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5 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring Developers (and 5 Signs You Should Hire Them)

As the technology industry continues to grow at an unprecedented rate, the demand for skilled developers has also increased. Companies are now investing more in technology and looking to hire the best talent to help them achieve their business objectives. However, finding the right developer or development agency can be a daunting task, and mistakes made during the hiring process can lead to costly repercussions. In this article, we will discuss five red flags to watch out for when hiring developers, as well as five positive indicators that a developer is the right candidate for a given role.

5 Red Flags to Watch Out for When Hiring Developers

1. Inadequate Technical Skills

Technical skills are essential in the development industry because they are the foundation of a developer’s work. Technical skills refer to a developer’s proficiency in programming languages, frameworks, platforms, and other technical tools that they use to create software products. The quality of a developer’s code is a critical factor in determining their suitability for a role. Poorly written code can lead to system failures, security vulnerabilities, and a decrease in performance. A developer who consistently produces low-quality code can cause increased maintenance costs, missed deadlines, and frustrated team members.

One of the most common ways to assess a candidate’s technical skills is through a technical interview which typically involves a series of technical questions, coding challenges, and problem-solving exercises that test the candidate’s proficiency in programming languages, frameworks, and platforms. You can also conduct referral checks. Reach out to a candidate’s former employers, colleagues, or professors to ask about their technical proficiency.

2. Lack of Communication Skills

Effective communication is essential when it comes to development. Developers are not just responsible for writing code; they also need to be able to explain their work to non-technical stakeholders. Communication with other team members, project managers, and clients to understand requirements, provide updates on progress, and discuss solutions to problems is an indispensable part of the job. So, they need to be able to articulate complex ideas and concepts in simple terms and understand the needs of the project. Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings, missed deadlines, a decrease in productivity, and ultimately an unhappy client.

When interviewing candidates, ask them to describe a complex problem they solved and how they approached it. Evaluate their ability to explain technical concepts in simple terms. You can also ask candidates to provide examples of situations where they had to communicate with non-technical stakeholders or work in teams with diverse backgrounds. At Bright Development, we conduct multiple rounds of interviews with our candidates during the recruitment process and assess how they articulate their ideas, explain their work, and listen to feedback. But our effort doesn’t stop there; our team undergoes regular training to further improve their communication skills and ensure that we deliver products that meet our client’s needs.

3. Inability to Work in a Team

An image supporting the inability to work in a team as a red flag when hiring web developers.
Good developers need to be able to collaborate with other team members, designers, or stakeholders.

Developers rarely work in isolation. Development is a collaborative process that involves working in teams to solve complex problems and being in constant exchange with project managers, designers, and stakeholders. A developer who is unable to work in a team can be a liability, causing friction, delaying project timelines, and negatively impacting the team’s morale.

During the interview process, ask about their experience working in a team, how they handle conflicts, and how they approach working with different personalities. Additionally, conducting group interviews or pairing candidates with team members can provide valuable insights into their ability to work in a team. Look for candidates who are collaborative, open to feedback, and flexible.

4. Lack of Attention to Detail

Developers need to have a keen eye for detail to ensure that their code is error-free and functions as expected. Small mistakes can lead to significant problems, including system failures, security breaches, and data loss. A developer who lacks attention to detail can lead to costly mistakes that can negatively impact a company’s reputation.

To spot this red flag, conducting technical assessments can help evaluate a candidate’s attention to detail and problem-solving abilities. Pay attention to how the developer presents their work during the interview process. Are there any spelling or grammatical errors? Does their code have any syntax errors? A good developer takes pride in their work and pays close attention to detail. You may also ask candidates to provide examples of how they have caught and fixed errors in their code. Bright Development has addressed this issue by giving candidates coding exercises that require precision and accuracy. We also test their ability to debug code and find errors quickly. That is why all our developers have a keen eye to detail.

5. Lack of Passion for Coding

An image supporting how a lack of passion for coding is a red flag when hiring developers.
A passion for coding often goes hand in hand with a developer’s willingness to learn and improve their skills, and adapt to the ever-changing requirements of development. A lack of passion can lead to outdated and noncompetitive software.

Development is an ever-changing field, and developers need to be adaptable to keep up with new technologies, programming languages, and development methodologies. Passionate developers are always eager to learn and improve their skills. They enjoy solving complex problems and are always up for a challenge. If a developer lacks passion for coding, they may not be motivated to learn new technologies or keep up with the latest industry trends. This could result in software that is not modern or competitive.

Identifying a lack of passion for coding before hiring the wrong person can be challenging. At Bright Development we were able to find a few ways to assess candidates’ enthusiasm for coding during the recruitment process. One way is to ask candidates about their coding hobbies and interests. Passionate developers will likely have personal coding projects or interests outside of work, which they can speak about enthusiastically. They may have contributed to open-source projects, developed their own apps, or participated in coding challenges or hackathons. 

Evaluating a candidate’s dedication to staying up-to-date of the latest industry trends has also emerged as an effective approach. Passionate developers are usually eager to learn new technologies and keep up with industry trends. You can ask candidates about their experience with new technologies, attending tech conferences or meetups, such as Web Summit or the RSA Conference, or reading coding blogs or publications. You may also consider giving them coding exercises or challenges that require creativity and innovation. Passionate developers will often approach these challenges with enthusiasm and a desire to find the best solution.

5 Signs You Should Hire a Developer

While it’s important to know what you don’t want in a candidate, it’s equally valuable to identify the qualities you’re seeking. After narrowing down your candidate pool, it’s helpful to focus on the signs that indicate a strong fit for the role. Let’s explore the indicators that can guide you to the ideal candidate.

1. Strong Problem-Solving Skills

An image supporting strong problem-solving skills as a sign a company should hire a developer.
A good developer needs to be able to rapidly identify and solve complex problems.

Development involves analyzing complex problems and developing effective solutions that meet user needs and business objectives. Throughout the development process multiple challenges can occur. A developer with strong problem-solving skills can quickly identify the root cause of a problem, analyze data, and overcome challenges by finding innovative solutions. This can be a valuable asset to a company.

You can ask candidates to provide examples of how they have solved difficult technical problems in their previous roles or conduct technical assessments or coding challenges to evaluate a candidate’s problem-solving skills.

2. Clear Understanding of Business Objectives

Developers need to have a clear understanding of a company’s business objectives to ensure that their work aligns with the company’s goals. They can develop software that meets the needs of both the business and its end-users. A developer who understands how their work contributes to the company’s success can be more engaged, productive, and collaborative. Asking candidates targeted questions about their experience working on projects with clear business objectives and how they ensured their work aligned with those objectives can help you identify the right candidate.

3. Attention to User Experience

An image supporting attention to user experience as a sign a company should look for when hiring a developer.
Intuitive and user-friendly interfaces are important to increase user engagement and satisfaction, and their willingsness to keep using the product. A developer who prioritizes user experience is crucial for the product’s and the company’s success.

Developers need to prioritize user experience when developing a product to ensure that their products meet users’ needs and expectations. A developer who understands the importance of user experience and can develop intuitive, user-friendly interfaces can help increase user engagement and satisfaction. User experience can affect how users perceive a company’s products and services, impacting their willingness to continue using them or recommend them to others. Additionally, a positive user experience can lead to increased retention, improved customer loyalty, and increased revenue. Companies that prioritize hiring developers with attention to user experience can benefit from improved user engagement, increased customer satisfaction, and improved business outcomes. If you want to determine whether a candidate prioritizes user experience, you can inquire about their experience in designing user interfaces, conducting user research, and integrating user feedback throughout the development process. Additionally, reviewing a candidate’s portfolio or previous work can provide insights into their approach to user experience design and their ability to create intuitive, user-friendly interfaces.

4. Positive Attitude and Team Player

A positive attitude is an important sign that a developer is a good fit for a company.  Developers who have a positive attitude and can work well in a team can be more collaborative, engaged, and productive. Someone who is willing to help others, take on new challenges, and adapt to changing circumstances can contribute to a positive team culture and improved outcomes. Ask your candidates about their experience working in teams, their approach to resolving conflicts, and how they have contributed to a positive team culture in the past. References from previous colleagues might provide valuable insights, too.

5. Cultural Fit

A developer who fits in with your company’s culture can be a great benefit. Evaluate a candidate’s personality, work style, and values during the interview process. Look for candidates who share your company’s values, can work well in a team, and are adaptable to changing priorities. Cultural fit can contribute to a positive work environment and lead to better project outcomes.

Hiring a Good Developer is Crucial for Your Company’s Success

Ensuring that your company hires the right developer is essential for success in the fast-paced and ever-changing world of development. While you need to be vigilant and watch out for red flags during the hiring process, you should also have the ability to identify and hire a developer who is a good fit for the job. In the end, finding the right developer requires time, effort, and attention to detail. However, once you have identified the perfect candidate, you will realize that the hard work was worthwhile.

Having experienced difficulties when hiring vendors while working in corporations, Bright Development founder Greg Jacoby started the company with the mission of creating an organization built on integrity. At Bright Development, we emphasize hiring candidates who possess the necessary skills and attributes to provide top-tier development services to our clients. We have created a comprehensive hiring process that allows us to assess candidates thoroughly, identify potential red flags, and hire individuals with the right qualities. If you are still in search of the perfect developer for your business project, let’s discuss how our team of highly talented developers can assist you in achieving your goals.

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