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06 Oct, 2021;

5 min.

How to Find and Hire JavaScript Developers?

JavaScript developers may be fairly easy to hire, but the reason for that isn’t their abundance on the market. Successful hiring is like making sales and requires preparation. You’ll find and hire a JavaScript developer easily after preparing a thought-out process. Learn how to do that.

Matt
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Olga
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Introduction

Before you dive into the process of researching JavaScript developers﹣hold on for a moment and learn how to do it quickly, efficiently, and with as few mistakes as possible.

The high number of JavaScript developers in the tech world actually makes it harder to find the ones that fit your project and company.

That’s why we learned to approach hiring a little bit like sales.

Our tool of choice, worked out during 1.5 years of scanning 1285 candidates and hiring 17 amazing people, is a hiring funnel.

It gives you the ability to find, attract, and filter candidates according to your needs, while simultaneously presenting your brand culture.

After reading this article, you’ll know how to create a hiring funnel of yours and how to prepare for each step.

No time to waste. Let’s dive in.

How to hire JavaScript developers?

A hiring funnel is a tool that will allow you to set up steps needed to filter the right candidates. But to be able to establish it wisely, you need to know who you’re looking for.

There are a few steps you can’t skip before kicking off the recruitment process, like defining your company culture and the qualities of the people who fit in.

And after building a funnel, you need to prepare for the process: choose tools, people responsible, gather materials.

There’s some homework to do, but it’s worth it. Plus, we will take you by the hand through the whole process.

Let’s start with defining the qualities of the best JavaScript developer for your project.

Determine your needs

Building a team? Avoid ninjas

Ninjas, A players, rockstars. Many companies brag about having a bunch of them onboard. But the truth is, it’s nearly impossible to build a team of rockstars. Most often, rockstars are not the best teammates.

Look at Jonathan Siegel’s matrix below. So-called rockstars are placed in the upper right square. They are great consultants to join the project for a short period.

Before you start to hire JavaScript developers, analyze this matrix to find the balance between teammates and skills, and spot underdeveloped talents.
Image source

In the bottom-left square, there are unskilled employees who have trouble working in teams. Fixing both of these things is too hard.

In the lower-right square are highly-skilled developers who constantly grow and are great teammates. That’s where we’re aiming at. But unfortunately, they are extremely hard to hire, because employers won’t let them go.

The best way to get there is to develop your people skills to bring them to this square.

You can do that with candidates from the bottom-right square. These are underdeveloped talents who are engaged and want to grow their wings in the right environment. With the right support, they will become high-performing developers, remaining great teammates at the same time.

The importance of culture and values

Cultural match makes communication easier and work more efficient. Gathering a team of like-minded people, who share similar values, it’s the first step to frictionless cooperation and satisfaction.

Think about your company’s culture. What kind of people share it? Make a list of qualities.

For example:

  • Engaged
  • Passionate
  • Eager to grow and learn
  • Not afraid to take responsibility
  • Honest
  • Helpful
  • Great teammate
  • Proactive

What can help is choosing a well-known character, from a movie or book, that represents your culture and describing the character’s qualities.

Tech skills

Determine the knowledge of which JavaScript libraries and frameworks you require: React.js, Vue.js, Node.js, Angular.js, Electron.js, React Native, and others. What level of experience should the candidates have?

There are a lot of JavaScript frameworks, each requiring specific skills you may want to test, but if someone has experience with one of them, it will be fairly easy to learn a new one, especially with a mentor.

Think about your needs:

  • Do you need a full stack developer?
  • Does your new JavaScript developer need to have experience with frontend or backend development?
  • Do you need them to have experience with mobile app development, web development, desktop apps, or all?

You may want to establish a candidate’s knowledge and experience with:

  • Testing
  • DevOps culture (CI/CD)
  • Agile methodology

Soft skills

Determine a set of essential soft skills your future developer needs to have to fit your team. These can be, for example:

  • Communication skills
  • Teamwork
  • Organization of work
  • Willingness to learn
  • Open-mindedness
  • Helpfulness
  • Accountability
  • Creativity

Their way of thinking

A candidate can solve your test task wrong or make a mistake answering your technical questions, but in the meantime, manifest a creative way of thinking and an unusual approach to solving problems. Sometimes it can mean more. If you’re impressed by a candidate’s intellect and mindset, don’t reject them because of a mistake or lack of some tech knowledge they can quickly catch up.

English fluency

The level of English is especially important when you don’t live in a natively English-speaking country and need your developers to work for an external partner or cooperate with people abroad, or you do but you look for developers overseas.

However, English fluency is something that can be improved fairly quickly, for example, during a Bootcamp. And again, it’s a matter of mindset. If someone is willing to learn and actually improve, mediocre knowledge of a needed foreign language shouldn’t be a blocker.

Business knowledge

Sounds awkward? Business knowledge allows developers to impact the project in a more profound way. It helps them to make business-wise decisions. 

If a developer understands the business value of a product, he can do a lot more than just writing a piece of code or a bunch of features.

However, it’s not easy to find JavaScript developers with a business skillset. With that knowledge, they often work as external consultants.

Either way, it’s a good practice to break down the walls between business and tech. Knowledge silos make it harder to communicate, understand the big picture, and make product-wise decisions.

Pro tip: If you’re hiring a developer for your team, remember that you can teach them many things and it’s definitely worth your time. Be open to spot underdeveloped talents. On the other hand, if you decide to hire a JavaScript developer from an agency, he should be skilled and pass those skills to your team.

Build a hiring funnel

To hire JavaScript developers with confidence and success, build a hiring funnel - from awareness stage to action.

After gathering all those demands, it’s time to build a hiring funnel. For us, it looks like this:

  • Candidates screening (job ads, reaching via social media or LinkedIn, brand awareness/marketing)
  • Test task (sending a task/small app to do)
  • Technical test (JavaScript quiz with open questions)
  • Giving specific feedback
  • Interview (checking the team/culture fit called Team-Fit Test)
  • Hired/Not-hired

Let’s take a look at the details of each phase.

1. Candidate screening

Start with filling the pipeline with potential candidates, who seem to fit the profile you’ve created earlier. Look actively. Besides, put job offers in the right places.

2. Test task

It’s not only about verifying tech skills but also engagement. If a candidate really wants to work with you he will be eager to spend a few hours on a test task. It’s a good move to ask candidates to deliver a task in a framework that they’re familiar with. It helps to see their way of thinking and check if they can find creative solutions.

3. Technical test

Time for a few JavaScript-related questions and tricky problems to solve. That’s another way to test candidates’ approaches to solving problems and their creativity.

4. Giving specific feedback

It’s crucial to give your specific feedback on the test task and technical test. They devoted their time, now it’s time to devote yours. Send them resources they can use to improve the weakest points.

5. Interview

You’ve filtered all the candidates regarding the tech skills you need. Of course, during the interview, there’s also a place for tech-related questions, but it’s a perfect moment to check soft skills (communication, English level, teamwork, willingness to learn, etc.), cultural fit, and team fit. Prepare questions that explore the candidate’s values, goals, and attitude. And bring a team member for the interview – they will express their opinions then and help you decide.

6. Hire/Not-hired

A candidate needs your final feedback regardless of what it would be. Discuss with them openly why they won’t be hired, what they need to improve, or give them the good news and talk about the terms in more detail.

Prepare to the whole process

Write a good job offer

It’s time to compose your requirements into a job offer.

Speak directly to candidates to grab their attention. There’s high demand for JavaScript developers and your company needs to distinguish from the very beginning.

Use a clear job title so as not to create confusion. Include a brief description of your company’s culture, detailed description of the job, list of responsibilities, expected skills, and qualifications, as well as benefits and perks. Plus, candidates always appreciate when a salary is not a secret.

Pro tip: a job offer should illustrate your company’s culture and values. That will be your first candidate filter. Try to blend it into the whole text, instead of writing two strict sentences about it.

Establish how to check the knowledge of your potential JavaScript developer

Prepare a few challenging questions to check your candidate’s knowledge and discover how they think and solve problems.

Ask about JavaScript, but also about specific tools, frameworks, and libraries.

Of course, there will be a set of indispensable skills you’ll want to check, but besides that concentrate on throwing your candidates a challenge and observing how they react.

Determine how to check team and cultural fit

If you haven’t done it yet, start with defining your company’s culture and values.

It will be your north star. You’ll be able to avoid mismatched character traits.

Then, prepare the right set of questions to ask during the interview.

For example:

  • Describe a work environment in which you would be unhappy.
  • What characteristics make the best leader?
  • You said you like to grow at your workplace. What do you mean by that?
  • How do you like to learn new things?

Invite a team member to this interview. If there’s an instant vibe between your candidate and a team member, that’s a great sign. Plus, after the interview, your employee’s opinion will be indispensable.

Pick the best tools

You have to gather the whole toolset to suit your specific requirements, but most likely you’ll need tools for communication, prospecting, and following-up talks

A few examples for each category:

  • Communication: Gmail, Skype, Zoom, appear.in,
  • Prospecting: Linkedin, Github, Paid Advertisement, Meetups
  • Following-up talks (CRM): Hubspot, a dashboard to control the progress (example below)
  • All-in-one: Recruitee, Personio, Workable, Breezy HR

Test a few tools (most of the paid ones have free trial options) and choose the ones that suit your team’s needs best.

Where to find JavaScript developers?

There are a lot of places where you can look for JavaScript developers. The key is to pick the ones that suit your needs.

Job boards

Using job boards allows you to reach a high number of programmers easily, however, you may also receive a lot of applications from non-suitable candidates.

LinkedIn

It’s a great source, especially when you want to research candidates on your own, not only wait for the applications to flow towards you. The downside of LinkedIn is that not everyone keeps their profile updated. However, LinkedIn makes it easy to land in the promising developer’s mailbox.

Other social media platforms

Depending on what qualities you seek, you can try screening also other social media, along with groups. Some developers actively publish specialized content on YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. You can also look at blogs.

Matching services

Matching services like Toptal pre-select JavaScript developers for you, helping you gain access to a network of top industry experts. They are perfect for finding high-quality developers as fast as possible with little to no regard for cost.

For instance, the famous Toptal Screening Process starts with a comprehensive language, personality, and communication interview and continues with an in-depth skill review, live screening, test projects, and ongoing evaluation. Typically, fewer than 3 percent of all applicants are accepted by Toptal, which is why the platform is trusted by leading companies like Hewlett Packard, Zendesk, Thumbtack, Pfizer, and NetApp.

Other popular matching services include Hired and Gun.io. The former combines intelligent job matching with unbiased career counseling to bring transparency into salary offers, competing opportunities, and job details, while the latter claims to have the most comprehensive vetting process in the entire freelance industry.

Freelance marketplaces

Freelance marketplaces like Upwork, Fiverr, and PeoplePerHour are at the opposite end of the scale from matching services. Virtually any JavaScript developer can easily create an account on a freelance marketplace and start advertising his or her services. As such, they give you access to a seemingly endless pool of talent, but it’s up to you to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Freelance marketplaces are great for simple tasks that don’t take too long to complete and require only very little back and forth. They are great for web administrators who would like to implement a certain feature using JavaScript but don’t know how to do it themselves.

Experienced JavaScript developers tend to move away from freelance marketplaces as soon as possible, which is why we advise against using them as a way to find full-time developers to create a complex app with many polished features.

Software development agencies

For professional work where a certain level of quality must be guaranteed, an agency is usually the best choice. Such companies typically employ multiple JavaScript professionals with different skill sets as well as designers, testers, project managers, analysts, marketing experts, and so on.

Companies can turn a rough idea into a fully realized product, and they can be held accountable for the work they deliver. It’s much more pleasant to work with a single company than to recruit JavaScript developers from all around the world and personally manage each one of them.

Top JavaScript developers are hard to find

Anyone can learn JavaScript

The incredible rise of JavaScript can be attributed to many things, but the importance of the simplicity of the language cannot be overstated.

Virtually anyone can start a JavaScript tutorial right now and finish their first web app just a few days later. JavaScript developers don’t even have to write applications from scratch. Instead, they can use many battle-tested JavaScript frameworks and build complex apps from pre-packaged components.

“Because the Node ecosystem is huge, and there’s so much code; so many modules already written, one of the first things any Node developer asks when they’re programming is, ‘Is there an npm for that?’” Jeff McAffer, director of the open-source programs office at Microsoft, explains the role of npm (node package manager) in modern JavaScript development. “In other words, developers ask themselves, ‘Has someone already solved this problem and written code that I can use in my own project?’” he adds.

The ecosystem around JavaScript is in a constant state of flux, and all the top positions may be occupied by completely different frameworks just two or three years from now.

JavaScript everywhere – and it makes your job harder

According to the Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey 2021, JavaScript is the most popular programming language among professional developers. What’s more, it’s the most commonly used language for nine years in a row.

It's not easy to hire JavaScript developers because there are a lot of them on the market - according to Stack Overflow, JS is the most popular programming language in the world.
Image source

As you can see in the Stack Overflow Trends, the popularity of JavaScript remains high since 2014.

It's not easy to hire JavaScript developers because there are a lot of them on the market - according to Stack Overflow, JS is one of the most popular programming languages in the world.
Image source

There are a lot of JavaScript developers on the market, and it’s hard to find the one that suits your project.

What’s more, a lot of companies use JavaScript and its various frameworks and libraries. That makes your recruitment job even harder because you need to compete with various players. The job is especially difficult in countries like the USA, UK, or Netherlands.

Plus, it’s not easy to hire people at all. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, said that if you hire the right people over 50% of the time, you can consider yourself talented.

What is the solution?

As you can probably imagine, it’s not easy to find and recruit JavaScript developers who know just the right frameworks and have all the other skills recruiters look for, including the ability to quickly and efficiently analyze client requirements, collaborate and communicate with others, and compose readable code that can be used later on for new software projects, just to give a few examples.

But to be honest, the solution is pretty simple. You need a process, engagement, and persistence.

Build a process, and we mean establish it carefully, with all the details. Experiment with various solutions. Engage, do your research, and don’t give up. Be stubborn about it. And learn from your mistakes. It won’t be easy in the beginning, but it will get easier with every candidate. 

How to hire JavaScript developers with confidence﹣a cheat sheet

  1. Define your company culture and values. It will serve as a north star to gather a team of like-minded people.
  2. Determine your needs. Create a list of tech and soft skills needed. What level of experience does your candidate need to have? Choose which bars you’re willing to lower when someone’s mindset amazes you.
  3. Take a close look at Jonathan Siegel’s matrix and choose what kind of people you want to hire.
  4. Build a hiring funnel﹣establish all the steps needed to perform a successful hire.
  5. Prepare for tasks and interviews. Gather all the materials needed. Pick your questions to check team and cultural fit. Write a perfect job offer.
  6. Pick the places to look for JavaScript developers and put your offer on. Research actively.
  7. Choose employees who will engage in particular phases. Invite a team member for a call when you will be checking team and cultural fit.
  8. Pick the most efficient and useful tools for your recruitment process.
  9. Give specific feedback. Build a positive brand image.
  10. And learn from your mistakes during the process. With each candidate, you will get better and better at this. 

Your turn

The demand for JavaScript developers seems insatiable these days, but not all developers that advertise their services online are ready to take on complex projects.

We wrote a lot about how hard it is to find and recruit JavaScript developers, but with the right preparation, it gets easier.

Put some effort in the beginning, immerse yourself in this process, and we’re sure that you’ll end up with an awesome team of like-minded, engaged people who will grow their wings with you. Just like we did.