Time is marching on — startup owners and web developers feel its rapid onslaught even more since their primary field of interest is transforming daily (or even hourly). In this new reality, the crucial task is to stay afloat, remain in customers’ heads and thoughts, and win over thousands of competitors. If your app or website lags, it will be deleted and forgotten immediately — so you’d better fend off rivals fast with a decent front end.
Front-end developers and back-end engineers create full-scale applications and websites. Front-enders are responsible for the outer look, efficiency, and functionality. Back-enders’ mission is to secure fast and bugless work of all the elements “under the hood”.
They are a perfect pair — helping startup owners stay in control of their know-how.
This is our guide on how to hire front-end experts.
Here are the questions we’re going to answer:
- What is front-end development, how does it differ from back-end development, and why are both equally important?
- What does a front-end developer do?
- What are the skills needed for a decent front-end developer?
- What things should you know before hiring a front-end developer?
- How much does it cost to hire a front-end developer?
- Where should you hire a front-end developer?
- How to evaluate a front-end developer?
Last but not least, we will collect the essential info about the seven steps separating you from the perfect hire.
Let’s leap forward!
What is front-end development?
Let’s give the briefest and the most down-to-earth definition possible.
Front-end development is the process of programming user interfaces (UIs) or visual elements of a web or mobile app.
Generally, web development is divided into front-end, back-end, and full-stack development. While front-enders program UIs and visuals, back-end specialists go for “inside stories”: the mechanisms and logical principles hidden “under the hood” of your mobile app or computer program. Full-stack specialists are Jacks-of-all-trades. They can overview the processes from both “ends”, counsel fronts and backs, and imagine the impact of changes on the overall system.
What does a front-end developer do?
Nowadays, web applications and websites are so abundant that you won’t endure if you don’t offer users something extra specific or ultra-convenient. Two pillars of website convenience are its fastness and intuitive interface. These urge your visitors to add it to favorites, advise neighbors, and continue lurking there, incrementing visitors’ numbers.
For this, you will definitely need front-end masters. But what do they do in particular? What to expect of them at the workplace? You’ll need to answer this question before hiring them, right?
- Front-enders understand what attracts visitors to your application or page, formalize the dominant tastes, and seek the way to introduce these features;
- Front-end engineers use animations and interactive tools to liven up mobile applications and web pages. All the clicks, scrolls, and blinks on the page appear thanks to front-end masterminds;
- Besides, front-enders add options of forums, games, widgets, and other hot tools to make visitors stay longer, recommend the page to friends and use your product (i.e., convert leads into customers).
What are the skills needed for a front-end developer?
There’s more than just knowing a couple of programming languages to the front-end developer work.
First, front-enders should be proficient in testing and debugging code. They run frequent tests and eliminate accidental bugs hindering the app from better results. That’s what TDD (test-driven development) is.
Secondly, front-end masters should be able to check out the app behavior in different browsers and ascertain that the page/app renders all the code changes correctly.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language) is the tool to code text documents into web pages, making content structured, arranged, and neat-looking.
CSS or Cascading Style Sheets are needed to regulate how HTML is displayed. Fonts, colors, proportions, tones — all these issues belong to the CSS domain.
They transform good developers into excellent ones. There’s much more to web development than just knowing how to write the code and what’s gonna be in the outcome. No front-end developer is an island. Soft skills help them communicate, reach common goals, keep deadlines, work remotely, and open new horizons in their respective fields.
Here’s a more or less complete list of desirable soft skills for front-end developers:
- Great attention to detail;
- Active listening skills;
- Ability to solve problems fast;
- Ability to explain things briefly albeit fully;
- Positivity and an openness to learning something new;
- Collaborative working mode;
- Superb time management skills;
- English language proficiency.
Things to know before recruiting front-end developers
- To get things straight with your potential (and then actual) employees, clearly formulate all the job requirements;
- Never perceive the project as a vast wholesome bulk of indefinite tasks: after you break it down into subcategories and sprints (using Agile methodology), it will be much easier to schedule deadlines and hire developers for particular projects;
- Always sign a contract (or, at least, something similar to it), if you crave confidentiality and want programmers to respect your wishes.
How much does it cost to hire front-end developers?
Unless you provide some extra query details, the question sounds too general and can have multiple answers. Let’s sort it out and give at least a few hints for curious entrepreneurs who want to get wind of the potential expenses!
What can influence the final price of hire?
- Project scope. The scope of your IT project influences the overall schedule and price formation dramatically. A small app for a few users will cost significantly less than an industrial-scale project aiming at conquering new markets.
- Tech stack. Is it eye-poppingly wide or rather narrow-focused? Do you need one dev of each technology or just five front-end engineers to finish the project?
- Location. Are you hiring offshore or in-house? The former option has its financial benefits, for one can choose the region with the highly developed IT infrastructure and reasonably low cost of living — and enjoy reasonable rates. As for the latter, in-house devs will always stick to the economy of your native country — so you’d better leave the hope of hiring the US front-end developers for Indian rates.
Where should you hire a front-end developer?
Well, here’s a crossroad of variants and a pool of options. The choice is yours, but we won’t lose any chance to give some useful tips.
There are three basic options:
- Hire them yourself
- You will surely spare money otherwise spent on recruiters, testers, and vetters.
- Hiring yourself means testing yourself, choosing yourself, onboarding yourself, and finding substitutions… also by yourself. Can you handle it?
- No one will help you seek extra hands if the existing ones disappear. Everyone will be busy. No one will hunt for work.
- It’s tough to dig deep into the IT wisdom mounds if you’re not an IT pundit. Or… are you?
- Use outsource/outstaff schemes
Outsourcing specialists pay off if you have a definite set of open positions with pre-set responsibilities. Make a list, find a company eager to supply professionals with beneficial hour rates — and enjoy third-party results.
If you don’t imagine how many hours are needed to complete a list of tasks separating the ongoing condition of your app from an MVP (or some other valuable milestone), employ the whole team every month. There’s one definite issue not to overlook: if you outstaff, you should pay employees for full-time work, no matter how many actual working hours they will have.
- Use talent marketplaces
Bidding or vetting? If you don’t know the difference, here’s a concise explainer.
Bidding marketplaces’ working principle is that of a reverse auction: the lower the developer’s rate, the more chances they have to be hired. You post a bid and choose among those devs who agree to do your job. Anyone can register. No dexterity proofs needed, no triage — but the whole bunch of options! Upwork, Freelancer — do these ring a bell for you?
Vetting platforms test all the candidates they offer to entrepreneurs. Most often, 3-4 vetting stages are sieving off the mediocre noobs (professional networks check, soft skills check, language proficiency check, and coding sessions). After you state your demands, the Sales and Matching teams, start working on your request — and propose the first candidates in 2-3 business days. At Lemon.io, a talent marketplace working since 2015, only 14 days separate an intro call from the final signing of all the documents. Pretty quick and straightforward.
How to evaluate a good front-end developer?
If you’re a classifying type, feel free to think of front-end developers in the experience categories and divide them into juniors, middles, and seniors. Alas, here is the end to clearness: each company can define seniority in its terms. A senior in one startup can barely qualify as a middle in another one.
However, we’ll explain some key differences between junes and seniors below.
- Junior front-end developers
- Mid-level front-end developers
They have 2+ years of hands-on experience and don’t need constant and vigilant surveillance — but still require assistance with bigger projects. Look for experience with frameworks and the ability to handle difficult interview questions requiring creativity.
- Senior front-end developers
They have all the needed experience with large-scale projects, a creative fantasy they can harness when needed, and an overall understanding of business process flow. They are the most expensive — but they can handle UI/X issues, possess deep knowledge of frameworks, and can make complex technical decisions.
Seven steps to the perfect hire of a front-end developer
1. Systematize your requirements
Besides obvious technical skills, front-end developers should possess the following:
- Perfect soft skills (communication, collaboration, time management, English proficiency, remote (team)work experience);
- Experience with mobile-friendly websites and apps;
- Ability to create user-friendly designs;
- Good acquaintance with popular frameworks such as AngularJS, ReactJS, or VueJS;
2. Write an efficient and comprehensive job description
To hire front-end developers, you should formalize and structurize your demands. Clearly state all the roles and responsibilities, make candidates aware of your company’s strong sides, perks, and benefits, and, last but not least, include the salary range you’re bound to stick to. We at Lemon.io have been caring about startups since 2015, and as of now, we have 30+ job description templates for all possible vacancies and positions in the IT realm. Enjoy them responsibly!
3. Post your vacancy on relevant platforms
If you’re hiring by yourself, post it on the most visited job platforms, marketplaces, and the like. Bidding or vetting — it’s up to you to decide.
One of the trustworthy channels for a job posting is Lemon.io. Here, your job offers will be properly and quickly handled and shown to the hundreds of proficient front-end developers registered on the platform.
4. Review and screen CVs
All experienced front-end developers put their best foot forward in the resumes. You, as a startup owner, should be able to sort through these very best feet and find the most suitable candidate for the job you’re proposing.
What are the crucial points to pay attention to?
- Portfolio. Check out the portfolio if you don’t want to spend exorbitant amounts of money on re-designing and re-hiring. You’ll surely notice some of the core style features and be able to grade them.
- Cultural fit. That’s a subject of the soft skills testing — but you can start already on the CV show stage. Will the candidate suit your company’s virtue code, style guides, and overall atmosphere? Check it out.
5. Arrange interviews
Be sure to ask the candidates about their previous work experience and tools for front-end development. Don’t fret about making a live code session where you can check hard skills. Scan the most popular tech interview questions. Maybe, you’ll find something valuable there.
6. Make an offer
Congratulations! You’ve found a fantastic front-end professional who will surely boost your team. What should you include in your job offer?
- Their monthly allowance;
- All the benefits you’ve prepared for them (regular bonuses, gym certificates, self-educational bonus, traveling allowance, sick leaves, days off, etc.);
- The first day of the position.
Start your cooperation off right. Don’t hasten anyone, and be ready to push your counter-offer if someone proposes something even more decent for your cherished candidate.
Front-end developers are hailed as the app success gatekeepers. Considering the ongoing competition in the application world, only the most straightforward yet intriguing and luring designs win and proceed along the popularity axis. Hire your front-end star — and may your startup’s reviews are full of glowing quotes!
Need more? Here's a FAQ!
What types of front-end developers are there?
There are several types of frontend developers, including:
– User interface (UI) developers who focus on the design and layout of a website or application.
– User experience (UX) developers who focus on the overall user experience and usability of a website or application.
– Mobile developers who specialize in creating mobile applications for iOS and Android.
– Full-stack developers who have skills in both frontend and backend development.
Why should you consider hiring a front-end development team?
Expertise: A dedicated front-end development team will have specialized knowledge and experience in developing and maintaining the front end of a website or application. This can lead to a better user experience and improved performance.
Efficiency: A dedicated team will better understand the project’s goals and requirements, allowing them to work more efficiently and effectively.
Flexibility: A dedicated team can work full-time or part-time, depending on the company’s needs, and can be easily scaled up or down as needed.
Costs: Hiring a dedicated front-end development team can be more cost-effective than hiring an in-house team or relying on freelancers.
Focus on core business: With a dedicated team working on the development, the company can focus on its core business and not get bogged down with the technical aspects of the project.
Better communication: A dedicated team will be working on the project for a longer period, which can lead to better communication, understanding, and coordination
How to choose the best front-end engineer?
When choosing a front-end engineer, consider these factors:
Problem-solving skills: The engineer should be able to think critically and problem-solve effectively. They should be able to analyze and understand the requirements of a project and come up with solutions to any challenges that arise.
Communication skills: The engineer should be able to communicate with both technical and non-technical team members.
Experience: The engineer should have experience working on similar projects and a portfolio of work that showcases their skills and experience.
Adaptability: The engineer should be able to adapt to new technologies, tools, and methodologies quickly and efficiently, as the front-end field is constantly evolving.
Playing in a team: The engineer should work well in a team environment and be comfortable collaborating with other team members and stakeholders.
Where to find front-end developers?
Job boards: Websites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, and Glassdoor have a wide range of job listings for front-end developers. These sites allow you to search for candidates based on their location, skills, and experience.
Professional networks: Many front-end developers are active on GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Twitter. You can find potential candidates by searching for devs with specific skills.
Recruiting agencies: Recruiting agencies specialize in finding and placing talented developers. They can help you find candidates with the right skills and experience for your project.
Referrals: Ask your existing employees or professional network if they know any qualified front-end developers looking for work. Referrals can be a great way to find high-quality candidates.
Talent platforms: Websites such as Upwork, Freelancer, and Lemon.io connect businesses with freelance developers. These platforms allow you to search for developers based on their skills, location, and experience level.
Meetups, conferences, and hackathons: Developers often attend meetups, conferences, and hackathons to stay up-to-date with the latest technologies. You can find and meet talented front-end developers interested in your project.