Posts Tagged ‘hiring engineers’

The Ins and Outs of Hiring a Developer

November 15th, 2013

how to hire a coderIn business, hiring a software or app developer can be a critical decision. Whether you’re hiring for just one project or for ongoing work, developers / coders / programmers are key to bringing digital visions into reality.  For example, when entrepreneur Mike Lemovitz wanted to create a holiday app, he turned to the freelancer hub site Elance.com to search for a developer to do the job.

The Perks and Pitfalls of Freelance Developers

TheNextWeb covered the process in detail in their recent article. Lemovitz’s idea was simple: to create an app that would allow parents to have their children to send a message to Santa and also keep track of the good deeds they were doing. He made the app’s graphics himself in Photoshop and proceeded to post his job description on Elance.

Within minutes, Lemovitz received proposals from developers around the world. Bids ranged from just a few hundred to a few thousand dollars from developers with a variety of experience levels. He responded to a Chinese developer with a great portfolio and lots of positive feedback on Elance, and they were chatting on Skype within two hours of his posting. They eventually settled upon a price of $800 for the project paid in $200 installments at specific “milestones.” Lemovitz had hired his developer.

A New App is Born — Eventually

Within just two days the developer had the first version of the app ready to test. Lemovitz was thrilled — but this is about when the hiccups started. Some slight misunderstandings about procedures and money ensued, possibly due to a bit of a language barrier. The developer seemed to want to be paid before each milestone was reached, and at the end briefly held the project’s code “hostage” in exchange for a 5-star feedback rating. The project ended well and Lemovitz had his app two weeks later, but he also learned a lot about the potential pitfalls of hiring and working with developers.

Some considerations that can help you with the developer selection process include:

1. Portfolio

In app and sofware development, experience and proven success is key. Browse the developer’s portfolio and see what they’ve produced so far. Is their style and vibe a “fit” for your project(s)?

2. Recommendations

Ask for recommendations and feedback about the developer. Talk to past clients (if possible) and ask if they were satisfied with both the development process and the final result.

3. Find a Fit

If your developer will be working in-house, make sure they will be a “fit” for the culture of your company. For example, a developer who has mainly worked with small startups may not fare well at an established financial institution.

4. Start Small

Even if you’re hoping to hire for an ongoing relationship, start them out with a basic, non-critical project to get a sense of what they will be like to work with. Look for work ethic, creativity, communication, efficiency, and how they handle the unexpected.

5. Payment and Additional Work

Be clear about payment terms up front and get it in writing. Your contract should cover every base, including how bug fixes, graphics alterations and any other changes will be handled in terms of both time frame and payment.

How to Hire Silicon Valley Engineers – What Do the Experts Say?

July 25th, 2013

Silicon Valley HiringWhen the success of your business depends at least in part on hiring the best engineers in Silicon Valley, you should know that it’s not always about high salaries and stock options, according to a number of hiring experts from top Silicon Valley companies.

Recruiting highly talented engineers in this region is always intensely competitive. To that end, the Commonwealth Club’s Inforum recently hosted an event in San Francisco to discuss the various strategies that local technology firms are using to recruit the best talent, according to a recent article at ZDNet.

On hand were hiring professionals from Cisco Systems, Collaboration Group, Google and Twitter.  The following are some of the top hiring points they made:

Cater to the Generation

Members of the generation born after 1981, often referred to as “Gen Y,” may seem to require a bit more coddling, with expectations of perks such as transportation, house cleaning and free beer and food.  Although wanting these perks may seem like the candidates have a sense of entitlement, keep in mind that these extras make them feel welcome at a company on top of the high salaries and multiple benefits.

You need to acknowledge that your applicants will have an expectation of some perks like these, at the very least so they can have a bit more incentive to come on board as well as have some bragging rights among their peers. Besides, offering employees free bus rides to and from work is a good way to ensure that they will get to the premises on time.

Working at Home

Tech-savvy workers may feel hamstrung if their companies require them to always work on-site.  If your corporate culture can accommodate it, you will definitely want to consider offering the option to work at home to your most promising engineer candidates to sweeten the deal. Twitter’s representative, for example, said the company welcomes its employees to work at home, as long as they continue to do their work.  This trend is continuing to proliferate the engineering space as many coders do their best work at strange hours that are more conducive to working at home.

Coaching for the Future

Potential employees want to have a sense that they can continue to grow in their field, the article noted, emphasizing the importance of offering coaching to your engineer candidates.

When an engineer feels that the company is taking an active role in helping him/her develop for the future, it can go a long way toward job satisfaction. The representative from Cisco said that in fact, coaching is more important than salary for people who believe they will grow with their company.

As a human resources professional, you need to make sure that you are providing the most compelling options for attracting the best of the best when it comes to your engineers.  No longer can you feel secure by focusing on incentives such as stock options and big salaries.  Although these items should surely be up front during the hiring process, don’t forget about those other perks that might stick with the candidate when they are considering the position.