Longstreet Labs Blog

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Developer

Posted by Daniel Waltzer on Feb 28, 2017 10:05:00 AM

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Hiring a web or software developer is a big decision, especially for any small business owner who may not know exactly what to look for. Over the years, we’ve provided a wide range of companies with development services as well as hired our share of programmers, so we’ve got some valuable insights that we can pass on to you. In today’s post, we’ll share 5 important questions to ask yourself when vetting potential developers.

1. Is their experience relevant?

This might seem obvious, but finding a developer with relevant experience is critical to getting a working final product in a time- and cost-effective manner. Sure, any half-decent programmer can figure out how to do what you need, but 99 out of 100 times, you’re going to pay for the hours that the developer spends learning how to do it. Make sure that the programmer/programming team has experience with the languages, platforms, plugins, and integrations they’ll be working with.

2. Are their Wordpress templates really custom?

If your programmer is pitching a custom Wordpress design for your website, it’s worth doing your research to make sure that what you’re getting is really going to be custom. Ask the developer for examples of other custom templates that he or she has made, and then check them against a tool like WPThemeDetector. If the report spits back a theme that you can purchase online, then you’re probably getting duped.

3. Do they understand your business?

You wouldn’t hire Dali to paint a family portrait, and you wouldn’t turn to da Vinci for surrealism. There are plenty of developers who are great at what they do, but if they don’t truly understand your business, then they won’t be able to add that “extra something” that will make your website or software stand out. Every good programmer should come to you with more than just technical questions; look for suggestions that make the experience for your target user better.

4. How detailed is their project timeline?

Pretty much any programmer you talk to will tell you that estimating timelines is really hard. And, that is true; however, a developer with experience similar to what’s needed for your project should be able to put together a detailed timeline or Gantt chart that provides a solid overview. Development is a fluid process, so if all you get are start and launch dates, then you should be skeptical.

5. Are they reinventing the wheel?

We’re all for ingenuity, but almost every project we’ve ever worked has included at least one or two third-party libraries. Sure, certain aspects of your project should be proprietary, but in today’s technical landscape, there are elements that will always be faster, better, and more secure if use an existing solution. If your developer’s proposal doesn’t include any plugins or libraries, then he or she is either looking for ways to charge you more or is lacking experience with and knowledge of available third-party resources, either of which is red flag.

Of course, there are plenty more questions that you should ask, and, ultimately, these decisions usually come down to whether or not the relationship feels right. Still, it’s important to be diligent and make sure that you’ve covered the basics when vetting potential developers. Want to vet us? Get in touch and we can make that happen.

Topics: Web Strategy, Wordpress

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