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Tips for Hiring a Programmer When You Don’t Know Coding

In order to be able to identify and recruit high-quality employees, managers in the IT industry need to understand the specific types of experience and technical expertise that they should be looking for in a candidate. This can often be a straightforward task: if a role requires a candidate to be certified in a particular type of cloud-services platform, for example, any manager can easily find out if any given candidate meets that requirement by simply asking for his or her certification. Difficulties can arise, however, if a hiring manager does not have some basic fluency in the more technical programmer jargon. In other words, it can be tricky for managers to get a clearly defined understanding of a candidate’s experience and skills without first becoming familiar with the language of the trade.

The aim of this post, therefore, will be to provide IT managers who are newcomers to the “language” of programming with some tips for hiring top-talent candidates.

Tips for Hiring Programmers

1. Understand the job requirements.

Before you interview a candidate for any role, it will be essential to first familiarize yourself with the idiosyncrasies and unique responsibilities of that particular position. In many cases, this will require you to meet with a supervisor or colleague who will work closely with the new employee. You’ll want to find out: what are the most challenging technical aspects of this role? What are the character traits that will be conducive to success in this position? You won’t need to become an expert on each of the technical duties required by the role, but you should have an understanding of the general skills that will be required for success.

 

2. Request a portfolio from each candidate.

Having a tangible, visual sample of each candidate’s work experience can provide you with a much clearer understanding of their past accomplishments and unique abilities. It may also be worth consulting with a colleague who is more well-versed in programming to more clearly understand a candidate’s portfolio.

 

3. Don’t forget to discuss the work environment.

It will (obviously) be a priority to find candidates who have the requisite background, experience, and technical skills, but it’s equally important to make sure that you find someone who will fit well within your company culture. With that in mind, be sure to ask any candidate what they value and expect from a workplace, whether or not they’re looking for a role with flexible work options, and if they work more effectively as an individual or within a team-oriented environment.

 

4. Test their skills.

If you’re not intimately familiar with the language of programmers or coders, it can be very helpful to prepare a short examination which will test a candidate’s technical skills. Tests can take place on paper or online and can either be developed in collaboration with other, more technically-fluent.

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At RightStone, we’re working with IT candidates and top employers to make connections that last. To learn more about how to get connected with top talent, we’re here to help.

 

 

 


New Year, New You: How to Set Career Goals For 2020

2020 has finally arrived, which means that working professionals across the country are thinking about the personal resolutions and career goals that they’ll endeavor to work towards in the new year. Setting career goals for yourself early on in the new year is critically important: it will provide you with a clearer vision of success towards which you can aspire to, which can, in turn, provide you with real and focused motivation to be at your best on a day-to-day basis. At the same time, it can be tricky to establish goals for the upcoming year that are simultaneously ambitious and practical.

Four tips for setting strong career goals in 2020:

1. Reflect on your values.

The beginning of the new year is an ideal time to think deeply about what you truly value, both in your personal life and in your career. Is your current professional trajectory aimed in a direction that will allow you to continue to build upon those values? If not, it may be worthwhile to set goals for the new year which focus on integrating your values into your work.

 

2. Work towards a balance between your career and your life that you’ll be satisfied with.

It’s important, obviously, to be ambitious in your career goals. If you’re not aiming at a position or a pay grade that is loftier than your current role, then what’s the real point of setting annual goals for yourself at all? At the same time, it’s important to set career goals for yourself that, once realized, will not too dramatically interfere with your personal life. The definition of an ideal work/life balance will vary from person to person, so it’s therefore important for each individual to reflect on what career goals might yield maximum satisfaction for them in the long run.

 

3. Make goals that are S.M.A.R.T

    • Specific. Your goals should be clearly-defined, articulated, and written down.
    • Measurable. You should have a metric or criteria by which you can track your success.
    • Achievable. Will it be possible for you to achieve this goal within the next year?
    • Are your goals conducive to your longer-term professional aspirations?
    • Time-sensitive. Your goals should always come with a realistic deadline.

 

4. Build a plan.

Just like any New Year’s resolution, a career goal for 2020 won’t be attainable unless you break it down into smaller, more manageable steps. For example, let’s say that you’re really aiming at receiving a promotion by the end of this year. That’s a great end result to strive towards, but it can only be realized at the end of a much longer series of daily, weekly, and monthly wins. It’s crucial, therefore, to continuously ask yourself: what can I accomplish this month, this week, today, or even in this moment that will result in me moving closer to the realization of my long-term goal?

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At RightStone, our goal is to help IT candidates achieve their loftiest goals. To find out more about how you can level-up in your career, check out our jobs page.


4 Ways to Make Sure Your Next Candidate is a Culture Fit For Your Company

In the search to find the perfect candidate to fill an open position, managers will (understandably) tend to prioritize candidates who have the most experience or who have the widest set of demonstrable skills. While it’s certainly crucial to seek out and recruit candidates who have the necessary technical experience, it can also be a mistake for employers to focus only on candidates’ “hard skills”. There is another dimension of “soft skills” – people skills or personality traits, in other words – that are equally important for managers to take into account whenever vetting a potential candidate. By gauging a job candidate’s soft skills and getting a feel for their personality, you’ll be able to determine if they would be a good fit within the workplace culture that they’d be entering into.

Here are four tips for making sure that a job candidate would be a strong “culture fit” within your company:

1. Reach out to references.

Resumes and cover letters are extremely useful when you’re trying to get a feel for a candidate’s experience and background, but they typically will not shed much light on a candidate’s personality or interpersonal skills. Professional references (i.e., previous employers and managers), on the other hand, can provide valuable insights into a particular candidate’s conduct at the workplace. It’s worth reaching out to one or two previous employers in order to get a sense of how well a candidate’s personality would fit within your workplace culture.

2. Ask personality-based questions.

One of the most effective ways to get a feel of whether or not a candidate would be a strong culture fit is to ask the right questions. To learn more about a candidate’s values and personality, try asking some of the following questions during an interview:

    • Do you feel more comfortable within an individual or a group setting?
    • Can you give me an example of a time that you resolved a tense situation in the workplace?
    • What are the qualities that you value in the workplace?
    • What are the qualities of this particular work environment that appeal to you?

3. Give your team a seat at the interview table.

Maintaining a strong and balanced workplace culture is a collaborative process. Each of your employees contributes in his or her unique way to weave the tapestry of your working environment. With that in mind, it can be extremely helpful to give your team members a chance to meet with job candidates personally to ask culture-based questions.

4. Know the role.

Last but certainly not least, it’s important for managers to thoroughly understand the responsibilities of the role that’s being applied for, and in turn to define the personality traits that will be required for success. For example, some positions will require a high degree of autonomy and creativity, and others will place a greater emphasis on collaboration and communication skills. In order to ensure that a job candidate will be a good culture fit within the company as a whole, you’ll first want to make sure that they’ll be the right personality fit within the particular department and position for which they’re interviewing.

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At RightStone, we’re working with IT candidates and top employers to make connections that last. To learn more about how to get connected with top talent, contact us here.

 


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