Last year I created this new website for selling software, thunderbeardesign.com, initially I did all the work of setting up and developing plugins. The site needs a lots of work, and I needed someone to code new features, as I spend more time on running the website then getting time for coding new functionality or fixing existing bugs. So I decided to hire a developer, in this article I’m share the experience of how to hire a developer.
Why hire a developer?
While the code is the heart of a website and/or a product, I believe that stepping away from writing code will result in a better product. A good friend told me that most developers comprise usability if you let them write code and make product design decisions at the same time.
For example, a small UI improvement might be a few hours of work. If you’re both designing and developing the same application, you might opt to skip this improvement in order to save yourself time, even though it would result in a better end product.
Another reason to hire: A senior WordPress developer with years of experience is going to write better code faster, than what you can do, if you stretching yourself thin.
The hiring process
Step: 1 Write a Job Posting
Here’s the job offer I’ve posted:
Do you love WordPress? Looking for a rockstar WP Plugin Developer
I’m looking for an experienced WordPress plugin developer. I’ve coded the initial version of the plugin for WordPress myself. Now, I would like someone to take over development.
I’m hoping you can take over the majority of current development tasks, so I can focus on what I’m good at (marketing, running my website).
This project will be a few hours to start with. If things go well, this project could easily scale to 15–20 hours per week over the next couple of weeks. There might be an opportunity for ongoing engagement as well.
The ideal contractor:
- Has lots of WP plugin development experience.
- Not only knows PHP & WP, but also HTML/CSS/JS
- Bonus points if you’ve written a WP plugin that is hosted on wordpress.org or contributed to the WordPress core.
- Is familiar with git and/or you have PHP/HTML/CSS/JS repositories published on GitHub
How To Apply
If you are interested in this job, please respond with the following:
- Detail your WordPress development experience.
- Please include a code sample (ideally a WordPress plugin) of some code
- you’ve previously written.
- What’s your favorite version control system?
- What’s your favorite WP plugin?
The questions in the ‘How To Apply’ section both helped me screen out applicants that apply without reading my job posting, as well as getting a better understanding of the applicant.
Step 2: Screen applicants
The goal was to create a shortlist of 2–4 candidates by reviewing all applicants, their past work and code samples. I gave preference to developers with a published plugin in the WordPress repository.
Step 3: Set Up A Mini-Project – Firebase Cloud Messaging
Next, I’ve set up a test project to compare the quality of work of each developer. To not waste resources, I have an internal project that might eventually be useful in promoting the Firebase Cloud Messaging plugin.
The Firebase Cloud Messaging is a WordPress plugin that I developed, which allows you to take advantage of Firebase Cloud Messaging, to send notifications when a new post is created on a WordPress website. (Not Published yet). And the min-project was to add support for Android mobile phone registration.
I was tempted first to let all of my 4 candidates create separate test projects (so I’d have 4 small WordPress plugins I could publish), but I’m glad I didn’t. Letting all of them work on the same project made it a lot easier to compare the quality of their work.
4. The Results
The results were interesting. I had one candidate, that beat all other candidates by a wide margin, both in terms of quality of work and time needed.
My best candidate was 6x faster than the other developers and the quality of work was 3x as good. Having multiple candidates do test projects will be an absolute must for all my future hires.
The test project was also a success in terms of product development.
Hiring a great developer is easier than you think. Even if you are a technical person it might make sense to hire development help. Your product quality and your marketing is going to make or break your business, not your code.
But what if I don’t know how to code?
Hiring developers is a bit easier if you have prior development experience. However, this process will still work for non-technical people. With a test project, you’ll still be able to determine if your candidate followed your instructions and if the code works.
What about you? Have you hired developers in the past? What has worked for you (and what has not)? Let me know in the comments below.