Hiring an IT developer is always challenging. The Covid era has seen a significant increase in competition in this space and HR professionals struggle to single out the best candidates. Add to the mix the fact that the entire recruitment process is now often conducted remotely, and a whole new layer of complexity arises.
Software companies regularly recruit IT developers but their HR teams often make mistakes during the hiring process that make the whole thing more difficult than it should be. We get lots of questions about this, so, to make life easier and help smooth out the process, we have put together this article identifying the five most common pitfalls when it comes to selecting IT developers and the best ways to avoid making the same mistakes in your own hiring process.
Let’s get started!
Mistakes that HR Professionals Make When Hiring
There are many mistakes that an HR professional can make during the recruitment process. We can’t cover all of them but these are the five most common :
● Hiring exclusively from the ‘top’ universities
● Judging suitability based solely on degree
● Not focusing on the right skillset during the interview process
● Not offering a competitive salary
● Only hiring local candidates
Let’s dig a little deeper!
Hiring exclusively from the ‘Top’ universities
The university that a potential employee attended is an important consideration but shouldn’t be the overiding factor. Certain companies, Google being a prime example, employ many developers and engineers who don’t have a university degree. They are often self-taught. Where someone graduated from is not as important as their skills and ability. Someone can have excellent problem-solving skills without having graduated from a top-ranked university. Any company that wants to recruit the best talent should select its employees from a diverse range of educational establishments and backgrounds . Companies severely limit their talent pool by only selecting students from top-ranked universities and worse, often do it without even realising that the bias exists within their organisation. Remember that all universities follow broadly the same curriculum and it is often a candidates exploration and experience outside this that sets them apart. Where someone graduated from really shouldn’t matter.
Judging suitability based solely on degree
This is one of the biggest mistakes that HR professionals make when hiring. Many employees do not have a degree in computer science, but they have been successfully working in the FANG for years. It is their skills, and only their skills, that matter! Despite this, many HR professionals prefer to employ candidates with fancy degrees. It is high time that this changed. When hiring, employers should focus on a candidate’s problem-solving skills and how clean their code is! Many people can’t write clean code and sometimes employers ignore this issue. A candidate may not have a degree but be perfectly capable of writing clean code and have the potential to become a fantastic developer. Always check whether someone has the relevant skills and remember that people have not yet always had the chance to gain relevant experience.
Not focusing on the right skillset during the interview process
This is the most common mistake that HR professionals make when assessing the skills of a developer. When interviewing a potential candidate you should only ask questions that are relevant to the role. If you are looking for a great developer, test their coding skills! Developers will be coding, editing, and debugging and don’t need to be experts in cyber security, data science, artificial intelligence or other unrelated areas. They should be given tasks to assess their expertise when it comes to data structure and algorithms, with the focus clearly on their coding style. A developer who writes clean code is far more valuable than one who doesn’t. Test whether a candidate can fix and improve an existing piece of software and evaluate whether they can troubleshoot and debug properly. These are the most valuable skills for a developer. Always ask pertinent questions and set appropriate tasks for assesment purposes to avoid wasting everyones time.
Not offering a competitive salary
It’s simple, if you want the best developers, don’t underpay them! Anything worth having comes at a price and great developers should be paid commensurate with their skills. Pay fairly and you can expect loyalty and productivity in return for your investment. Be prepared to pay more than your competitors to attract and keep the best talent, or you may find yourself in the position of losing good developers and having to constantly repeat the hiring process.
Only hiring local candidates
Many companies tend to recruit from their local area, or at least their own country but this limits the talent pool from which they are able to select. The wider the range of candidates you look at, the higher the chance you have of finding the right ones. Most companies hire local people because they don’t want to overcomplicate the hiring process but by doing so, they could well be missing out when it comes to finding the best person for the job. Casting your net wide can be hugely beneficial.
More Mistakes that Employer Makes When Hiring
1. Hiring for the wrong reasons- Some HR professionals get distracted by a ‘good’ C.V. and hire a candidate with a fancy degree but not necessarily the right skills. We suggest you don’t rely purely on a C.V. as a selection tool and instead work out those candidates whose abilities and experience best fit your company’s criteria for the role. Don’t make emotional decisions stick with the facts.
2. Hiring candidates who are mediocre at everything- There will be some candidates who are jacks of all trades but masters of none. You need to make sure that the person you are hiring has the knowledge and experience needed for the role.
3. Only focus on technical skills- Don’t focus purely on technical skills. Ensure that the person you are hiring also has good conflict resolution skills and a good work ethic.
4. Not seeing their GitHub account- Take a look at a candidate’s GitHub account before hiring them. Check out what kind of projects they have worked on previously. A candidate’s GitHub account will give you an invaluable insight into their expertise and allow you to check if their skill set matches your expectations!
5. Can’t spot a fraudster- Unfortunately there are people out there who can be somewhat economical with the truth. They may claim many skills on their C.V. that they simply don’t have, for example, pretending to be a prominent software engineer when they struggle to write a single line of code!
Things HR Professionals Should do While Hiring Developers
1. Hire developers through outsourcing- Using freelance developers can be the best option for employers as this gives them access to people with a variety of skills and experience in different frameworks. Outsourcing is often the best way to find the best developer for the job and can be a cheaper option for those who want to save money. Outsourcing enables a company to work with a variety of people from different countries with different ideas. It works for developers too because they can work remotely, and it will save lots of time. Freelancers come with no strings attached, you won’t have to pay an extra allowance and if you don’t like their work you can easily replace them. Furthermore, it becomes easier to customise your work and that might be difficult for your existing employees.
2. Hire clean coders- We can not emphasise enough how important this point is! Writing clean code is something that not all developers can do. The code should be readable and look good so that everyone can understand it just by glancing at it. If an employee leaves the company, it will be easier for other team members to edit or improvise the software without any problem.
4. Hire people with good communication skills- This is the most critical skill not only for developers but for all employees. You might be able to create something but you also need to be capable of presenting it and explaining it to others. Many people think that the sole function of a developer is to write code but this is not entirely true. A developer needs to be able to communicate effectively with senior members of staff and with their own team to make improvisations to software. If a person can code but can’t present their ideas to others it really isn’t ideal.
5. Hire people who are flexible- There are many programming languages and frameworks and it is impossible for one person to know them all. The software field is ever-evolving so we need developers who can adapt and learn as they go. Hire people who are quick learners. Anyone can code, but not everyone is flexible, and that is what makes those that are unique.
6. Look at experience- People with experience are invaluable for any software company. Generally speaking the more experienced a candidate, the better. It may be that they have knowledge of more frameworks, and there is a higher chance that the person has already done similar work and therefore has the skills that you are looking for. Of course, this doesn’t mean that newbies should not be given a chance, they can have knowledge of different frameworks too.
7. Slow hiring process- In many companies, the hiring process is very prolonged and because of this many suitable candidates don’t stay the course. Of course, there are certain steps and procedures that need to be followed but our advice to HR professionals would be to keep the hiring process as short and straightforward as possible.
Choose developers for your company wisely. Take your time and ensure the best fit. Avoid making the mistakes we have highlighted in this article and you will avoid making the wrong decision. We hope we have answered all your questions. If you would like more content like this, please follow our website. If you have any more questions, let us know in the comments section.