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8 hiring tips for identifying superstar developers

Rich Hein | Sept. 19, 2012
Targeting Skilled Programmers/Developers

Do they participate?

Do they wait for instructions?

Are they communicative?

Are they dictatorial?

Knowing how a person reacts to a team setting will help you understand more about the person behind the resume and that type of information is invaluable.

6. Practice Coding Tests

Anyone who works in IT will tell you, there are a lot of programmers out there who have no business in the IT field. The simplest way to sort the riff-raff from the players is a simple coding test. This should be an integral part of the process whenever you are interviewing a programmer. The goal is to eliminate the candidates who aren't qualified and gauge the level of candidates who are.

Each organization is unique so many choose to create their programming test in-house. However, there are several places online that offer practice coding tests. Here is a sample of sites that offer these:

FizzBuzz

Interview Zen

Codility

These tests should be short about or hour or so. The information they yield can be telling about your candidate.

How do they code?

Do they use "best practices"?

Is their code clean?

How much time did they take?

After a quick review of the programming test you will gain clarity into the candidate's aptitude vs. ability and find more follow-up questions. The real beauty of this evolution is the capability to identify quickly and up front developers who can't write good code. This can save you a lot of time and effort.

7. Make Them Audition

So you've identified your top pick, his/her portfolio is solid, he/she has the experience and knowledge about the technologies that are important and the phone interview went off without a hitch. Some contend that it's time to have a face-to-face interview but there is another option. Assign them a task and handle it as though they were a consultant. Pay them just as you would a consultant for their work.

The task should be something real--a job that you need done but is perhaps a lower priority. This task should be short, a few days or week at most. The candidate can work remotely or in-house. How this project is handled will let you know whether or not you've got a solid performer and if the person doesn't pan out, you've spent some money but you saved more in the long run.

Yet another option is a probationary period, the employers agrees to hire the person for a specified period of time. When the period is over their performance is reviewed and the decision to keep or let go the candidate is made.

8. Hiring Weekends

Hiring weekends according to Lilly, "require a larger commitment from the company but offers a higher closing rate." This approach works best when a company is trying to hire for several positions at once. The company is responsible for several items including, flights, transportation, conference halls, entertainment, food and drinks. As you can see, it can be an expensive outing. That said, Lilly points out that there is a, "60-75 percent closing rate", making it worth the investment. He goes on to state, he "feels like less mistakes are made", using this approach.

 

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