How to Hire Backend Developers (2018 Guide)

Based on interviews with backend developers, we put together this short guide explaining how to hire top-notch backend devs! 

In this guide you'll learn about:

  • What do backend developers do?
  • What personality do they tend to have?
  • What do they value at work?
  • How to write a backend developer job description?
  • How to find strong backend developer candidates?
  • Which test questions to ask in interviews?


What do backend developers do?

In general, the backend developer is responsible for the structure of the software - to assure it operates, can deliver data quickly and securely, and is reliable to scale.


What personality do developers tend to have?

Curiosity towards the tech world, passion for experimenting and learning determines a good programmer. And since they need to work on a team, cooperation and communication skills are essential. As for the rest - they could easily be surfers or hipster brewery owners in their free time.


What do developers value at work?

As Backend Developers are some of the most sought-after professionals, fulfilling their expectations is crucial to attracting the best candidates

Here’s what we learned they appreciate:

  • Good work-life balance
  • Interesting professional challenges
  • Flexibility
  • Good wages
  • Growth opportunities within their company
What do Developers value in work

What skills to look for in a backend developer?

Successful Backend Developers possess a wide set of skills from technical to social. And even though their particular role defines the specifics, you should find these traits in any fine candidate:

  • Solid technical background
  • Strong problem solving and creativity
  • Ability to work in a crisis situation
  • Passion for technology
  • Attention to detail
  • Good communication and cooperation skills


Backend developer job description

A good Backend Developer job description will clearly outline the tasks and responsibilities of the post. You will also need to include what skills, knowledge, and experience you are looking for. Don't forget to include other key information such as expected salary and whether the post involves a probationary period.


Backend developer job tasks


  • Developing new web applications and improving existing ones
  • Maintenance of web applications including coding and debugging
  • Writing code for web applications
  • Performing user interface tests to optimize performance
  • Collaborating with frontend developers to integrate user-facing elements with server-side logic
  • Providing training and support to other staff
  • Implementation of security and data protection
  • Developing ideas for new programs and products


Backend developer job skills

IT/technical skills – Backend Developers will need to demonstrate a high level of understanding and aptitude in areas of programming (e.g. Java, Python), web development, web languages (HTML, CSS, Ruby, etc.) and database management (e.g. SQL, Oracle).

Problem-solving skills – as anyone who has ever used a computer can testify, IT doesn't always work smoothly and a Backend Developer will be relied upon to troubleshoot when needed and will undoubtedly need to overcome a few hurdles while developing applications.

Attention to detail – Backend Developers need to keep their eye on the ball as even the tiniest error could cost them hours, or even days, in time. A keen focus on the smaller details is essential.

Stress management skills – working with web servers and applications can be frustrating work, especially when it comes to fixing problems and dealing with the odd client or colleague who wants everything done yesterday. You'll want your Backend Developer to be able to keep a cool head in all situations.

Communication skills – although much of the work of a Backend Developer is done working independently, they will need to communicate regularly with clients and colleagues and keep them updated. This will often mean putting complicated technical information in everyday language free of jargon so that the functional aspects of sites or apps are understood.

Time management skills – Backend Developers will often be working to tight schedules and the smooth running of company websites depends on them being able to deliver results on time. A good Backend Developer will be highly organized and should be able to carry out their workload without getting into a rush.


Backend developer salary

Backend Developer salaries in the US can vary between $35,000 and $120,000 depending on location and experience. Average salaries are between $70,000 and $80,000. Average salaries in some European countries are around EUR 50,000 to 60,000.


How to hire backend developers? 

When it comes to hiring talented Backend Developers, the more experienced ones are often already employed and rarely on active standby. Therefore, it’s vital to think outside the box and to use attractive and outstanding hiring methods. 

Here are ways, professional developers say, you could get them interested:

  • A simple way to apply
  • Test their skills right away
  • A quick challenge
How to get Developers interested

Excellent developers know other excellent developers. So, instead of regular job sites, source quality candidates via:

Also, try pursuing open source projects on sites such as GitHub and SourceForge.

Where to get Developers attention


How to hire backend developers?

The performance-based hiring approach has proven encouraging results in the technology industry. For years, we've been using quick challenges to screen prospective employees, and it has dramatically increased diversity, quality, and cost-efficiency.

This hiring method meets well with developer’s expectations for a simple way of applying and is much more attractive than writing another cover letter. Candidates take a short test to evaluate key job-related skills, followed by a test drive for the best performers.

To try the test-first approach yourself and automate the first steps of the recruitment process, use Hundred5 - pre-screening and hiring tool. We provide you with all you need for sourcing, engaging and filtering out skilled candidates, so you could hire a talented programmer even if you're not a programmer yourself and have no previous knowledge of coding. Then share the test to social media and other relevant channels to get a zillion fill-outs, and you only need to concentrate on the cream-of-the-crop.

Also read: How to Use Skills Tests For Better & Faster Candidate Screening


Recommended test questions for backend developers

To get you started, here are some great question examples composed by professional Backend Developers. They would definitely ask their prospective colleagues these questions on general knowledge and logic.

1. Knowledge

Which of the following claims is false?

A garbage collected language cannot have memory leaks
Buffer overflow can only occur in non-garbage collected languages
Concurrent applications will use less CPU time and memory than their non-concurrent counterparts
Reference counting is a memory management technique
2. Security

In the context of web application which of the following is not a security mechanism?

Digestive cookies
Special character escaping
Password salting and hashing
Cross-site request forgery token
All
None
3. SOLID

Which solid principle following code is violating?

class Duck
  def speak
    'Quack Quack'
  end

  def to_html
    "<div>#{ speak }</div>"
  end
end
Single Responsibility Principle
Liskov’s Substitution Principle
Interface Segregation Principle
Open Closed Principle
Dependency Inversion Principle
All
None
4. SQL (postgreSQL)

Will the following SQL always run fast?

CREATE INDEX tbl_idx ON tbl (text varchar_pattern_ops);

SELECT id, text
  FROM tbl
WHERE text LIKE '%TERM%';
Yes, LIKE expressions starting with a wildcard CAN use an index to locate the matching queries.
No, LIKE expressions starting with a wildcard CANNOT use an index to locate the matching queries.
5. Document database (MongoDB)

Does MongoDB support primary key - foreign key relationships?

true
No. By default it doesn’t, but can be achieved by embedding one document inside another.
No. It cannot be achieved.
6. Golang pointers

What is the output of the following code?

package main

import "fmt"

func main() {
  i, j := 5, 10

  p := &i
  fmt.Printf("*p:%d; ", *p)
  *p = 21
  fmt.Printf("i:%d; ", i)

  p = &j
  *p = *p / 5
  fmt.Printf("j:%d; ", j)
}
*p:5; i:21; j:2;
*p:10; i:5; j:4;
*p:5; i:5; j:10;
Build error


Additional Reading

Here are some other helpful articles on how to hire the best developers efficiently.

Do you have any questions or other ideas? Leave your thoughts into the comment section below!
Make better hires
Source, review and hire the best talent fast.

Find the perfect hire

We give you the tools to source, engage and filter out the best candidates.

Try Hundred5 for free ›