Recruiting a Web Developer: Do's and Don'ts

Your web developer is going to have control over your company’s online image. If they lack experience, a few incorrect letters added to a piece of code or a simple click of the mouse could bring your website tumbling down.

For a job with that much responsibility, the recruitment process has to be foolproof.


Test your Web Developer. Multiple Times.

Send potential web developers a small test, before you invite them to an interview. It’s the quickest way to separate the professionals from the amateurs. Unfortunately they could source help from elsewhere, so be prepared to test them again during the interview process.

Try Your Web Developer Out

Your recruitment process can include a ‘try before you buy’ scenario. Invite your favourite applicant to work in the office, as a part of your team, on a small project or for a set length of time. It gives them a chance to evaluate the role, and it gives you a chance to evaluate them.

Ask for References and Referrals

Ask your existing employees if they know anyone that might be suitable for the role. You might get a useful recommendation. Whoever you consider employing, it’s worth getting references from previous employers. Try and find out if your candidate follows instructions, if they’re able to work to deadlines and whether or not they’re capable of being adaptable and flexible.

Make Sure They Speak Your Language

Does your web developer need to understand PHP, FBML, Perl, Java or Python? If you don’t know, then don’t expect them to know what you require. There are many different programming languages, and hundreds of pieces of web development software. Make sure that they know how to do what you need them to do, and that they can use the software you’ve got in the office. If not, can you purchase the software they need?


Pay Minimum Wage

A good web developer is vital to your success. Hire someone on a low wage, and you’ll get a website to match. Be prepared to pay for a web developer that’s got skills, experience and higher salary demands. Research the industry market value, and pay a competitive rate.

Get Distracted by CVs

A CV is a great tool, but it’s not going to show what your web developer can do. By all means consider their previous experience, but remember that some of the best developers are self-taught and that a good website speaks for itself.

Rush the Recruitment Process

There’s a delicate balance to consider when you’re hiring a web developer. You don’t want the good developers to find work elsewhere, but equally you don’t want to rush and take on someone that isn’t suitable. Be prepared to spend time on the recruitment process testing your applicant, discussing the company and checking that they’re a good fit. Make your recruitment process interesting, and the salary appealing, and you’ll keep them around for long enough to make a considered decision.

Have you got any tips for hiring a web developer, or any warnings for other readers? Leave a comment below.

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Comment by Keith D. Halperin on January 14, 2014 at 12:31pm

Thanks, Rachel. " If they lack experience, a few incorrect letters added to a piece of code or a simple click of the mouse could bring your website tumbling down."

If you're in a place where that could realistically happen without multiple and careful preventive checks, then you're working with a bunch of dangerously incompetent idiots and need to get out of there FAST.


Keith "Recruits Developers Much of the Time" Halperin


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