Hire Node JS Developers – Top Recruiting Tips From a JS Dev Shop

A thought-out process is a fundament of a successful hire. Learn how to select and hire Node JS developers who suit your project using a battle-tested system.

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October 5, 2021

TL;DR

How to hire Node JS developers?

Define your needs

To find a perfect fit for your team, you need to establish who that would be. To give you some examples: a good teammate, excellent level of English, business knowledge, with 3 years of experience, growth-attitude, etc. If you’re not sure who you’re looking for, below you’ll find some tips to create a description of a perfect Node JS developer for your case. Spoiler alert: it may not be the best idea to look for so-called “ninjas”.

Build a process

To filter the best possible hires, you need a set of steps. We call it a hiring funnel (it’s a lot like a sales funnel). Establish how you want to check your candidate’s skills, way of thinking, culture, and team fit. Prepare questions in advance and take a team member to the interview.

Overcome obstacles

Hiring Node JS developers seems difficult because there are a lot of them in the market (but not everyone as experienced and promising as you wish), and there is also high demand. A well-thought-out process is your key to overcome these obstacles.

Introduction

No matter how hard it is to hire Node JS developers these days, you can do that successfully with the right system and careful preparation.

The process presented in this article was used during 1.5 years of scanning 1285 candidates and selecting 17 great people with the perfect culture fit who enrich their organization every day.

Discover how to complement your team with developers well-suited for your project and needs. Let’s start with the first step. 

Who to look for? Start with establishing your needs

Define your needs

Let’s start by specifying your goals.

Before you kick off the whole process, you need to understand and define your needs. Create a unique persona – describe a perfect Node JS developer for your specific case.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Spoiler alert: you may not want to put here “high-skilled Node JS developer, a top player with X years of experience in JavaScript”. It may feel tempting to aim for someone like that but your goal may be almost impossible to achieve.</p></span>

Team players or ‘A’ players?

Jonathan Siegel, a highly successful entrepreneur, never aims for hiring Ninjas (or so-called A players). Rockstars are great to get inside a project for a short time and solve problems. They are great consultants, but not-so-great team players. If you build a culture of teamwork, a ninja may not fit it well.

To present various types of employees, Jonathan Siegel created a matrix:

Before you hire Node JS developers, establish who you look for with the matrix that helps to spot underdeveloped talents.

In the upper-left square of this matrix are the ninjas we described above.

In the bottom-left square, there are unskilled employees who can’t work in teams. You don’t want them – you can fix one but fixing both is too hard.

In the lower square are high-performance individuals who develop inside a company. It’s hard to hire them because employers won’t let them go.

But that’s the place we’re aiming at, right? 

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>So, the best way to get there is to develop your people skills to bring them there.</p></span>

And you can do that with some guys from the bottom-right square. Underdeveloped talents who are engaged and want to grow. With the right training and support, they will become high-performing individuals, remaining great teammates at the same time. They will learn at least twice as fast as regular employees.

Do you need a senior Node JS developer?

While building your team of top Node JS developers, you need at least one senior. Or more, regarding your project’s size. It can also be an external consultant, who will be mentoring your team for a while.

Nevertheless, as it was explained in the foregoing section, don’t aim for a team of ninjas, but your team needs a mentor.

Tech skills

While listing tech skills, analyze with your CTO what knowledge is indispensable for this role in your specific case. Draw the line between indispensable skills and those you are open to give up. What level of experience do your future Node JS developers need to have?

  • Do you look for a full stack developer, or someone specifically specialized in frontend or backend? 
  • Does your future Node JS developer need to have experience in mobile app development, in web development, or both? 
  • Which Node JS frameworks does he/she need to know?

It would be good not to lock up in the Node JS area, but to look at JavaScript as a whole, or even further, if the knowledge of different programming languages would also be helpful at this position.

Plus, here you may want to check things like testing skills, familiarity with DevOps culture, or with Agile.

Cultural fit

During the last 7 years of hiring, we learned one thing: culture fit is crucial. It pays off to look for it in both employees and clients to communicate easier and work more effectively.

Think about your company’s culture. What kind of people fit it? What qualities does your new Node JS developer need to build it with you?

For example:

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

Make a list of your own to profile your perfect fit better.

Other skills

At this point, take a look at soft and additional skills.

A few examples:

  • English fluency
  • Communication skills
  • Work organization
  • Teamwork
  • Willingness to learn

While listing your demands remember, that you can teach your new developer many of those skills. Be open to that possibility, because that way you’re open to spotting underdeveloped talents. But at the same time remember that the lack of a few skills means too much effort for you.

Engineers with business knowledge

It may be a little bit surprising at the first glimpse, but business knowledge is something that allows developers to impact the project in a more comprehensive way

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>It helps to make business-wise decisions and look at the product as a whole, not just a bunch of features or a piece of code.</p></span>

It’s not easy to find Node JS developers with that kind of skill set. Many times, if they are that skilled, they work as consultants. However, you may add business knowledge to your list of needed skills as an option, and simply check it during the interview. And then, treat it as an advantage. 

Either way, it’s a good practice to tear some boundaries between business and tech and bring that culture to your company.

Look in the right places – where to find top Node JS developers?

Job boards

Job boards allow you to reach a large number of software developers with minimal effort, but you should expect to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications from job candidates who may not be suitable for the job.

Social media

LinkedIn is great for research. You can not only screen your candidates there but also actively look for the ones that meet your requirements and reach out to them. Developers also like to share knowledge on blogs.

Freelancing platforms

Freelancing platforms, such as Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Toptal, or Fiverr, are the other places to find Node JS developers. 

The main advantage of freelancing platforms is the fact that you can see the rating and experience of each freelancer and relatively easily decide which of them fit your requirements. Unfortunately, freelancers often don’t have time to take on more challenging and complex projects.

Matching services

At matching services like Toptal, you gain access to a network of top industry experts. Toptal pre-selects Node JS developers for you. Hired and Gun.io work similarly. These services are perfect for finding high-quality developers quickly with little to no regard to cost.

Software development agencies

Software development agencies allow you to hire a team of Node JS developers who can work exclusively for you, helping you turn your vision into reality. You can easily augment your team with one or a few developers. 

The advantage is that the company takes full responsibility for its part. They also share their knowledge with your team, working as mentors, helping your team to skill up, advising you how to improve the process, and make better product decisions with business in mind.

How to hire Node JS developers?

Time to determine your hiring process – the steps that will lead you to filter the exact kind of people you need.

Establish a process

Try to think of hiring as making sales. Especially B2B sales. You need to find or attract the right person, check if you speak a similar language, and if there’s a fit – do your best to close the deal.

To achieve that, you need a process. And similarly to a sales funnel, you can create a hiring funnel.

For us, that helped us to hire 17 amazing teammates, who we filtered out of 1285 people.

Create a hiring funnel

To hire Node JS developers with more confidence and success, create a hiring funnel - from awareness stage to action.

Below we present our hiring funnel. You can create a similar one or adjust it to your needs.

  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 (JavaScript quiz with open questions)
  4. Giving specific feedback
  5. Interview (checking the team/culture fit called Team-Fit Test)
  6. Hired/Not-hired

1. Candidate screening

Fill the pipeline of potential candidates, who seem to fit the profile you’ve created in the beginning.

2. Test task

The test task is not only about verifying skills but also engagement. If a candidate really wants to work at your company he will be able to spend a few hours delivering a task in a framework that they may not even be familiar with. It will also help you to see if the candidate can find creative solutions while working with tools they never used before.

3. Technical test

Time to prepare a few tricky problems to solve. Again, you test the knowledge here but also find out their way of thinking. You can also ask here a few Node JS-related questions.

4. Giving specific feedback

Give specific feedback on the test task and technical test to your candidate. You can also send them resources they can use to improve the weakest points.

5. Interview

During the interview, you will be able to check the candidate’s technical skills, soft skills (like communication, English level, teamwork), cultural fit, and team fit. Prepare questions that will allow you to check the candidate’s values, goals, and attitude.

6. Hire/Not-hired

Give final feedback regardless of what it would be. Have a call to discuss why somebody won’t be hired or give the good news that the candidate is hired and discuss the terms in more detail.

To hire Node JS developers with confidence – prepare well

Create a clear job description

When writing a job description, you should always speak directly to candidates to grab their attention. The demand to hire Node JS developers is great at the moment, and boring, impersonal job postings are often overlooked.

Make sure to use a clear job title, and definitely avoid non-traditional job titles, which typically only create confusion. The job description should include a brief overview of your company’s culture, a detailed description of the job, a list of responsibilities, expected skills, as well as qualifications. Don’t forget to also mention the benefits and perks of the job. 

Last but not least, job candidates always appreciate when companies are upfront about salary from the get-go so don’t keep any secrets.

<span class="colorbox1" fs-test-element="box1"><p>Pro tip: a job offer should illustrate your company’s culture and values. That will be your first candidate filter. For that, you’ll need a great copy. Your company culture should speak throughout the whole offer.</p></span>

Pro tip: a job offer should illustrate your company’s culture and values. That will be your first candidate filter. For that, you’ll need a great copy. Your company culture should speak throughout the whole offer.

Prepare for the interview 

The next step is to prepare relevant interview questions

The questions should be challenging enough to get rid of all bad apples while keeping outstanding candidates interested. 

Here are 10 common Node JS development interview questions that can help you hire Node JS developers that deserve a place on your team:

  • What is event-driven programming?
  • What is REPL in Node JS?
  • How would you debug an application in Node JS?
  • What are some of the most popular modules of Node JS?
  • What are the timing features of Node JS?
  • How does Node JS handle child threads?
  • What is REPL? What purpose is it used for?
  • Explain what is the Reactor Pattern in Node JS.
  • What is callback hell in Node JS?
  • What are the functionalities of NPM in Node JS?

It’s a moment when you can check your candidate’s approach to solving problems and their way of thinking.

Establish how to check team and culture fit

Company culture is what attracts or repels people. 

If you haven’t done it yet, start by identifying your culture and values

Then, prepare the right 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?

It will be helpful to invite a team member to this interview. Look for an instant vibe between your candidate and a team member. After the interview, your employee’s opinion will be one of your sources of knowledge.

Choose your toolset

There’s no golden mean here. You need tools for communication, prospecting, and following-up talks. 

To give you a few examples:

  • 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 the tools, most of the paid ones offer free trials. Your goal is to gather the set of tools that respond to your team’s specific needs.

Why hire Node JS developers in the first place?

Because Node JS makes it easy to build and scale real-time network applications that work across multiple devices

Node JS is based on JavaScript, the most popular programming language according to Stack Overflow, which is why software developers feel very comfortable learning it. Even though Node JS has been around only since 2009, many leading companies and organizations have already used it with great success, including Netflix, eBay, NASA, Uber, and PayPal, just to name a few.

“What sets Node JS apart is the ecosystem we have around it,” says Tracy Hinds, education community manager of the Node JS Foundation. “Node JS is open-source; it’s the core language that lives on the server-side, and JavaScript lives on the web side. That means there’s a pretty good chance, no matter what your language, that you’ll use JavaScript at some point if you’re developing for the web.”

Thanks to Node JS, software developers can build everything from messaging apps to streaming data apps to IoT products, all while reaping its numerous benefits, which include excellent performance and scalability, cross-platform development, a rich ecosystem, strong corporate support, uniformity in data streaming, and more.

Why will it be hard to find and hire Node JS developers and what to do about that?

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in the world

According to Stack Overflow Trends, its popularity remains steadily high since 2014.

It's hard to hire Node JS developers because of the vast popularity of JavaScript.
Image source

In Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey 2021 you can spot that among professional developers, JavaScript is in the first place, and Node JS is on the 6th.

JavaScript is the most popular programming language in the world, which makes it hard to hire Node JS developers.
Image source

What’s the consequence?

Lots of JavaScript and Node JS developers available. 

There are many JavaScript developers on the market, which makes it hard to hire Node JS developers who fit our requirements.
Image source
There are many Node JS developers on the market, which makes it hard to hire Node JS developers who fit our requirements.
Image source

There are 3030 Node JS contributors on GitHub and 106 675 registered developers on Stackshare.

Challenge: it’s hard to pick the one that suits your project.

Lots of companies working with JavaScript and Node JS.

Many companies use JavaScript, which makes it hard to hire Node JS developers because of the high competition.
Image source

Challenge: high competition and high demand

Plus, it’s not easy to hire people at all.

Lucjan Samulowski, co-founder of docplanner.com and Goldenline (Polish LinkedIn) during 19 years of recruitment, hired 400 people for sales and fired 100 of them because they weren’t a good fit for the company. 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 to do about that?

Hiring is difficult, and it’s difficult to be right. And it becomes even harder in the case of developers.

But the solution is, in fact, simple. It’s to establish the process we wrote about before – establish it carefully, with details – experiment with various solutions, and simply engage. It’s hard but it’s worth it. At the end of the road, there’s another gem that will power your company.

How to hire Node JS developers in a nutshell

A cheat sheet

  1. Determine your company culture. It’s a difficult task but trust us, it’s worth it to gather a team of like-minded people from the beginning.
  2. Define your needs. In terms of tech and soft skills, as well as experience. Choose which bars you’re willing to lower in the case of a promising individual.
  3. Analyze Jonathan Siegel’s matrix and choose what kind of people you want to find.
  4. Start building your hiring funnel – determine steps needed to perform a successful hire from top to bottom.
  5. Prepare all the materials needed for tests and interviews. Pick your questions to check team and cultural fit. Write a perfect job offer.
  6. Pick the places to look for Node JS developers.
  7. Choose employees who will be engaged in particular phases of the funnel. Remember to invite a team member for a call when you will be checking team and cultural fit.
  8. Pick tools you’ll need to conduct the whole process most efficiently. 
  9. Remember to give specific feedback to candidates. After all, during the hiring process, you build and prove your brand image.
  10. Be stubborn about it and learn from your mistakes.

Your turn

We wrote here a lot about the difficulty of finding the best Node JS developers. But in the end, it may not be nearly as difficult as it may seem. 

Yep, you need to put in a lot of effort, especially during the preparations, but ultimately you just need to know where to look, who to look for, and how to communicate your needs and requirements. 

Time to take some action. Good luck!

Matt Warcholinski
github
COO & Co-Founder
Olga Gierszal
github
Editor

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