Technical Recruiting: A Guide to Hiring PHP developers (2022)

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Technical Recruiting: A Guide to Hiring PHP developers (2022)

The very first version of PHP (Hypertext Preprocessor) was released in 1995. Now, about 27 years later, PHP is still dominating the programming world. It’s the #1 choice of about 77.6 percent of the world’s websites.  

Just last year, PHP recorded the highest market share of all programming languages—a staggering 45.43 percent. No wonder it’s relied upon by the likes of Facebook, Lyft and Slack. Nor that you too are looking to hire PHP developers to manage your web development needs. Not an easy task.  

The market is teeming with skilled, experienced PHP developers. Also, the ideal candidate needs to possess more than just technical skills and experience. He/she should also possess qualities such as high adaptability, excellent communication and problem solving skills.  

This article will inform you about the following aspects of hiring PHP developers: 

  • Identifying the requirements for the PHP developer’s position in your organization
  • The necessary technical and soft skills a good PHP developer should possess
  • How to gauge a PHP developer’s skills?
  • What to look for in a PHP developer’s resume?
  • The right questions to ask in an interview 

Determine your requirements of the ideal PHP developer

Before you start the hiring process, you must first determine what you require from the PHP developer. This involves identifying the level of expertise needed for the role. Also, you need to decide whether you need to hire dedicated PHP developers or freelance PHP developers?  

Based on their experience and capabilities, PHP developers can be distinguished in these 3 categories: 

  1. Beginner level PHP developers  

Beginner level PHP developers have zero to one project under their belt. They can only be relied on for basic web development tasks. These are the type of PHP developers you hire to manage basic and repetitive tasks as part of a team. 

When hiring beginner level PHP developers, look for these skills: 

  • Excellent knowledge of PHP and HTML
  • Expertise in Model-View-Controller (MVC) patterns and PHP functions
  • Good knowledge of popular Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress, Wix and Squarespace
  • Expertise in the preferred PHP framework (Laravel, CodeIgniter etc.) 
  • Mid-level PHP developers 

Mid-level PHP developers have the experience of working on multiple projects in the past. They possess the ability to develop a web application on their own.

This is the type of developers you’ll need to manage projects of small to medium scale. They can also be part of a team managing a large scale project.  

Here are the skills to look for in a mid-level PHP developer: 

  • Expertise in 2-3 different PHP frameworks
  • The ability to add back-end features and meet the standards for debugging and code refactoring
  • The ability to troubleshoot the code
  • Good analytical skills 
  1. Expert or senior PHP developers 

Expert or senior PHP developers possess the experience of handling multiple complex projects. Need someone to handle a team comprising beginner and mid-level developers? You should hire a senior PHP developer.  

Here are the skills you should look for in a senior PHP developer: 

  • The ability to analyze product requirements 
  • The ability to recommend features for improving the source code
  • Expertise in most of the popular PHP frameworks
  • Good knowledge of advanced technologies such as Machine Learning (ML) and Blockchain 

Recruiting a full-time PHP developer vs freelance PHP developer 

The choice between a full-time employee and a freelance developer is a crucial one. It rests predominantly on the type of project you’re working on and the role you need to hire for.

Complex, large-scale web development projects require a reliable PHP developer who can supply the necessary time and focus. You can end up in a fix if you hire a freelancer who quits the project mid-development. 

On the other hand, hiring a freelancer is a lot more economical. Working on a small to medium-scale project and require a developer to share the team’s workload? Hiring a freelance PHP developer can be a smart move in such situations. 

Must have non-technical skills for PHP developers 

In addition to having the requisite experience and technical skills, a good PHP developer must also have these skills: 

  1. Good communication 

A PHP developer job doesn’t have to make impressive speeches or presentations. The ideal candidate, however, must still possess good communication skills. He/she should be well-versed in both written and oral communication in your business’ preferred language.

Good communication skills will ensure smooth exchange of information; prevent misunderstandings and undue delays in the development process. 

  • Adaptability 

Web development is an ever evolving sector. That makes the ability to learn new things and adapt to changes on the fly one of the must have PHP developer skills.

You need to hire PHP developers who are eager to learn new things and able to adapt quickly. They should proactively keep updated with the trends; improve their knowledge and skills accordingly. 

  1. The right attitude 

The right attitude is a mix of confidence, enthusiasm and strong work ethic. In addition, the developer you hire must also be a good team player.  

Determining if a candidate has the right attitude can be tricky. The best way to do so is to ask questions about his/her goals, ambitions and how they’ve handled adversities on the work front in the past.  

Ways to verify a PHP developer’s skills 

You can evaluate a candidate’s skills as developer using one or more of these mediums: 

  • Put the candidate through a work sample programming test
  • Test the candidate using a set of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) or Multiple Answer Questions (MAQs)
  • Test the candidate using whiteboard, true or false, or fill in the blanks type questions 
  • Test the candidate using Audio/Visual questionnaire
  • Use Coding stimulators to test the candidates 

Things to look for in a PHP developer’s resume 

When you’re going through an applicant’s resume, look for the following: 

  • The version of PHP and other programming languages the candidate has used in the past
  • The PHP or PHP framework projects he/she has worked on
  • Participation in microservices projects
  • Participation in projects with high traffic networks
  • Participation in large scale projects with strict requirements 

Looking for these details will help you gauge a candidate’s suitability for the kind of role that you’re looking to hire for. 

The right questions to ask a PHP developer during interview 

“What is PHP?” is the worst question you can ask when looking to hire PHP developers. There are plenty more that serve no purpose except wasting precious moments you’d rather devote towards evaluating the candidate’s eligibility.  

Here are some good examples of interview questions for PHP developers

  • What is your strategy for dealing with roadblocks in a web development project?
  • Can you give an example of a roadblock you’ve met in your past projects?
  • How did you solve the particular problem?
  • Can you give an example of a creative solution that you devised for a challenging web development issue? 

Questions such as these will inform you about a candidate’s past work experiences, capabilities and attitude. These will help you identify candidates who’ve met challenges and possess the ability to think critically on their feet. 

Finding the right candidate for a role is always crucial to a project’s success. The tips we’ve shared here will help you hire PHP developers that are perfect for your team and who’ll see your projects to quick and successful completion.