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How to Hire WordPress Developers For Your Agency

Hello again, I’m back! My dream of building my own full-service agency is about to be realized.

I had already implemented agile project management for and my customers were happy with the timely execution and perfect deadlines. As a result, the numbers of projects nearly doubled and I faced a new challenge.

Now the new projects required diverse skills, such as WordPress theme development and plugin customization. Due to multiple projects, I decided to expand the team as I cannot be a one-man army anymore. Since money was not a problem, I first decided to hire a WordPress developer.

In this installment, I am going to tell you how and from where you can hire the best WordPress developers, designers and other professionals that add great value to your agency.

Here is a brief overview of my journey so far:

Hiring a new member of the team is a major step forward for any freelance WordPress developer. In addition to being technically sound, the human side of the things is very important. Since hiring a developer is a time intensive endeavor, it is important that you should evaluate both the technical prowess and chances of the best fit within the team at the same time.

Remember that a developer or designer who couldn’t adjust with other members of the team is a liability that could drag down the entire team!

Defining the Role of WordPress Developers

Many people make the mistake of hiring WordPress developers without considering the importance of the step. Thus, they interview a number of candidates without a clear idea of what they are looking for. The result is a member of the team that is often not the best fit for the role. This leads to team-wide friction and loss of valuable time and productivity.

The first and the most important thing that you should do is to define the role of a WordPress developer. This should be in the form of a document that details your expectations of the new member of your team. Instead of a single line about the need of a new developer, this document should have three sections:

Baseline Skills and Expertise

WordPress developers come in all shades of experience. In addition, almost every developer has a mix of skills that they have acquired over years through education and work.

The most important thing to remember about the skillset of WordPress developers is that the proficiency in PHP is the basic requirement that couldn’t be overlooked. WordPress is developed in PHP and thus all development is done in the language.

“Make sure have some reviews and proof of the quality of their work and projects. Test your potential freelancer to make sure they follow professional best practices like backing up and using staging sites.”
— Mike Andreasen of WP Bullet

The second important skill is a thorough understanding of the WordPress system. WordPress has a very comprehensive architecture of folder and files that play an important role in the development of themes and plugins. A developer should know this system in detail because a misplaced file could bring down the entire website!

Finally, the WordPress developer should have known about the industry standard tools that form the workflows of the development projects. These tools include IDE, debuggers, deployment tools and version control tools. In addition, knowledge of project management methodologies and tools is a great plus.

These three skills are essential for working on any WordPress project. Almost all projects require modification of files, development, and alteration to existing codebase. This is where the PHP skills and knowledge about WordPress’ file structure are invaluable.

Job Description

The job description should include all major and minor tasks that the developer will perform in a typical work day or project. Remember to include those one-off tasks that often slip through the net. No developer appreciates undocumented tasks that eat into the budgeted work/project hours.

Common WordPress projects come in two distinct flavors. The first is modification and alterations to the code of the WordPress websites. These projects require skills in problem-solving and debugging. The second set of projects is maintenance related where the developer has to take care of minor issues and changes that affect the performance of the WordPress websites.

Often, clients request WordPress developers to create themes and plugins from scratch. These are high-paying and highly challenging projects that require all the skills of the developers.

Career Path

Career path describes the progression of the career of a WordPress developer. In addition, to increase in monetary rewards and designation, the career path should outline the various roles and responsibilities that come with each rung of the career ladder.

For WordPress developers, the career path starts from a junior position. After a few years, they progress up to senior positions where the job role expand to include training and supervision of junior developers.

The next step offers two pathways. Senior developers could become project managers who oversee the project execution and delivery to the client. The other path leads to architect level positions where developers continue to work on project design and development.

Places Where You Can Find the Best WordPress Developers

When hiring WordPress developers, many people make the mistake of posting the job listing across every website and job board they come across. This results in a deluge of resumes that complicates and needlessly draw out the process of sorting and shortlisting appropriate candidates.

“In my opinion, the best way to hire a good WordPress developer is to look at their GitHub profile, the code, and the open source contributions they make. After that, put them on a trial for let’s say a month or a small project. Very small indeed. This would help give both you time to understand if it works or doesn’t.”
— Ahmad Awais

Remember that the best and the brightest developers only frequent selected websites that are specially designed to cater to the requirements of these developers. In many cases, you could greatly speed up the process of hiring a WordPress developer by going straight to these websites.

7 Great Websites for Hiring WordPress Developers

The following list includes the industry standard job boards and websites that are your best bet for hiring the best WordPress developers for your new agency:

Code Poet

Code Poet is a venture by Automattic — the company behind WordPress.com. It maintains a directory of WordPress consultants that are well known for their design and development process. You could find individual and even companies that offer WordPress services of all description. Code Poet lists an expert only after careful evaluation of the skills through various tests.

WordPress Jobs

WordPress Jobs — the official WordPress job listing page is the best way of discovering the global WordPress talent. Your job posting is carefully evaluated before the post goes live. Once it is up, it remains active for 21 days.

Smashing Jobs

Smashing Jobs is a job portal that is maintained by the renowned web development publication, Smashing Magazine. The job listing on this portal is very varied with WordPress development being one of the many subheads under which you could post your job listing. In order to make sure that the agencies only receive the resumes of the best WordPress developers, a full-time service provider must pay $225, while freelancers must pay $75 for being listed and receive the job offers. Did you know that this portal is used by big names like Amazon and Electronic Arts?

Upwork

A place where you could choose from over 10 million freelancers, Upwork is often described as a living ocean of opportunity in terms of selecting the most appropriate WordPress developers for your agency. You could select developers after viewing their rankings and testimonials. Once you have shortlisted developers, you could select the very best by posting a test project and then evaluating the results.

Toptal

Toptal is the perfect place to go for the best of the best WordPress developers.It offers you a chance to select your next WordPress developer from the top 3% freelance experts in design and development. Members are selected after an interview, an algorithmic challenge, completion of an exam and a review by senior developers. This exhaustive process sieves out the less competent developers from the list!

WPMU Dev Pros

WPMU Dev is a great site that has strict requirements for developers that would like to be listed on the board. Prospects are required to pay a monthly fee to ensure quality. In addition, each developer has a profile that lists skills, talents, latest skills and the reputation points that you could review before extending an offer.

Envato Studio

Want a professional web developer who can take your agency to the next level? Envato Studio is the website that will help you get the best fit for your needs. A friendly support team and a dispute resolution team maintains the quality of the resources that you get from this website.

To wrap up the discussion, remember that hiring a WordPress developer is not a trivial decision. It requires careful planning supported by proper documentation. Once you have this, the next step is to visit specialty websites where the best talent in the field is available for hire. Remember that it is easy to hire WordPress developers if you have a process in place.

The next part of this Freelance Developer to Agency series is This Is How I Transformed My Freelance Career Into A WordPress Agency.

Mansoor Ahmed Khan: Mansoor Ahmed Khan is a WordPress Community Manager at Cloudways.