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How to Hire Top React Developers?

Hiring developers (especially React.js developers) has become insanely difficult over the last few years.

Especially if you are living in countries like the USA, UK, Netherlands, Norway or Denmark, you’ve experienced how tough it is to hire talented and reliable React developers.

As a leader who is growing/scaling a company, the most important skill that you should have or learn is:

Hiring great people who fit their roles and your company’s culture.

During the last four years at Brainhub, we’ve figured out that the process of finding and hiring talented react.js developers is like making sales. I’d like to share with you what we’ve learned and the processes we have established for ourselves:

  • Who we hire and why we look for a very specific group of people
  • What tools we use to find/hire/verify developers
  • How our process of recruitment looks

But first, let me tell you, why hiring amazing JavaScript developers will be harder and harder each year and why it won’t get easier.

Why is hiring React developers so hard?

#1 Everybody is using JavaScript today

React, Node.js, Electron, React Native and a few more awesome pieces are being used by top companies around the world. Doesn’t matter if we talk about the Fortune 500 businesses, startups or companies like Uber, Airbnb, PwC, Walmart, Netflix.

React developers and companies they work for

You can read more about who is using JavaScript to build their desktop applications with Electron, mobile applications with React Native or backend with Node.js.

You can call it hype-driven development, but in many cases, it makes sense because this technology can give you a huge advantage over your competitors. I’m talking here about:

  • Usability of the app
  • One codebase to rule them all – React Native gives you a mobile experience for iOS and Android so very often you can’t see the difference with a native application
  • You can tackle desktop with Electron (JS framework), web and hardware with Node.js and mobile platforms with React Native – so, you don’t need so many developers with completely different skills, which are really hard to find or replace. You simply hire full-stack developers to handle all of the cases.

#2 JavaScript is growing fast as hell

Based on the Stackoverflow stats, javascript jobs are now the biggest chunk of the internet’s jobs. You can see something similar on Github.

Stack Overflow technology trend 2018 - JavaScript

The number of JavaScript repositories has been the most trending and fastest growing for the past 2 years.

Javascript language growing trend

If we have a peek at Reddit, you can see that people are talking a lot about JS, React, React Native, Node.js etc.

The thing is that the JS-related frameworks are still quite young and there aren’t enough specialists or people who have used it for production-ready apps on a bigger scale.

#3 Hiring great people is simply difficult

It doesn’t matter how experienced you are and how many people you have hired, it’s simply really hard to be right.

For instance, Lucjan Samulowski, one of the co-founders of docplanner.com and Goldenline (Polish LinkedIn), a recruiter for over 19 years now, said that in his career he’s hired 400 people just for sales and fired 100 of them because they weren’t a good fit for the company. With the 1st salesperson, he failed 6 times before hiring the right one – and he made this mistake in both companies.

Lucjan Samulowski Pipeline Summit Hiring People Docplanner

So, even if you have a lot of experience, you should be really humble about hiring people. They need not only a good skill set but also they should fit in with your culture (which is super hard to define) and vision and be great team players.

Jack Welch used to say that if you get the hiring right over 50% of the time, consider yourself talented at executive search consulting and recruitment services.

Which React Developers should you look for?

With my co-founder, I run a JavaScript-focused software development company and over the last two years we’ve learned a LOT about hiring, especially React Developers (Our #1 Front-end library is React). Let me share you what we’ve learned so far.

During 1.5 years, we screened around 1285 people in Poland (mostly developers).

Brainhub career CRM

Out of those 1285, we’ve hired 17 amazing people.

So, if you compare it to the Toptal, who hires the ‘top 3% of the freelancers around the world, then Brainhub is hiring 1.3% of the best people we can find.

brainhub-toptal-top-developers-hires-comparison

The reason for that is simple -> We want to be the best remote JavaScript team in the world.

An additional advantage is that with the best people, you get less stress. You don’t have to stress about:

  • When it will be delivered (ownership)
  • Why it isn’t delivered yet (ownership)
  • Why it isn’t working (ownership…)

The work thus becomes a pleasure for both sides – employee and employer.

Now, let me share with you which people we’ve hired and why you should take a similar path if you want to build a top-notch, engaged and well-performing team.

OKDork Noah Kagan hiring teammates vs skills matrix

Jonathan Siegel is a highly successful entrepreneur (he has bought 29 (mostly tech) companies and has sold many of them).

Jonathan doesn’t hire so-called ‘A players’, ‘Rockstars’, ‘Ninjas’ etc., (they are placed in the upper-left square of the picture above). Those people are usually great consultants for a short time period. They get inside the project, solve the problems and get out. Often they can be toxic for your culture (if you build a strong teamwork/synergy culture), so don’t bring them on for the long-term.

Bottom-left square is straight-forward – you don’t want to hire unskilled workers who can’t work in teams. It’s too hard to fix both at once.

Upper-right square consists of high-performance individuals who you want to develop inside your company, but it’s extremely hard to hire some on the market because a reasonable employer doesn’t want to let them go. You want to develop your people skills to bring them to this magical square.

Bottom-right square are those guys you need to look for on the market. We call them ‘Pure Talents’ at Brainhub. They have really similar skills and at some point you feel/see a potential talent who learns damn fast, is engaged and is becoming a high performing individual. They will learn minimum twice as fast as regular employees.

Let me tell you now what we do at our company to recognize those talents and snatch them up from the market.

How can you find talented React Developers?

We’ve figured out a framework that helps us to hire talented React developers based on our earlier mentioned experience with screening 1285 potential hires.

Hiring funnel Javascript developers

We’ve divided our recruiting process into a few parts, so in the end, it looks really similar to a sales funnel. We call it a hiring funnel.

HIRING FUNNEL

1. Candidates screening (job ads, reaching via social media or Linkedin,
brand awareness/marketing)
2. Test task (sending a task/small app to do)
3. Technical test (General JavaScript ABCD quiz)
4. Interview (checking the team/culture fit called Team-Fit Test)
5. Hired/Not-hired

1. Candidate screening
It’s a stage where we fill the pipeline of potential candidates. We verify here if the candidate has:
– Enough experience for the position
– General interest in/passion for technology

2. Test task
We verify if the candidate really wants to work at our company and is able to spend 1-2 hours to prove it by delivering a solved task in a framework that they may not even be familiar with. It helps us to see if the candidate can find solutions even though he hasn’t worked with the framework/library before.

3. Technical test
During the interview, we ask JavaScript related questions and give tricky problems to solve. Some of the ones we use:

Technical knowledge quiz for hiring javascript developers

4. Interview
We check:
– Technical Skills
– Soft skills (Communication, English level, Teamwork)
– Culture Fit

5. Hire/Not-hired
We have a call to discuss why somebody won’t be hired by us (giving feedback) or give the good news that the candidate is hired and discuss the terms in more detail.

Tools you need to find talented React Developers

There are no ‘silver bullets’ behind our curtain. The tools are here to help us, but the process and constant hard work are the most crucial parts of the hiring process.

Communication / Gmail, Phone calls, Skype, appear.in,

Prospecting / Linkedin, Github, local classified ads, Facebook Groups, LinkedIn Groups, Paid Advertisement on Meetups

Following-up talks (CRM) / Hubspot, Dashboard to control the progress (see the example made with Google Sheets below)

CRM for hiring react developers

All-in-one Tools / Recruitee, Personio, Workable

Hiring React Developers – Final word

I’m 110% sure that a well-established process and 1-2 dedicated recruiters will help you to build an in-house React development team, but remember that you have always an alternative to this approach – outsourcing. Learn more on how to choose a software development partner here.

Hiring an external React software development partner could help you especially when:

  • You have really tight deadlines to meet/deliver your product and don’t have enough time/resources to hire/test new developers,
  • You want to speed up your software development process only for some limited time (React.js team augmentation) and you don’t need too many in-house React developers,
  • You aren’t very experienced with hiring developers and you’re afraid of making expensive hiring mistakes (See the article: “Everything You Should Know Before Hiring A Software Development Company“)

Not sure which option will be best for you? Drop us a line, we’d love to help!

Resources:

  • https://insights.stackoverflow.com/trends
  • https://trends.google.com/trends/
  • https://www.slideshare.net/PipelineSummit/lucjan-samulowskipipeline-summit (image)
  • http://okdork.com/buying-a-business-jonathan-siegel/ (image)

Matt Warcholinski

Matt Warcholinski is the COO of Brainhub (a software house building awesome node.js web and mobile apps) who loves to build startups and play guitar.

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