How to recruit Frontend developers?

Learn what's the difference between a web developer and a frontend developer. And how can you recruit them.

Video transcript: Hiring Frontend developers

In this block, we are going to talk about recruiting frontend developers. How can you, recruiters, hire the frontend developers?

We will talk about who are the frontend developers. Who are these guys?

Second, what technologies do they use? We need to know what technologies do they use so we can recruit them eventually, right?

Third, where to source them? What communities are they part of? Where are these guys?

Next, how to attract them? We need to know about the technologies they use, so we know how to attract these guys based on the persona we know how to attract them.

It’s like marketing, eventually.

How to recognize juniors and seniors? It frequently happens that you are asked by a hiring manager to target either juniors or “mediors” or seniors.

So we are going to look at these differences.

What are the differences between juniors and seniors?

What technology do they use?

I’ve prepared this flip chart during the break so we can discuss some of the technologies they use.

And last but not least, how to interview frontend developers? How to assess them?

What kind of questions can you ask during a discussion?

And we usually like to practice this a little.

So we either ask a few questions during a small-talk.

Maybe you meet someone during a hackathon or a meetup.

And you need to have a few questions just ready immediately to use to make a meaningful small talk discussion.

So this is what we usually practice.

This is what we are also going to go through and obviously interview questions like these questions that will help you assess the quality of the frontend developer.

So this is your next level.

This is why we interview hiring managers, CTOs, and developers because they share these insights.

They are those who have more knowledge about hiring frontend developers in this case.

So this will help you tremendously to know how can you attract and interview and eventually fill IT positions like this one.

And I usually like to look at a role on a scale you know it could be a scale say from a junior to a senior.

Or it could be based on the technologies they use.

Say, some roles are a little more hard-core.

And by hard-core I mean, a role that requires some hard skill.

So say, data science is a really hard-core role because a data scientist is required to have a deep understanding of math and statistics. So that’s a hard-core role.

And a manual tester is not a hard-core role.

So to differentiate this a little.

We need to lay down this foundation. What is frontend, what is backend, what is the storage?

I usually like to talk about the three IT layers: frontend, backend, and storage.

By frontend, I mean, what would you as a user can see. It could be a website.

It could be an application; it could be a mobile app or a desktop app right like something that you can interact with.

Backend is usually something that the frontend interacts with.

It could be some API or a system, or it could be a billing system, et cetera like something that processes data.

So we can say that the back is an interface between that the frontend and the storage.

Data is stored in the storage.

The data could be in the MySQL database, or you know.

There are lots of relational or non-relational databases.

So that’s storage.

That’s where data is stored.

Backend is what helps the frontend in other ways, interact with the storage.

So now, who is the frontend developer?

It’s a person who develops the frontend.

They usually work with some technologies with some tools.

And lay this down on a scale. So say, this is my imaginary scale of hard-coreness.

So in frontend development who is hard-core and who is not hard-core? And I usually like to look at this.

It could be seniority, but the hard-core-ness is also a function of some of the tools and the difficulty of using these tools.

So say, a web developer could be someone who just was just starting his or her career in IT. I’ve seen developers who have been in marketing before.

Marketing account managers, people who have managed Facebook ads or Google Ads, and at some point in their career, they wanted to go to the next level and maybe even create landing pages. So that’s why I have here.

One of the use cases could be to create marketing landing pages. So a landing page that a user interacts with.

These web developers usually use tools like WordPress. Wordpress is used by 30% of all the websites out there.

So it’s a mainstream tool.

A lot of developers use WordPress. WordPress is also built-in PHP, so these two go hand-in-hand.

Lots of developers start their career paths PHP developers, and they usually integrate a few plugins right.

So they could integrate WordPress plugins and connect them somehow. They can integrate already existing tools. So that they can build websites using the Wix platform or Square. There are lots of these website builders.

We can look at a few examples if you’d like.

I build websites using a website builder, for example, I can show on my website that is running on michaljuhas.com, and I can show you how to make it work really within five minutes.

So that’s why I’m saying, you know anyone can be a web developer with some training. It takes some time.

But by far, not as much time as being a hard-core frontend developer.

So imagine a different use case, an e-commerce website with a million visitors, million per month who are coming and visiting the website to buy some products.

So the company needs to optimize everything they need to.

No longer use WordPress or some public free plugins, but they need to build their custom solution, something built in-house, and they invest lots of time and energy to make it really cool.

So they use a different set of technologies a different set of tools.

So these are usually seniors, but they use JavaScript frameworks, for example, Angular or Vue.js or React. These are some of the popular frontend frameworks. They use CSS pre-processors.

For example, SASS or LESS. I can also show you how easy it is to use HTML and CSS. It’s easy. I would even say it no longer makes sense to write to a job description

We require senior frontend developers to have knowledge of HTML and CSS.

That doesn’t make sense because who doesn’t these days have knowledge of HTML and CSS on some level.

You know, they may not have working experience with SASS or LESS. And for a web developer and junior web developer who builds a website using WordPress like he or she certainly would not have experience with SASS or LESS or Gulp.

So this is how you can recognize senior frontend developers and some other tools it uses are, for example, APIs.

So they can integrate APIs, or they also use Git to store the code they write to a Git repository. The repository on GitHub or GitLab or Bitbucket.

So this is how you can recognize frontend developers.

And you immediately see a few questions that you can start asking during an interview. Or during a small-talk. But especially during an interview.

You can ask questions about how do they create websites.

So, for example, we talked about building a simple website just a while ago, right.

And this could be a great opening question like, hey, we have this project, we need to build a simple landing page. How would you build it? What would you recommend?

And the person could come up saying hey, no, we can use Wordpress.

There are some free templates, or I can buy a Bootstrap theme for 30 euros. Well, that’s also OK.

It’s an easier way to do it.

And some other developers may prefer to go really say, hard-core, using some of these JavaScript frameworks. They can use Angular, React, Vue.js, some other.

There’re so many. We actually cover all these frameworks in a different module.

So if you would like to dive deeper, we can certainly dive deeper into the following session.

So I just covered briefly like this.

And we can talk about details later on.

If you have any questions, please take some notes, and we’ll cover them afterward.

For now, I’ll focus on other topics. Who are at the frontend developers.

Just keep in mind there could be a Junior web developer or a senior frontend developer.

It’s never black and white.

Just recently, I was looking with a group of recruiters through a few profiles, and we’ve seen a web developer who had on his profile written “I’m a web developer,” but he had ten years of working experience building websites.

But as soon as you dig deeper on his profile, you could see, you could see, the different positions and written Fullstack developer, Fullstack developer, Fullstack.

So even though his title was written, web developer. He had Fullstack developer written in his positions.

Sometimes it may be confusing. You certainly need to ask these questions like, hey, how do you build websites.

What tools do you use? Do you use Gulp? How do you use Gulp? Do you use LESS and SASS? How?

How do you use these pre-processors? If they don’t know even about these pre-processors, then they are these junior web developers using some of these technologies like Bootstrap and those that I mentioned. So, keep this in mind.

And we can practice more questions later on.

So how to attract them?

Certainly, you can attract these developers if you know what they are interested in.

To say that the more hard-core frontend developer would like to work in a set up that has already implemented some of these new technologies. They like to work with JavaScript frameworks.

It will be very difficult for you to hire someone who has already been working with Angular or React and you suddenly tell the person hey, I have a great opportunity you’ll be building a landing page using WordPress themes.

Right Yeah, you can guess that person will not be excited.

So this differentiation will help you next time you talk to developers, and you interview them. How to recognize juniors and seniors?

You cannot focus on the number of years of experience in frontend development because developers like to shift and sometimes things from frontend development to backend development. And that’s completely OK.

Sometimes they would like to be Fullstack developers.

Sometimes they say they are full-stack developers for three years.

And then they realize they don’t like building APIs on the backend.

So they only focus on frontend, you know, everyone has different preferences.

So don’t focus only on the number of years, they worked with a particular technology.

But instead, how they use it.

So, for example, some of these pre-processors or these tools that helped to automate some of these frontend tasks can be used just say on a very shallow level.

For example, Gulp. I even use gulp when I adjust some of our other websites at Geekruiter, and I just use it on a very, very shallow level.

What can gulp be used for then I can answer. If you ask me like, hey, do you use Gulp? I said, yeah, like I’d use gulp, but you need to dig a little deeper, and you ask me, how do you use Gulp? What do you use it for?

What were some of the use cases?

And then you would realize that I’ve just scratched the surface with Gulp or SASS or LESS or some of these frontend frameworks.

And because I don’t need anything more for my particular use case.

But should I build an e-commerce website?

You know my knowledge of Gulp and SASS and some other tools, frontend tools, would not be enough.

I would not get hired.

So that’s why that’s what I would like to open this discussion about these tools and how can you use this knowledge and then the knowledge that CTOs and hiring managers and IT directors

have by default, and how can you use it to make solid recruitment decisions.

Because at the end of the day, you need to become a little more helpful to the hiring managers.

You need to bring a little more value to the table.

So you don’t just pass job descriptions.

But you can assess, and you can comment a little.

So you can look through the profile, ask better questions the candidate, and then add your point of view — a little commentary.

If you’d like to learn more about all the different IT roles, check out our Tech Fundamentals For IT Recruiters training program.

Here's what you can do next...

If you need to fill more IT positions, or your are in touch with IT professionals, create a FREE account and activate your IT Recruiter Toolkit in no time at all.