You’ve decided to hire a web developer to help you build out your web presence. Or maybe, you’ve finally decided to built that mobile app your customers have been asking about. You ask your friend for recommendations, or find some developers on the internet. Now, how can you tell who is the right fit for the job? Especially if you’re not technical, the process can seem daunting. Here are some things to look for when considering candidates:
1) Does your web developer have a portfolio?
Make sure all candidates have a well developed portfolio that includes samples of previous sites they’ve worked on. If they’ve never worked on a project of your caliber or industry, it might be a red flag to do some more research. A good portfolio consists of the following items: a description of who the developer is and what skills they have, examples of work they’ve done which showcases the depth and breadth of their services, and some references to previous customers. A good portfolio will also usually have an aesthetic that shows off the developer’s personality- if they’re very creative that should come across in the portfolio.
[Editor’s Note: While a content rich portfolio makes the hiring decision much easier, many top tech talents do not share their work due to non disclosures and personal preferences, in which case, you can consider other passive candidate search options.]
2) Does your web developer communicate well initially?
Most development projects fall apart due to a lack of communication rather than technical skill. Make sure all developers respond in a timely and professional manner. The way they communicate early on in the sales process will be indicative of how they communicate when you’re three months and thousands of dollars into a project. Also take note of which tools are used for communication: you should feel comfortable with what is used. For example, if your developer recommends weekly check ins via Skype, you should feel comfortable using Skype rather than meeting in person.
3) Does your web developer work with a team?
It’s likely that you’ll need more than one person to work on your project: whether it’s because you require design or advanced front end skills. While hiring a dev shop can sometimes be cost prohibitive, often a freelance developer has a team of other contractors they can rely on to help fill any skill gaps for your project. It’s important to talk to your developer about how easy/hard it will be for them to provide additional resources should you need them.
Finding the right developer can feel intimidating, but remember that above all, the most important thing is to build a good relationship and find someone who fits from a personality perspective (as well as technical).
Stella Fayman is CEO and Cofounder of matchist, a network of top freelance web and mobile developers based in the US. She helps business owners find the right developer to get their project built. Stella is also cofounder of Entrepreneurs Unpluggd and an MBA candidate at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
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