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How to Hire Tech Interns and Take Your Tech Team to the Next Level

September 2nd, 2021
After understanding the multitude of benefits that you and your company can reap when you hire tech interns, now you must be wondering how can you assess them, in order to find the perfect match for your tech team!

In our previous article, “Why Hire Junior Developers”, we explained how hiring a developer with little experience, such as a junior developer or tech intern can be very beneficial for your company. 

So now, we're going to help you make the next big step and move on to hiring the RIGHT junior developer for your job. 

But what are the criteria to hire tech interns? How do you assess the soft and technical skills of your candidates?

Hiring a junior developer can be quite challenging!

This person you are about to hire may make (or break!) your website and have a strong impact on your business's future growth and success. 

To help you out, we made a list of things that you need to consider when hiring tech interns for your website or other business software needs. 

1. Understand What You Want 

This is the first thing on the criteria list. First, understand what you want from the developer. Being a very vast field, software development covers several techniques, technologies, and programming nitty-gritty. 

As a business founder or manager, you may not have insight into everything. You may not know how to hire tech interns best suited for your requirements. 

So, start working on the things you need from the developer. Specify your outcome. 

  • Build an app or a website;

  • Automate your business process;

  • Develop a database;

  • Upgrade an existing website or software;

  • Or anything else. 

Do your research and develop basic know-how on what technologies and options are available for that particular outcome. 

Figure out the existing technologies you are using and the programming language your website is made on.

You need to come up with a specific job description to get the perfect match for your needs. 

So, list down all the responsibilities, outcomes, and deliverables you want from the candidate. 

2. Look Out for Samples and Evidence

Now that you came up with a specific job description, there might be several CVs and tech intern profiles waiting for your attention. 

I am sure every CV that you scan through will have all the tech jargons, software gimmicks, and advanced-level development language qualifications. 

But, does that make all the candidates qualified for the job?

The key is to look out for past projects and evidential proof of their qualification. 

Check out their online profiles like LinkedIn, GitHub, and other portfolio websites. 

This will help you sift through the CVs more sensibly. Get as many samples of their work as possible and carefully gauge the quality of their work. 

3. Assess their Learning Passion 

Unlike many other aspects of the business world, the galaxy of software development and tech innovation is continuously changing. With a high level of evolution, new computing breakthroughs and programming changes are constantly on a rise. 

Like your business strategy and goals need to remain updated for better customer satisfaction, so does your technology. 

You should look out to hire tech interns who have the passion to grow and evolve to become experts in their field. They should be updated with the latest technologies and should not remain focused on just one language. 

Assess their passions to learn and adapt. 

Combining this passion with the latest trends and inner creativity, you should recruit developers who have diversity to offer in their certification and professional expertise.

4. Test Their Claims

At this point, you already have a few eligible candidates on your list. You evaluated their CVs and scanned through their works. 

It is now time to test the claims they have made. 

An application test is vital to assess the capabilities of your chosen junior developer.

Sure you’re not expecting them to know everything - they are junior developers after all - but if they say on their CV that they can to do something, then they should be able to show it to you. 

You can opt for a common “Hacker Rank” code test. This test is ideal for screening developer recruits and interns. 

You can also opt for a practical test or a mini project, like fixing a broken code link or ask them to create a smaller code sample. 

Scoring your applicants will help you select the best candidates.

5. The Interview

This is a critical phase of the junior developer recruitment process. It is the best place to gauge the personality skills and the professional expertise of your candidates. 

Now, you must be wondering, what questions to ask the prospective interns. 

Well, no need to worry. 

Simply go back to the first stage and refer to the job description you created to hire tech interns 

Use this as a reference point and craft some questions related to the job’s responsibilities and tasks that they will have to perform. 

Include some real competency questions that revolve around their qualification, certifications, and projects that they have undertaken. 

Prior to the interview, ask your candidates to bring along their works or sample portfolios. 

This will be a great aid to getting acquainted with their previous ventures, the roles they have played, and the attitudes and work styles they have. 

Then move on to the type of soft skills you want the intern to have. This will help you understand whether they are team players, how they deal with colleagues, their interpersonal communication skills, and even the way they handle stressful situations. 

Moreover, evaluating whether they will be able to blend in with the culture of your organization is essential!

6. The Whiteboard Test

In between the interview, you can ask the candidate to complete a small task like a piece of code generation on a whiteboard. Your role is to sit back and carefully observe their work. 

This is specially designed to see how the candidate will work under stressful and pressure situations. 

Do not focus only on the technical skills, as this test can reveal much more than that.

Notice if the candidates remain confident, ask open-minded questions, and work through the problem with assertiveness.

On the other hand, if you see them nervous, shaky, or unable to communicate their questions or reservations… they may need to work on their communication skills.

Therefore, this test is not meant to check only if the candidate can complete the task technically. But it will also help you judge their working style and personality. 

Tests and challenges can be very useful to get to know your candidate better but… don’t overdo it!

Doing a technical challenge and a “live coding challenge” can be too much for interns/ junior developers. It will make the recruiting process too long and the candidates unmotivated. Perhaps to the point of accepting an offer from another company.” - Inês Frade, Ambassador of KWAN

7. Take Help of an Expert

If you are not comfortable with tech jargon and if you hardly can assess the technical quality of the tests previously mentioned, then it is better that you hire the help of an expert. 

At KWAN we carefully assess our candidates for both technical and soft skills. We test them just enough to make sure they are the perfect match for your project - but without getting them exhausted and unmotivated. 

Our goal is to be the bridge between talent and businesses! We believe that the only way to do it is by doing recruitment the right way. How? By making sure that the stack, skills and interests of the candidates match with the project! - Inês Frade, Ambassador of KWAN

8. Do Not Delay the Process for Too Long

Real gems are hard to find. They are far and few in between. If you have found the right person for the job, do not let them hang around for long… or you might lose them for the competition!

If you have tested, questioned, and found a developer to be the perfect match for your developer job, then wait no more. Let them know ASAP. 

9. Do Not Forget To Work On a Backup

Have you found the perfect junior developer? Great! But while rejecting your second and third favourite candidates keep in mind that you may still need them!

Maybe you need to hire tech interns again in just a couple months. Maybe your first choice will suddenly become unavailable.

So make sure to keep in touch and to reject your candidates carefully.

How?

We wrote an article about it: Providing a Good Hiring Experience Matters: Learn How to Reject Candidates Gracefully, which might be of great help!

10. Core Skills A Junior Developer Needs To Have 

A junior developer must have some basic technical skills needed to build software, websites, and apps, but also some soft skills!

Let’s start with technical skills.

Programming languages

We have shortlisted some of the languages we considered to be fundamental depending on the type of project:

  • Java;

  • JavaScript;

  • HTML;

  • CSS;

  • SQL. 

Java is very important for object-oriented programming. Plus, interns should be very familiarized with this language, as it is very studied on computer science degrees. For web development, your future employee should know the basics of JavaScript, HTML or CSS. Finally, to develop or update your databases, SQL is important. 

These are the basic technologies that your new intern must have learned about and have a little experience on. Consider this list when working on your technical tests.

Must-Have Essential Problem Solving Skills 

Web development is all about solving problems. As a junior developer, your candidate must be able to fix things in a way that benefits your business and provide solutions to the issues that you are facing. 

A good developer will not only diagnose the problem but also recommend the best possible solution for it. 

Their Ability to Learn and Improve

This is one of the most important traits of a good intern or junior developer: their ability to learn and adapt. 

Due to their fresh mindset, a junior developer is always looking to update their knowledge and learn new ways to perform their tasks - which is something not so common among senior developers who, due to their vast experience, might not so easily accept a different way to do their job.

The Right Attitude

Like other employees in your organization, junior developers’ attitude is very important. They should be able to blend in culturally and work with the environment to create outcomes of synergy. That is why sometimes hiring the right developers is more important than getting the best ones!

Although this is a subjective element, make sure to consider it when you’re about to hire tech interns: this new person should have the same values, work methods and traits of the rest of the organization. 

Check for:

  • Confidence

  • Empathy

  • Humility.

Remember that if your candidate has several fundamental differences from the rest of the tech team, it can create conflict.

And conflicts will affect productivity.

How to Hire Tech Interns For Your Business: Final Thoughts

A good tech intern or junior developer can be a source of both monetary and strategic advantages for your business. We have already highlighted these benefits in detail in our article “Why Hire Junior Developers”. 

Now, with this updated knowledge on how to hire tech interns for your business, you are in a better position to make high-quality decisions and recruitment. 

The key is to come up with criteria that match your requirements, do the right tests, and find a candidate that is suitable for the job. 

Lacking time or experience in recruitment? Our team of recruiters (we call them Ambassadors of KWAN!) can help ramp up your tech team with the interns your project needs! 

Check our Tech Team Simulator to find out how much would a dream team cost you and get in touch so we can start looking for those fresh and sharp minds who will produce a real impact on your business!

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