9 Methods for Evaluating Web Developers Before You Hire Them

What’s your favorite tool or process for evaluating technical talent before you make the hire?

The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.

1. Describe Their Process
When evaluating someone for a programming / development position, I ask them to write out a detailed explanation of a problem they solved in the past. Details like how they solved it, why it needed to be solved, and why each decision throughout the project was made leave clues as to their problem solving patterns and their overall writing skills. The best programmers are often good communicators.

- Nick Reese, Elite Health Blends

2. Debugging Questions
Most developers are great at writing code from scratch… the harder part of writing software happens when you hit a snag. Having a developer walk through how they would debug a problem helps you see how resourceful they are, and how they think about solving problems. It also shows you how quickly they might give up if they don’t solve a problem easily.

- Nathalie Lussier, The Website Checkup Tool

3. The Practice Project
We always give developers a project prior to bringing them on full time. This helps us evaluate whether or not they can accurately estimate project time frames and details.

- Eric Corl, Fundable LLC

 

4. A Team of Technical Advisers
I am a history major, consultant and MBA. That is, my technical know-how is slim! We’ve built a group of technical advisers — founders of startups, backend coders and web developers — who help us interview technical talent. We can see if the individual’s work product is nice, but we rely on our advisers to understand the true capabilities of new tech talent.

- Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

5. Their Portfolio
The thing that we look for above all else is what they’ve built in the past. How complex was it? How does it function? How long did it take them? Then we take a look under the hood. To me, your education and your traditional credentials are irrelevant. I want to see what you’ve built. I’m interested in how powerful you are at creating something from nothing.

- Travis Steffen, WorkoutBOX

6. Specialized Code Test
We use a code test that was very particularly designed by our current developers. The test deals with actual scenarios that developers would likely encounter if/when working with our company. We are always updating the test to keep it relevant to changing ecosystems (especially Facebook’s ecosystem where lots of our work is implemented).

- Jesse Pujji, Ampush

7. GitHub
As an open-source shop, we rely on GitHub as a way to screen résumés of potential developers. A developer’s GitHub shows a nice snippet of his level of skill, types of projects, organizational skills, and style.
- Abby Ross, Blueye Creative

 

8. Have Them Prove It
We throw them to the fire and give them a trial run. We introduce them to a potential client’s CRM and ask them to integrate it with our shipping software – we have them prove what they stated on their résumés.
- Jordan Guernsey, Molding Box

 

9. CodeEval
One popular website is called CodeEval, which is free to use to screen candidates. You can create sample projects and challenges to see what the prospective IT hire can come up with. I also have a colleague who is fairly tech-savvy, so I rely on him for advice and input on choosing the best candidate.
- Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance

avatar

About Young Entrepreneur Council

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.