The Do’s and Don’ts of Hiring A Programmer for Startups
Are you hiring a programmer? To onboard the right one, here are some tips you ought to remember. Read on.
In a sea of talented programmers, it can be hard to make a choice. Especially with limited resources to work on, it’s a challenge that startups need to conquer.
Hiring a programmer is not only about posting a recruitment ad. Before the recruitment process, there will be things to prepare for and consider. Even more so if this is the first time you’re hiring one or if you have a non-technical background in the position.
Fortunately, there are hiring tips for startups when it comes to programming positions.
Here’s Your To-Do List in Hiring A Programmer
Don’t let the highly evolving nature of the tech industry push you into an unfair compromise. Take note of the list of practical advice on what to do before and during the hiring process.
List your needs and requirements
To know who to hire, you must know what you need. Therefore, take note of the requirements for the position. Everything about the hiring―expertise, experience, and portfolio―should be taken into consideration.
On the other hand, you must also consider creating the job offer ahead. So when a suitable candidate comes along, you can readily present potential compensation and benefits.
Consult knowledgeable connections
Let the advice of experts point you in the right direction. Ask your friends and in-house experts about the best approach in hiring a programmer. You can also ask them to suggest interview questions and the answers to look for during the interview.
And if you’re not knowledgeable about the position? Request backup from your senior programmer, or other trusted allies, during the screening and interview process.
Review the scope of the job description
Is this a permanent or project-based position? What is the working shift? Do you offer flexible working arrangements? These are only some of the questions you need to answer before creating the job description. This way, the recruitment result will meet your expectations.
For instance, upon reviewing your business needs, you think that a project-based programmer fits the job description. So rather than hiring full-time, in-house programming experts, you can choose to outsource your project. Either a freelancer or an offshore development center can do the job.
Manage your risks properly
Hiring a programmer is a big risk in itself. Until the new hire is tested in the field, there’s no way to be sure that you made the right decision. Thus, mitigating the risk should also be a priority.
First, you should set up an objective review of a candidate’s qualifications. A third party can help you derive a balanced and validated decision. Second, you can create a test project to get an initial idea of an applicant’s capabilities.
And last but not the least, before a new programmer comes on board, ensure that you have a backup for everything. This includes saving existing data on all databases and source code. Hence, any changes that may compromise your existing program won’t have irreparable damage.
Look for talent in the right places
You don’t look for a steak in a sushi bar, right? It’s the same principle when hiring a programmer. Make sure you look for talents in the right niche to make sure you don’t waste your time and effort.
For instance, you can join developer communities online, or attend events targeted at programmers. Or even better, ask your existing employees if they have referrals.
Remember to do a background check
Even when you’re eager to hire an applicant, don’t forget to do a background check. It’s not enough to rely on their resumes. You should also ask for references to get a glimpse of their previous work ethics.
Regardless of a flawless portfolio, there may be other things worth considering. Like how they work with a team, or how they react to deadlines and time pressure.
Evaluate how they fit into your culture
Let’s face it, office culture affects the morale of every employee. That is why it is important to check the candidate’s compatibility with your existing ones. You can start with these areas for evaluation:
- Team environment—Have they worked in a team before? Or is the applicant used to doing the job alone? Looking into this factor will give you a hint of how a person may fit into the team environment.
- Communication style—Great programmers can communicate smoothly with codes. But can an applicant convey ideas clearly in a discussion? How adept are they at discussing ideas with nontechnical leadership groups? Communication is a vital element in collaboration to achieve a common goal.
- Personal values—Try to see if the applicant’s personal values align with your corporate values. Because if it does not, then misunderstandings and complications may arise in the future.
- Expertise and tool kit—Even as a startup, you may already have a set of control systems and a development environment. You may also have a preference when it comes to development methodology. So checking whether an applicant can easily use your existing systems will lessen the stress when the job needs to be done.
Take Note of the Don’ts in Hiring Programmers
Achieve better results in your hiring process. Avoid these common mistakes during the process of hiring a programmer.
Don’t decide based on previous employers
Putting too much value on programmers from big companies is a no-no. Even if the person has worked for a Fortune 500 company before, it doesn’t truly signify their capacity. So unless you know the company culture and how things work there, tread lightly on this one criterion.
Don’t put more weight on experience as a major qualification
The experience placed in the resume is not a future indicator of their performance in your startup. A programmer with a five-year of experience in the field is not necessarily better than a fresh graduate.
Yes, there are certain advantages to experienced staff. But it must not be the major factor in your decision to hire someone. Take a look at their willingness to learn new things, or their attitude towards potential issues instead.
Don’t ask for answers on specific programming queries on the spot
Here’s an idea: a programmer doesn’t know the answer to your question after five minutes. It doesn’t mean that they don’t have the skills. They may just need a minute to understand your query to create a reliable solution. And search for supporting documents that validate the correct answer in the right places.
Don’t restrict yourself to local options
There are certain benefits to hiring local programming talents. However, if you already spent a long time searching for talents to no avail, it’s better to change tactics. The approach is costing more than what’s necessary.
Expand your search to a wider talent pool to hire programmers. Other countries have top talents too that can be an asset to your startup. It’s just a matter of finding the right one for the vacancy to be filled.
Don’t scrimp on fees but expect great returns
Hiring the cheapest worker can cost you greatly in the long run. For instance, you can’t expect an entry-level programmer to do a senior-level talent’s job flawlessly. Try to negotiate for better results instead of automatically cutting costs at the expense of talent quality.
Final Thoughts on Hiring A Programmer
The recruitment process pushes your startup to another level. But it can go both ways. If you make the right decisions, it can take your business to the next level. However, hiring a bad one may bring you down.
Therefore, consider the dos-and-don’ts list when hiring a programmer. It can help the process become cost-effective and efficient.
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