How to hire a programmer - blog cover

“How to hire a programmer?” is a burning question for businesses of any size. Team creation or augmentation is always a long and difficult process. It is never too easy, especially with developers. Unlike hiring a copywriter, for example, where the whole process may be conducted by a single HR manager. This article is to help you get clear with the question of how to hire a programmer and, as a result – find excellent candidates.

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Many IT companies have created CV templates. The motivation is clear: they want to unify all the candidates they hire to simply look at the systematized information in similar resumes and get the needed data to hire a programmer as quickly as possible. However, these templates are mostly developed by the HR manager, whose work could differ from the ones with deep knowledge of the IT sphere.

The templates often make developers equal: good ones look like intermediate developers, and at the same time, the bad ones look like intermediate as well. Analyzing the “template-built” CV, you have to be just a bit smarter to get some extra details from these standard resumes. This technique is just a good way to input some numbers, but not as good for telling something useful about the programmer.


First, before coming up to the interview with the Senior technician, the way to hire a programmer should go through two more people: the recruiter and the HR manager. Mostly these two roles are united by one person since they’re doing a similar job – hiring a programmer. So here we shortly consider them as one. 

HR managers are also living persons that appreciate their own time. So they should not be compelled to read through tons of text in search of what the developer is really skilled in.

As you aren’t the only one who is going to see the resume, be ready that it will be divided into two significantly different parts. That is what the candidates should do to walk the way to being hired. But for you, as the technician, it is useful to be aware of how a good programmer’s CV looks from top to bottom.

The resume should have an accurate structure. To simplify both HR manager and interviewing technician work – the CV is divided into two parts: short and expanded. The short part contains basic information and a short skills list. All the details concerning the project description and experience with every technology stated are points for the second expanded part.

The short description contains a headline. The way the developers see themselves. Two or three simple sentences describing the main characteristics of hiring from a professional perspective. If the headline does not contain the technologies, look for it in a separate “principal skills” unit. But this very part simply contains enumerated things separated by a comma, things that are simple to answer at the first stage of the interview. Besides the technical skills, here is the place for the general information which may interest the employer: age, education, the overall experience in IT, readiness for business trips, etc.


This is the part that demands exclusive attention to hiring a programmer. It doesn’t mean the candidate can write it the way they want – the rules here are less strict but still exist. HR reads the “short part” as a novel: from the very beginning to the end. This is why this “book” has a volume of a brochure.

But the “main part” is the section for the technician to pay attention to. Containing core information, it becomes more detailed and expanded and gives you the right idea of what kind of person and specialist you are going to evaluate and hire for your project.

The first part is commonly dedicated to skills and knowledge. Every section within this group is dedicated to some group of skills:

  • Main skills
  • Programming languages
  • Technologies and frameworks
  • Experience
  • Recommendations (optional)

What is the best way to hire a programmer? It is an actual demonstration. This means the example of the code written by this programmer is the number-one thing for the senior technician to consider. From the perspective of the hired programmer, they can attach it to the CV as a separate file in .zip, for example. One more, not less notable thing. The “mecca” of all the developers – GitHub. If the candidate has the account (which is highly appreciated), the link to their account with examples of their code is also closely examined here. It allows the technician to see what kinds of projects the developer was taking part in and the amount of personal input or edits.

The main skills should contain everything stated in the short description part, plus everything that is not stated but is honorable to mention. 

The core data to find out how to hire a programmer is to structurize the skills and experience you require most of all. This information is mostly used during the actual interview while asking questions and listening to the answers. What is stated in the paper is just a basis for the dialogue. The best way to see it in a CV is a simple listing, e.g.:

“Expert knowledge in main front-end technologies: JavaScript, HTML, CSS. Also widely using other technologies: jQuery, AJAX, MooTools, XSLT”

Such a presentation focuses your attention on a personal specialist’s skills to have a clear idea of it. All the further details to hire a programmer are received during the interview.

Such structure allows you to simplify the perception of the candidate’s skills and experience and see the whole picture. Moreover, such an arrangement allows you to compare two or more candidates for hire and see the benefits of one or another.

Education goes next after the skills: university, faculty, specialty, and years of education. That means you will see if the person you are interviewing was studying professionally to obtain their skills or if they are self-taught. However, this point may be formal for your concern, as self-taught people are sometimes much more experienced than ones prepared for this. Or it can be Vice Versa. The thing is: it will give you a direction to further dialogue.

Next is employment history and project involvement. The choice to describe it as one part or separate it into two parts – is for the developer. The employment history gives you a clear vision to measure the developer’s overall competence, teamwork competence, etc. What is important here is the periodicity of work changes. If it occurs approximately every six months – it shows a low candidate’s competence or reliability. Maybe there are some issues present, like the impossibility of working in a team or the lack of skills. Nonetheless, if the software engineer has been working in one spot for five years, for example, their skills could possibly be stuck.

Concerning the work on the projects, the questions to ask are like “What was YOUR input in the project?”. As you think about how to hire a programmer, but not a team, it is valuable to measure this one specialist and their personal behavior apart from the team.

Recommendations – is one of the best inventions in recruiting. What car would you rather purchase: the one advertised on a TV or recommended by your friend? The same rule works for recruiters: it is better to hire a trusted worker than two untrusted ones. So if you deal with a CV with recommendations attached, like letters, links to external recommendations, and previous employers’ contacts – this one may be a valuable find. Also, you may have a look at the recommendations section of the candidate’s LinkedIn profile.


Even though the CV may be pretty standard, different tips and tricks help you to know how to hire a programmer if you read between the lines. This information may be far from the candidate’s professional aspect, but it will reveal him as a personality. And in its turn, it will help you to find ties to better cooperation in the future. It is not required for you to be a psychologist. Such questions may be different for every new candidate. But it is much better to get that information previously than to get surprising pieces with time. Here are some additional points to look at when you hire a developer:

  • Do they have a professional email address/ Skype ID like first-name.lastname@, or is it look like ThECoOlGuy?
  • Is the CV up to date? For instance, it should not have something like: “Operating Systems: Windows 98, Windows XP…Windows10” unless they send a CV to some project related to legacy code maintenance.
  • Have they started in the industry, or were they working as a seller, as a tax officer, then as a teacher, and now want to be a software engineer?
  • Do they always move up in their career, or were there downs, like from team lead to just a senior developer on the same team and project?
  • If you are looking for a person to hire for a web project, they should also have some experience with JavaScript and libraries like jQuery and React.


There are several options for consideration when hiring programmers. Besides the place where to hire a programmer, it often helps to define the future engagement model. 

Traditional hiring

Traditional hiring is often used by businesses to find and hire skilled programmers. These include job boards, referrals, and recruiters. Each option has its pros and cons, and it’s essential to know how to maximize its effectiveness.

Job boards are online platforms that allow businesses to post job openings and search for candidates. Popular job boards include Indeed, Glassdoor, and LinkedIn. Job boards can be useful for finding a large pool of candidates, but they can also be time-consuming to sift through. To make the most of job boards, it’s essential to write a clear job description that accurately reflects the skills and experience required for the position.

Referrals are another way to find skilled programmers. Referrals involve reaching out to colleagues, friends, or family members who may know a programmer looking for work. Referrals can be an excellent way to find candidates quickly, but it’s essential to make sure the programmer is a good fit for the job before hiring them.

Recruiters are professionals who specialize in finding and hiring programmers for businesses. Recruiters have a network of contacts and can often find high-quality candidates quickly. However, recruiters can be expensive, and it’s important to choose a reputable recruiter to ensure that the candidates they provide are of the highest quality.

Freelance platforms

Freelance platforms are online platforms that connect businesses with skilled freelance programmers. Popular freelance platforms include Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal. Freelance platforms can be an excellent way to find skilled programmers for short-term projects or to augment an existing team.

The benefits of hiring freelancers include flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and the ability to hire programmers quickly for short-term projects. However, there are also risks associated with hiring freelancers, such as the potential for unreliable work and communication issues.

To make the most of freelance platforms, it’s essential to choose a platform that has a large pool of skilled programmers. It’s also important to thoroughly vet potential freelancers before hiring them, including checking their references and past work.

Outsourcing companies

Outsourcing companies are companies that provide skilled programmers to businesses on a contract basis. Outsourcing companies can be an excellent way to find skilled programmers for a variety of projects.

The benefits of outsourcing include cost-effectiveness, the ability to quickly find skilled programmers, and the ability to scale the development team as needed. There are also risks associated with outsourcing, such as the potential for communication issues and cultural differences. However, it’s easy to avoid if addressed properly. 

To choose the right outsourcing company, it’s important to choose a company with a track record of success and experience with similar projects. It’s also important to make sure the company has excellent communication skills and is willing to work closely with your business to ensure that the project is completed successfully.

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The cost of hiring a programmer can vary widely depending on several factors, such as their skill level, experience, location, and the nature of the project. In general, the cost of hiring a programmer can range from $25 to $200 per hour.

For example, junior programmers with limited experience may charge around $25 to $50 per hour, while senior programmers with advanced skills and several years of experience may charge $100 to $200 per hour. The location of the programmer can also affect the cost. Programmers from countries with lower living costs may charge lower rates than those from countries with higher living costs.

In addition to hourly rates, some programmers may also charge a fixed project fee or a retainer fee for ongoing work. The cost will also depend on the scope of the project, the complexity of the task, and the specific programming languages and technologies required.

Ultimately, the cost of hiring a programmer will depend on the specific requirements of your project and the skills and experience of the programmer you choose to hire.

What are software development rates in different locations?

You can find the report with the average software development rates in 5 global locations.

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Here are some additional details on the factors that can affect the cost of hiring a programmer:

  • The skill level of the programmer has always been the main factor that determines the cost of their services. Junior programmers with limited experience and skills may charge lower rates than senior programmers with advanced skills and several years of experience.
  • The level of experience a programmer has also impacted their hourly rate. Programmers with several years of experience, who have worked on complex projects, are likely to charge more than those who are just starting out.
  • The cost of hiring a programmer can also vary based on their location. Programmers from countries with lower living costs, such as Eastern Europe, may charge lower rates than those from countries with higher living costs, such as the United States or Western Europe.
  • The project scope can also affect the cost of hiring a programmer. More complex projects may require more skilled programmers, which may result in higher rates.
  • The cost of hiring a programmer can also depend on the specific programming languages and technologies required for the project. Programmers with expertise in specialized programming languages or technologies may charge more for their services.
  •  Programmers may charge differently depending on the type of engagement. For example, hiring a programmer for a long-term project may result in a lower hourly rate than hiring a programmer for a short-term project.
  • Hiring a freelance programmer may be less expensive than hiring a programmer from an agency. However, agencies may provide more guarantees, such as insurance and quality assurance, which may justify the higher cost.

Overall, the cost of hiring a programmer can vary widely based on a variety of factors. It’s important to carefully evaluate your needs and budget, and to research potential candidates thoroughly, to find the best fit for your project.


Finding out how to hire a programmer is not an elementary task. Everything stated above is considered only as unified pieces of advice. Every company has its own nuances and differences, and listing them in detail will require a full-size book. However, this universal basis is still enough to ensure you’ve properly researched the resume. And later, you could hire a programmer that meets your requirements. Reading the text, you’ve probably noticed that we had mentioned the questions that can be asked during the interview, which will surely follow the review of a well-built resume. These questions are the subject of the next article.

If you are competent in the questions of how to hire a programmer, and you have your own successful strategy?

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Frequently asked questions

How to hire programmers?

When you want to hire a programmer, it's important to start by defining your project requirements. Next, you'll need to research potential candidates, conduct technical interviews and assessments, and check references and portfolios to find the best fit for your project. Once you've selected a programmer, you'll need to finalize the terms of the engagement and monitor progress while providing feedback as needed.

How to approach the CV review?

Reviewing the CV of a programmer focuses on considering their relevant experience in programming languages and technologies required for your project. Additionally, assess their technical skills, knowledge, education and certifications, problem-solving abilities, and teamwork skills. Look at their project experience, including the scope and complexity of the projects they have worked on, and pay attention to their communication and writing skills. Finally, check for any gaps in employment or frequent job changes, and ask for clarification if needed.

Where to hire a programmer?

Several platforms and resources are available for hiring programmers, such as job boards, freelancer platforms, specialized technical staffing agencies, outsourcing companies, etc.

How much does it cost to hire a programmer?

The hourly cost of hiring a programmer can significantly fluctuate based on a few variables, including their skill level, experience, location, and project requirements. Typically, the cost can fall between $25 to $200 per hour.

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