How NOT to hire a mobile application developer

how not to hire mobile app developers

It’s no secret that mobile app developers are sitting pretty worldwide, with the demand for them far exceeding the available supply. More and more businesses are feeling the need to develop mobile applications that serve their customers as well as their own internal operations. Hiring, therefore, is at an all-time high, irrespective of whether it is a company, a small independent team or an individual developer.

What isn’t being discussed too much, however, is the fact that a lot of these hiring efforts are predominantly following the trials-and-errors methodology. While some organizations have stringent processes, most other businesses take a freestyle approach to hiring. In an earlier post, we had described aspects to ensure that outsourcing application development doesn’t become disastrous. Here, we tell you which hiring blunders to steer clear of.

Proof is in the portfolio?

Ok. You already know that you’ve to look at the portfolio. Here are two things to keep in mind though:

1. Not everything gets into the portfolio. Reasons could be lack of time, client confidentiality or that the developer is just shy (been there, seen that!).

2. Not all things in the portfolio is relevant for. Ask for proof of work in the area of your specific interest.

Rating right

We’ve all been part of school/university projects where we’ve done our best work (at the time) and yet been graded poorly for reasons beyond control. Maybe one of the members goofed up/fell ill. Maybe the professor’s personal opinion didn’t favor the project. Whatever the reason, it wasn’t a reflection of your capability or the lack of it. App store ratings work in a similar fashion. An app is rated for much more than just development. Multiple factors, like poor conceptualization, inappropriate pricing or marketing copy that promises more than the app delivers, can affect the ratings. So take app store ratings with a pinch of salt when hiring.

Round pegs in square holes?

Finding an exact fit for a successful app is a fallacy. Even when hiring for other positions, the feasible thing to do is to hire for skill rather than the exact capability. So that means the developer could have work on a similar (not identical) area and still have skills that can be relevant to your project. Don’t waste time trying to find that perfect match.

The Yes-Men

If you think you’ve met the right candidate who seems adequately docile, think again. The last thing you need when you’re building an app that is meant to be successful is a developer who merely goes along with everything and blends into the shadows. You need a developer who takes ownership of projects and isn’t afraid to present his/her professional opinion even if it doesn’t agree with yours.

The biggest reason products ship late, is due to changing priorities and mis-managed product development roadmap. A good developer will act as an effective resistance to such urges on the product management side.

Parameter check

If you’ve delved into mobile analytics, you know that your metrics should be derived from your objectives. Similarly, the parameters on which you judge developers should be based on what the objectives of your app are. Also, the parameters need to be prioritized. For instance, a guy that built an enterprise visualisation app will have a steep learning curve when building a flashcard app for kids. The security environment for the former is different from that of the latter. By virtue of what they have been doing before, two app developers can have completely divergent skills.

Hasty search for perfection

Once you’ve found the right developer, give yourselves some time to settle into a rhythm of working together. Initial glitches are expected and not really signs of trouble that should lead to termination. It does not matter how much learning curve is out there. What matters is how does the hire scale on areas that he/she is not exposed to.

Larger picture

It is a common tendency to want to get the most value for the price paid. However, when that tendency threatens to overshadow the whole rationale behind the functionality of the app, it leads to trouble. Find the balance rather than finding ways to ensure that your developer is doing ‘enough work for what he’s being paid’.

There are no absolutes when it comes to hiring the right mobile application developer. But keeping in mind the objectives of the application and the skill and commitment it needs should take you a long way in finding great developers.

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