Hiring a developer, and ultimately, a technical partner is tough. It’s not enough to just be able to code anymore. You want to ensure that the person you decide to work with has the know-how to make strategic technical decisions that move the business forward. As someone who’s been on both sides of the table (and been burned), I’ve come up with some good ways to determine if someone is a good fit for my team.
Question #1: What is your current process for creating [Insert what you want to build here (MVPs, Web Apps, etc.)]?
Listen to their response. Do they have a repeatable process that they use for each of their clients? Or does it sound like they are winging it? For example, I follow my Define-Design-Develop-Deliver Methodology. It’s simple. Works for each of my clients. Do they have something similar? You want to work with someone who has thought through their own unique process! If they say ‘Oh, I just get the specs and build it’ – that’s not the developer for you.
Question #2: What kind of research do you do prior to developing a piece of software?
A great developer is someone who not only codes, but takes into account the clients personal goals, the business goals, and financial goals before diving into a project. They take the time to understand YOUR why, YOUR target customer, and YOUR competitors, etc. They work closely with you to determining the best path forward. The LAST thing you want is a developer that builds something but not the right thing.
Question #3: Can you describe your experience with similar projects?
Ideally, the developer can point to similar projects. You don’t want to work with someone and this is their very first web application. More experienced developers are able to handle all of the hidden gotchas behind developing software! In this case you want to know if they are comfortable with both frontend and backend development. Have they deployed complex projects to the cloud (using Google App engine or AWS for example). Are they familiar with setting up domains?
Okay, okay – this is a bunch of questions baked into one – BUT, you want to see that they can do this. You want to know that they are capable with working with different coding languages. And, bonus, you want see if their eyes light up talking about technology they’ve worked on (because this is the fun part!)
Question #4: Are they comfortable working with different APIs?
You want to clearly ask this question outright. Most software relies heavily on code and data written by other companies and developers. For example, if you will be collecting payments, you’ll likely need to use the Stripe API. Do they know that? Or, if you want to manipulate answers from a Typeform survey response… do they know how to do that? In the world of complex data, you want to know that they have the aptitude to work with other APIs.
Question #5: What do you like the most about working with companies like mine?
This is where you get to hear THEIR why. Why are they in this line of business? Do they have a personal motivation for doing so. When you understand the developer you’re working with on a tad bit deeper level, it improves the working relationship. As the client, you get satisfaction knowing that they truly want to work with you and see you win.
Bonus: Can you share advice you shared with another startup company regarding the build of their product?
If they can’t share advice they gave to someone else, RUN. You want someone who will work with you as a thought partner. You want to work with someone who would feel comfortable giving you strategic technical advice – even if it’s uncomfortable.
That’s all for now!
One last thought – it’s not just about what questions you ask them. It’s about what questions they ask YOU! Coming soon… Sign up for my newsletter so that you are the first to be notified when my next post drops!
Questions? Contact me!