11 Qualities to Look Out For When Hiring a Programmer

Say you need to hire a developer for your company’s new project. You found candidates whose CVs fit your technical requirements. What’s next? What else should you consider when hiring a developer? We asked our top recruiter about the pitfalls of tech recruitment. Here are the tips she provided for anyone new to the Tech HR world:

Look out for someone who: 

1.Is Jumping

One of the first things you should look out for already on the level of CV reading is jumping. It means a developer is changing positions and companies very quickly. It speaks to their lack of commitment to a team, a company, a goal. Recruiters claim that most employees who have proven to switch companies in a short time leave their company just as quickly. Therefore, if you are looking for a long-term, committed employee, it is better to avoid hiring people with this mindset.

2. Has Bad Communication Skills

Some recruiters wrongly focus exclusively on a developer’s technical skills, forgetting that soft skills are also significant. Sometimes it happens because of a language barrier, and other times a person doesn’t know how to glue words together. If your developer can’t communicate clearly and effectively work of the whole team takes a hit. 

3. Is Hard To Catch For a Quick Chat

This kind of behavior includes: missed calls, cancels meetings last minute, left your messages “on read.” First of all, it shows you they don’t care about your company enough to at least show respect in the process of hiring. Secondly, this quality will become an issue in the future and likely disrupt the workflow. Especially if your company hires remote employees, their ability to respond in time and be reliable is crucial for the whole team to stay on track.

4. Has Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations, such as high salary expectations despite the candidate’s scarce experience, show a lack of judgment and perhaps even an inflated ego. Given the constantly growing salaries in software development and the shortage of programmers, some candidates will try their luck and ask for more than they are worth based on their skills, hoping that a desperate recruiter will still hire them. Stay in tune with the current trends in tech HR to always know how much developers get paid.

5. Speaks Badly About Former Managers & Colleagues

One can respectfully criticize their former employers, but there is a line between criticizing and bashing someone. For instance, the developer could say: “There was bad management” or “They did not pay on time.” These are valid arguments because the former company did not fulfill the candidate’s expectations. But saying something like “My CTO was stupid and knew nothing about web development” spiteful and simply unprofessional. This kind of behavior is more appropriate for a night out with friends than a job interview, and every professional must understand it.

6. Is Not Collaborative

The “I prefer to work alone” statement can be tricky. Some companies only need one developer, but any company relies on the teamwork of the professionals involved. It is hard to rely on such an independent worker to be responsive to the rest of the team and report about issues that come up in their work. Thus, even if you don’t have a tech team, an ideal hire is always a team player

7. Is Money-Focused

Hearing a lot of questions about money from a candidate is always a bad sign. Not that a programmer shouldn’t be interested in the amount and kind of compensation for their work. Although, when the questions about money significantly outweigh all other inquiries, for example, about the technical tasks or the future team, you should take it as a red flag

8. Shows Zero Knowledge About the Company

If the candidate does not mention your company’s previous projects or cannot say why they want to work for your company, it shows a lack of interest in your organization. They don’t have to be a long-term fan of your every service and product to apply for the job, of course, but researching before showing up to an interview is the bare minimum you want to see in a candidate if you expect them to care about what you do.

9. Has Only Freelance Experience

When someone who mostly did freelance software development in the past applies for a full-time position, you want to ask them more about their mindset. Can you trust that the candidate left the freelance practice behind? Or will you always have to wonder whether the developer works exclusively for you? There is no easy way to answer these questions. However, throughout the conversation with the candidate, you should try to find out why they want to switch from freelance to a stable job and how serious they are about dedicating their time to a single project for months or years to come

10. Wants to Grow Fast

Unless the position you are hiring for is a role that implies quick promotion to the next step, it makes sense to avoid people with a strong aspiration to become a lead engineer in the nearest future. You can spot them by questions such as “How quickly could I become a lead developer?” That kind of candidate could leave in a few months if they find a relevant job position as a lead

11. Is a Switcher

They are the type of people who applied for the position merely to switch from their previous job. Similar to “jumping” employees, “switchers” have a habit that might cost you time and money when they eventually decide to “switch” positions again.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Developer

In today’s world, almost every company will at some point face the need for a developer – whether for a short project or long-term cooperation. However, when it comes to recruiting programmers, many organizations make strategic mistakes. Avoid these five common mistakes by understanding the issues behind them: 

1: Only Hiring Locally

Remote and hybrid work models are proving to be the future of work. Multiple reports on remote work during the one year of the COVID-19 pandemic show the increase in productivity and a more flexible work-life balance. Thus, many companies consider transitioning to a hybrid workplace or even working fully remotely. Therefore, the companies that exclusively hire coders in the area where their offices are located, automatically limit their talent pool. This, in turn, means losing to the companies that are open to remote hires. Recruiting programmers remotely doesn’t only allow you to find the one with the right qualifications for your project in a shorter time but also helps save money because of the market’s salary differences. For example, by hiring with the services of Coder Staffing you can save up to two-thirds of a usual American developer’s salary as the programmers from our database are based in Russia where the salary levels are lower. Don’t stay behind and try hiring remotely. If you don’t have a clue where to start, at Coder Staffing we carefully pick the best programmers for your company’s specific needs and ensure lasting cooperation.

2: Outsourcing & Freelance

Outsourcing and hiring freelance developers are viable options for some projects. However, you need to have a clear understanding of how this kind of work is performed in order to make an informed decision. Both of these approaches can save you some money but ultimately the programmers aren’t working for your company directly but for either the outsourcing company or themselves. That means that while they will probably deliver the minimum required results it is not in their interest to invest more time and energy in your projects or supply their ideas on, for instance, increasing security or optimizing the program’s runtime. For the program you are creating to reach its maximum potential you want someone who is invested to create it. In case you think hiring a full-time fully remote coder on a budget is an unachievable dream – check out the services of Coder Staffing, because we make this dream come true.

3: Choosing Short Term Relationships

This point follows the previous one as it constitutes one of the problems with hiring freelancers and outsourcing agencies – the working relationship is usually limited by the time of the project’s launch. Hiring developers to launch a single project might seem like an effective way to minimize the expenses. Indeed, why would you continue to pay the programmer once the job is done? Unfortunately, many companies’ experience shows that most software development products require maintenance. Recruiting a new developer once you realize the application needs revisiting is costly and ineffective. For one, you will have to spend time, money, and energy on finding another developer just to end up paying them the same salary. Moreover, ask any developer, and they will tell you they would much rather prefer to maintain the program they wrote themselves. In addition to the usual struggles of the onboarding, the new coder will need time to understand the existing code before they can fix the bugs and consistently maintain the application in its best shape. Thus, to avoid these issues, depending on the project and your budget. consider hiring either a full-time developer to permanently join your team or finding a freelancer who will cooperate with you part-time but on a long-term basis.

4: Not Paying Attention to The Culture Fit

Many recruiters consider programmers based solely on their technical talents. While those are extremely important for the execution of given tasks you don’t want to undermine the significance of culture fit for the tech hire either. No matter what role someone takes in your company, their alignment with your corporate values and rituals will not only ensure a smooth workflow between all the parties involved but also help avoid conflict around the objectives of the company. Tech or not, every person is a part of the collective success! To find out more about why culture fit is important and how to hire for it, read our article: Culture Fit & Remote Hiring: How We Do It.

5: Skipping The Trial Periods

Trial periods give the team management and the new programmer to figure out how to work together. It doesn’t mean the developer doesn’t get a fair wage – the best way is to pay them in full for the hours they are promised to work, and once the agreed-upon trial period passes, the team can assess the new member’s fit. When you are transparent about this condition in the interviewing process it can be beneficial for both the programmer and the team as it gives both parties a chance to try this relationship out before sealing the deal. Trial periods are especially comforting when you trust somebody else to hire team members for you. When you put your company’s staffing needs into our hands, we take it seriously. That’s why at Coder Staffing we offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. It gives you enough time to get a sense of how the programmer fits your team and what they bring to the table. Schedule your call now to start your hiring process!

Documentation: Key to Successful Remote Work

Whether you work for a startup of 5-10 people or in a big remote company with 1000+ employees across continents, experts describe documentation to as one of the essential instruments of remote work organization. So why isn’t it ubiquitously implemented by remote teams? One of the main reasons is the old-fashioned approach to the workflow that requires meetings, emails, and Slack messages to communicate issues, decisions, and updates within the team. Documentation might be seen as boring, time-consuming, and simply useless by some. However, when done correctly, documentation can save the team a lot of time, prevent miscommunication, allow for more flexibility, and decrease the level of perceived chaos. In this article, we will discuss how to do documentation to improve your remote work processes.

What is Documentation and why does your team need it?

Different approaches to documentation present diverse methods, platforms, and levels of documentation. Simply put, documentation is the practice of putting the company’s rules, values, practices, and, importantly, decisions and actions, in writing. For remote teams, this means sharing a document or several documents with a detailed record of problems, implemented decisions, and other workflow processes. Some teams, like GitLab’s 1200+ employees all-remote workforce, have an approach that demands the remote worker to put an update into writing that is accessible to everyone (their famous “handbook“) before they share it with teammates via Slack, email, or another form of communication. Then, of course, some teams’ documentation strategy is writing down the decisions and actions after they already happened, e.g. right after the meeting. The exact method can be discussed and altered as the company grows. However, if you think that your company can go without documentation while working remotely because it isn’t that big and the current communication strategy suffices, we might have bad news for you. As GitLab’s Darren Murph and Jessica Reeder put it: “Implementing a documentation strategy becomes more difficult — yet more vital — as a company ages and matures.” Therefore, the earlier you establish a documentation practice the easier it will be for your company to scale.

So why is it key for a remote team’s success? First of all, even for teams that rely on synchronous communication, i.e. Zoom meetings and Slack messages, the structure and clarity that the documentation routine brings are invaluable. It teaches everyone discipline and respect by requiring each team member to share their actions without exception or delay. Furthermore, the opportunity to go back and review the decisions that the team took some time ago also allows for reverse engineering that is crucial if something goes wrong, and we all know that it inevitably will one day. Moreover, documentation requires an individual to sit down and write down the problem, the data given, and the possible solutions. Therefore, teammates can be more prepared for the meetings and spend less time discussing the issue and the solution because they will have worked on it beforehand. For some companies, the application of a detailed documentation approach can lead to adopting asynchronous communication which we talk about in the next section of the article.

Documentation for Asynchronous Communication

One of the most advantageous effects of implementing documentation is the chance to switch to an asynchronous communication model. To take advantage of working remotely, you might want to hire from the international talent pool. However, the fixation on meetings as the only way to communicate within the remote team limits hiring opportunities to a few time zones. Effective use of documentation can help you expand your team across countries and continents without decreasing productivity. It allows team members to work on flexible schedules without being chained to specific meetings or fearing to miss Slack messages. When everything is documented, the employees can easily check on the updates whenever their day starts.

How to start your documentation practice

First and foremost, choose a platform that is efficient and easy to use. It can be any document-sharing app, like Notion or Almanac. Such apps allow your whole team to create, share, edit, and comment on documents, tables, and databases. Then, you will need to spend some time writing down the rules, policies, and values. But once you’ve spent time on this you won’t have to go back, unless you need to make a couple of corrections. However, it will help immensely with helping your new employees understand and adapt to your company’s practices in the process of virtual onboarding.

Next, how exactly you document decisions will depend on your existing communication practices, as well as the size of the company, number of departments, etc. You might want to try different approaches and see what works best. One tip is assigning a “decision-maker” to each issue who will be responsible for documenting the decision. It doesn’t mean that person is solely responsible for making the decision but rather that they will be accountable for making sure the team achieves a clear, documentable solution. Additionally, everyone must understand the utmost importance of documentation because if some team members don’t pay attention to this practice, it becomes pointless. Imagine somebody sharing their decisions exclusively via Slack. This immediately makes the documentation insufficient and, therefore, unreliable. The whole point of keeping records in one place is to provide the employees with one source of information they can always come back to and check. All in all, although it might sound like a lot of work, as long as every decision is documented in one way or another within a single source, you’ve started your documentation routine. From there, you can continuously improve and refine it until you find it effective and easy to use.

Virtual Onboarding: 3 Success Components

Let’s assume: you’ve figured out how to manage your existing team remotely. Hopefully, you’ve even trained your HR team to hire employees through a series of online interviews. However, what happens after the contract is signed? How do you welcome your new employee into the team and ensure a smooth adjustment to its routines? Today we’re providing you with three main components of your new member’s successful onboarding along with some simple but useful tips that will help you along the way!

Organizational Acclimatization

The first step in the new person’s acclimatization to the company is to understand its structure. The main goal here is to avoid the new member feeling lost and not knowing who to reach out to. Of course, if the company is big, getting accustomed to the structure of one’s team is of immediate importance, while the rest of it can be left for later. This means understanding exactly who will be doing what in their team in addition to who can the employee contact for a specific question. However, the crucial part of remote onboarding is documentation: make sure your new employee always has a document to come back to in case they forget what you told them. A second main point is clarifying the daily routines and communication practices. Does your team prefer to discuss issues in zoom meetings or do you opt for asynchronous communication? Would you rather the employees wait until the meeting to ask each other questions or do it immediately on Slack? All of these questions are not difficult to answer if you simply observe how your team already operates but it could potentially help the new member immensely.

Technical Assistance

Technical assistance is incredibly important for remote teams because of both the pace and effectiveness of the whole workflow being dependant on technical performance. The goal here is not only to provide access to the tools but to make sure the new member learns how to use them effectively and with confidence. Going hand in hand with organizational acclimatization, technical assistance includes whatever communication, planning, reporting, and documentation tools your team uses. In the training process, it’s best to give hierarchical tasks by explaining what tools are more important to learn in the first week, and which can wait until the fourth. There is no need to overwhelm the newly arrived staff member by introducing them to a bunch of new systems without clarifying what part of those systems are actually used by the team daily and, thus, have to be understood first.

Social Support

Last but not least, successful remote onboarding cannot be achieved without positive human connection. It is normal to be nervous in a new setting; however, while in the office a certain level of personal communication could be almost guaranteed, this is not always the case remotely, and facilitating informal communication has to be intentional. This means as a manager you are responsible for allocating time to introduce the new person to the team and come up with an activity for them to get to know each other. Regularly check in on the employee so that they don’t feel isolated and lost in their onboarding process and assign a peer who is not in a management position. This could be helpful as it will reduce the formality of this communication. While it might not seem pressing in the moment, ensuring regular positive social interactions will go a long way in helping the new member to feel comfortable and welcomed. This, in turn, will eliminate some of the newcomer’s anxiety and ensure smooth workflow within the entire team.

Useful tips:

  1. Always reach out before the employee’s first day to welcome the employee and answer their questions.
  2. Do not overwhelm the new employee with all the information at once. Make sure to spread the information over weeks or even months, depending on the role.
  3. Prepare a comprehensive document that will simply explain the structure of the team and the organization and answer the plausible questions of the new employee.
  4. Build balanced communication. Instead of simply unloading the information on the new member, ask questions about their expectations, preferences, and experiences in your company so far.

5 Apps for Remote Teams

It’s 2021 and remote work isn’t just a trend, it’s the new normal. Many remote workers express their desire to continue working from home even after the health regulations loosen and allow offices to reopen. So, really, after one year of working from home, what new apps can you discover? While Slack and Zoom became a stable part of our lives, there are still other apps you can explore to connect and work effectively as a remote team. Here are our top 5 suggestions:

1. Canva

Canva brings design to a new level, allowing beginners to create fresh designs for a variety of purposes, from Instagram stories or LinkedIn posts to company logos. While Canva offers a great number of free features, we’re going to talk about their Pro Plan here. Starting at $11/month, the Pro Plan allows you to create your company’s Brand Kit, which includes the colors, fonts, and logos of your organization. Moreover, your team can design together in real-time and then schedule posts to be published on your social media channels. Canva’s intuitive design and abundant assistance (built-in hints and more extensive explanations on their blog) make it possible for virtually anyone to use the app, unlike many other more professional tools that require experience in design. Canva really is a versatile and flexible tool that combines everything a content marketing team needs to start creating designs from scratch.

2. Miro

Miro is another creative team collaboration application. It can act as a whiteboard for brainstorming ideas for your business, as well as a tool for creating schedules, mindmaps, tables, charts, and much more. With its infinite canvas and real-time collaboration option, Miro serves as space for creativity, ideation, and connection of unique thoughts of your team members. A unique function of this app is meeting facilitation. While most conference apps only have a simple whiteboard and presentation options, Miro brings it all together, enabling smooth, flow-like meetings, workshops, and presentations that easily engage several participants.

3. Donut

One of the most common complaints people have about working remotely is feelings of isolation and loneliness. Not being able to have a short chat with a colleague over a coffee makes it more difficult to get to know people you work with on a more personal level. New employees have it even harder. Without previous connections, it takes courage to reach out to someone new on Slack. For the benefit of their employees’ wellness and productivity, remote work managers need to take the responsibility for bringing people together, now that it doesn’t happen organically. Thankfully, Donut takes that burden off your shoulders. All you need to do to facilitate informal communication within your remote team is to add Donut to Slack. It will do the job of introducing remote workers to each other and facilitate a video call where people can meet and have a virtual coffee.

4. Notion

Notion is a sleek document-sharing app that unites a variety of tools in its intuitive app. A truly versatile tool, Notion allows your team to share and edit documents, assign tasks, create calendars, team wikis, and so much more. Notion is effectively used by teams of all sizes – from small startups to Fortune 500 companies. In addition to its addictive design and endless way of personalizing the pages you create, the app’s team consistently rolls out new functions. It can be used as a Desktop or phone app as well as in your browser, giving you the freedom to see, edit and share pages from anywhere. In case you become overwhelmed by the possibilities, Notion offers a series of videos explaining its features and how to get the most of them. In fact, the application became so popular in the last couple of years that many YouTubers who focus on productivity release their own videos exploring the bountiful features of Notion. So if you haven’t tried Notion yet, prepare yourself for a satisfying work experience!

5. Clockify

Clockify is an easy-to-use time tracking tool for teams. It allows the whole remote team to track the time each individual spends completing a task. Apart from its main function, Clockify also lets your team share a calendar, report on their activities, and see what others are doing. This app creates the sense of accountability and solidarity that exists in the office because while a remote worker might be physically alone in their home office they can still “see” their colleagues working. Moreover, it gives teams’ managers a great way to track productivity, notice issues quickly, and address them at the next meeting.