How to Hire a Web Developer

Businesses are keen to invest in the internet as a new, untapped source of revenue. But how do you actually go about hiring a web developer and what can they offer to a small business? Here's some handy tips on how to hire a web developer.

Now that society has overcome the fear of shopping online, the average user has a Smartphone, uses search engines regularly and logs in to social networks at least once a day, the internet is now an integral part of our everyday lives.

And that’s where web developers come into the equation. Because our customers aren’t on the high street anymore, they’re online. As a result, businesses are desperately trying to catch up with the constant changes in consumer behaviour.

Your online business

Whether you’re expanding your business with an online presence or increasing it, you need someone to develop your website on a regular basis, but how do you go about filling a web developer job? And how do you know you’re hiring the right person?

Chances are that you’re not a programmer. So you need to start by doing some research into the technical nature of the role in order to recruit effectively for it.

Understanding your requirements

Before jumping in at the deep end and hiring a web developer, consider how much work would be required and how often. It may be more affordable to outsource web development to an external contractor or agency. Although the cost of outsourcing could match an employee’s salary.

Alternatively, you could be looking for someone who’s more of a webmaster – essentially a web developer role with a well-rounded skill set who can take charge of web administration and sales related tasks in addition to coding and design.

You should also consider what work a web developer or webmaster would do on a month to month basis, including goals and how they would actually be achieved.

Placing a new employee in a web developer position and expecting them to work some kind of magic to grow your business to wild and whimsical expectations is just a recipe for disaster – but it does happen!

Also consider what your ideal candidate would be. Because you’re a small business and therefore only able to pay a small salary, you should expect applicants to be university or college leavers with a years’ experience at most.

The job will also appeal to this demographic because of the opportunity for them to further their career with a number of webmaster related tasks.

That’s assuming you don’t decide that it’s more cost effective to pay a recommended contractor or web design agency to take care of your website for you.

Recruiting for your web developer vacancy

If you choose to get an in house web developer / webmaster, then to manage your own expectations, start looking at other web developer job descriptions to get a better understanding of salaries and candidate requirements. You may be surprised how much a web developer with just a year’s experience can command for a salary.

From your findings you can create a job spec with the necessary technical requirements for your website and other online properties (social media accounts, video creation, etc) and get ideas for the personal requirements you’re looking for that match your company and its culture.

Don’t forget to include a salary scale for negotiation later.

Once you’ve created a job advert and a detailed job spec based on thorough research, it’s time to start recruiting.

There are numerous places to advertise your web developer job, from recruitment agencies and specific IT job sites to local newspapers and free online communities to spreading the word through family and friends.

However, like most things in life, results are proportional to how much you pay. So now is not the time to be tight with your money when $100 could get you 50 applicants for a job role.

I should also mention that location is important as well. If your company is in the middle of nowhere, then you will receive far less applicants. But if your company is located in the centre of a major city, you should be overwhelmed with applicants.

Interviewing for a web developer position

Because most small business owners can’t code and aren’t technically minded, we need to conduct more research before we can interview any applicants.

Fortunately, there are a number of good websites with helpful web developer interview questions (as well as the correct answers) available online.

Meanwhile, the interview should be a casual chat with your candidate in order to find out more about them as a person, while they can find out more about you and your company.

Other things to consider include how many candidates you’re going to invite in for an interview, basic manners like shaking hands and ushering candidates in and out, as well as second interviews and making your job offer.

But generally the faster you can make your interview process, the better. The best candidates tend to get snapped up quickly and will have numerous interviews lined up. So for the best results, have 1 week of interviews and make someone an offer by the end of it.

How much you offer them on your salary scale will depend on their experience. But if you’re unsure it’s always a good idea to offer something in the middle of the scale, with a pay rise towards the top of the scale once they pass their 3 month probation period.

This gives you as an employer a little peace of mind, while giving your new employee something to strive for.


Due to the technical nature of the role, hiring a web developer for your small business requires you to do a lot of research and self education in order to manage your expectations.

As a result, you can work with your web developer to achieve your targets, while understanding their work, what it involved and how it impacts on your business as whole.

Otherwise you’re leaving an employee to their own devices, while being in the dark about what they are doing and what they are meant to deliver.

Like any aspect of your small business, you need to be engaged with the development of your online presence, because even the biggest businesses are in danger of extinction if they get left behind.

For example, HMV and Blockbuster are just two high street giants here in the UK who died a slow, painful death to the rise of competitive online retail, music downloads and movie streaming services.

So before you hire a web developer, contractor of web design agency, conduct plenty of research, know what you’re putting in, what you’re getting out of it and how your business is going to grow online.

Once you’re well informed, hiring a web developer and growing your business is easy… sort of.

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