Development agencies stand on the shoulders of skilled developers. However attracting and retaining developers is a tricky task, especially as an agency grows. This is something that we have had success with at White Label Agency. Our developers stay an average of five years, compared to less than two years for the industry generally. To find out why our 130 permanently employed, full-time developers stay on, I interviewed our HR manager, Anano. She shares her insight into the hiring process to find WordPress developers, and identifies the skills you should look for.
To begin with, I asked Anano what core skills make a WordPress developer stand out for her.
Skills to look for in developers
“First and foremost, we’re after people with the right attitude. A passion for development work is a must. We employ for the long-term, so we look for enthusiastic ones who are eager to learn and develop. Not only hard skills but also soft skills – the ability to articulate ideas, listen and ask questions. Communicating well in English is important for us because we employ staff in Europe, Eastern Europe and the US. Technical skills are important, but our developers learn a lot in a year and they’ve been with us for many years. So, attitude comes first I would say. If you don’t find the right fit for the company and its culture then it’s a loss for both sides.”
When it comes to smaller agencies, their hiring priorities for WordPress developers may differ slightly from ours. Firstly, technical proficiency is likely to be more important, as they need developers who can hit the ground running and they won’t have the resources to invest in training on the scale we have at WLA. Skilled developers should possess a deep understanding of WordPress and its underlying technologies. This knowledge will form the foundation for creating robust and scalable WordPress solutions.
However, even smaller agencies should look out for candidates with the right soft skills. They play a crucial role in a developer’s success within a team and when interacting with clients. Effective communication is essential for seamless collaboration and ensuring client satisfaction. Look for developers who can articulate their ideas clearly, actively listen to others, and adapt their communication style when interacting with different stakeholders.
Furthermore, experience is a vital factor to consider. Seek to find WordPress developers who have a proven track record in this particular field. Experience with projects of varying sizes and complexity demonstrates an ability to handle diverse challenges and deliver high-quality results. A developer’s portfolio and past client testimonials can provide valuable insights into their past accomplishments and the value they can bring to your agency.
Anano continues, “Be clear on the types of tasks you want your developers to work with from the outset. Developers with a lot of experience won’t stick around if they’re constantly asked to carry out maintenance tasks and code basic brochure websites. Developers want to develop – not only do they want to do development work, but they also want to add to their skills and progress to being senior developers doing senior developer things. If they don’t get the opportunity for that then they’ll switch to an employer who gives them that opportunity.”
When hiring a WordPress developer, it is essential to define the type of work you require. Consider whether you need a developer for scheduled updates to existing websites, building new simple websites from scratch, or larger projects that require more than 160 hours of development, including complex features like WooCommerce. This assessment will help determine the level of experience and expertise needed for the specific tasks.
Mid-level developers: Mid-level developers should have a proven track record of building sites efficiently. They should be proficient in using advanced plugins, setting up e-commerce stores, customizing Google Maps, and utilizing builder plugins such as Elementor. They should be able to add new layouts to existing sites and handle projects with up to 10-page designs.
Senior-level developers: Senior-level developers should have extensive experience in building complex sites, integrating different APIs, and creating custom solutions. They should be proficient in working with login areas, advanced APIs, and conditional logic. Senior developers are expected to have mastery in e-commerce website development.
Where to find developers
The tools and avenues for finding talent have undergone a transformation in recent years. Gone are the days when finding developers were confined to traditional methods. Nowadays, with the evolution of global search tools and platforms, recruiters have access to a vast array of resources to discover the rarest candidates. “I remember discovering one of our brightest developers in a small Facebook group. Within just five days, we had her on board, initiating a fruitful collaboration that has endured over time.” – says Anano. At WLA, we regularly pick up staff from non-traditional avenues, such as through social media.
When it comes to locating skilled WordPress developers, the options are plentiful. Among the various platforms available, Facebook and its thematic groups offer a promising avenue. By employing targeted keywords such as “WordPress developers (Country)” or “Software/Web developers (Country),” you can unlock a treasure of potential candidates. It’s worth exploring different combinations of keywords, tapping into your imagination and creativity to expand your search.
LinkedIn, another valuable platform, provides an extensive network of professionals, including WordPress developers. Leveraging the power of LinkedIn’s vast user base, you can connect with talented individuals who possess the specific skills you’re seeking. Additionally, platforms like StackOverflow, Github, Toptal, and Upwork present further opportunities to discover top-tier WordPress developers.
Additional tips for finding WordPress developers
If you are looking to find WordPress developers, there are a few additional tips that can help streamline your search and increase your chances of success. Firstly, as I mentioned above, it’s crucial to use the right keywords when searching for WordPress developers online. Tailor your search queries to include relevant terms such as “WordPress developer,” “WordPress development,” or specific skills like “PHP,” “HTML,” or “CSS.” By using precise and targeted keywords, you can narrow down your search results to find the most qualified candidates.
Secondly, clarity is key when posting a job opening. Clearly articulate your budget, project expectations, and any specific requirements you may have. This transparency will attract candidates who align with your project scope and eliminate potential miscommunications down the line.
Moreover, patience and persistence are essential virtues in the recruitment process. It may take time to find the perfect WordPress developer who not only possesses the technical skills but also fits well within your team and embraces your company culture. Be patient throughout the search and maintain persistence in pursuing the right candidate.
In terms of evaluating the technical proficiency of WordPress developer candidates during the recruitment process, test tasks play a crucial role. When a candidate’s performance in the test task meets the desired criteria, a technical interview follows. This two-step approach provides valuable insights into the candidate’s technical capabilities.
In the process of hiring WordPress developers for your agency, consider their technical proficiency, soft skills, and the fit with your team and company culture. Platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, StackOverflow, Github, Toptal, and Upwork offer opportunities to find skilled developers. Clearly communicate job expectations and be patient in the search process. Use test tasks and interviews to evaluate technical proficiency. Once hired, prioritize your developer’s growth and opportunities for more senior roles in the agency. Career advancement and opportunities to access educational resources help retention. I hope some of our experiences above may help you find WordPress developers who contribute to your agency’s success.
If developer procurement and retention are limiting the growth and success of your agency, don’t hesitate to contact us at WLA. We offer outsourcing for digital agencies in web development and design, providing a host of services including one-off development or design projects, dedicated developer and designer hire, website maintenance, and more. Our focus is on establishing long-lasting relationships with our clients to help them grow. Over the past ten years, we’ve worked with over 600 agencies and produced over 10,000 websites. We’d be delighted to add your agency to our growing list of success stories.