process, you'll want to solicit help from someone who does. This could be a current developer on your team or technology leader at your organization.

But what if you're a small company and this is your first developer hire? In that case, you may want to work with a staffing firm who can help you determine which skills your task force will need to complete the project.

"A true partnership with a staffing firm will help you fill talent needs by taking time to understand your culture and your development needs," says Dave Abdou, Division Manager of Beacon Hill Technologies' National Recruiting division. "Then you can work with the firm to determine the types of developers that will help to grow your business and then present multiple options for you and your team to interview. By working in tandem, your staffing partner can streamline the process and only send viable candidates that fit your needs."

Consider how candidates will fit into your company's culture.

Ask candidates for work examples

As with creative professions, proof of candidate skill is best determined through a portfolio review. Request work samples from all candidates before you enter the interview stage. This will help you narrow down your list before you start scheduling meetings. With the insight you gain from a portfolio review, you'll be able to optimize the time you spend meeting with potential hires.

Give your shortlist a real challenge

Once you've narrowed down your list of candidates to a select few, give them a test to prove their skills. Rather than presenting each candidate with a hypothetical problem, consider giving them a challenge your organization has recently faced. Does the candidate solve the problem the same way your team did? Is their solution better? Would other team members be able to understand it? Ask yourself these questions as you review the work.

Find out what your candidates are passionate about

Developers who are passionate about their work always have a pet project. Asking candidates about their personal projects is not only a great way to break the ice, but it also provides a look into their unique way of thinking. What kinds of problems are they trying to solve in their personal life? How they relate to the kind of development work they might do for your company?

Have a plan for growth

Many developers live in a world of contract work - they complete one project and then move on to another client. However, as consumers expect more from their software-as-a-service solutions, companies will need to retain their top performers to continue working for the lifespan of the product. Therefore, hiring managers need to be prepared to answer questions about growth and the future of the developer position at the company.

Compared to just a few years ago, the types of businesses that need talented developers has grown significantly. For assistance finding skilled professionals who can help your organization to stay competitive in an ever-evolving marketplace, connect with an expert consultant from Beacon Hill Staffing Group today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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