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There are so many freelance developers and web design and development agencies these days that it’s hard to pick one from the millions. As our world expands and we can hire people from all over the world the hiring process becomes even more complicated, as there is so much choice and so little information you can trust.
A web developer is a person responsible for your site, and your site is an important business asset. A website is, essentially, a face of your business, and a web developer is a person or company that represents you. In such a situation, hiring a wrong person might lead to dire consequences for business. Your site might get hacked, or the check out process might get screwed and you can lose a lot of money.
Here are 5 tips for hiring the right web development person or agency for your business:
1. Look for a perfect match
Don’t assume that every development agency is the same. There are many skilled developers out there but they are all different. What you’re looking for is a perfect DNA match. Their vision and your vision should match, and you should feel comfortable working with them. Some developers prefer a relaxed environment where deadlines are flexible and more emphasis is put on creativity and problem contemplation. Other developers have drive, passion, and are determined to succeed. They are curious about new technologies and are striving to produce great work on time. What kind of developer do you prefer?
A development team that works with small businesses will be leaner and more adaptable as opposed to the team that works on large-scale projects fraught with rigorous planning and fixed list of responsibilities.
Another point to consider is how the development team will work with your team. You probably hired your employees based on a corporate culture, so it’s a certain profile of people you work with. Hiring based on matching brand personalities will help you avoid misunderstanding between your team and the development agency.
Make a list of most desired qualities in the developer and then find someone who matches at least 3 qualities from the list.
2. Test everything
You can’t tell how well the development company works until you test them. Development agency usually is open to doing medium-sized jobs to show the quality of their work. During the test project, observe how the team handles the tasks and whether they deliver the expected results. Look at things like adherence to deadlines, communication, openness to feedback, and, of course, the quality of the finished product.
3. Distinguish a skill set from passion
It’s easy to hire a web developer who knows how to do stuff. It’s a lot harder to find someone who will know how to do stuff when new technology replaces the old one. Technology field is always innovating, and if you want to stay ahead of the game, you need to make sure the development team is passionate about the technology just as they are about the project.
Pick a team that writes about the technology on their blog, attends technology conferences and boasts their programming skills along with their passion for learning.
4. Don’t be afraid to leave
It’s a commonly accepted standard these days to hire slow but fire fast. Don’t be afraid to fire the agency if they are not performing or working too slow. The competition in the field is tough and there are many great agencies that create amazing projects for their clients. Some projects can be so important for the business that not firing an agency quick enough can jeopardize the business. Even if you have good relationships with the agency, evaluate them objectively and if your assessment is negative and true, leave as fast as possible.
5. Ask open-ended questions
There should be absolutely no hesitation on your part when it comes to asking questions. You should be comfortable with asking as many questions as you want before you start working with the agency. And the agency should provide detailed and clear answers. Just be careful when asking questions related to a particular project at the very beginning, as smaller agencies will be hesitant to provide concrete solutions, and this is understandable since their time is unpaid.
Pay attention to not only what they say in response to your questions, but also how they answer the questions. How quick they are in their response and how well you understand each other are the two criteria you should consider.
6. Consider your goals with a particular project
Some agencies are great with building websites from scratch but terrible at redesigning sites. Others specialize in WordPress and can’t handle other CMS, yet another type of agency is focused on the visual aspect but can’t carry out projects with complex business logic. Before you hire an agency, consider your goals. What exactly you want the agency to achieve? What are the websites you like and are there similar websites in the agency’s portfolio? Does your project require a very narrow expertise? Is the agency skilled enough for the project’s specifics?
When everything is perfect but you can’t determine if the agency is a good fit for the particular project, try to look at other websites and find their creators. Agencies would often feature their name at the lower right corner of the website that they created. You can also send a reference website to an agency and discuss how they would approach a similar project.
At the end of the day, even the best agency on the market can’t create a perfect project if you don’t express what you want. Understand that you’re forming a partnership with an agency and each side of the partnership brings value to the project. Don’t try to boss the agency around, as they have the right and freedom to leave the project just like you do. But don’t leave everything up to the agency to decide either. They will need some information and guidance from you in order to perform their job well. If they can’t get the information they need, in the end, it’s you who will suffer most as the project would not live up to your expectations.
Lastly, don’t agonize over choosing the right web development agency. Review several options, collect information about the agencies, have introductory meetings, and then chose the agency that matches your criteria. And before long you’ll be working in a productive partnership and create stunning online products meant to bring success to your business.