In this blog post I write about some key lessons I’ve learned regarding how to hire and keep web developers.
If you are in the same position I am, you spend a lot of time hiring and keeping web developers. If you have done this for any length of time you know just how hard it is. I don’t think there is a tougher industry to be recruiting and leading in today.
The demand for web developers is extremely high and it just keeps growing. I’ve tried every strategy I can think of to find talent and I’ve come up with some realizations that I’d like to share with you.
Before I move forward, I have to suggest that you read ‘Good To Great’ by Jim Collins. Pay particular attention to chapter 3 where he writes about putting the right people on the bus.
Don’t hire the smartest people you can find. Yeah, that’s right, I said it. The success of your business will not depend on the collective IQ if your team. Where’s the proof? Think about 95% of startups that fail even though they are filled to the brim with ridiculously over paid geniuses. Of course your team members need to be smart (enough). But, as long as the are in the intellectual ball park you should focus your hiring decisions on personality, attitude and motivations.
Take more time than you want to. It takes more money and more time to build something when you have to keep re-hiring in the build process. I personally don’t make an offer unless I’ve had at least 4 calculated interactions with a candidate. The last meeting I have is social. I take them out for dinner, and if they are married I invite their spouse. Some people are surprised by this but I don’t want someone whose spouse doesn’t support them working for me. I got this idea from Dave Ramsey’s latest book ‘Entreleadership’
Test all of your candidates… all of them! After my first interview I have them do a hand-written test of the programming languages in which they will be developing. In addition to that, after a follow-up hour long interview I have everyone perform a whole day of coding. We give everyone the same task so we can compare all our candidates on the same base line. When I tell recruiters this they generally cringe but since I’m not in the business of making recruiters lives easier, I don’t really care. Which brings me to my next point.
Be cautious with recruiting firms. The allure of recruiters is strong and I do use them but in limited doses. Before signing with any recruitment company I ask them for blind resumes of candidates that I will have the chance to meet if I sign with them. Their concern is for their business, which is getting people hired. They are not concerned about the success of your business.
Do not pay top dollar. Sorry guys, if you want to be part of my team you’re going to have to show me that it’s not just about the money. I do strongly advocate paying people fairly according to their market value. Still, if you think you can win the best people by buying them you’re going to end up with turn-over. Nothing costs more than re-hiring. A great way to measure someone’s market value is by using Payscale.com. Remember, if they are only in it for the money they will leave the minute someone offers them more. Someone will always offer them more.
Treat people the way you want to be treated. OK, this is a huge topic and it needs to be part of every interaction you have with everyone in your life. Thus, if you want a motivated team that is loyal to the company and its mission, DO NOT say or do things that you would not like directed at yourself. For a great podcast on this topic listen to this Entreleadership podcast titled ‘The Golden Rule In Business’.
Well I hope these tactics help you figure out how to hire and keep web developers. The right team members make all the difference. If you have other suggestions or insights from your own experiences please leave them in the comments below.