September 3, 2015
Android, Google’s open source mobile operating system, has changed the landscape of mobile computing in many ways. Since its inception, Android has become the dominant mobile platform, and has made its way into the realm of cars, TVs, wristwatches, and even video game consoles. This, coupled with Android’s rich ecosystem and development framework, offers nothing less than an immense potential for the success of any Android mobile app.
However, a great system is only as good as the people using it, and amidst the fierce hiring competition for top developers that exists in this day and age, finding a great Android developer is a daunting task in and of itself. The good news is that with a few key strategic approaches, the Android hiring process can be entirely demystified.
Here is the vital guide on how to hire an Android developer.
1. Put thought into your approach
Finding a great Android developer is like searching for a needle in a haystack, except that there are countless other people searching for the same needle. At some point, you’re going to need a shinier, more powerful magnet. Your first magnet is your job description, so it needs to be really excellent.
The hiring process is painful enough already, so save yourself time by using an Android job description template. To reduce the volume of applications you’ll see, customize this so that it clearly discusses the minimum qualifications you expect any candidate to have and include a clear description of the job and the relevant responsibilities. Android as a platform is not limited to handheld devices only, and unlike other platforms such as the web, applications developed for Android usually are capable of going beyond the typical click or tap interactions. They can also use contextual information obtained from available device sensors, take better control of the other device features and resources, and more. Simply describing the position as “Android developer” is far too generic of an approach.
Moreover, make sure that your job description includes information about your company culture and clearly lays out why it’s a great place to work. Remember that great Android developers typically have more than their fair share of opportunities. Your job listing not only needs to weed out bad candidates, it needs to catch the eye of good ones.
2. Establish Your Interview Funnel and Pool of Interview Questions
Technical interviewing is hard, and there are many techniques out there for evaluating a programmer. It’s extremely difficult to tell if someone’s a good programmer unless you are one yourself, so be sure to involve your must trusted developers in the interviewing process. This needs to be done intelligently to avoid overwhelming them (and to avoid diverting their attention too far from your ongoing projects). Be sure to include steps that can be handled by non-technical people in order to weed out obviously unfit candidates.
Even more important than your interview sequence is the questions you use to gauge aptitude. These should be a mix of general intelligence and behavioral questions, software development questions, and Android-specific questions. Questions from all of these categories should ideally be as relevant to your project as possible. Above all, be sure to avoid questions that are irrelevant or that require the candidate to remember random facts. These are a big tip-off to the candidate that you don’t know what you’re doing.
3. Assign a Test Project and Review Past Work
As an open and extremely customizable platform, Android suffers from the obvious problem of fragmentation. Android comes in thousands of device sizes and feature combinations. This issue, and many other potential logical mistakes, can cause applications to fail on any number of devices if not handled with care. To make sure this isn’t a risk for you, check whether anything in your candidate’s portfolio violates any platform guidelines or makes any common Android mistakes that all experts should know how to avoid.
If you still aren’t sure, assign a test project (this can be a highly watered down version of your ongoing project) to get an idea of the candidate’s technical expertise, communication skills, and more.
Mastering Android development requires a lot more than just the ability to program in any particular language. Candidates need to have passion and truly understand the platform inside and out. The best Android developers will be committed to collaborative problem solving, sophisticated design, and creating quality products.
The hiring process has a make-or-break effect on your projects. Do not overlook the importance of a planned and strategic approach to hiring an Android developer.
Image Credit: Flickr/vagueonthehow
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