Hire the Right Programmer Analyst With These 3 Tips

By Robert Half February 1, 2017 at 3:00pm

There's a strong demand for talented programmer analysts, which can make it challenging for hiring managers to find and hire qualified candidates for their business.

While hiring managers don’t want to lose a great candidate to a competitor, they must still be discerning when evaluating candidates to ensure they make the right hire.

Here are three “must-do” steps that can help you secure a skilled programmer analyst for your organization.

1. Verify that they can program

It’s an obvious step, perhaps, but one that is essential: As part of the hiring process for a programmer analyst, candidates should be asked to prove that they can actually program. The person assessing the candidate’s qualifications should be a programmer as well.

Here are a few ways to vet the programming skills of potential programmer analyst hires:

  • Ask questions to assess their knowledge of specific programming tasks.
  • Request that they provide examples of code they’ve written.
  • Require them to answer small coding questions, such as FizzBuzz.
  • Perform an in-depth programming skills analysis with a tool such as Codility or an in-person demonstration of programming.

2. Make sure they have skills you really need

The constant churn in hot programming skills often makes it challenging to find programmer analyst candidates who have the exact skill set you seek. So, take stock of your requirements and determine which skills require an exact match and which ones can be fulfilled with a similar skill set. Here are some examples:

  • Each database server has some differences in their flavors of SQL. If the SQL code your programmer analyst will be writing is not very sophisticated, or you have database administrators on staff to help developers with their SQL code, do you need a candidate with substantial experience using your particular database system? Or would experience with a different but similar database be sufficient if the work itself was comparable?
  • Customer relationship management (CRM) systems have major differences between products. A Salesforce.com expert will not have many skills that will be useful on a Microsoft Dynamics CRM project, for example, because they are totally different systems that a programmer interacts with in completely different ways. Would someone with experience in another product in the same category have relevant skills?
  • Don’t dismiss a potential hire just because that person must overcome a minor skills gap to work with different versions of a programming language, library or integrated system in use in your organization. For example, if your programmer analyst candidate has experience in version 5.0 of a product that is now at version 6.0, they should be able to learn the differences quickly.

3. Check culture and job fit

To assess if a candidate is the right fit for the job and your organization, evaluate alignment in these areas:

  • Experience working for a company and/or team of similar size.
  • Quantity and type of interaction with others — for example, if the role requires it, would the candidate be able to collaborate with nontechnical leadership?
  • Familiarity with the specific set of development tools, such as version control systems and development environments.
  • Experience with your organization’s preferred development methodology, such as Agile or Waterfall.

When evaluating the abilities and attributes of programmer analyst candidates, it’s important to be strategic and thorough with your process. This will help you to hire with confidence and avoid a costly bad hire.

This post has been updated to reflect more current information.

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