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How to Hire a Top-Notch Developer

Jun 02 , 2015

Two decades ago it was difficult to find a web developer because there were so few. Now there are plenty of developers on the market, but finding a top-notch candidate remains a challenge, particularly when you need a web developer.

People seem to think that creating a single webpage makes them an expert, but the truth is that web development requires knowing a lot more than just the basics. After all, your website is your face to most of the world. With brick and mortar businesses becoming a last resort, you need a website that gets traffic, keeps people on the site, and is secure so that people keep coming back. With all of this in mind, here are the things you should look for when you need a great web developer.

Your site needs to make you money, which means you need an outstanding web developer.

Aptitude over Education

Some of the best developers, web developers or otherwise, are people who have taught themselves or learned through trial and error instead of through a traditional education. With the rapid changing pace of technology, you really need someone who keeps up with current trends over someone who has an older degree that hasn't been used since college. Someone with aptitude doesn't even necessarily need to have done something before to be able to implement it with relative ease. Here are a couple of questions to help you determine if a candidate has programming aptitude.

- Have you learned any new languages recently? If so, which one?

- What sites do you have bookmarked to help you keep up with web developing tricks and tips?

Knowledge over Trivia

Being a great web developer does not mean that the candidates know trivial things about the Internet. Asking a candidate details about when PHP was released and how Python was created aren't going to help you get someone who knows how to design a brilliant website. Focus questions on what the person has done, what the person likes to do, and the preferred way to troubleshoot problems. These are much better ways to determine a candidate's abilities.

Personality over Experience

Your web developer is going to need to talk to people in your company, and that means the developer has to be adept at communicating and fitting into the team. Hiring someone who can create a brilliant site, but can't get the necessary details because of attitude is going to cause far more problems than it is worth. The following are a few characteristics of the best web developers:

- Curious
- Avid learners
- Persistent
- Motivated
- Adaptable

Introducing candidates to the team during an interview gives you a chance to see how well each candidate interacts with the team. This can be a huge plus when you have two people who have similar abilities. You will always want the one who can work with the team instead of against them.

An upbeat attitude and positive outlook are contagious.

A Short Test

Some people aren't willing to do a test. In most cases, this is a sign that candidates are not confident enough in their skills. Short tests have become increasingly more common in technical fields because it is the best way to demonstrate that a candidate knows what the resume says that person knows. Some candidates will claim that they have adequate samples to prove they know what they are doing, but to someone who really is an expert, a basic test is going to cost a negligible amount of time.

Seeing exactly how a candidate will address the basic requirements gives you an excellent idea of what you can expect in the finished project. The test should be simple and cover the most basic elements of web developing, so it is not a time consuming effort for candidates. All you need to get out of it is a demonstration that each candidate has the experience and ability to complete a project based on set guidelines. A candidate taking this test can be paid if you have a short project that needs to be done and you only have a couple of candidates you are considering.

A quick test lets you know if a candidate is a novice or a rock star..


Finding the right web developer can save you a lot of time and headache, as well as making your company easier to find online. With so many people claiming to be web developers, you have to be careful about making sure the skills match the resume. A well-planned interview and a short test are two quick ways to narrow down your candidates to the few who really are experts.

Contact us if you need help finding a great developer to add to your team.