Hiring the Best SharePoint Developers the Web Has to Offer

Trying to find great talent can be difficult. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for a SharePoint Developer, a SharePoint freelancer or a SharePoint development firm; if you’re looking for talent with a specific technical skill you may feel as if you are facing a drawn out screening process. The entire process can be streamlined by going to sources where the best SharePoint developers and agencies can be found. Once you have potential candidates in mind, you can screen their knowledge and expertise to make sure that they are the right choice for the job.

When hiring SharePoint developers, you have a few approaches: Hiring a full time staff developer, hiring a free lancer, or hiring a SharePoint consulting firm that focuses on SharePoint development. Dig in further as we break those options down.

Where to Full-time SharePoint Developers

Finding SharePoint developers and consultants on the Web can be difficult, but there are several websites that specialize in technical positions.

Two great examples are:

  • Dice.com—Specific to the IT field, including SharePoint Developers, Dice is one of the most popular job search websites in IT. They routinely have over 80,000 jobs posted; many times this is where IT job seekers look first.
  • Stackoverflow.com—Stack Overflow is a website where developers can post issues that they are having with their code and other developers will assist them in resolving the issues. An extremely popular site among developers, Stack also provides a job board for companies to post open development and IT positions. This is the perfect way to utilize a high traffic destination to find qualified SharePoint developers.

Screening For Talented SharePoint Developers

Technical Interview

Hiring managers should ask technical and field specific questions, in addition to the standard interview questions, in order to screen potential new employees. This ensures that those hired have the depth of SharePoint understanding necessary to be able to be successful in the position for which they are hired.

Examples of the questions that a hiring manager should ask include:

  • How do you keep up with the latest advancements of SharePoint? Does the candidate attend seminars or conferences? Does he or she follow bloggers and other thought leaders in the SharePoint industry? Who does she or he follow and how (via blogs, social media, podcasts, etc.)? You want to find someone who is truly passionate about what they do and who engrosses themselves in development and SharePoint, as this helps to ensure the individual will be an asset to your team.
  • Are you Microsoft SharePoint Certified? Why or why not? Certification shouldn’t be the deciding factor in an offer, but it does show a commitment to this technology. Asking candidates why they became certified will give you a better grasp of their motivations and what drives them. If an applicant is not certified, allow the individual a chance to explain the rationale behind not being certified. A lack of certification may be simple to overlook depending on the unique circumstances of the applicant.
  • What are Client Side Object Models (CSOM)? What are their benefits? Beginning in 2010, SharePoint allowed the use of client-side applications without the installation of SharePoint. This is a more modern approach to SharePoint developing, and shows an understanding of CSOM demonstrates the candidate keeps up on modern trends in development and has a willingness to learn the latest technology.

Project Walk-through

If the candidate can show an expertise level that is acceptable, the next step in the evaluation process should be to have the individual walk you through a recent project that he/she has worked on. Ideally, this will be a project that is live and accessible, so you can review the final working product. The following considerations should be made:

  • The project specifications and requirements
  • The timeline for the project
  • Whether the deadline was met
  • What contributions the candidate made to the project
  • What parts proved to be problematic
  • How challenges were overcome
  • The success of the project

Code Samples & Code Reviews

Requesting code samples is a great way to see how a SharePoint developer structures and documents code. This also allows you to compare the person’s product output with your organization’s coding best practices to make sure that they are aligned.

You can also ask that applicants perform a small sample project or series of tests for you prior to presenting an offer. This gives the developer an opportunity to showcase their talent while giving you a way to test their abilities prior to offering them a position.

Hiring a SharePoint Development Agency

Hiring a SharePoint development agency is similar to hiring a single developer. You want to make certain that the agency has the skill set and the experience needed to complete the project.

Where to Find a SharePoint Development Agency

Finding a qualified SharePoint development agency is easier than finding a single developer. There are many ways so do this:

  • Online Directories—These are websites agencies typically join. Then users can go to the website and search for firms that provide the services they are looking for. You can find reviews of the firms from others who have used their services as well as samples of projects. Some websites do require the searchers to join. One example is Clutch.
  • Personal Referrals—You can ask business associates or other people you know if they have used SharePoint agencies in the past or if they know anyone who has. If so, you can get their feedback on the firm that they used and if they would recommend it or not.
  • Google Search—you can do a search for "SharePoint agency" or "SharePoint consultants" or other relevant keywords and Google will return a list of agency websites, many times starting with agencies that are geographically close to you.

Once you have found a few agencies to consider, review their website, especially their portfolio, to see if they have handled similar projects. Also see if their website has any testimonials. If specific client companies and people are mentioned, feel free to reach out to them before contacting the agency to get an honest opinion of the agency’s competency.

Screening for the Appropriate SharePoint Development Agency

Once you contact an agency, there are a number of ways to screen their ability. One way is to ask the contact person about their developers using the interview questions above. While each developer will be different, you can get an overall feel of their development team’s skill set.

Also, ask them directly if they have ever worked on a project similar to yours. If so, can they put you in contact with that client to discuss that project. Most proper development agencies will be happy to have you speak with their current clients.

Finally, ask them what their expert opinion is in regards to your particular project. How will they go about designing and developing your project? What issues do they foresee in the project given the project specifications and the required deliverables? What is their given timeline? Allow them to showcase their SharePoint expertise.

Where to Find a SharePoint Freelance Developer

Perhaps you have a small SharePoint project that wouldn’t require hiring a developer full-time but also would not justify finding and hiring a full-service SharePoint development shop. This is the perfect scenario for hiring a freelance SharePoint Developer.

A freelance developer typically is hired on either a per-project basis or for a set time frame. Once the project is completed or the time frame has expired both parties are free to go their own way. But also if there is continued work to be done, and both parties agree, the freelance contract can be extended. Sometimes even if the project is done a partnership can be reached and that freelancer can be hired for continuing projects so you will always have a SharePoint development resource.

A great resource for hiring a freelance SharePoint developer is Toptal.com. They provide a rigorous screening process and only work with the best developers in the business. How rigorous? Only 3% of all developers that apply become Toptal developers. Another similar website is Matchist.com

Screening for the Best SharePoint Freelance Developer

Hiring a SharePoint freelance developer is very similar to both hiring a SharePoint developer for permanent hire as well as hiring an agency.

Similar to hiring a full time SharePoint developer, you will want to discuss if they keep up with modern SharePoint development trends and any of their certifications. But like hiring a SharePoint development agency, you will want to look at their portfolio, talk about their current client list(as well as request recommendations), as well as their current and future workload while discussing the specifications of the project. Typically, the best developers are also the busiest. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect freelancer only to find out that they don’t have the time to devote to the project!

While finding and hiring a quality SharePoint developer or agency might seem like a large investment of time and resources, it doesn’t have to be. If you know where to look for the best talent you can be sure to find and hire the best SharePoint development resource, regardless of if you need a developer. freelancer or agency.