So you’re looking to hire a web developer, specifically PHP? Good, but take heed because this might be one of your most important hires. This is the person(s) who will be the face of everything virtual about your company—you want to make sure that you get the best fit, and get it the first time around.
In this post we’ll go through five steps that outline everything you need to know in order to find the best PHP developer for your business.
Level of Expertise
No matter whom you hire they should always have an in-depth understanding of both PHP and HTML. You’ll want to look through the developer’s portfolio and try to gauge an understanding of their problem solving techniques. Looking at the past work is tremendously helpful in determining what the developer’s strengths and weakness are. Check their knowledge of various frameworks like Codelgniter (which is great for developing superior aesthetics); CakePHP, especially if you are working with an application that requires compatibility with PHP4, and ATK4; or Agavi—all of which are used to develop large scale applications.
However, with all this being said and done, it doesn’t matter how experienced your developer is if they’re not a good fit for the culture of your company. Which brings us to the next point…
Also check the developer’s ability to work with various available plugins, different databases and a variety of hosting options.
Understands the Business Culture
An employee who understands your company culture is an employee that will flourish within your company. Look at it this way: A web developer who has only worked in start-ups might not be a great fit for a larger institution, and vice-versa. Someone might have a great background on paper, but still not be a great personality for what you need in the work place.
When you interview a potential hire it’s extremely important to look for someone who is passionate about your business philosophy. For example, the crowd-sourced product development company, Quirky, seeks out employees who are “agile, selfless, passionate about the brand, and excited to do something disruptive and unique.” These qualities strengthened Quirky’s culture, and the hiring team screened for them during the interview process.
By taking your company’s culture seriously you’ll hire employees who are excited by your philosophy—which in the end produces a better work environment, and most likely a superior product.
Part of the Community
If you want to pick the best of the best you’ve got to join them—otherwise how do you plan to be able to collaborate with them? But how do you join a community of developers when you’re not necessarily a developer yourself? Go to PHP conferences, and meetups. Check message boards and comment sections on sites like drupal.org.
Simply put: go to where the developers are, and hear what they are talking about. This will not only bring you closer to hiring the right developer, it will also help you understand what the developers need in the work place and from their point of view.
You can never underestimate the importance of adaptability in a developer. The tech universe is ever evolving, and even within two years, certain skill sets can become obsolete.
What you want from your developer is long-term curiosity, and a passion for new technologies. Ask your interviewee which sites they visit to learn about new tips, and tricks. What was the last language or skill they learned, and how far back was that? What conferences do they go to, and what communities are they part of? You want a developer who combines a love of learning with his or her passion for developing—essentially someone who is always looking forward.
Asks the Right Questions
During the interview process do yourself a favor: don’t waste your time with trivia! Instead, repurpose a problem from a current project you have, and see how your potential hire goes about solving it.
While observing take note of what tools they use—were they similar to what you used, or were they better/worse? Ask yourself questions about the process: did you feel that you could communicate with each other well? Were the solutions creative, and dynamic? Did you get what you needed, and if not, why not? How far from what you wanted, was the end result? By asking these specific questions you can better understand—and articulate—what you need. Which results in hiring the best person for the job.
When you hire a developer you should be looking for skills that go beyond the computer screen— it’s important to take into account how these developers work with you as much as how they work on the code. The best developers have experienced backgrounds coupled with nuanced understandings of their companies’ culture.
They can communicate succinctly and problem solve creatively. In short choose someone who is passionate about the work, whose judgment you trust and whose work betters the company as a whole.