With high demand for skilled software developers the marketplace has become extremely competitive. Business stakeholders may be tempted to hire the first viable candidate they can find, without understanding the risks of doing so.
1. Write bad code
It can be relatively easy for a seasoned interviewer to navigate technical questions and oversell their competencies. Bad code can cost companies thousands of dollars in maintenance and bugs, and drive down developer productivity and moral.
Have all candidates perform a simple project which gives insight into the skills needed for the job. Evaluate how they weight quality vs speed. Was the project rushed, overdone, does the candidate display the ability to learn new concepts, respond to feedback and willingly fix highlighted issues?
2. Increase hiring costs
Recruiting in today’s market is expensive. Marketing, interviewing, onboarding and hardware purchases can easily exceed $20,000 dollars, and that is if you know what you are doing. Most recruiting agencies charge upwards of 25% of a candidate’s first year salary. It only takes one job hopper to affect the bottom line.
Make sure the candidate wants to work for you, not the other way around. If your company sounds desperate, candidates can write their own ticket. The tone has been set when a business shells out top dollar for talent not committed to the company or its values.
3. Quit during crunch time
One of the most difficult things is losing a team member when the going gets tough. Hiring a replacement can take weeks, if you are lucky, and in many cases months.
Job history is not enough, and a long history at one job can be a negative. Ask probing interview questions about commitment. Uncovering obligations such as hobbies or social contributions may provide hints about a candidate’s level of personal integrity. Youth sports coaching, community volunteering, project leadership, user group leadership, aspiring musician or painter, completion of college degrees or awards, or even restoration of a car/home over a long period can tell a lot about a person. Watch out for statements like “I don’t work late nights anymore” or “My last boss didn’t let me handle any of the important projects”.
4. Take advantage of the company
The cost of an employee is relative to the performance they give you. Some developers are faster and more productive than others. The problem arises when these performers “Hide behind their productivity” and skirt the rules. These folks are selfish, shy away from work “below them”, don’t share their talents back with the team, and are ultimately just working for a paycheck.
Do not micromanage top performers. Promote an open and flexible work environment that encourages exploration and trust. Allow employees to self-manage, work a reasonable schedule, and have tolerance and understanding that we are all human and check Hacker News or Facebook. If you treat someone like a criminal, they’re bound to act like one sooner or later.
5. Poison the well
Once an employee has “turned” they start to do negative things that can affect your team moral. Snarky comments, questioning company direction or project decisions, and sandbagging team deliverables. This is contagious, like cancer, and can bring down your entire company.
Document the behavior and fire this person as soon as possible. Raises, promotions, and healing discussions do not work. Once the trust is broken, it cannot be restored.
The absolute worst employees are those who leave and then attempt to solicit employees, romancing the honeymoon phase of the “awesome new gig” they landed. They are likely job hoppers, oversell themselves (point #1), poison the well and the leave when the going gets tough.
Have a solid employee agreement that covers non-solicitation and non-compete. Enforce it immediately.
At Royal Jay we take pride in our core values of Radical Creativity, Futuristic Thinking and Entrepreneurial Spirit. We know our people are the single most important asset we have and strive to treat them like family, respecting their talents and opinions. We understand they’re all extremely valuable, and they choose to work with us.
At the end of the day, we lean on these values to guide the direction of the company, even if that means supporting employee opportunities beyond our walls.
Are your Radically Creative, Future Thinking and Entrepreneurial? Check out our open positions. We’re always looking for top talent.