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Tips For Hiring Ruby Developers

By Peter Cooper / June 27, 2008

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(Photo credit: slushpup - License: CC 2.0 Attribution)

Six months ago, we featured 11 Tips on Hiring a Rails Developer here on Ruby Inside (and it got a crazy number of comments), but now Ryan Ritirisi has put together a great list of 15 Questions to Ask During a Ruby Interview. They include questioning developers in a way that can separate professional Ruby developers from the hobbyists (or those who are only familiar with Ruby through Rails templates, say).

Pete Forde of Unspace suggests, however, that asking clever questions isn't necessarily the best way:

The best way to recruit amazing talent is to approach people that you already know are at the top of their game. At this point, the most important question becomes whether their personality is a good fit for the existing team.

Really, if an awesome person who is clearly smart doesn’t know the answer to one of these questions, they can learn it quickly with a little direction. That’s the advantage of having a team - you help each other move forward.

In terms of the actual hiring, it seems there's a much larger demand than there is a supply of Ruby developers. I get e-mails every week from people looking for Ruby and Rails developers and most of my contacts now seem to be inundated with work and aren't ready to take on more!

If you are looking to hire, however, here are some tips:

  • Free Ruby Job Site: RubyNow is a very popular, free Ruby and Rails job site.
  • Browse developers: WorkingWithRails.com features profiles of thousands of Rails developers (many of whom are Ruby developers generally also). One client I am assisting with Rails recruitment has had quite a lot of success in browsing the location-based section of WorkingWithRails and e-mailing people who sound interesting. In the Ruby and Rails communities, like few others, directly e-mailing people who strike you as potential candidates can be a good tactic.
  • Sponsor a post: Ruby Inside has 16,000 Ruby (and many Rails) developers as subscribers. We are now offering a $40 per post "post footer" sponsorship scheme where you get up to 250 characters (plus links) embedded into a post. This means both subscribers and people using the Web site get to see your message. These could be a great way to target the general population of Ruby developers as a whole, since Ruby Inside has the most Ruby developers all in the same place. Interested? E-mail rubyinside -/at/- peterc.org.
  • Job board: Consider posting on the Ruby Inside Job board. It costs $99 for 60 days and as well as appearing on the Ruby Inside sidebar, we do a monthly roundup of the jobs featured so that all subscribers can learn about them. I also believe SimplyHired will cross promote your job around their network.
  • Mailing lists: Posting on ruby-talk and other Ruby mailing lists does not, from what my contacts tell me, tend to be very effective at all. Even posting on locale specific boards has borne little fruit. It's certainly something to try though if all else fails.
  • Get blogging: Rubyists tend to be quite driven by transparency, taste, and exciting, interesting work. If your company doesn't look interesting and isn't interacting online, the chances of getting someone deeply involved with the community is a lot lower. This is why some of the more interesting Ruby-based companies (such as Unspace and New Bamboo) have blogs.. they're great recruitment tools, as much as they're a way to promote their services.

Lastly, remember that there are a lot of Ruby and Rails developers who do not read Ruby Inside, have not filled out their profiles on WorkingWithRails, and do not actively browse the Ruby jobs sites. Sometimes the only way to get the perfect candidate is to actively approach them. Finding these people might require using Google Blog Search (using location names along with keywords like "ruby" and "rails") or actually going to the events they're likely to attend (many of which we post about on Ruby Inside - such as erubycon and RubyFringe - others are very location specific like LRUG Nights in London).

If you have any tips of your own, are looking to be hired, or want to do some hiring, certainly leave comments against this post.

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