Struggling to hire front end devs? We hear you.

The backbone of customer-facing interfaces, these kinds of devs are incredibly sought-after and yet the recruitment process isn’t always smooth. Whether struggling to engage with candidates and not being able to cut through the noise or being unsure of what kind of resource you need, there can be issues when trying to find new hires. With this in mind, we’ve looked at what’s going wrong in recruitment and provided insight into how you can amend your hiring strategy.

A lack of understanding‌‌

Here’s the thing. There’s more than one kind of front end developer. Mind blown right? Well, maybe for you, but not for the devs who deal with this on a daily basis. ‘Front end’ is a broad term that essentially covers anything customer facing, meaning that someone who can create wireframes and knows HTML and CSS backwards can be classed as a front end developer, as well as someone who writes JavaScript and does technical testing. ‌‌

Front end devs aren’t there just to make things look pretty. User interaction is their day-to-day. For example, drop down menus, what happens when a button is clicked, optimising content for speedy load times - that’s all them. What’s more, they’re also responsible for a ton of functionality testing. Running both automated and manual tests, they’ll use that data to improve the product or app functionality and fix any bugs or errors that come through in the process.

‌‌In order for your technical team to function, you need to understand what capacity you need to fill and the easiest way to do that is to simply talk to developers. If you’re starting a new business, speak to developer friends or find people in the know via sites like GitHub and Medium. If you’re accelerating your hiring strategy at an existing company, talk to your dev team. Ask them exactly what they think is required so you can get all of your ducks in a row. That way, you can define exactly what you are looking for within a job description and you won’t waste your time or anyone else's.

If you don’t work out what you really need, you run the risk of:

  • Hiring the wrong person for the job
  • Appearing ignorant
  • Wasting both time and money

Pay rise first: perks later ‌‌

Another blocker? There’s a misconception that money matters more than anything else when it comes to technical talent, yet when looking at results from surveyed developers, women state that their highest priorities (in terms of perks) are opportunities for professional development as well as company culture. When assessing potential jobs, 18.3% of those surveyed chose ‘compensation and benefits’ as the highest priority to them, with ‘the languages and frameworks I’d be working on’ coming in at a close second. ‌‌

Clearly, money isn’t everything to developers. Think about it this way: their skills (particularly those who are front end or full-stack) are high in demand, meaning that they are likely to get a competitive salary wherever they go. So how can you stand out from the crowd, and what else can you offer them? You need to make their work meaningful and make them feel wanted.

Relying on resumes

In a world where university degrees are hailed above all else, this kind of thinking needs to be reversed when it comes to hiring technical talent. Skills, not CVs, are the way forward, and it’s critical when hiring a skills-based person to look at the quality of their code instead of whether they went to university or even how many years experience they may have.

When looking at some of the world’s most notable tech talent (Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey to name but a few), they all have one outlier in common. They dropped out of university and yet they are some of the most successful people on the planet. It’s vital not to ignore candidates if they don’t have a degree or exactly the kind of experience you are looking for. After all, that hire could be the next Steve Jobs.

Instead of relying on a CV to tell you a candidates history, offer them a technical test. The proof is in the pudding and besides, lots of developers are self-taught or have completed a bootcamp; it doesn’t make them any less talented so they shouldn’t be ignored. Let them show you why they’re the right person for the role. It’s also a good idea to ask candidates about their past projects and taking a look at their GitHub to find what you’re really looking for.

For help with your hiring strategy, make sure to check out the hackajob platform. We do all of the hard work for you, specialising in finding the right people for the right roles. What’s more, we even provide technical testing, meaning you can be sure that you’ll be adding only the best and brightest to your business.

Make sure to take a look at our previous article on how to hire.

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