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By Mitch RobertsonAugust 6, 2015

8 Tips Before You Hire from a Code School

With the recent rise in code schools and the number of new devs entering today's tech market, how can you be sure the grad you're about to hire is the kind of quality you need for your team? Here are 8 tips to make sure you're hiring the best.

#1. Get to know the prospective hire over the course of their training

Developing close partnerships is key to finding the right talent. Schedule a networking event, meetup, guest lecture, or code review during the course. Mentor students to see what kind of talent the code school is producing.

#2. Stop worrying about “years of experience”

There is a lot more to a potential hire than how many years they’ve been on the job. Five to ten years of experience gives a developer time to grow, but so do the hackathons, open source and personal projects, contract gigs, and meetup groups that code school grads are often involved in. Instead of time on the job, assess an applicant’s problem solving, technical ability, speed of learning, and passion.

#3. Connect with the school

Partnerships are key. Develop close relationships with the school so that you get multiple perspectives, assessments, and allies in finding great fits for your team. Whether you get in touch with the instructor of the programming language you’re hiring for or know someone on the business development team, they’ll be able to give you the inside scoop on stand-out students. Partnerships also give you a chance to help shape the curriculum by highlighting what technologies your devs are expected to know coming in, and what kind of culture fit you want for new team members.

#4. Know the curriculum and expected outcomes

Most code schools publish a copy of their curriculum on their website or provide a downloadable syllabus for each course. Review what the students are learning and what they should be expected to do by the time they graduate, so that you know what to expect from your new hire on day one, and what you’ll have to bring them up to speed on once they’ve started. You can also offer to guest lecture or lend some insights to the curriculum to make sure new developers are ready for the kinds of real-world tech problems your company solves.

#5. Realize that these individuals are passionate learners

Every code school includes some sort of “it’s doable but tough” disclaimer on their website. Investing two to six (or more) months to intense, social-life-less, rigorous training takes guts and a lot of commitment. These developers are ready to accelerate their careers and they will go as far as you will take them.

#6. Understand that fit matters to you and them

You need a great team member who will contribute quality work, new ideas, and a positive attitude. You want this person to fit well with your team, since you will be spending a lot of time together. Many code school grads are completely changing careers and going after their passions. They are looking to change their lives. So as much as fit matters to you, it really matters to them. They want to find the right company to work for, just as you want to find the right developer to add to your team.

#7. Take advantage of the fast learning curve

For the past few months of their lives, code school grads have be digesting a lot of complex topics very quickly. This turns them into agile thinkers and contributors. With project deadlines approaching, they’re used to making the most of every minute spent on their project—while limiting mistakes that will take time to fix later—and will bring this valuable problem solving attitude to your projects.

#8. Realize the benefit of grads who are not afraid to ask questions and reach out for help

Learning how to learn is one of the many skills we equip our students with. This means that if they don’t know how to do something, they aren’t afraid to admit it, reach out to a more experienced developer, or track down the answer on Google or Stack Overflow.


Interested in getting in touch about our grads? Contact us to find out how you can hire the right talent for your organization.