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Hiring developers (especially React developers) has become insanely difficult over the last few years.
Specifically if you are living in countries like the USA, UK, Netherlands, Norway or Denmark, you’ve most likely experienced how tough it is to hire a talented and reliable React developer.
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 five 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 to hire React.js developers will be harder and harder each year and why it won’t get easier.
Why is it so hard to hire a React developer?
Who to look for?
Create hiring funnel
Creating a hiring funnel will bring you a lot of benefits, help to select the best talents and spot a React.js developer who will fit to your company culturally. We present a possible hiring funnel later in this article.
Why is hiring React developers so hard?
Look at the applications that use React:
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.
- Great scalability of React.js – experienced frontend developers leverage React.js ability to easily create large scale apps.
#3 There are a lot of React.js developers on the market
According to GitHub’s statistics, React is used by 6.4m developers. React has bigger GitHub community that Angular or Vue, and the community is well-known for being active. StackOverflow Developer Survey shows that React.js is the second favourite web framework among professional developers worldwide.
State of JS report shows, that there’s the number of React developers (meaning people who already used React and would use it again) is the biggest comparing to other frameworks.
#4 And on the other hand, there’s high demand for React developers
According to Stackshare, currently 9601 companies actively use React to develop their web applications. They all create a high demand for React developers. Especially the fact that among them are companies like Uber, Airbnb, Facebook, Netflix or Instagram makes it harder to hire a top React developer if your company is smaller or if you run your business in USA or UK.
#5 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.
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.
Making the hire of a promising React developer easier
How to find a talented React developer?
Over the last two years we’ve learned a LOT about hiring, especially React developers. Let me share with you what we’ve learned so far. To the needs of this analysis, I will focus on the last 1.5 years – that’s the period when we were most actively looking for employees (mainly developers) and established an effective process.
During the last 1.5 years, we screened around 1285 people in Poland (mostly developers).
Out of those 1285, we’ve hired 17 amazing people.
So, if you compare it to 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.
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.
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.
Do you need a highly skilled senior React developer?
As Jonathan Siegel’s matrix shows – no. Firstly, those developers are often hard to hire, because their current employers won’t let them go. Secondly, there are a lot of underdeveloped talents on the market. You need a React developer who wants to grow. An engineer who may even not be aware of his/her abilities because they didn’t have opportunity to spread their wings.
Which React.js developers should you look for?
Look for the ones who fit your company culturally. You need the ones who want to learn, engage, and work well in a team. Your job is to spot those hidden gems. How? Start with creating a hiring funnel.
Creating a hiring funnel
We’ve figured out a framework that helps us to hire React developers based on our earlier mentioned experience with screening 1285 potential hires.
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.
- Candidates screening (job ads, reaching via social media or LinkedIn, brand awareness/marketing)
- Test task (sending a task/small app to do)
- Giving specific feedback
- Interview (checking the team/culture fit called Team-Fit Test)
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
4. Giving specific feedback
After checking the candidate’s knowledge we give specific feedback on both test task and technical test. We also send resources they can use to improve the weakest points.
- Technical Skills
- Soft skills (Communication, English level, Teamwork)
- Culture Fit
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)
- All-in-one Tools /Recruitee, Personio, Workable
How to hire React developers – final word
This process allowed us to build a team of engaged, talented people, willing to grow. Paying attention to the cultural fit from the beginning results in flawless cooperation between teammates.
I’m 110% sure that a well-established process and 1-2 dedicated recruiters will help you to build a successful in-house team of React.js developers, but remember that you always have an alternative to this approach – outsourcing.
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 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
This article is a part of Handbook:Building a Software Development Team: From Hiring to Talent Development
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