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As a non-technical founder, hiring a web developer can be a daunting task. How do you know if the person you're hiring is the right fit for your business? How do you evaluate their technical skills when you don't have a technical background yourself? These are common questions that many non-technical founders face when looking to hire a web developer. In this guide, we'll go over four important things to keep in mind when interviewing a web developer. These tips will help you evaluate a candidate's technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and communication skills.
By the end of this guide, you'll have a better understanding of what to look for in a web developer and how to make an informed hiring decision for your business.
1. Seek out a candidate who enjoys tackling difficult problems
You want someone who can provide technical solutions to complex issues your business may face, rather than just completing projects on time or dealing with difficult clients.
"We're experiencing slow load times and occasional crashes on our website, and we're not sure what's causing it. Can you propose a technical solution to help us diagnose and fix the issue?"
A candidate who enjoys tackling difficult problems and providing technical solutions might suggest running performance tests and analyzing the results to identify any bottlenecks in the code or server configuration. They might also suggest implementing caching techniques or optimizing database queries to improve load times. On the other hand, a candidate who is more focused on completing projects on time or dealing with difficult clients might suggest simply redesigning the website or adding more server resources without addressing the underlying technical issues
2. Look for technical expertise by posing product questions and asking the candidate to propose a technical solution
To assess a candidate's technical expertise, you can ask questions related to specific technical challenges that your company is facing or may face in the future. For example, if your company plans to integrate with external APIs, you can ask the candidate how they would approach the integration process. A good developer should be able to explain the technical details of integrating with an API, including authentication, data formatting, and error handling.
3. Find someone who can explain technical concepts in layman's terms
If a candidate provides a technical answer that is difficult to understand, ask them to explain it in simple language. You need a developer who can communicate complex concepts in a way that you can understand and make informed decisions as the founder of the company.
For example, if you ask them to explain APIs, a good candidate will use common words to describe his or her answer.
A good answer would be something like this: "Think of APIs like waiters at a restaurant. When you go to a restaurant, you don't go to the kitchen to get your food, you place your order with the waiter, who then goes to the kitchen and brings your food back to you. APIs work the same way - they act as intermediaries between two applications, allowing them to exchange information and data, like a waiter delivering your order to the kitchen and then bring your food back to you."
4. Look for someone capable of writing code spontaneously
By being able to write code spontaneously, web developers can quickly identify and solve problems in their code. They can also more easily adapt to changes in the project requirements or respond to issues that arise during the development process.
One thing you can do to assess this aspect as a web developer is by asking for a live coding demonstration. This could involve giving them a small coding task or problem to solve on the spot. During the demonstration, you can observe how they approach the problem, how they write the code, and how they troubleshoot any errors that arise.
Another way is by giving them a coding challenge to complete on their own time. This could involve giving them a specific coding task or problem to solve and asking them to submit their solution within a given timeframe. This approach allows you to see how well they can write code spontaneously without the pressure of a live demonstration.
Asking the right questions and pointing out the red flags effectively is critical in hiring the best web developer to work for your team. Just because you are a non-technical person does not mean that you are not capable of spotting top guns in the web development industry. Pay attention to how they answer as this will increase your chances of hiring the best candidate for your project.