If you’re anything like I was when I was a recruiter, you’d probably say that reviewing CVs is an art that you’ve mastered. However, evaluating developers isn’t a straightforward process, and assessing a programmer’s background requires even more finesse than you’d need for other roles. To help make the task of reading a software developer’s CV a little less daunting, here are a few things to keep in mind whenever you have a stack of them to go through.
When it comes to years of experience, you might fixate on developers who are at the upper-end of the range a hiring manager provided. While this might be a nice crutch to lean on whenever you’re in doubt, immediately ruling out candidates who are “less experienced” than others could ultimately lead you to pass on the right developer CV. Rather than eliminating candidates based solely on the number of years they’ve been coding professionally, take a closer look at how those developers have spent those years. Have they embraced leadership roles, regardless of their seniority? Are they willing to dive into new technologies, even though they’re difficult to learn? Even though you might have a small stack of developer CVs to review, make sure you’re thoroughly evaluating each one’s potential before moving on.
Your life might be easier if you only found developers who have worked in your industry and wouldn’t face a steep learning curve. And sure, there will be plenty of instances in which you’ll find a candidate whose previous experience lends itself to what your company is trying to accomplish. However, if you're exclusively looking for developers who have previously worked in your industry, you’ll lose sight of the fact that your primary goal is to find people who can write quality code. Although it might be jarring at first for a developer to transition from finance to a startup (or vice versa), focus more on a candidate’s skill set and potential to learn when evaluating a developer CV. If the candidate is as talented as you think they are, the chances are that adjusting to a new industry won’t be too difficult for that person.
I’m willing to bet that on at least a couple occasions, you’ve thought that a developer CV looked promising, but that you also could not wrap your mind around a few technical proficiencies on the document. I also have a feeling that you can be hard on yourself when this happens. You’ll say to yourself, “Why doesn’t that make sense to me? I bet it’s because the candidate is incredibly smart and I should be ready to pay this person a ton of money.” Of course, it might indicate that you’ve got a talented programmer on your hands, but avoid being too hard on yourself for feeling a little lost by what you’re reading. If you’re ever unsure, don’t be afraid to do a Google search for whatever it is that’s throwing you for a loop. And if that doesn’t clear things up? Ask your engineering team for a little help.