Hiring a Python developer seems like it should be straightforward: you’re hiring a programmer, after all, and they should all be able to do the same job, right? If only it were that simple!
The technical skills of developers can vary wildly, so whether you’re looking to hire someone on contract or someone full-time, it’s important to keep these top 10 tips in mind as you seek out your next Python developer hire.
Table of Contents
Interview more than one candidate
Candidates who appear more experienced will often come at a higher cost. But even if you’re hiring a junior developer, don’t stop after your first interview. If you can afford it, it’s worth your time to set up back-to-back interviews with two or three candidates. Do some research beforehand so that you ask similar questions of each candidate—and spend extra time digging into how they approach solving problems (and why) during each meeting.
If possible, bring other team members in on multiple interviews too to get different perspectives on what makes a strong developer fit for your team and organization. Also, be sure to factor pricing into your decision; being strategic about when and where you post job openings can help you find qualified talent without spending more than necessary.
Don’t hire a Python developer who doesn’t get your business
To make sure you hire a python developer who understands your business and will do more than just code, conduct two to three interviews and ask candidates: Why are you interested in working at our company? Then ask follow-up questions if their answers don’t sound like they’re thinking about your business needs.
You should hire someone who truly believes that your company is going places – otherwise, it may be a good time to start looking for another potential developer. To get an even better read on candidates, ask open-ended questions (starting with what…? or how…?) that prompt them to talk more in-depth about your business.
Choose someone who has built applications like yours before
In theory, you could hire someone who has no experience building a web application like yours—but that would probably be a mistake. The reason is that it will be difficult to assess whether they can do it or not until they’ve already started working on it.
The bottom line is that hiring someone with experience building something similar to what you want will likely save you time and heartache in both development and debugging. And, if nothing else, it makes sense from a risk perspective: A developer with prior experience developing applications like yours is much less likely to run into unexpected obstacles during development than a developer without any relevant experience.
As an added bonus, many developers charge more per hour when they’re able to show off previous work; hiring someone familiar with your project means you may end up paying them more (which should result in better quality), so there are win-win scenarios all around.
Take notes during interviews
The process of interviewing a candidate can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Take copious notes on what they say; these will help you remember later why you liked or didn’t like a candidate. You may even discover that one interviewee who seemed impressive is really less qualified than another. Remember: If your first hire isn’t an A+ player, things won’t go well for long—so take your time and do a little homework before starting down that path.
This way, you’ll know if there are red flags in their background and whether those should stop you from hiring them altogether. If a candidate’s references are consistently late responding or fail to provide any feedback at all, consider that a warning sign.
Consider an Already-Vetted Developer From an Agency
One of your first considerations should be whether to hire a freelance developer or a team from an agency. Both options have their pros and cons, but agencies can ensure that you get more than just one person—and might have someone who has experience working with your particular business’s needs.
Be sure to check out reviews of any agency before hiring them, however. It’s also good to consider what each option would cost you before making a decision; if you’re launching an early-stage startup or are on a tight budget, saving money may be your top priority. If so, consider freelancers instead. However, if you already have plenty of funding (or expect too soon), it’s not unreasonable to hire a small full-time development team.
Of course, there’s always merit in hiring both types of development teams! Regardless, once you’ve found your dream python developers, make sure they ask questions about how you plan to use their work product throughout development.
Ask developers what they will do after you hire them
Being able to hire and train a new developer isn’t easy. You will want to make sure you ask them what they will do after you hire them. This is good because it shows that they are interested in your company and want to contribute as soon as possible. It also ensures that they have plans set up with other companies if things don’t work out here. Finally, it lets you see their communication style before hiring them so that you can adjust expectations based on their communication style or personality.
Test their code
When hiring a developer, be sure to test their code. This will give you an idea of how skilled they are at writing code that is both efficient and bug-free. There are also other tests you can do when interviewing a candidate such as brain teasers, but they’re not necessarily a good measure of true skillset. Testing their code will allow you to see exactly what they can accomplish by actually doing it.
Test their knowledge
If you want to hire an exceptional developer, make sure to test their knowledge before offering them a job. Be specific and tell them you’ll be asking questions on a specific subject. If they can’t answer your questions in-depth, don’t feel like you have to hire them anyway. This is important because knowing what they don’t know will give you a good idea of how much time you’ll have to spend training them.
One other thing: Most developers are poor interviewers—they don’t ask enough questions about your business and goals, so turn it around and get some insight into their skills and interests. You should know more about who you’re hiring than just their resume or portfolio by the end of your interview.
How much should you pay?
It’s really difficult to give a hard-and-fast rule about how much you should pay for a developer. Rather, it depends on what type of work needs to be done, where it will be done, and how well-qualified your candidate is. When hiring a freelancer, there are two primary considerations:
1) what you can afford (and are willing to spend)
2) Whether or not that person has enough expertise to do the job efficiently and effectively. A good rule of thumb is that if someone has 3+ years of experience in development (Python preferred), their hourly rate should be between $50-$100/hour based on these factors (and depending on location).
What if they get hired, but then don’t want to work?
Before you hire anyone, test their code. Before you even start considering candidates, make sure you have a few code-based projects in mind that will test your developer’s abilities. The best way to go about it is to set up a private repository on GitHub or BitBucket and reach out to people who might be interested in working with you by offering them access to your sealed bids.
They’ll likely jump at that opportunity, so get started!