How Not To Hire a Developer


October 28, 2016

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A couple of years back, I worked for a company that was heavily involved in project management. This company had been around for 20 years (and they still are), and over the course of that time had had the idea that having their own proprietary project management software would give them a key competitive advantage in their market space. So, about 10 years ago, they hired a developer to write them a browser-based project management app. And, while somewhat clunky and “web 1.0”, it worked alright for several years. However, when tweaks needed to be made or version 2.0 needed to be released, our developer was nowhere to be found.

And that left everyone with a bad taste in their mouths.

One of the issues is that it relied heavily on manual input to move a project along from one phase to the next. And it didn’t integrate well with the accounting software, and it didn’t have a CRM component to it either. So when I came into the company as the marketing manager, I wanted to implement a marketing automation platform that would also work as a CRM, and that our project managers could use in conjunction with the proprietary PM software. And gosh, it sure would be great if it also tied everything together with the accounting system as well.

In short, I needed a developer. Lots of APIs and code and mapping one to another to another. I was in over my head, so I went to an expert.

After a bit of searching, I found a developer who was willing to write a .NET interface that would tie everything together for the low low price of only $30,000. It took a bit of convincing to get the CEO to buy in (literally), and we were off.

Well, to make a too-long story only moderately long, it didn’t work. The company we hired worked with freelance developers who found something better to do, and we ended up holding the bag. Fortunately we had written a refund provision into the contract, so that if the company couldn’t or didn’t deliver on time, we would get our money back (pro tip: Shoot for this when hiring freelancers! Cover your tails, it could save you $). Then the sales/account manager guy who convinced us he could get the project done for us left the company to found his own start-up development company. In short, it was a really really bad experience that kind of validated all of our mistrust of developers in the first place.

So what could we have done differently?

I mean, other than thinking 10 years ago that we needed a proprietary system when an off-the-shelf PM suite would have worked great (and the company has since gone this route). Well, for one, hiring a dedicated developer instead of a somewhat-shady freelance company would have been a great first step. You see, the experience left the CEO convinced that he’d never hire another developer for any project under any circumstances, ever. And to be fair, his was not a software company per se, so that’s an entirely tenable position. But developers aren’t all bad. Many developers are hard-working and dedicated to the project or company that pays their bills. And that’s the developer we go after here at CoDev.

You see, at CoDev, we hire developers for our clients, but there’s one key difference between us and the shady freelance guys. (Okay, there’s more than one, but let’s start where we are.) We find developers that meet our clients’ job description, and then we hire them. Full time. They work for us. And then we put them to work for our client. The client manages them just like they would their own in-house employee. However, we provide the HR oversight, the IT infrastructure, and we take care of the paycheck and the benefits and the taxes and the international regulations (yeah, our developers all live and work in the Philippines.

But you’d never know it once you’re up and running with us. Except that you’re saving a ton of cash. But that’s another post.) In short, we hire you a dedicated, full-time “employee” and you’re never left to worry about what happens when a better offer comes along. We make it easy to find and retain your next developer



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