Mobile app development is a highly specialized skill set, and while it’s not hard to find an app developer these days, it’s definitely a challenge to recruit the right one–especially if you are not technical yourself.
There are multiple factors involved in evaluating a potential app developer hire. Fortunately, you don’t need to have a degree in computer science to use them.
Factor #1: Portfolio
Any mobile app developer worth talking to will have a collection of previous work. Inspect their portfolio to see if the apps are well-built and -designed.
Aesthetics and layout are what most people notice first–whether the app is pleasing to the eye. But also pay attention to the user experience. Is it easy to use? Can you quickly figure out what each feature does and how it works?
If you can find their app on the app store, check out the reviews and see what actual users say.
Factor #2: Client references
If the developer did work on behalf of client companies (in a freelance capacity, for example), reach out to those companies and ask what the experience was like working with the developer. Follow the same process you would use to check another employee’s references.
What did they like about the experience? What challenges came about and how did the developer handle them? Would they hire the developer again?
Factor #3: Level of project complexity
Consider your own needs as you review developer applications. What kind of project do you need the developer to do, and what is the scope? The complexity of the project will determine what level of skill you need the developer to have.
Will the developer be required to build the app from scratch or do you just need them to use a white-label development kit or a development template? Also, what mobile platforms will the developer be required to use? OS or Android?
Factor #4: Supervisor’s technical expertise
Managing a developer is much more challenging than managing another type of employee due to the highly technical nature of the work. This has to be taken into account when assessing developer candidates.
If the hiring manager is not technical (or not technical in the right areas), they will have trouble knowing what questions to ask the developer and how to properly assess their productivity and output. In these situations, it may be best to seek out developers who are accustomed to working independently.
Factor #5: Business perspective
Great app developers aren’t just technically competent–they also have a good business sense.
This business sense helps them see how their project fits into your overall business objectives. This strategic understanding makes it more likely they will develop an app that is both useful for your customers and a joy to use.
Factor #6: Process and workflow
Get the candidate to explain what their process is like for conceptualizing, designing, and producing a new app. Are they organized and thorough, or do they prefer to fly by the seat of their pants? When and how do they incorporate feedback from the project stakeholders?
The developer’s answers will tell you how well they will fit in with the rest of your team. Developers who are set in their ways will eventually cause internal strife, even if their process worked when they were working alone.
Factor #7: Interpersonal skills
You will, of course, be on the lookout for people with good social skills that will fit well in your unique office environment. But depending on the situation, the app developer might be called upon to present or demonstrate his work in front of a group–either management or the client.
This is more likely to happen if his direct supervisor doesn’t have the technical skills necessary to present themselves (see Factor #4). So some level of comfort in public speaking and large-scale social interaction might be good to have.
It may take a lot of time and effort to find the ideal app developer, but it’s well worth the effort. With their combination of UX, design, and development skills, your app developer will be in a position to make a real difference in how your organization interacts with its customers.
So take your time, be thorough, and take all of the above factors into account. They’ll be worth the effort!
About The Author
Shane is the Founder and CEO of Los Angeles software development agency ClearSummit, and the Co-Founder and CTO of TuneRegistry, music rights SaaS platform. He also provides consulting services to startups and enterprise companies. Prior to working in the agency space, Shane built news media backends and part of the FAA’s air traffic control system. He has a B.S. in Computer Engineering from UVA. He has a passion for efficiency and combining the best tech and design to solve complex problems.