How to Hire a Professional WordPress Developer

How to Hire a Professional WordPress Developer
February 21, 2017 Midas Blog
professional wordpress developer

As an entrepreneur, you wear many hats. Some of them fit you quite well. But as much as you’d like to be hands-on, there will be some aspects of starting and running a company that fall outside your expertise. Not to mention, you’re only one person, and there’s only so much you can do with your energy spread across all areas of your business.

So, here you are looking for a great WordPress developer to help you build or make changes to your website. Your biggest problem? You can’t tell the difference between CGI and Servlet if your life depended on it. How are you supposed to know how to hire the best WordPress developer when you don’t know what you should look for?

To help you find the right person, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide. We’ll look at all the necessary skills and qualities a professional WordPress developer must possess, present a few places where you can find them, tell you about the costs, and teach you how to interview and choose the best candidate for your project.

Know the Scope of Your Project

The first step in hiring a WordPress developer is understanding your needs. All websites are not created equal, and you have to determine your requirements.

Who you will hire will largely depend on how complex your site will be. If you need something small and straightforward, you could work with a junior developer. They are hardworking, motivated, and open to suggestions.

On the other hand, if your WordPress website will be highly interactive and will require specialized apps, it’s better to work with a professional developer or even a larger team.

Write a Good Job Description

It’s critical to have a clear understanding of what you want and be able to describe it meticulously to future candidates. A well-written job description can help you avoid costly confusions. If a developer knows that what you want is something they can’t deliver, they won’t apply for the job. On the other hand, if the job description is not well thought out and you neglected to add some important details, the developer might not understand what your requirements are and apply for the job even though they are not a good match.

Sure, creating an exhaustive job description will take time and effort on your part, but it’s a million times worth it than wasting precious resources on someone who is not the right fit for the job.

Here are some of the elements you should include in your job outline:

  • Include Samples of Sites That You Like: They key is to help potential candidates understand your requirements and expectations. A skilled WordPress developer can use this information to review their capabilities and provide you with suggestions.
  • Include a List of “Must-Haves”: For example, if you run a beauty salon, and you need your website to have a booking functionality, you should mention that in your description.
  • Set a Time Frame: If you have a tight deadline, double up your time frame. For example, if you plan to launch your website within a month, mention in the job description that the deadline for the project is three weeks. Whether you’ve changed your mind about some of the site’s functions, or there are more coding bugs to fix than anticipated, you could expect delays in most projects. So, it’s better to plan in advance and allocate extra time to fix potential problems.
  • Don’t Forget to Include a “Duties as Assigned” Line: As much as you’re trying to write a complete description, you might omit something. Or, the job requirements might change over time. To avoid a potential argument with your developer claiming that what you’re asking wasn’t listed in the job description, include a “duties as assigned” mention in the outline.

Think of everything and anything that might be relevant to your project and business needs. If you want your website to work the way you’ve imagined it, take the time to create a job description that explains your requirements clearly.

hiring a WordPress developer

Setting clear expectations up front will give you the best chance at a wonderful web design collaboration!

How to Tell If a WordPress Developer Is Good

Judging a developer on his/her technical skills is easy. After all, all you need to do is check their resume to ensure they have the experience required for your project. However, even if they check every box in your description, it’s still possible that they may not be the right person for the job.

With that in mind, here are a few considerations to keep in mind when choosing a WordPress developer.

Technical Skills

Create a list of the skills you want your developer to have. Use it to eliminate candidates who are not suited for the job. Here are some of the qualities to look for in a developer

  •        PHP
  •       JavaScript
  •       HTML/HTML5
  •       CSS/CSS3

Soft Skills

In theory, you want your developer to be able to focus and communicate, be creative, and have strong attention to detail. However, it’s not that easy to determine if a candidate meets all of your requirements. They might look perfect on paper, but when you start working, you may realize that they lack collaboration skills.

Here’s a checklist you can use to ensure you’re hiring only the best WordPress developers:

  • How Fast Do They Respond:

o       Responsiveness is a vital skill, especially if your developer will work remotely. You want someone who will respond within a reasonable time frame to your requests.

o       If you’ve found a few developers you like, email them. That way, you can get a better sense of how fast they respond. Don’t immediately exclude those who don’t answer within the first day. They might be busy or have a bad day. But, if they aren’t very responsive, then it would be a good idea to drop them.

  • Do They Have a Good Understanding of Your Requirements?

o      A lot of developers tend to apply for jobs without even reading the description. A smart way to rule out these types of applicants is to hide a question in your job description. It can be something like “What is your favorite movie?” Ask them to write the answer at the top of the application.

  • Ask For Examples of Previous Work

o      Most candidates tend to sugarcoat their applications and only present the best versions of themselves when applying for a project. That’s understandable, but you want to learn about both their strengths and weaknesses. To see if someone is a good fit for your job and is capable of meeting your expectations, ask them to send you samples of previous projects.

Look for Someone Who Fits Your Company’s Culture

While work experience is definitely important, the biggest predictor of success is how they fit with your business. For example, a professional WordPress developer who has worked for a large corporation may not be a good fit for a startup. A startup may require traits such as adaptability, versatility, and risk-taking. However, these characteristics are usually not relevant in a big corporation, so it’s very likely that the developer won’t possess them.

How to Determine Compensation

Before deciding a salary, it’s essential to weight in the complexity of the project, the skill level of the position you need, as well as the amount you are prepared to spend.

  • How to Set a Budget for a Small Project

Small web development projects, such as adding a few new features to your website or changing some functionalities, don’t take that much to complete. The best approaches in this scenario would be: a) work with an experienced WordPress developer and pay them on an hour basis or b) collaborate with a junior developer and pay them on a fixed price basis.

Experienced developers are highly efficient, so it’s cost-effective to pay them by the hour. They get the work done swiftly and efficiently. Keep in mind that professional developers cost between $90 and $200 per hour in developed countries and between $35 and $60 in developing countries.

Junior developers, on the other hand, will require more time and more revisions. A fixed price payment model will give you more control in the eventuality their work needs extensive changes.

  • How to Set a Budget for a Large Project

A large WordPress development project could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to complete. Due to their size and the amount of work needed to complete them, large projects have more room for errors. That is why shooting for a fixed price is the right way to go.

This compensation strategy will protect you from a broad range of potential problems, such as developers underestimating the project’s difficulty or missing deadlines, and also from unexpected revisions and fixes.

Professional developers usually allow you a set number of revisions. For instance, you are allowed to ask for fixes up to three times. If you request more than the revisions approved, you may need to pay extra.

A smart way to avoid unnecessary costs is to plan your web development project thoroughly and discuss it with the developer to see if they notice any potential problems or challenges. The more time you invest in planning, the more likely you are to complete your project within a set budget. On the other hand, the more revisions you request, the more you’ll have to pay.

Where Do You Find Professional WordPress Developers?

There are many ways to find WordPress developers and many strategies to vet them by price, expertise, and availability. Unfortunately, for most people, the abundance of choices only leads to more confusion and stress.

Here are some of the best places where you can start your search:

  • Freelancer Websites: Although generalized markets such as UpWork and Freelancer are excellent ways to find skilled developers, we recommend looking into WordPress-specialized platforms to ensure you are getting only the best of the best. Smashing Jobs, WP Hired, or WordPress’ official job board are some of the best places to look for a talented wp developer.
  • Tap into Your Network for Referrals: More often than not, the most qualified candidates are only one or two connections away. So, post on your Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter pages and tag people who you know work in the industry.
  • Consider Specialized Agencies: Another good option is to look into web design companies that specialized in WordPress development (like us!). While this option is usually little more expensive, it’s also the most efficient. You know that you’ll work with a team of skilled professionals who will deliver quality work.

Interview Candidates before Hiring Them

Although intimidating for the employer and the candidate, the interview is an essential step in finding the right developer for your project. They allow you to get a sense of a candidate’s communication skills, analytical abilities, and personality. If you are hiring a web design agency, most will give you a complementary consultation.

Your primary objective is to determine if an applicant or team can do the job, and if they fit into your work culture.

Before the interview, request examples of the candidate’s previous work. Then, ask them on what portion of the site they’ve worked. Did they collaborate with a senior developer or did everything themselves? Did they manage to deliver within the deadline?

Ask a few behavioral questions as well, such as “Which colleague at your last job did you not get along with, very well and how did you manage the situation?”

Use a Short Trial Period before Making a Final Decision

The best way to know if you’ve found the right WordPress developer is to work with them. That said, we recommend you start with a small project to test whether the relationship is going to work.

Choose a non-critical project and ask them to complete it within a set time frame. Observe the person in action and analyze their expertise, efficiency, and punctuality. Did they go above and beyond to complete the project in time? How well did they execute? How well did they communicate?

Hire Slow, but Fire Fast

Take your time when hiring a developer, but if you realize that the person is not the right fit for your company, let him/her go as fast as possible. A developer who doesn’t work well can hinder the success of your project and be disruptive to the entire team.

It might be hard to fire someone, especially if you are a small business. But, think about the long game: the wrong person will inhibit your company’s ability to grow.

Over to You

We hope that after reading this guide, the prospect of finding and hiring a professional WordPress developer won’t seem so overwhelming. If you would like to add anything or ask us a question, don’t hesitate to contact us.

If you want to go the extra mile and create a website that will stand out, take a look at what we can do for you.

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