How to hire a Java developer: six tactics to follow
By Jamie Mercer
To build a development team you’ll need to source top-class developer talent. Before taking the plunge, check out these seven key points to follow when hiring a Java developer.
Every development team will vary, and what works for one won’t always work for another. But for the creation of an application to be successful, you’ll still need the core roles in place.
Knowing what traits to look for is half the battle and finding the perfect balance of technical skills and personalities can set you on the road to success.
But before recruiting any developers, you need to have project specifics in place to help choose people with the correct skill set. If you’re struggling to pinpoint the experience you need to hire a Java developer, we’ve got you covered.
Hire a developer with the right technical knowledge
To pick a developer who fits perfectly on your development floor, you might think all your hiring manager needs to do is to sort through a pile of CVs and pluck out the right person.
But there’s a little more to it than that; you’ll need to look beyond what’s listed on a Java developer’s CV to find out whether they have the technical skills and relevant expertise you need on your development team.
When selecting your team of developers, there are core role your business will need to fill. These will form the nucleus of your team and when hiring developers to fill these roles you need make the right choice first time.
You’d be hard pressed to find any business that doesn’t consider the ability to write good code as a top priority when looking for a developer. But if you take an overall view of the tasks they’ll need to undertake in your business, you’ll find it’ll come down to more than the ability to code.
When recruiting, you may find a developer who has the technical skills and fits perfectly on your development floor. But if you code in a specific language, such as Java, and they don’t have the core skills needed to perform the essential tasks, they may not be the developer for your business.
It’s by going this extra mile and looking closely at skill sets that enables Alan Morris, CTO of Hedgehog Lab, to find top developers.
“A developer’s technical capability and organisational fit are the top priority. Apart from that, we look at what skills do they have and what level of experience do they have,” says Alan.
Take the time to quiz your candidates on framework knowledge, extra language support, and APIs as well as languages. Factoring in these extra considerations when you’re hiring your next developer should give you the capacity to hire a top-class developer.
Recruit the person not the role
Technical skills are important, of course, but don’t underestimate the value of enthusiasm and adaptability. A developer who’s willing to roll with the punches and upskill to meet the changing needs of your business is worth their weight in gold, so don’t be too quick to rule out a candidate if they don’t match your specifications to a tee right now.
This approach is something that Dan Akers of Lightstart prioritises, and when looking for new members of his business, he believes it offers a great foundation for digital projects.
“For us, a mid-level, experienced developer who is looking to upskill in a more agile entrepreneurial environment is more valuable to us than a senior-level developer who is set in their ways,” says Dan.
By looking beyond the role itself and focusing on the person, you may find a developer who’s a good cultural fit, and is willing to be trained up on the job with a little guidance.
Developers who are new to the industry will jump at the opportunity to join an established organisation, learn their trade and pick up new skills from programmers already on staff. Hiring someone newer to the role also gives you the chance to mould them to match the needs of your business.
These developers could be junior-level or even hobby coders, but if they’re willing to work on small but interesting projects, with more freedom in the use of technology, approach, and languages, then they could prove a valuable asset.
“If you’re recruiting for a junior, [skill level] can be hard to determine,” says David Bishop of Love the Sales. “But if you can give them a precoding challenge, you’ll be able to see their level, and if they have a strong work ethic, you’ll be able to train them up.”
Hire someone who shares your values
When growing a business, staying true to your goals and brand mission is a key part of success.
Developers contribute enormously to both achieving your goals as a company, and also cementing your brand by creating apps and websites that represent and reflect your business. But when finding the perfect developer; often they’ll come from the places you least expect and could revolutionise your business performance.
Software developers can be some of the most creative members of your business. They work on the smallest of elements, so by finding the dev who’s on board with your mission and values as a brand, and dedicated to helping you achieve them, you should be on to a winner.
When bringing a new developer into the fold, it’s this quality that Vicki Appleford, Brand Manager of T Plus Drinks, believes should be a top priority. “It was essential that our developer understood where we were looking to take the brand,” says Vicki.
Having attractive core values can encourage top talent to consider your business as the best option for a new job role. And by keeping your brand mission at the forefront of your mind during the recruitment process, you’ll be better equipped to find a person who subscribes to your vision, and is impassioned to help your business achieve its goals.
Hard skills can be taught, but you can’t instil your values into people who don’t share your vision, so put your culture front and centre throughout the job advert and during the interview.
Ask candidates to describe the working culture they feel most productive and content in; ask them what their single most important contributor to their job satisfaction is; ask them to describe a time when they went out of their way to delight a client or a co-worker.
These kinds of questions will give you a good idea of their values, and how they align with your own ideals. If you like the sound of the answers, then you could be on the path to making the perfect hire for your business.
Hire someone who thinks ahead
When developing an application, making sure it’ll be around for the long haul should be a key consideration. You don’t want to spend time on something that will become instantly outdated, so hire a developer who can make longevity a reality.
One of the primary things you’ll need to look for is the ability for them to write clean code, especially if you’re building an application from the ground up. You’ll need a viable application for years to come so bring in a developer who can fulfil that specification.
Clean code goes a long way towards future-proofing your applications, and for this reason, forward-planning is something that Benjamin Houy, Founder of French Together, makes it a top priority when hiring.
“My number one priority was making sure that the developer writes clean code that other developers could easily work within the future and that wouldn’t slow down my website or create conflicts,” says Benjamin.
A fast developer can give you the requirements you desire, but what they’ll deliver might not be pretty, and may need more work further down the line. What you should be prioritising is a developer who has a deeply ingrained knowledge of your chosen language and long-term consideration for any developers that may need to work on the app in the future.
Collect a strong reference
When you look to hire a developer, two of the main priorities you’ll need to take into account are their technical skills, and they share your core values.
It’s no secret you’ll want harmony within your development team. But you’ll also need people with the practical know-how to fix any issues in tight situations.
But to discover these qualities, you’ll need to look beyond what’s written on a CV.
Seeing the work they’ve done for other clients, and calling these clients to ask whether they were happy, can help you verify a developer’s skills.
Waiting for references is time-consuming. But whether you’re looking to make a permanent hire or bring in a contractor, Nikki Hesford, of the The Small Business Academy, advises you always do your due diligence when making a hire.
“You should speak to previous clients to verify that your candidate was the developer who created the site,” continues Nikki. “I’ve seen developers pass off sites as their own when they’re not.”
Look in the right place for developers
Whether you’re looking to build a new team completely from scratch or you’re adding new members to your roster, ensuring you know where to search for top talent is crucial.
The software development industry isn’t wanting for talent; there are over 18.2 million software developers worldwide. Whether you hire a Java developer or a full stack programmer, you shouldn’t be short of options.
But by diving head first into the recruitment process without a plan, you could be looking in the wrong place, which could mean your business faces delays and added costs.
If you’ve already begun your search and feel like you’re running out of options, you can utilise the services of a recruiter to do all the hard work.
Nick Phelps, Team Leader at Pearson Frank, believes this is the primary reason that people turn to external sources when they’re unsure where to look next for a developer.
“Many companies will come to us after they’ve gone to market themselves, they’ve tried doing it, but were unsuccessful,” explains Nick. “Recruitment is a full-time job, so they’ll come to us as it takes a massive amount of pressure off the hiring manager and because we’re also experienced in the sector they’re looking to crack.”
It’s this extra specific knowledge, partnered with access to a wider database of candidates, that enables recruiters to delve deeper into the developer talent pool and find the perfect candidate.
While there are other aspects your business can add to this list of priorities, these seven tactics can be your starting point when you begin the search for a new developer. By taking the time and effort to nail down a person who matches your business needs, you can ensure you’re hiring top-class talent.