Hiring a Junior Developer: Introducing Steph

WordPress Junior Developer Steph pictured smiling against a turquoise background

The online people-watchers among you will have noticed a few changes here at Ultimately Better. Whilst we have always been a small team with a wonderful group of dedicated freelancers supporting us, we recently decided it was time to expand. As a first-time recruiter, the process was fascinating. Collating the responses to our advert made Jem realise what was important to her as an employer. We were lucky enough to have some extremely strong candidates, so the hiring decision was more difficult than we ever anticipated. Here’s a little info about the role, how we went about finding the right person and introducing our brilliant new Junior Developer, Steph

The Role

Our role profile was for a fully remote, part-time WordPress Developer. We made it clear that the candidate needed to be located in the UK. We were looking for someone who could commit 16 hours a week to working for us. We really didn’t care which 16 hours those were, the candidate could spread them out any way they wanted. This made the role fairly accessible to a wide range of candidates. It would suit parents re-entering the workplace, someone who wanted to take on the role alongside another job, someone whose hours were limited due to chronic illness or caring responsibilities or a range of other scenarios. 

The person would need to be able to: 

  • Build new WordPress themes
  • Maintain and modify existing WordPress themes
  • Debug and fix common WordPress problems
  • Perform basic WordPress maintenance and plugin upgrades
  • Create and maintain bespoke WordPress plugins

We were looking for a few other skills as well, but we were willing to train people in those areas. Soft skills such as willingness to learn and great written communication skills were important too. 

A Word About Flexibility and Inclusivity 

You may wonder why we were so flexible about the hours our new recruit could work. The answer is that flexibility is one of the fundamental tenets of our business. Both in terms of our support for our clients, and the way we work with developers. So, we mentioned that we were also happy to hear from people looking for a few more or less hours per week. 

The other thing that is important to us as a business is providing a safe, fair, inclusive and progressive environment for both employees and freelancers. We specified that we welcomed applications from all ethnicities, religions, age groups, sexual orientations and gender identities. 

The Hiring Process

This was the first time Jem had recruited anyone with a full job spec writing and advertising process to go through. She decided to rely on LinkedIn to advertise the role. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long before the bugs in LinkedIn’s free job ad system showed up. 

It soon became clear that our advert didn’t properly make it clear that the applicant needed to be UK based and the role was salaried. Even when Jem amended the ad to say UK only, LinkedIn allowed applications from elsewhere and just marked them as not a good match. This meant weeding through a lot of applications to end up with just a handful of appropriate candidates. And then LinkedIn’s 50 applicant limit kicked in, and it was game over. 

Despite this, we did end up with a small number of great candidates, so it was time to interview. We stuck to a relaxed interview style and by the end of the process, a few very capable candidates could have been given the role. 

Ultimately though, it was Stephanie who stood out. 

Meet Steph

Self-taught WordPress developer Steph (she/her) has a graphic design background. Her passion lies in creating accessible websites that look beautiful and perform as they should do. Which is exactly what we strive to provide here at Ultimately Better, so we knew she would fit in just fine. 

Outside of work, Steph loves a good video game and her cat Mika is always on hand to keep her company while she plays.  

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