How do you hire programmers that you don’t have to micromanage?

Finding and hiring best programmers remains challenging for hiring managers, in particular when hiring managers themselves do not have a technical background or are not well equipped with technical know-how about programming languages, frameworks, and application development processes.

Here are some strategies to help you hire such programmers whom you can depend on confidently and who will not turn out to be a burden on their supervisors.

1. Find Someone with the Right Technical Skill Set

Your first consideration when choosing a good programmer should be his/her ability to write maintainable code. This means that the developer should be a master of a specific tech stack, adopting best practices and architectural designs. Only the individual with an absolute understanding of the subject will be able to deliver without much spoon-feeding.

To find a skilled programmer, your first step would be to obtain full requirements related to the technical skills. For this, refer to the job description and Ideal Employee Profile.  Once you have a list of required skills, you can use various tools to evaluate them. For example, you can evaluate their programming skills through:

  • Conducting live coding and programming tests
  • Reviewing their projects on GitHub
  • Reviewing their use of Stack Overflow

2. Find Someone with Existing Domain Knowledge

Domain knowledge refers to the candidate’s expertise related to your business industry, specialty, or environment you are working in. For example, you can find programming specialists in the telecom domain, finance, eCommerce, hospitality and so on. It is better to prefer a person who relates to your business domain than one who is not. This is because it is observed that people with extensive domain knowledge are the most valuable members of a team. They know the ins and outs of that domain and understand the demands of clients in depth.

If both the technical skills and the domain knowledge are present, the chances of micromanagement reduce to a great extent.

3. Hire an Experienced Person

Hiring an experienced programmer will have multiple benefits. For example, a senior developer can understand requirements much quickly and clearly leading to less back and forth conversation. This individual can guide you in terms of application or website design and best practices because he/she is well aware of the standards. An experienced programmer will deliver results much faster than a junior or mid-level individual would. Also, the senior developer can help you figure out the problems along with the possible solutions in a more confident manner.

It might seem costly in terms of fulfilling the salary expectations of an experienced programmer, but in the end you will save yourself from making things right later or from draining your money on the project.

If you are thinking about how to hunt these experienced professionals, you can utilize several online channels. For example, LinkedIn, Toptal, Indeed or various online job boards are great for seeking experienced talent.

4. Hire Someone Who Can Take Initiative

Micromanagement comes into play when you hire someone who looks for instructions all the time or he/she is unable to initiate new things. The ability to take initiative is a must-have personality trait for a programmer whom you do not want to micromanage.

You can measure this quality at any stage during your hiring process. For example, you can provide the potential candidate a job-related scenario and ask for his/her feedback. Various other attributes such as problem-solving, leadership skills, creativity, and confidence level also help you judge the ability of a person to take initiative.

Consider above-mentioned points when creating interview questions and use them when you ask the candidate to fill out the job application form.

5. Clearly Define the Required Level of Responsibility in Job Posts

When your employee lacks a sense of responsibility and ownership, he/she is more prone to take things lightly and depend on others to provide guidance all the time.  Since you want to see a reliable individual in this position, you should advertise the job stating the level of responsibility upfront so that the candidates are aware of this requirement before applying.

6. Hire People with Good Analytical Skills

Programmers need to be excellent at analytical skills so that they can measure various possibilities and discover new paths.

You can give them a tough domain related problem and ask them to provide a possible solution. Here you can judge their logical building skills and how efficient they are in coming up with workable solutions.

7. Communication and Presentation Skills Should Remain A Priority When Hiring Best Programmers

Writing code is not the only responsibility of a programmer. Communication skills are necessary for efficiently accomplishing various demands of the job.

For example, when a software is built, those employees are considered better who can give their suggestions, can provide constructive criticism, and who take an active role in the project.

Simply put, one of your strategies when hiring best programmers should be hunting someone who possesses certain soft skills such as communication, presentation, attention to details, etc.

8. Request Prior Work Samples

Another strategy that many recruiters use to find an efficient performer without need of much supervision is to ask for a work sample.  For programmers, it is necessary to ask for a portfolio of applications or websites they have developed previously. However, if someone cannot provide samples due to confidentiality or because of legal concerns, you should check the provided references.

9. Find Someone Who Can Adopt to Company Culture

While hiring a programmer, consider that you should have someone who can learn and adapt to the new environment quickly. Information technology is always evolving, and companies tend to move toward the latest technologies rapidly. This suggests that your employee must have the ability, willingness, and passion to learn new things and adjust to company culture.  

10. Don’t Ignore Freelancers

Another strategy to hire a self-sufficient programmer is to find a freelancer because freelancers mostly do their work independently and focus on deliverables. They are in the habit of not working under much supervision and instructions.  This can be a wise strategy but again before choosing a candidate, consider other factors such as work samples, qualifications, ability to write clean code and provide regular updates on work progress.

Hiring Best Programmers is Not Easy but the Effort is Worth It

It is said that if you have to micromanage, you have not hired the right person. Companies nowadays aim at recruiting an individual with a high level of trust, dependability, self-motivation, and job expertise. I hope that this article can help you make the right choices in hiring best programmers for your upcoming software development projects.