It's often challenging to hire software developers or other IT professionals. On top of dealing with potential skills shortages, employers must balance the requirements for technical knowledge and soft skills to find candidates that meet all their needs. These and other obstacles can lead to employers settling for less, which can negatively impact software development projects, team morale and retention.
Add in the fact that some employers don't realize they're hiring the wrong IT pros, and it's a puzzle that can be difficult to solve. Start by considering these eight signs that you might be hiring the wrong software developers, so you can take steps to address the issue.
1. you don’t understand their code
Code should be a shared language for your development team. If the rest of your development team can't understand what's going on with someone's work, that's an issue. First, because software development is often a multi-person job, and you need everyone's code to come together in the end to create the final product.
Second, if you can't understand their code, you can't troubleshoot it or build onto it later. That puts you in a poor position; that employee may not always be available to do the work or they might leave in the future. You'd be left with legacy code you can't do anything with.
2. they don’t follow coding conventions
You need software developers that follow the major conventions of the industry and are willing to follow any unique conventions you set up for your organization. When you hire IT professionals who are unwilling to play by the established rules, you're hiring people that aren't ready to do the work to be strong team players.
3. they’re difficult to work with
This is true for anyone you hire. If they're surly, aren't willing to cooperate with others and just generally drag everyone else down with a negative attitude, they may not be the right talent for your team.
Look at the big picture. You might need another coder on deck to meet production requirements, but is this particular coder actually adding overall value? If they're difficult to work with and it's leading to more time spent sorting out communications and putting metaphorical salve on team wounds, you may not be getting more work done even with the added employee.
4. they have a ‘my way or the highway’ approach
When you're hiring software engineers or other high-level IT professionals, you're typically looking for someone with experience and education in a niche field. They're going to come on board with a lot of ideas about how things should be done, and that can be a good thing. New ideas may be just what you need to drive higher quality or better efficiency for your dev teams.
What you don't want is someone who is so hardened into their way of thinking they can't see the value of other ways. Ultimately, your entire development team should cooperate, share knowledge and be willing to decide the best path together and then take it.
5. they aren’t good at problem solving
It's not enough to ensure someone can create code accurately and quickly. They must also be able to troubleshoot the code they write and work to solve unique business challenges with technical answers. Coding isn’t just about typing numbers, letters and symbols. It’s ultimately about solving a business problem. Whether they’re creating backend or front end code, every project has a goal and a problem to be solved. If your developers can’t see the big picture, they’re missing the point.
6. they don’t test their code
No matter how brilliant a software developer is, code doesn't always work exactly as planned — or even at all. Developers that don't take time to thoroughly test code before putting it into live environments set everyone on your team up for failure, and possibly even put your organization at risk. Issues such as unhappy customers or a data breach can have widespread effects that can really hurt your company.
Sometimes, that failure doesn't show up for a while because the code appears to work fine. Eventually, though, a small glitch can show up, and it turns out there's a major problem that's been growing. Testing code helps stop these issues from becoming more expensive and time-consuming problems later.
7. they don’t think about user experience
The gap between IT and business can be huge, and developers that don't think about user experience can drive even greater barriers into that space. You want to hire software developers that are willing to partner with business users and who care about details such as user-friendliness. Ultimately, your code is a driver for an end product such as software or your website. You need the end users of those products, whether they’re an employee using enterprise software or a customer shopping on your website, to be able to use the end product effectively.
8. they only care about coding
Finally, if your software developer only cares about coding, you're likely to have a problem. Someone who wants to closet themselves in an office and only write code all day every day doesn't provide as much value to your team as someone who is willing to work on project planning, troubleshooting, testing or business requirements collection.
learn how to hire the right software developers
Now that you know how to look for signs that you're not hiring the right IT professionals, it's time to find out how to make a positive change. Download our guide to hiring the right software developers to get started.