Top 5 Mistakes When Hiring a Full-Stack Developer

Mistakes in hiring a full-stack developer

When hiring, watch out for the following mistakes:

1. Unrealistic expectations

Especially common when hiring full-stack developers, the error lies in thinking a generalist has to be absolutely proficient on both the front-end and back-end level. If you want to hire a developer skilled in MongoBD, ExpressJS, AngularJS, and Node.js, consider hiring a mean stack development specialist instead of a full-stack one. Keep in mind, that a full-stack developer is more of a generalist — someone, who despite being 100% proficient in any field, is capable of covering many roles.

2. Ignoring technical tests

More often than not, when a hiring manager likes a candidate’s attitude towards the company and the candidate’s management and people skills, the manager hires the full-stack developer without thoroughly checking the candidate’s technical background. Thrown into a dynamic working environment, with dozens of tasks and not much time to start learning from scratch, such a candidate will struggle with delivery and underperform.

3. No face-to-face meetings

Ignoring face-to-face interviews is a common mistake for freelance full-stack developers and IT staffing services. Typically, an HR manager talks to a potential hire via email, messenger, or social media, takes a look at the resume and portfolio, and makes a decision.

4. Underestimating the impact of portfolio

While professional staffing services often look at a candidate’s portfolio before scheduling an interview, many tend to not follow up on it during the interview. In fact, discussing work history is a quick way to see the candidate’s approach to development, strong points in development, presentation skills as well as the type of projects the candidate enjoys working on.

  • What was your role on the project team?
  • What did you learn after working on the projects?
  • Which skills did the project involve?
  • How much time did you spend working on the project?

5. Limiting the range of search

Finally, one of the biggest traps HR managers fall into is disregarding new destinations where to hire developers and sticking to traditional methods like job boards and college referrals. Using social media is a good way to expand the range of candidates beyond your referral tech talent pool. Here are a few ways to spread the word about the opening:

  • Targeted ads across main communication channels
  • Posting job openings on developer forums where there’s a higher probability to find job seekers
  • Using platforms like AngelList
  • Attending technical events to scout potential hires

Skills for interviewing full-stack developers

If you’re about to have a chat with a full-stack development candidate and want to optimize your insights about a potential employee, here are the skills you will need.

1. Stay in the loop with technology

Software development is one of the most rapidly changing industries in the world. As a good interviewer, you need to know which technologies are trending, the list of most popular programming languages used for back-end developers, and which third-party APIs are used for server management.

2. Do research

Make it a goal to do some investigation before you interview the candidate. An HR manager who approaches research seriously will be able to ask the candidate the right questions and get a full view of the candidate’s profile.

  • Repository. Run the candidate’s name through GitHub’s repository.
  • References. Take the time to reach out to people listed as references to get a deeper look at the candidate’s approach and work attitude.
  • Search. Run the candidate’s name through a Google Search query.
  • Resume. Find data on the candidate’s involvement in projects that are stated in a resume, check the technology skills on resume, and the educational institution claimed on the resume, and so on. Catching fraud will save you a lot of time down the line as you will only interview reliable candidates.

3. Get to know the local IT market

Immersion into a local IT community is crucial for successful talent scouting. By simply following prominent talents from a competitor company, you’ll be able to be the first one to onboard good developers when they are open to new positions. Also, keeping track of what’s happening outside of your own microsystem will allow an HR recruiter to have a better idea of a candidate’s skill sets and experience, a project management methodology, and so on. Finally, you’ll be able to adopt smart practices of job description writing, interviewing, workflow management that worked out well for competitors.

Best practices for onboarding full-stack developers

When onboarding developers, keep in mind that not all HR practices will be equally effective. More often than not, onboarding orientation programs don’t turn out to be productive simply because introverted developers don’t feel comfortable participating.

  • Cut down the number of meetings. Developers are rarely enthusiastic when it comes to discussing things out loud — some of them are not skilled in communication altogether. Also, scheduling meetings is a challenge for those wondering how to manage remote teams. Instead, outline a reporting system that would allow the management to track an employee’s progress without pushing the new hire out of the comfort zone.
  • Outline expectations. Developer should clearly see the objectives they are working toward, including deadlines and KPIs. This way, they’ll be able to plan time efficiently and see the bigger picture of their work.
  • Be open to requests and communicate it. As developers spend a lot of time in their workplaces, be sure to make it comfortable. During onboarding, collect feedback on how the developers would like their desks to look. Try to adhere to these requests to the best extent possible unless they put a strain on the company’s budget.
  • Encourage peer-to-peer mentoring. Both in-house and remote employees perceive the workplace as a space for learning through peer socialization, and a company should facilitate a comfortable learning environment. Instead of adopting a vertical management system — with a clear mentor-subordinate paradigm — encourage all developers to share knowledge with others. To support this goal, you can even create dedicated networking events.


Hiring a full-stack developer for in-house, remote, or offshore software development is challenging due to the wide range of responsibilities the role entails. The good news is that by following the trends in the IT market, taking time to get to know the candidate on a personal and professional level, and accumulating knowledge on working with remote teams, an HR recruiter should be able to find a fit in no time.



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