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We are a small company and looking for a full-stack developer (NodeJS) with focus on Node and React. Since we all don´t have an IT background it´s difficult to really check on the quality of the applicants.

Is there any chance to get a problem set including solutions?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Strader, scaaahu, sf02, IDrinkandIKnowThings Jan 16 at 18:13

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    Welcome to the Workplace! Who's writing the code now? Are they part of the interview process? – jcmack Jan 15 at 18:49
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    Yes, we worked only with IT agencies so far. And now we want to hire own developer but we don´t know how to prove their skills. – d.meyer Jan 15 at 18:51
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    The agency is not part of the interview process – d.meyer Jan 15 at 18:51
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    What skill leveling are you looking for? – UnhandledExcepSean Jan 15 at 18:53
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    How do you know you need NodeJS/react & it's a good fit for you company? Do you have a technical analyst or manager of some sort who has knowledge of the market as well as your business needs? You are setting yourself up for some pretty difficult situations if you just go out & hire someone without an IT strategy setup by professionals. – Mirv - Matt Jan 15 at 20:17
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The best way to approach this is to find someone in your personal network who you could tap for interviews as an interview consultant, or go through a recruiting agency that can do some pre-screening for you.

Since you are small, you don't need to get too sophisticated in the screening as you likely won't attract any heavy hitters, and if you did, they might be bored.

If you go the recruiter route, be sure that they screen for basic competence (online exams, personal interviews, et cetera), then have them send you a pool of candidates that you can screen to see if they are a good fit.

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Is there any chance to get a problem set including solutions?

No. At least not one that would do you any good. Anything I write here your applicant could read and it would be meaningless that they easily answer the questions.

Also, that really isn't in scope for this forum. If you search, you'll find sets of these questions but remember that your applicants can perform the same search you did.

Since we all don´t have an IT background it´s difficult to really check on the quality of the applicants.

Yes, but not impossible. If you have some knowledge of your existing code you can show them some of it and ask how they would implement something new. Another answer mentioned using recruiters, and this is a good second option if you showing them code is impractical.

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Well, the best way to recognise a good developer (in a particular skillset), is to have an existing good developer (with that skillset) to do that for you.

But of course, this is a bootstrapping problem, you don't already have that first good developer.

Here are two kinds of approaches:

Find a good developer to give you some advice

Ok, you might not already be employing a good developer, but that's not to say you can't use one.

  • If you have some friends who are good developers, you can ask them to give you a hand (and offer to pay them!). After all - who gave you the idea to use React and Node? Ask them.
  • You could go to a Node/React Meetup event, network, and basically if the speakers seem competent, talk to them. Offer them 2x the hourly rate you would be willing to pay for a developer, for them to help you find a developer - help you filter out results and interview the developer. That's going to be easy money well spent, getting a bad developer is going to cost you far more.
  • You don't even need to know the person IRL, someone online should be able to conduct a review of their Github account and/or set some tests for them.

Doing it yourself

  • Do they have a Github account? Check that they have been writing React code on it.
  • Check out their Stack Overflow profile - are they actively asking/answering questions? Are their questions sensible and not 'do my homework for me'? Note that asking questions in itself isn't a sign of a bad developer, IMO. I have about 200 questions on my profile - and I think I'm a decent developer.
  • Do they have a portfolio of websites they have created? Are they any good?
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There are a number of assessments you could use for that, have a look at devskiller website for a sample for NodeJS tests or a free alternative. Before progressing to interview people I would ask them to do an online assessment on a testing website. If you are afraid that they may cheat ask people to sit test in house and accommodate extra 30 mins before the interview.

  • A very good answer. It is also possible that candidates might have a project that they can show you. Not all will, though, if they don't do hobby coding, only coding for their employer. It's still worth asking, though – Mawg Jan 16 at 8:17
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    @Konrad Beware. Many of the online "skill" websites recycle computer competition programming problems, and do so in ways that provide limited, feedback on pass / fail criteria (HackerRank, etc). Competition programming used to be all about who could do the most problems the fastest (leading to a combination of things that are poison in the workplace like speed over testing, simple problems that are heavily math / algorithm related, favoring array processing over objects) and the sites that recycle them tend to eventually make them incomprehensible in rewrites. – Edwin Buck Jan 16 at 17:34
  • @EdwinBuck Hi Edwin, I'm definitely not saying that this is a perfect solution but I reckon it's better than nothing in the context of OP's question ... – Konrad Jan 16 at 17:36
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    @Konrad Sometimes a bad approach is actually worse than nothing. For example, my answer 27 for the question of "what is 3 x 8" is not better than a statement "I don't know". Software incurs maintenance cost from the day it is created, and creating a bunch of mess (like the web programming sites tend to encourage) might cause the maintenance costs to get out-of-hand even before the product can some value. – Edwin Buck Jan 16 at 17:41
  • @EdwinBuck The commonly known aspects of software development like costs, technical debts and so on are not pertinent to OP question. IMHO, the question is about a simple practical problem. I wouldn't suggest relying on modest online assessment when building IT department for a bank as a sole recruitment solution but I'm confident that it can pass as a good enough solution to minimise chances of recruiting dev with no required skills in the absence of other verification mechanisms. – Konrad Jan 16 at 18:07
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IMHO, your first step should be an IT manager and only then a developer, or some kind of combination of two. Be ready for lower quality or higher salary expectations than you have spent on outsource.

Spending money on consultants for task specific or time-limited contracts could be frustrating, and urge to limit expenses is always high.

But you pay for developer skill-set and experience, that rarely be available to smaller company or will be too expensive to employ including salary , employee cost and benefits.

P.S. Down-voting without comment is strange, please comment for discussion

P.P.S @SambalMinion OP question actually points out larger swarm of questions and major policy shift in the company from outsourcing to staffing development branch. And my answer pointed out problems that can be avoided, also mentioning outsourcing cost / quality ration that need to be taken in to the account

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    You seem to treat OP's question as an instance of the XY problem. I feel your answer addresses who to hire - and why that is difficult for a smaller company, while that could well be an unspoken concern of the poster. Your answer does not aid non-technical personnel in assessing the quality of a developer who is coming in for an interview. Hiring an IT manager or consultant is a solution, but poster may be past considering this solution due to organizational factors. – TvZ Jan 16 at 6:51
  • @SambalMinion OP question actually points out larger swarm of questions and major policy shift in the company from outsourcing to staffing development branch. And my answer pointed out problems that can be avoided, also mentioning outsourcing cost / quality ration that need to be taken in to the account – Strader Jan 16 at 16:47

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