5 Ways to Spot a Great Developer in an Interview
According to online staffing site Dice.com, IT professionals are as in demand now as they were before the Great Recession, and there’s a significant shortage of mobile developers. Meanwhile, as the mobile sector grows and demand rises, recruiters are increasingly competing for a shrinking pool of talented developers.
This means it’s more important now than ever before to hire the right developer. But when a job opens up and you’re interviewing qualified candidates, how do you select the best developer from the talent pool? Basic qualifications are only part of the story. You need a well-rounded candidate who is not only a skilled technician, but also a good fit for the position and the company. Here’s how to spot a great developer:
1. Look for hungry developers rather than established stars.
Have you ever wished you’d gotten in on the ground floor of a value stock before it went through the roof? A similar opportunity exists with hungry developers – professionals with something to prove. Technology changes quickly, and developers who are looking to establish themselves tend to pay the most attention to emerging solutions and trends. Plus, newer developers are generally easier to integrate into a company culture.
2. Pay attention to developers who ask the right questions.
Some developers view the development process as an interesting puzzle to solve – an abstract challenge. But the best developers understand their role in making life easier for end-users. When you‘re interviewing developers, look for those who ask questions about the project that indicate that they embrace their role as the person who can create a great user experience. Make sure they understand the real-world context.
3. Identify problem solvers.
Sometimes recruiters and hiring managers focus primarily on specific technical knowledge when interviewing candidates. While technical knowledge is certainly important, don’t forget to look for so-called “soft skills,” such as the ability to identify and resolve issues. An ideal candidate would possess the requisite technical skills and the harder-to-quantify ability to solve problems. You can explore this during the interview by proposing an end-user problem and asking for solution ideas.
4. Look at the developer’s track record.
Some interviewers focus primarily on the developer’s resume when assessing qualifications, and a good summary is an important tool during the initial assessment. But don’t forget that actions speak louder than words. Developers should have a track record you can check out via a URL or app. Take a look at their work and ask questions about it to get a more complete picture of their abilities.
5. Don’t forget that software is “humanware.”
In the final analysis, software is only useful to the extent that it improves people’s lives in some way. That’s why it’s important to find a developer who understands the centrality of the user and who is able to articulate that to peers, managers, and other stakeholders – and understand when others communicate user values to the development team.
If you’re looking for a new developer, you’ll likely be competing with other companies for top talent since there’s a developer shortage worldwide, particularly in the mobile space. But it’s important to remember that finding the right talent isn’t always about locating the candidate with the most impressive resume or grasp of the latest technical jargon.
The best developers are the ones who truly understand the role software plays in improving people’s lives and are capable of communicating their vision – and understanding yours. They are problem solvers with a history of overcoming challenges, and often, they are developers with something to prove. When it’s time to hire a developer, look for these qualities, and you’ll be able to make the right hire.
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