13 Crucial Criteria for Your Agency’s Developer Hiring Process
If you’re starting the process of hiring a developer for your agency, then you must make sure you land the perfect candidate.
As Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg says …
“Someone who is exceptional in their role is not just a little better than someone who is pretty good; they’re 100 times better.”
Look, you don’t want to end up having to replace your new developer.
It’s no fun for either party.
And it’ll actually be much worse for you.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee’s first-year salary.
But you can prevent that by selecting the right candidate the first time.
With that, we’ll talk about 13 key things to look for during the developer hiring process.
And the benefits of improving your agency’s developer hiring process are that you’ll:
- Identify the qualities that make for a great developer so you can get more web and software projects done on time.
- Pick up on the red flags that suggest a candidate isn’t right for you.
- Avoid dealing with turnover and starting the hiring process over again from scratch.
Now, let’s get into it.
Why Your Agency Need Developers
Business and IT are inherently infused with one another.
Whether it’s a website, a mobile app or something else, there’s some development component behind the scenes putting it all together.
Developers offer a unique perspective into the marketing world. They see things differently than your average employee.
And they know how to create websites and software that please consumers (plus your clients).
According to HubSpot, 46% of marketing agencies say website design and development is their top service offering.
Moreover, 42% of small businesses plan to build a mobile app, as per Cision.
Because, at this point, consumers expect things like an outstanding website experience and for your clients to have a mobile app.
Web Developer Versus Software Developer
Simply put, web developers focus on creating, supporting, and analyzing the performance of websites while software developers build programs and platforms.
As an example, think of how a SaaS company would use software engineers to develop the cross-functionality of a new, genius business solution, while the web development team would be responsible for the usability of the company’s website for customer experience.
Under the umbrella of web developers, there are three categories:
- Front-end developers work on the final user deliverables, such as the usability of a website or an app.
- Back-end developers focus on things like server maintenance, data integrity, and creating an environment that compliments the front end.
- Full-stack developers do both.
Generally speaking, smaller companies tend to hire full-stack developers more often than larger firms due to limited resources.
Why hire two people when you can hire one for only a little more money?
According to HackerRank, 43.4% of companies with less than 50 employees hired full-stack developers in 2020 compared to 36.2% of companies with 10,000 employees or more.
As for software developers, the roles are much more varied.
A software developer might create anything from a video game to a new iOS app.
For an agency, it’s pretty rare to offer software development, but it would give you an advantage in certain arenas such as mobile marketing.
For example, if you have a software developer that knows iOS inside and out, he or she can help expand your agency’s marketing services over to mobile apps. After all, without a software developer, how would you know how to troubleshoot the inevitable issues you’d encounter with a client’s app?
Salary of Developers
Since software developers require richer knowledge across multiple platforms, they see higher salaries than web developers.
As reported by Indeed, the average salary for a software developer in the U.S. is $115,784 as of December 2021.
For web developers, that figure is $67,467.
But seniority and location are big factors in developer salaries too.
For example, a Stack Overflow survey revealed that the average salary worldwide for a back-end developer is $56,723. Meanwhile, in the United States, the average salary for a back-end developer is $133,000.
Salary also can be dependent on the following types of technology being used:
- Programs, scripts and markup languages
- Web frameworks and libraries
- Collaboration tools
To illustrate, developers using DynamoDB databases make over 200% of what those that use Firebase make.
Now you wanna hear something mind-blowing?
According to Statista, men account for 91.67% of software developers in the world.
To say the industry is male-centric is an understatement.
For web developers, that number goes down a bit to 69.4%, as stated by Zippia.
The job outlook for both web developers and software developers looks good.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the field will grow at a rate of 13% until 2030.
And demand for software developers will grow 22% by 2030.
Those are the numbers just in the U.S. Worldwide, demand for developers could be even greater.
In JetBrain’s “Developer Ecosystem Survey“, they found that the top 5 program languages that developers plan to adopt are:
As for the countries with the best talent, East Asia and Europe take the cake.
Interestingly, the United States and the United Kingdom rank 28th and 29th respectively, according to HackerRank.
One thing to note about your agency’s applicants is that they don’t think very fondly of the typical interview process.
In Hired’s “2021 State of Software Engineers Report,” 80% of respondents said that coding exams and exercises are irrelevant to the day-to-day job.
And 46% believe whiteboards should be eliminated from the developer hiring process altogether.
Anyway, that’s enough for now on the background of the developer field.
Let’s start talking about some things you should be keeping in mind when hiring a developer at your agency.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #1: Cybersecurity Knowledge
Part of your responsibility as an agency is to maintain the security of sensitive customer data.
And you also need to keep your own information safe too.
But with hackers attacking once every 39 seconds, it’s crucial to have people at your organization that can combat these inevitable threats.
Because if you don’t, it could be too late.
You see, according to IBM, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million.
Unfortunately, it takes 207 days to identify the breach in the first place.
Even if you’re not hiring a dedicated cybersecurity developer, it would be a huge bonus if your candidate knew a lot about how to mitigate the threat.
But if you do decide to hire a separate software developer dedicated to security, then that’s great.
A security software developer will have deep knowledge of all the best practices that circumvent the efforts of cybercriminals.
His code will be tough to infiltrate.
And he’ll analyze, test, implement and maintain the security apparatus solutions that work best for your clients.
That way, you don’t have to worry too much about data theft that could harm your bottom line.
As stated by HackerRank, Ukraine is home to the most talented cybersecurity experts if you’re looking for an outsourcing solution.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #2: Experience
This one is pretty much a given.
Unless you’re looking to fill entry-level developer positions at your agency, then experience should be one of your top priorities during the hiring process.
Because a developer position isn’t like most jobs.
Technical skills in computer programming can’t just be picked up quickly like you could with soft skills in something like a sales job.
For example, 90.4% of developers have been coding for more than two years, according to Amazon AWS.
Depending on your unique needs, at least 5 years of experience would be a good starting point.
But this shouldn’t be too much of a problem.
Most developers have been passionate about the trade since an early age.
According to Stack Oveflow’s developer survey, over half of developers wrote their first line of code by the time they were 16 years old.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #3: Communication
Communication skills are a necessary requirement in virtually any job.
For a developer, they need to be proactive and reach out to colleagues when they have a question. Or to offer insight.
And this isn’t strictly verbal communication. In today’s modern workplace, this could mean being interactive with a team messaging platform.
At the most basic level, can this person speak English proficiently?
English is the world’s de facto business language.
If your applicant doesn’t understand English very well, then it would be a deterrent to workplace productivity. Especially if most of your target audience is in North America, Europe and Australia.
Another thing is that coding languages are primarily catered toward English speakers, even for some of the most popular programs developed in other countries, such as Python and C#.
According to a global survey from JetBrains, 78% of developers speak English at work yet just 17% do outside of work.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #4: Speed
Time is money.
So if your agency onboards a developer that can complete his tasks swiftly, you’ll see more profits, right?
Well, one way to learn about your applicant’s speed is by asking him during the hiring process.
On a scale of 1 to 10, ask how fast they would grade themselves in terms of adding new features to a line of code they’re familiar with.
If someone rates themselves a 10/10, then he better be able to back that up.
And this is where your skills test comes in, if you decide to go that route.
Compare the results of the skills test with what your applicant said. Lying about one’s ability is a definite red flag.
You’d rather have a less-experienced developer assigned to the right role than a more-experienced developer out of his depth.
On average, it takes 2.88 days for a candidate to complete a coding test, as found by DevSkiller.
And Java is the most tested language.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #5: Gut Feeling
For your gut feeling, rate your candidate on a scale of 1 to 3.
After getting to know him a little, how do you feel?
Can you see yourself working with him long term?
Did he have the right attitude?
This criteria is completely up to you.
And, yes, bias may come into play since we can’t control our personal feelings.
But when you know, you know.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #6: Ability To Evolve
Technology changes so quickly that if you don’t adapt, you’ll be left in the dust.
For example, look at how blockchain has taken off.
In 2017, the blockchain market size was worth $980 million, according to Statista.
By 2027, that number will be $162.84 billion.
I’m no math expert, but that’s roughly a 166-fold increase over a decade.
Since cryptocurrency can potentially change the way the world purchases products and services, more companies will need to start factoring in blockchain skills during the hiring process.
That’s just one example.
So the point is, you want to hire a developer who will evolve with trends.
Does the resume demonstrate diversification?
Or do you think this person is still stuck in old ways?
Because your agency needs someone who can pick up on new things fast.
On a micro scale, you can test applicants on niche subject matter and see how well they are at learning new concepts.
Similarly, a personality test could shed light on whether the candidate is open to new experiences, something that’s needed in the world of IT.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #7: Preparedness
During the hiring process, it’s a definite red flag if your developer candidate doesn’t come prepared.
So that means he should be ready to talk about all things coding and programming.
So, unless it’s an entry-level position, he should be spot on with answering basic industry questions.
Another thing to consider is whether your candidate is prepared to show some work samples. Is he ready to screenshare and break down a past project?
If not, then maybe there’s a lack of experience your agency is looking for.
Then there’s the overall presentation of your applicant in the video call.
What kind of attire is being worn?
Is he decently groomed?
Are there any distractions?
You see, candidates that sport proper attire, are well kept, and ensure that there’s no hindrance to the call are conscientious.
And recent research from Princeton University shows that conscientiousness is the greatest noncognitive indicator of future job performance.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #8: Program Language Proficiency
Of course a good developer will be well suited for the computer programming languages your agency uses or your clients use.
Whether you’re hiring a front-end developer, a back-end developer, or a full-stack jack-of-all-trades, this is a core quality that your applicant needs.
Although those are the most commonly used coding languages, Hired finds that the top 5 most in-demand coding languages are:
- Redux.js (2.9 times more interview requests than average developer)
- Google Cloud (2.7 times more interview requests than average developer)
- React.js (2.7 times more interview requests than average developer)
- Amazon Web Services (2.7 times more interview requests than average developer)
- Continuous Integration (2.6 times more interview requests than average developer)
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #9: Proven Mastery of User Experience
It’s likely that your developer will work closely with designers and needs to understand what makes for a great user experience.
This can tie in with work samples.
Ask him if he can show you a few projects that he’s worked on in the past. That way, you can get a feel for how user-friendly the web designs and interfaces are.
Besides that, you should ask your candidate how he feels about collaboration with designers.
If he has a positive sentiment about it, then that’s a good sign.
For the best user experience, developers and designers need to communicate their ideas to one another.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #10: Level of Passion
Most developers are passionate about their work.
And as you read earlier, most of them start coding at a young age.
You see, a passionate employee will be more productive than someone who’s just doing it as a means to make money.
As found by Stack Overflow, 80.2% of developers code outside of work as a hobby.
And most of them want to help address global issues such as public health and economic opportunity, as per Hired’s survey.
So if your applicant doesn’t seem passionate about the job, then perhaps he’s just looking for a paycheck.
Although that mentality is well suited for incentive-based jobs like sales and recruiting, developers, on the other hand, need to be more engaged with their work. You need someone that wants to learn about new trends and stay one step ahead.
And someone that finds their job satisfying, which Statista says 66% developers do.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #11: Problem-Solving
Problems arise all the time with code.
So if your applicant doesn’t have adequate problem-solving skills, that will be a big issue for your agency.
According to a report from OverOps, 53% of software teams experience one or more critical production errors every month that impact customer satisfaction.
And 2 out of 3 developers spend at least one day per week troubleshooting coding issues.
With that, you can count on your website and applications requiring debugs rather frequently.
If you don’t hire someone with the ability to tackle these issues, you’ll lose money as consumers grow impatient.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #12: Education
The majority of professional developers have at least a bachelor’s degree.
But college isn’t the be-all-end-all to becoming a master of programming.
Although Stack Overflow finds that 53.59% of developers learned to code in school, you have to think of other forms of education too.
You see, 6 out of 10 developers turn to non-traditional sources of knowledge in addition to school or even in complete replacement of it.
Some of those channels are:
- Online videos and blogs
- Books and physical media
- Online courses
HackerEarth carried out a survey in 2020 and found that 69% of students and 56% of professional developers watch YouTube tutorials to improve their skills.
During the hiring process, you should definitely consider what kind of effort your applicant has put into learning more about development.
Because someone who makes a habit of absorbing more knowledge is serious about the industry and will be a great asset to you.
What To Look for During the Developer Hiring Process #13: Other Commitments (For Freelancing)
Hiring a freelance developer is one route you can go, depending on your company culture.
And Stack Overflow says 11.2% of professional developers identify as contractors, freelancers or self-employed.
If you’re going to go this route, then you need to make sure that your candidate will be able to devote enough time to you.
Because if you need a full-timer, then it’s not ideal if he’s working with other clients on an ongoing basis.
That’s how things get pushed to the wayside.
Instead, you need someone that you know you can trust and depend on.
During the interview process, make sure you ask if he’s working with anyone else.
Besides the time commitments, you also just want someone that’s all-in with your company and who will feel part of your team as opposed to just an outsider.
The talent of your developers can have a huge influence over your agency’s outcomes.
From website user experience to the development of your mobile app, it’s crucial that you satisfy customers while keeping their data safe and secure.
But it all starts with choosing the right candidate.
Today you read about 13 of the most important things to look for during the developer hiring process.
By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you’re one step closer to onboarding that dream candidate.
And be patient. Find someone that’s qualified and fits with your company culture.
In the meantime, you could always outsource your development processes.
For example, at AutoGrow, we have experienced developers that are responsible for the development of our own website as well as those of numerous clients.
Just book a free demo with our sales team to learn how our developers can solve any IT problems you have in your marketing efforts.
Have any thoughts on this article?
Let me know in the comments below.
Keep AutoGrowin’, stay focused.