I’ve hired several developers over the years, and I’ve worked some really talented people. I’ve also made mistakes – big mistakes.
Some that I’ve worked with have been amazingly talented professional high-level problem-solving savants.
Some I’ve hired there is zero chance that I would ever work with again and if I had it to do over again, I would have passed right from the beginning.
Live and learn, right?
Outside of the mandatory pre-requisite coding skills and ability to get the job done, today I’m just putting together a few quick thoughts on things you need to be looking for when it’s time to add a professional web developer to your team.
Ability to solve problems and think
Seems like it would come with the territory, amiright?
But it’s not always the case.
Sometimes developers will look for the minimum viable solution to a problem just to make it go away instead of taking the time to really understand the problem and do it the right way.
You want someone who can roll up their sleeves and find the real issue and get the right solution in place and sometimes that means doing the hard work of finding out what the real issue is, and what the right solution is to fix it.
Someone who’s always learning
One question I ask for every person I interview for a web development position is “what is your go-to learning resource to stay on top of the always-changing world of web design & development?”
Any developer who’s worth the time and expense is someone who’s constantly learning and developing their skills.
There are a few baseline standards that developers keep in their toolbox like Stack Overflow and Stack Exchange – both sites where I spend a lot of time that’s overflowing with brilliant questions & answers to development issues.
Then there are learning platforms like Drupalize.me that are more in-depth. If your web dev candidate is a member of a site like this, then they’re definitely serious about learning.
Confident in their skills, but humble and able to take direction
This quality is key, and if I’m being honest, it should be a pre-requisite for just about any position you’re trying to hire for.
But I digress…
Good developers sometimes come with big egos and think that because you may not be in the same league as they are that you’re not qualified to make a judgment one way or the other.
This is not good.
You want someone who believes in what they build, without a doubt. But if they’re resistant to your feedback on how things should be executed then you’ve got a problem.
When you’re interviewing them ask them about how they handle times when they had their idea or concept shut down, and how they reacted, then listen to them explain. You want someone who’s able to put their ego aside and dig in and get to work.
Able to work well with other developers
Teamwork is vital in web development. There are times that web developers just need to be left alone to work and build, but there is a lot of collaboration that goes into building a high-quality website between designers, copywriters, project managers, clients, stakeholders and more.
Your developer should be able to talk about times when they worked together with a team to create a solution for an issue and how they resolved it as a team.
It doesn’t matter if they’re the only developer on your team. That’s not unusual. If your business is growing at all then there will be other people that are on your team too – copywriters, assistants, marketers, designers, etc. They need to be able to work well with the rest of your team.
Someone who takes initiative
Getting this right is a big deal. You want someone who can find issues or resolve problems before they happen.
But this doesn’t mean that they’re just taking liberty to do anything they want.
What it means is that they’re able to identify the issue, put together a solution to solve it, and present it to you so you can make the decision on how to proceed.