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08 Sep, 2021;

7 min.

How to Hire React Developers?

Hiring React developers is a lot like making sales. You need a solid plan and a hiring funnel to find hidden gems in the crowd. Read on, if you want to know how to handle the hiring challenge step by step.

Matt
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Bianka
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Olga
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Introduction

After reading this article, you’ll know how to organize the whole process of hiring React developers to save time and find the talents tailored to your business needs. 

You’ll acknowledge a set of battle-tested techniques and tools – we’ve established those while screening over 1285 candidates and hiring 17 amazing people.

Without further ado, let’s take you there.

TL;DR

Why is it so hard to hire a React developer?

It’s hard to hire React.js developers, because JavaScript is growing fast and is one of the most popular programming languages. Therefore, there are a lot of quality engineers on the market, and simultaneously there’s a high demand. It’s difficult to find gems in the crowd and win the hiring race with top market players.

Who to look for?

First step to make hiring easier is to look for the right people. Fact is, you don’t need a squad of highly skilled senior React.js developers with lots of experience. Seek those who learn fast and are great teammates. Underdeveloped talents, eager to engage and learn are your best investment.

Establish a process and create a hiring funnel

A hiring funnel is basically a set of steps composed in a way that would allow you to select specific talents. The process should be tailored to your needs. We present a hiring funnel we use to find React engineers later in this article.

Why is it so hard to hire React developers?

Hiring developers (especially a React.js developer, or even in general full-stack JavaScript engineer) has become insanely difficult over the last few years.

Particularly 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.

Why? Let’s analyze why hiring React.js developers becomes so hard so you can prepare.

#1 Everybody is using JavaScript today

React.js, Node.js, Electron, React Native, and a few more JavaScript frameworks and libraries 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.

Look at the applications that use React:

Hiring React developers is difficult because of the vast popularity of the framework - almost 10 000 companies are using React.
Image source

Hiring React developers is difficult because of the vast popularity of the framework – almost 10 000 companies are using React.

You can call it hype-driven development, but in many cases, using JavaScript makes sense because this technology can give a huge advantage over competitors, when you:

  • Leverage great scalability of React.js – experienced frontend developers take advantage of React.js ability to easily create large scale apps.
  • Work time- and talent-efficiently. Develop desktop apps with Electron.js, web and hardware with Node.js, mobile platforms with React Native. You don’t need many developers with completely different skills, which are really hard to find or replace. You simply hire full-stack JavaScript developers to handle all of the cases. That’s what we call talent efficiency.
  • Easily go mobile with React Native – one codebase to rule them all. A JavaScript library for mobile development provides experience so great that very often you can’t see the difference with a native application (also in terms of performance if the app is developed well). 
  • Plus, JavaScript equals usability.

#2 JavaScript is growing fast as hell

Based on the Stack Overflow Trends, JavaScript is one of the most popular languages right now.

Hiring React developers is difficult because JavaScript is one of the most popular technologies according to StackOverflow.
Image source

Stack Overflow’s annual Developer Survey says that JavaScript is the most popular technology among professional developers.

It's hard to hire React developers because JavaScript is one of the most popular technologies and it's hard to pick gems from the crowd.
Image source

You can see similar trend on GitHub – JavaScript is the most popular programming language by repository contributors since 2014, followed by Python and Java. The number of JavaScript repositories has been the most trending and fastest growing for the past years.

It's hard to hire React developers because JavaScript is the most popular language and it's hard to pick gems from the crowd.
Image source

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

Huge and still growing community of developers makes it hard to find the most promising talents in that crowd.

#3 There are a lot of React.js developers on the market

According to GitHub’s statistics, React is used by 7.4m developers. React has a bigger GitHub community than Angular or Vue, and the community is well-known for being active.

StackOverflow Developer Survey shows that React.js is the most popular web framework among professional developers.

It's hard to hire React developers because React is the most popular web framework and it's hard to pick gems from the crowd.
Image source

And The State of JS 2020 shows that React is the most used JavaScript front-end framework. In the same research we can actually see how many React developers are on the market.

Hiring React developers is difficult because React is the most used JavaScript framework according to State of JS.
Image source

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.

Hiring React developers is difficult because React is the most used JavaScript framework according to State of JS.
Image source

#4 And simultaneously, 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 when you run your business in the 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.

Hiring React developers is difficult because it is hard to find a good fit for a company.
Image source

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.

How to hire React developers more efficiently?

Our experience

Over the last two years we’ve learned a LOT about hiring, especially React developers. We’d like to share that with you.

To the needs of this analysis, we 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, among them React developers.

During last 1.5 years we screened around 1285 people, among them React 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.

Brainhub is hiring 1.3% of the best people we can find, among them React developers.

And by the best, we mean: the best for us, not so-called A players.

We’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

We’ve figured out that the process of finding and hiring talented React.js developers is like making sales.

Let’s find out why you should take a similar path if you want to build a top-notch, engaged and well-performing team.

Define your needs

The need for cultural fit

You may know that already, but let’s emphasize it.

When it comes to hiring, the most important rule you should learn is:

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

Defining your company’s culture is crucial to gather like-minded people, keep them engaged, and build a pretty good team. It’s what attracts or repels people. On of the key factors that determine your growth.

If you don’t have it yet, start with determining the big ‘why’, the “mission” or the “purpose”. It gives people context.

While assessing if someone will be a good fit for our company, we just ask ourselves a question:

Does this guy/gal value what we believe in and what we practice?

So start with establishing what your company cherishes, and then it will be easier for you to pick the right people.

Your ultimate hiring goal? Find passionate individuals and create a place where they can turn their passion into innovation.

Go for team players, not ‘A’ players: teammates vs skills matrix

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

Teammates vs skills matrix according to Jonathan Siegel.
Image source

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 them 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’. 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 at least twice as fast as regular employees.

So, how to recognize those talents and snatch them up from the market?

Create a hiring funnel

When you know who you want to find, it’s time to build a process.

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.

Hiring Funnel

Hiring funnel is a framework that helps us to hire React developers.
  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

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 test, we ask JavaScript related questions and give tricky problems to solve. We use open questions. The goal is not only to test candidates’ knowledge – we also want to find out their way of thinking.

4. Giving specific feedback

After checking the candidate’s knowledge we give specific feedback on both the test task and technical test. We also send resources they can use to improve the weakest points.

5. Interview

We check:

  • Technical Skills
  • Soft skills (Communication, English level, Teamwork)
  • Culture Fit (and/or a Team-Fit Test)

6. 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)
Dashboard to control the process of hiring React developers.

Establish your hiring process

  1. Start with determining your company culture.
  2. Define qualities your future employees need to fit your culture and grow together.
  3. Analyze Jonathan Siegel’s matrix and choose what kind of people you want to find – however, we strongly recommend underdeveloped talents, eager to learn and grow. Engaged team players.
  4. Build a hiring funnel.
  5. Prepare all the materials you’ll need to perform tests and interviews efficiently. Take into account hard and soft skills, as well as cultural fit.
  6. Choose tools you’ll need to conduct the whole process most efficiently. 

How to hire React developers, in a nutshell

Or a quick summary, if you will.

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 the opportunity to spread their wings.

Which React.js developer 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.

How to start building your hiring process?

Start with establishing the qualities you need from your future React developers. Prepare the profile of your perfect candidate. Then, name the steps you’ll need to pick these gems from the crowd. On that basis, build your hiring funnel. After that, prepare for each step carefully – establish how you’ll check your candidate’s knowledge and cultural fit (for example, prepare questions for interviews).

Your turn

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.

The process described above 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.

We’re pretty 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 software development partner will help you especially when you have tight deadlines, want to speed up the process for a limited time and don’t have enough time to hire new developers.

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