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Recruitment Insights: Red flags when interviewing a developer.

The driving force behind every great company is a dedicated team of professionals who come together and make the dream work. As insiders, we know that running a strong recruitment campaign is guaranteed to attract the right people and set up any endeavor for success.
We took the time to find our dream team of recruiters so you don’t have to. With a collective experience spanning decades, and hands in all the IT cookie jars of Europe, Expert Allies’s Recruitment team took the time to compile some key points to consider when looking for the perfect candidate for your next project.

What “green flags” indicate the interviewee may be the right one?

We all know there is no such thing as a perfect candidate just as there isn’t a perfect person. Labeling isn’t helpful. A more productive approach is to classify candidates based on how suitable they are for the position.  A good future expert will have a positive attitude right from the get-go.

A balanced combination of soft skills (communication, openness, and the ability to self-present), along with the mandatory hard skills (vast understanding of topic and tech) is an absolute must. Researching the company and the client before the interview is another indicator of a valuable candidate truly interested in the position.

Are Recruiters the only ones conducting interviews? What is the process like?

First, we have a screening, which is the Recruitment interview. However, we aren’t technical personnel and cannot assess the candidate’s technical skills in depth. After this initial interview, we report back to the client managers to give them an overview of the person’s skills and performance. Then, the most impressive candidates move up to the second interview and the technical discussion with the hiring managers.

However, this step may be skipped if the hiring client company decides they don’t need to meet the candidate. Recruiters’ focus is preliminary screening and assessment, while the client managers have purely technical concerns. They see a candidate’s resume in a whole different light.

For example, we look into how often our candidates changed jobs, how long they stayed with previous employers, and what tech they used because we have to see whether they are a good fit for the client company. In contrast, the tech managers look solely at the candidate’s hard skills and little else.

What are some compulsory questions you ask during interviews?

Every interview goes differently, but some questions we ask each candidate are how many years of experience they have with the technologies in question and what position they are looking for. We ask them this because, for example, if they’re taking jobs with React, they may want to keep on developing in this aspect, but they may want to switch to React Native, or Angular because they want to try it out.

Other questions we ask are in what aspect they want to prosper, how many years of experience they have, whether there’s anything they don’t like about their current job, etc. It is important to ask these things because we can learn about the person’s interests, what projects they want to do, what their career goals are.

Some candidates aim for higher positions so we process them for the initial position they applied for and keep them in mind for future Tech Lead job openings.

What are some of the first red flags you notice?

If candidates seem uninterested it certainly doesn’t leave a good impression. We know that they are sought-after specialists and they talk with many recruiters, however, our expectations about punctuality and professionalism are non-negotiable.

Some people apply for the job without having read the description. Others take too long to commit after having shown interest. We expect candidates to show integrity and commitment before even thinking about introducing them to the client managers. Hard skills are the default but soft skills make a candidate truly exceptional even in a field famous for its introverted experts.

Exhibiting impulsive behavior before or during the interview indicates a general lack of clarity and intention for the candidacy. Changing the subject, avoiding questions, and giving unclear explanations to interview questions means that a candidate has failed to allude to their goals and expectations raising several more red flags.

Do candidates lie on their resumes?

That’s a hard question. Overall, people are quite honest and write relevant information in their resumes, but sometimes can’t showcase their experience. In some instances, we’ve had problems finding our way around the application because it is visually incomprehensive.

Of course, it is easy to notice insincerity. Although a CV may appear impeccable, during the interview there are tells. For example, listing “managing people” as a skill sets an expectation. Dealing with people requires a certain degree of presentation and communication skills, which excessively short-spoken candidates who have difficulty presenting themselves simply fail to exhibit.

Respect remains the baseline for communications for clients and candidates alike. We strive to establish a connection and make the process comfortable and productive for all included.

Have you had applicants surprise you?

We have had some introverted people, who didn’t stand out, and overall seemed quite unmotivated during the initial interview. When we advanced them to the technical interview though, they managed to open up, answered questions, and made an amazing impression on the interviewers.

This is why our practical interviews are designed a bit differently than usual ones. We place the candidates in situations that aim to elicit reactions that bring their soft skills into play. That’s how true professionals shine.

What are the most common problems you face during the recruitment process?

The most common problem currently is the gap regarding financial expectations. Another hang-up is that sometimes the project doesn’t match the candidate’s expectations. This doesn’t mean that they are a bad choice – sometimes client expectations diverge from the initial deal. That’s why we have a large portfolio with a variety of projects that we can offer to our experts. On the flip side, we have many experts who can take on the client’s project and will carry on the work seamlessly.

People are always looking for stability. Team hierarchy and composition matters – Developers, Tech Leads, Project Managers. If the candidates are a good fit and get a sense of stability from the get-go, they give one hundred percent.

Is the candidate’s vision of themselves as important as their appearance?

The vision candidates have of themselves is what’s most important to us. As for appearance – because of our policy of working 100% remotely, our phone screenings and interview process are fully remote as well, so we rarely see them. One thing that makes an impression is the voice and tone of the person – having a clear manner of speaking is always a plus.

What type of developers are most wanted currently?

At the start of the year around January-February, there were almost no candidates, but recently we’ve had a change of pace, and it seems that developers are finally coming out of hibernation.

At the moment, we are actively looking for React Native developers. Our focus is entirely on them as it has been increasingly challenging to find suitable professionals. We are expecting new job openings very soon.

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