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Top 5 practices for hiring programmers

(Entrepreneur News) Hiring programmers can be an overwhelming task if you don’t know what to look for, but we tap the experienced folk to find out how to avoid the pitfalls.

hiring programmers

hiring programmers

Hiring programmers at your own company

Technology is rapidly changing and many brands are hiring in-house or consulting talent to develop applications for their employees and customers, creating websites, and innovating in other ways, but many don’t know where to start. There are endless horror stories out there of relationships with programmers, but it doesn’t have to be that way because the truth is that there are many extremely talented programmers out there. But how do you know if you’re picking a good one, and how do you communicate that effectively?

Elizabeth Whited oversees Marketing and Operations a The Rent Rite Directory offers the top five best practices for hiring programmers, in her own words, noting that “If it hasn’t happened already, at some point you may find yourself working with a less than productive programmer. Making sure to look for specific and certain criteria can make all the difference in hiring the right one.”

1. Know exactly what you want from them

Part of this process involves being able to clearly speak about your company, and exactly where you expect the company to grow with the help of a new programmer. The person you designate to interview needs to have a very clear understanding of the schedule and timeline that needs to be followed by the new programmer with attainable and realistic deadlines. Also keep in mind, extra projects will unexpectedly pop up, and should be factored into your planning.

Make sure you’ve answered these questions below, and thought about how flexible you are with them:

  • Will they be full-time, or an independent contractor?
  • Will they work in house, or off site?
  • If they outsource some of their work (especially outside of the country), what hours will they be available?
  • If you hire an independent contractor, find out their other time commitments. How many other clients are you comfortable with them also working with?

2. Use coding tests or a competency task

Although there are some who don’t believe in using coding tests for potential candidates, this is a good option, especially if they do not already have a large portfolio. Some tests have their own bugs or issues in them that need to be fixed, some are tasks to be completed, and some are comprised of small problems to solve, each one harder than the one before it. In the end, you will want a programmer who loves solving problems, and can figure out different routes to take in order to solve them.

Of course, not only does the perfect candidate have to be able to complete these tasks for you, but they also need to be able to work well with your team. Since they will be responding to your employees, and directly responsible for your website implementations, and sometimes overall workflow, see how they interact with the staff. Are they happy to answer questions, do they always place the blame elsewhere, etc.

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Some coding tests websites to check into:

3. Ask for references and perform due diligence

Asking for references on some of their biggest projects should be standard when looking for a qualified programmer. Some programmers will have their portfolio readily available online (and if not, make sure to ask to see it), so that you have an idea about what to discuss with their references. A good place to start is to ask what percentages of projects were completed on time.

What were the reasons for those not completed on time? These answers may differ when you ask the programmer during the interview. Just keep in mind, sometimes the clients themselves hold up the process.

4. Ask friends who are programmers

In case you aren’t interested in hiring your friend, or their task load is too demanding for the job you need done, ask them if they would be able to help you find the right fit. They can tell you exactly what to steer clear of, since they have you and your company’s best interest in mind. If they can fit it into their schedule, ask them to come along for the interview!

5. Use a vendor recruiting company

You might also want to ask for references from the recruiting company to see how successful they were with pairing applicants. If and when you decide to use a recruiter, make sure to give them plenty of feedback on the types of candidates they are sending your way.
Some programming recruiting companies:

  • Careers 2.0 from Stack Overview
  • Midcom
  • Hiring the right programmer can catapult your business, and help you achieve the goals you’ve envisioned for it. Be prepared, and find that perfect fit.

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Written By

Marti Trewe reports on business and technology news, chasing his passion for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses to stay well informed in the fast paced 140-character world. Marti rarely sleeps and thrives on reader news tips, especially about startups and big moves in leadership.

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