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How (Not To) Hire a Developer – 8 Common Fallacies

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How (Not To) Hire a Developer – 8 Common Fallacies


Hiring a good developer is like an endless battle and seems not easy.

But in fact it can be way much easier if you stay away from useless (yet still quite common) practise.
We shortly listed some of the most famous fallacies people fall into while they hire developers:


1. The fallacy of being professional.

Take the stick out of your back and be a human as you are.
You search for someone to match your team, your way of being, and sooner or later it will come out who you really are, so save yourself a trouble.
This tactic may work if you want your candidate feel small and stupid, but why would you?
Don’t try to be corporate and pretend you are bigger than you really are.
If you don’t know how to act well, you will just embarrass yourself.
You will look like a parody of professionalism. And a good developer will smell it right away.
Save yourself time and cost, just by being yourself.


2. The fallacy of secret money.

Developers are more straightforward than a typical people.
They want to know exactly what you can offer, as they respect their time and hate guessing.
If you won’t tell him how much he can make right on the job form, he will think it’s a low level job, as the price is mostly hidden in a really crap student proposals full of catches.
More than that, by showing the price, you immediately give the first sign on how serious the work is.
You are also not playing the game of “how much would you like to earn?” which is uncomfortable for almost everyone.
People see the clear career path with flat and fair salary and it gives the signal you treat everyone equal and reward them based on skills and not on personal preferences.
You can take Pagepro proposals as an example.


3. The fallacy of being general.

Being precise and clear makes your offer more attractive.
You also immediately put down the uncapable ones, or the ones that just think they can handle.
Avoid being general. Explain as much as possible. It will save you miles in the future.
Explain what kind of technologies you use. Are they new, or wooden old?
What kind of projects you have? Explain the life cycle of it. What would be his role?
What about the code? Do you push for quantity, or quality?
What kind of clients you have? What industry you cover best?
In order to hire the right guy, you need to be precise, or you will attract the wrong crowd.
This will also help you avoid the other famous fallacy:


4. The fallacy of intuition.

“I like him” is probably the most useless reasons to hire a developer.
It can be the side reason, but never the reason by itself.
Developer needs to be relevant and capable.
Then, if you hesitate, take the one you like and fits your flow more than others.
But never other way round.
In Pagepro, we use specific questionnaire and online task to help separate the right guys from the others.


5. The fallacy of “All-in-one”.

General principle is that the more people claim they are able to do, the less they can do well.
You may be lucky to hit the jackpot and hire a genius, but it’s almost the same rare as impossible.
If someone is ready to do everything, it means he is not ready to do anything with a good and expected result.
Try to find out if someone is absolutely dedicated to his specific role. People still may like other areas and have more knowledge, but you must be sure he is the master on a specific field first.


6. The fallacy of common decision.

Never involve too many people in the decision process.
First, you look like you cannot handle the decision yourself.
Second, the more you ask, the more different opinions you will get.
Instead of help, you will get more confusion.
The final decision is your decision and you cannot endlessly rely on others.
You are the one.
Prepare yourself well and you will be fine to make a decision yourself, or with a help of one or two people at most.


7. The fallacy of interrogation.

Of course you want to make sure you have the right one.
But interrogating him on every fail he did in the past may not be the good idea.
You want to cut the risk to the minimum, but you really don’t need to know his criminal record.
Even if, think the other side. Failures are best life lessons.
We are people. We make mistakes, we grow, we learn, we get better.
Instead of trying to dig out the biggest sins, try to discover good stuff.
This will also help you with another fallacy, which is:


8. The fallacy of winning the interview.

Many people try to win the interview by dominating it.
One type is when you try to make your candidate feel stupid or small.
But you want a good and productive developer, not a slave that will leave you as soon as he find a better place.
Second, it’s always tempting to say how great the company is, how everything is fascinating, how great people work here, how many great clients and projects we have, so on, so on, endlessly.
But if he made it to the meeting he probably knows it all already.
Just stay quiet, ask relevant questions and listen.
In fact, the one who speaks less, wins the interview.
Good developers want to work with the real professionals, not frustrates.
As long as you ask good questions and give relevant answers, you are the one in charge.
After all, you want to make sure he is the right person.
Not to make sure he is convinced no matter what.
You are the boss here, so act alike.



These are the most famous fallacies in recruitment.
By avoiding them, you save yourself time, trouble and you win a lot by hiring the right people for the right work.
We always highly recommend to make a good preparation before.
In order to focus on doing the right thing, you need to unfocus from doing the wrong.


More information you can find in our post “How To Hire a React Developer”. 

You can get some extras, like our online task to check developers capabilities, questionaire or candidate profile template.
Stay tuned to get more.

Mariusz Marcak

Mariusz Marcak

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