Insights interview with Emile Baccaini - Business Development Manager at CodeControl
What is a good developer? Many companies, HR managers and project managers of all kinds and all over the world are currently asking themselves this question. We think it’s a pretty good question, too and consulted one of our very own experts in search of the answer. After all, at CodeControl we specialize in finding the best developers for all kinds of different projects. In this interview, Emile Baccaini, Business Development Manager at CodeControl, reveals the hiring process for developers at CodeControl.
An Interview with Emile Baccaini
Emile, what is the biggest challenge when it comes to finding a good developer and how does CodeControl do it?
The whole process is a challenge, because we have to find out if a developer has the necessary expertise, but also if it is a good match for us in terms of personality. So our hiring process at CodeControl consists of three rounds: Two interviews and a coding challenge.
The first interview is about three basic things, which we always check. * *1. Communication: This interview is usually done over the phone and we pay special attention to the developer’s communication skills. Can the candidate express and structure himself well? Can he explain something without going too much into detail? These are questions we would like to have answered. We need someone who can communicate very well and precise, because we are not always involved in the communication between our clients and freelancers. So it is important for us to know that there will be no difficulties in this area to avoid miscommunication.
2. English: We do the interview in English to find out about their English language skills in a business conversation. A developer must be able to express himself well in English, as this is the corporate language for many projects. Of course, we don’t say you can’t have an accent or you must be a native speaker, but the knowledge must be sufficient to be able communicate on a professional level on an English-speaking team.
3. Self-reflection: In the first round, we pay special attention to how a developer talks about his experiences and past projects. What did the candidate learn so far, what feedback had he or she been given? We ask questions such as “What went well, what didn’t go so well, what would you do differently, what did you learn from it?
We don’t want to hire people, who are too arrogant, have too high an opinion of themselves and think everything they do is perfect. That’s not a good sign. We want people who learn and develop. Our developers deal with our clients on a daily basis and these clients regularly give us feedback. A developer must be able to accept and implement such feedback.
We check all this in the first interview and then come the second round.
If everything went well in the first interview, we send the developer a coding challenge. The challenge isn’t super complicated and doesn’t always reflect what a developer can do or what their daily job would look like, depending on the level of experience. But for us it’s a good way to find out if all necessary basics are available and if they understand the structure of a code. Of course, we have different tests for different types of software development.
Whoever passes the test goes into the final round.
The third and final round is a tech interview. We work with over 450 talents and experts in a wide variety of software development fields. Depending on the type of developer being interviewed, we would ask one of our experts to conduct an interview with the candidate to assess their current level and quality. We discuss the questions with the expert beforehand, to make clear how the interview should be structured, but of course this round is quite subjective. We also give them some freedom regarding the questions, because they are the experts after all.
At the end of it, the expert sends us a short report and tells us their opinion about the candidate and if the knowledge on topics like different frameworks and languages, cloud technologies etc. is good enough. In this round a lot of expert knowledge is discussed and we also get another perspective on the candidates personality.
It is important that several people interview one developer.
Experience, Communication & Empathy...
Emile makes very clear, that one should take the time to find candidates, who have it all. And who would have thought that during the hiring process for a developer, coding skills actually make up only a third of the “all”? Emile summarizes once again the top qualities of a top developer.
If you had to summarize all this now, what would be the top 3 qualities that make a good developer?
Experience. We try to work with experienced developers as much as possible. If you have less than 3-4 years of experience, your chances of joining us as a freelancer aren’t very high. As in any job, or perhaps even more so in this job, you learn by working daily. You have to develop a network and get to know the different tools, and that takes time. So yes, professional experience is very important.
And then of course, as I already mentioned, communication. The ability to communicate well and precise is really important in this job. What is also an incredibly important feature is Empathy. A person has to be empathetic and able to accept feedback, because ultimately our freelancers are also CodeControl ambassadors. A client comes to us first, but it’s the developer they’ll end up working with daily.
Unfortunately, we had to learn the hard way how important empathy is. We’ve had a few cases where the cooperation between our client and the freelancer was far from good, because the freelancer was unprofessional and extremely rude. So yes empathy and the ability to work in a team is indispensable and we have been very strict about that in the recruitment process ever since.
Emile has just indicated that despite intensive screenings and several interviews, working together can sometimes be difficult. In the next section, he reveals how CodeControl deals with problems like that.
Okay Emile, what happens if it turns out that there are problems with the cooperation between clients and freelancers?
We always ask our freelance developers to come to us first, before the client has to reach out to us. We then talk to both parties and try to understand and solve the problem. If it can’t be solved, we have to make a decision. And that depends on the nature of the problem. For example, if our developer has made a mistake and the client is angry, we try to explain how it happened and find a replacement for the client.
If it was a really critical bug or the developer quit without telling us - yes, that actually happened! - we find this absolutely unacceptable and unfortunately have to end all cooperation with the freelancer. Of course, everyone has the chance to explain how this happened. We always do our best to find suitable freelancers for a project and I would say in most cases there are no problems, but it’s life and now and then it just doesn’t work out.
CodeControl's HR assessment services
This complex recruitment process with in-depth interviews on coding knowledge, focus on empathy and testing communication skills is something we at CodeControl are very proud of. Our mission is to find the best developers in the world so you don’t have to look for them.
However, if you’ve found a developer, CTO or Tech Lead that you are interested in, but don’t know exactly whether they have the necessary expertise, we also offer general HR assessments. We test the knowledge of your candidates and find out whether they are suitable for your project and your company. We offer this service at different levels, from developers with a few years of experience to CTO assessments. We will help you define exactly who you are looking for, what qualities you want them to have and how much work experience you want on their CV. Once the role is clearly defined, we test your candidate’s soft and hard skills in three stages.
the candidate must complete 2 questionnaires, one relating to their personality and the other one to see how the candidate would react in certain scenarios. The scenarios are of course tailored to the role that they’re being recruited for.
This is followed by a 1-hour interview in which various topics are discussed personally. From leadership experience to team management, everything relevant to the role is being covered.
In the final phase, one of our tech experts will test your candidate’s expertise.
At the end of the assessment you will receive a detailed report with the results, as well as an assessment and tips from us, so that you can make an informed decision.
You want to tackle everything on your own? In our follow-up interview, Emile gives tips on how someone without in-depth coding knowledge can assess the quality of a developer and how best to prevent a failed collaboration.