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8 hiring tips for identifying superstar developers

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

Prior to the hiring weekend candidates are screened and participate in two phone meetings/interviews. The event normally involves either five -10 candidates or 10-plus employees. On Sunday as the candidates leave, management decides who they will hire and offers are made on Monday or Tuesday. "Any delay in the offer allows the candidate to create doubt in his or head and makes the close harder," Lilly says. Lilly adds that these types of functions are normally held in one location to reduce liability.

The weekend event is outlined below:

Friday night

Candidates arrive and drinks are served in the hotel bar. Candidates are greeted as they arrive.

Saturday morning

Breakfast (interact with candidates), company presentations (get a common story to the candidates), lunch (shift and make sure employees and candidates are talking with each other; candidates will tend to congregate together).

Saturday afternoon:

Includes technical interviews. They should be challenging and focused; at least two technical interviews and one business/personality interview must happen.

Saturday after interviews:

Internal meeting (quick recap of interviews); candidates relax before dinner and drinks.

Saturday evening: Dinner and drinks. Employers will work at getting to know the candidates further and ask them questions that arose during the interview portion.

Sunday morning:

The morning activities include breakfast, benefits, general information, hearing stories from employees on why they joined and getting people out to their flights.

Sunday late morning:

Final feedback with the internal team is held. A yes/no decision is made while interviewers are still there. The recruiters work final conversations/feedback for the candidates and set the expectation that further conversations will happen and they should have an answer by Monday or Tuesday.


Meeting wrap-up with management team following results of the weekend and offers are made to approved candidates.

This evolution can demonstrate a candidate's commitment and his or her ability to gel with your team. Do they buy into your corporate culture? Are they willing to give up an entire weekend? How do they act in social settings? Having the time to get to know and interact with potential hires will also clue you in to what they find important or what they want. Again, the goal here is to gain insight into how these persons act and problem solve in real-time situations.

Finding a Superstar Developer

There are legions of poor-to-average developers out there and they stand between you and your goals. Invest the time necessary to find a great developer and you will be rewarded with simple elegant code that does what you want and projects that finish in the black.

The bottom line here is if you are unsure at all about your developer candidate, don't hire him/her. The cost can be too great and although continuing the search can at times seem painful, it will all be worthwhile when you find the right programmer.


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