Hiring is Hard: The Search for an Elite Mobile Developer

Posted 10/16/2015 8:05:53 AM by BREANDEN BENESCHOTT, Toptal

Hiring is Hard: The Search for an Elite Mobile Developer
Mobile growth is staggering. The number of people accessing the Internet through their smartphones has more than doubled over the last five years. That means twice as many people downloading and using mobile apps as well. For most growth-minded businesses, it’s almost a crime at this point to not have a mobile app, or at the very least a mobile-friendly website.

But you’re here, so you probably know that already. Maybe you’ve even found your own iOS or Android developer, but if you haven’t, you’re not alone. And that’s the problem.

If you’re not alone, what makes you different? Why is your company a great place to work?

If your go-to answer is an office ping pong table and a stocked fridge, you better get in line. It’s going to be a long wait. The competition for top software developers is more fierce than it’s ever been, and with declining STEM graduation rates in the US, your chances of finding a great developer locally aren’t looking up any time soon.

Don’t worry. It’s not as hard as you think, if you know what you’re doing. Here’s the concise guide to finding your next great mobile developer, including great resources for you to use. 

Treat this as a short walk-through in how to hire a mobile developer if you need to hire quickly, hire with confidence, and hire without expending too many resources. In other words, if you hate the hiring process (and who doesn’t?), follow these steps to make it as painless as possible.

1. First impressions count. Can your job description be better?

Your job description needs to do just 2 things:

1 - Encourage qualified candidates to apply.
2 - Dissuade unqualified candidates from applying.

Easier said than done, but by no means impossible. Here’s how:

1 - Don’t reinvent the wheel. Begin with a job description template (iOS templateAndroid template).

2 - Think about why your company is an amazing place to work. Add that to the template, and make sure it’s compelling (more on what that means in a minute).

3 - What are the minimum qualifications you’re even willing to consider? This seems obvious but is often overlooked. Forgetting this is the easiest way to end up with a thousand indistinguishable applications in your lap.

You don’t need to be the next Google to be a great place to work. Are you innovative? Do you invest in your employees? Elite mobile developers have plenty of opportunities, but if you provide an environment in which they can grow professionally and learn new things, you will win out. In most cases, it’s that simple.

2. Forget your candidates, how good are your interviewers?

You wouldn’t evaluate someone’s foreign language skills if you weren’t an expert in that language, right? The same applies for mobile developers. It’s nearly impossible to tell if someone’s a great mobile developer unless you are one yourself.

Consider the following: 60% of mobile users expect a site or app to load in 3 seconds or less. Now think about how many subtle reasons there could be for your slow load times. Glancing over a candidate’s portfolio simply doesn’t cut it. Just because it works doesn’t mean it’s good. A poorly architected app or an especially slow feature is enough to sink you.

The solution? Get trusted developers from your team involved. The temporary loss incurred by pulling them away from the project will be earned back manyfold with a great new addition to the team.

Only seasoned developers will be able to test candidates on the nuances of mobile development. Consult resources like an Android or iOS hiring guide to identify key features of each platform on which it’s critical to test your applicants.

3. Did you know that stale interview questions can be a deal-breaker?

An interview is not an opportunity to see how many random bits of trivia your candidates know or whether they can recite entire APIs from memory. And don’t even think about asking irrelevant brain teasers. Asking poor interview questions can be the quickest way to get your top candidates to jump ship.

To establish a pool of outstanding interview questions:

1 - Choose technical questions that are as relevant as possible to your project. Take interview questions for iOS, Android, or any other platform and choose the ones that test understanding of a specific feature or architectural concept that’s important to your work.

2 - Test for problem-solving ability. This is one of the most important traits an elite developer needs to have. While this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to start peppering your candidates with case interview questions, you do need to be able to measure persistence, rigor in logic, and creativity.

3 - Above all, test for communication skills. This element is frequently forgotten, but is an extremely important indicator of how your hire will integrate into your team. Can they break complex concepts down and explain them to you in simple terms? Even if you aren’t technical, they should be able to explain things like architectural decisions to you, including all the tradeoffs and considerations they made when choosing the right answer.

4. There’s always help.

The reality is that even the most well-planned hiring search can and will fall short. Truly skilled mobile developers can be hard to find! But as the world becomes more and more connected, that’s changing. 

Toptal has solved this problem for countless people who have been overwhelmed by the prospect of developing a mobile app or website. The network of elite freelance software engineers takes the hard part of hiring out of your hands by vetting thousands of software developers every month for technical ability, language and personality, and coding skills, accepting just the top 3%.

Toptal’s engineering team will work with you on a custom basis to understand your project needs and will match you with an elite developer hand-picked for your job. With Toptal, you hire fast, hire with confidence, and only work with the best.

Read More http://www.toptal.com ...


About the author: BREANDEN BENESCHOTT, Toptal

Breanden has worked as founder, CTO, developer, designer, and consultant for companies as diverse as smsPREP, Smith + Jones, 2Tor, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. He has a BSE in Chemical Engineering from Princeton University, and in December 2010, he was selected as Princeton’s first and only student speaker for TEDxPrincetonU where he gave a talk on time optimization and project management. Having been on both sides of the hiring equation as an engineer and team lead, Breanden combines his technical expertise and management experience to ensure that clients, developers, and team members at Toptal have a smooth, successful experience as the company rapidly scales.

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