8 Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Programmer

Finding a great programmer is like searching for a needle in a haystack. After posting a job ad, hiring managers commonly find themselves drowning in a sea of CVs with no success in finding the right tech talent for the project. Some companies end up committing hiring slip-ups that turn into disasters in the long run.


How do you keep away from these hiring disasters? Avoid these mistakes when hiring a programmer and save yourself from a potential catastrophe:  


Not knowing exactly what kind of talent you want to hire

Hiring a tech talent without having any tech knowledge at all is one of the most common mistakes that companies do. By now you're probably convinced that you need a programmer for your service or product. However, not knowing particularly what kind of programmer you need is like brewing a disaster, both for you and the talent you will recruit. Don't waste you and the programmer's time and resources by committing this mistake.


Before you hire a programmer, make sure that you know and understand the role he/she will fill in your business as well as what you expect him/her to do.


This also applies to outsourced programmers. Many companies become attracted to outsourcing because of the quality of service at lower costs, but they don't understand how it will impact their business. Jumping straight into outsourcing without thinking about how to effectively integrate the outsourced workers into the team is bound to fail.


Hiring the cheapest worker and expecting top quality


"You get what you pay for."


This statement can't be more applicable for this topic. When you're only willing to pay a measly amount, don’t expect good output. Likewise, when you want an excellent quality of work, you should be ready to pay accordingly.  Don't hire entry-level programmers when you need the expertise of a senior-level talent.


When outsourcing, companies often make the mistake of settling with the cheapest service provider in the market. Instead of saving up on overheads and other costs, these companies end up paying more in salvaging terribly written code.


Don't go for the cheapest workers. Examine the quality of talent and ensure that you will be able to pay them accordingly.


Not asking for previous work samples before hiring

As skills are crucial in programming, it is necessary that you ask your candidates for their previous works. While candidates list down all their skills and expertise in their CVs, their portfolio of previous works serves as a support to these claims. A portfolio gives you a concrete idea of the kinds of projects he/she has worked on and will let you know whether his experiences are fit for your requirement.


Aside from asking for portfolios, you can also conduct technical tests, especially for your final candidates. Make them work on an actual task related to your business. This will serve not only as a test for your candidates but also as an introduction to what your business does.


Considering only the technical ability

In our previous point, we highlighted the importance of checking a candidate's skills to make sure he/she has the skills you need. However, it's also equally important to consider your candidate's character and other skills. You're hiring not just a programmer, you're adding a new member to your team.  


Great programmers have more than just their strong coding skills. They are also team players, clear communicators, self-learners, and more.


Related article: Need to hire programmers? Look for these traits


There are traits that separate a great programmer from the rest. During interviews, look for traits such as respect for deadlines, curiosity, passion for coding, and great decision-making skills—you'll find yourself with a programmer with great potential.


Leaving the programmer in the dark

Once hired, your programmer is there to help you accomplish your goals. You have the idea, and he/she builds it with you, but without proper instruction, things can get rocky eventually.


Share your vision with your programmer and don't leave him/her in the dark. Include him in brainstorming sessions, ask him to for his opinions, and share what you think about it as well. It's crucial that all members truly understand what you're hoping to accomplish to ensure success.


State clearly what you want to be done and keep lines of communication open between you and your programmer. Even the smallest miscommunication can cause a big mistake; avoid this by discussing your project in detail with the programmer as early as possible.  


Not listening to their ideas and asking for feedback

Managers often commit the mistake of treating their programmers like order-takers. Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson said in an interview:


"Writing is a creative endeavour, and not a lot of companies fully understand that. A lot of people think of developers as math nerds who want to sit in a corner, eat Doritos, and be told what to build."

Instead of merely instructing your programmer to build something, tell him the problem and listen to his/her ideas. Your programmers are experts in their field, so give them space to do their magic. They can bring great ideas to the table, but you have to be willing to ask and to be open to suggestions.  


When working with outsourced workers, there may be some cultural differences that may hinder a free exchange of ideas. You may have to exert more effort to get ideas from your outsourced programmers in some cases, but it will be worth the try.


Not giving credit where it is due

This may sound like common sense already, but this still happens a lot to programmers.


Say, your programmer fervently worked on his code, spent a few extra hours outside work hours, and abided by your deadlines with a satisfactory (if not great) work. Genuinely compliment your programmer for his efforts.


Programmers become more motivated and more connected to the project they're working on when they feel that their inputs are acknowledged and appreciated. There may be times when they commit mistakes, miss some details, but it makes sense to commend them for a job well done.  


Limiting yourself to local options

There are companies and businesses today that strictly prefer to hire local programmers. While this is not an entirely wrong approach, it can become ineffective especially when the business is chronically struggling to hire from the local talent pool.


When hiring programmers, examine how long you've had your vacancy unfilled and how it's affecting your business. It may be unhealthy for your business to keep going with your ideas still untouched and undeveloped. If this sounds familiar with your situation, stop limiting yourself to local options; it may be the wiser move to explore other options.


There are programmers in other countries who are as skilled as their local counterparts, and there are also outsourcing companies who deliver risk-free and client-oriented services at fair rates. When you start to consider outsourcing, however, remember to do your research and choose your outsourcing partner well.


Before you start with the recruitment and hiring process, it also helps that you make a clear plan of how you’re going to screen the candidates. Know exactly what you’re looking for in terms of both skills and personality, prepare your interview questions and test problems beforehand, and don’t hire out of impulse until you’ve found the right fit.


Want to avoid the typical risks in traditional outsourcing? Cloud Employee can help! You can hire offshore developers with us across these technologies. Learn more about how Cloud Employee works, check out our Developer Pricing Guide, or talk to us.

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