WordPress does come under the category of being an easy-to-use platform because it has been around for so long, and there's a huge community out there to support you with WordPress solutions. However, even in WordPress, developing and deploying complex applications and functionalities on a WordPress weeds expertise. For this, you need an expert WordPress developer.

Thousands of applicants apply for the WordPress developer job role in the ocean of web development companies. Some of them are actually good with technology, whereas some need a bit of tweaking based on what specific requirement a company has. Businesses that don't keep checks while hiring has to go through bad experiences with developers later and make them the bad face for the project. This scenario is not true every time. There might be some errors that recruiters make while hiring the right WordPress developer. Maybe you hired a good WordPress website developer, but you actually needed a WordPress application developer or an integration expert.
I hope this blog helps you hire the right WordPress developer for your company.

What kind of WP developer are you looking for?

The foundational step should be to understand what kind of work your business requires. For example, if you want to get your website built from scratch, then your target should be to identify a person who can build pages, convert your new designs into live webpages, use themes and plugins, and have the knowledge of SEO to make the website Google-friendly and user-friendly.

Ask yourself these questions to set a goal for your website development project

  • Is it a personal blog?
  • Will it be a corporate website?
  • Is it an eCommerce store on WordPress?
  • Do you want people to book appointments and make payments on your website?
  • Are you selling digital products and want to deliver those in their mail right after they make the payment?

There are many feasible scenarios with WordPress and your business requirements. And the skill requirements for your next WordPress developer might also be changed slightly based on what you actually need to get done. It's not like that a WordPress developer who worked on a subscription plugin before cannot work on a payment plugin. That's not the case.

The case where the difference lies is when you do not want to work around a theme but have your own design to work. When that happens, then it's not only the webpage that needs to match with the design file, but the plugins' front end also has to be modified according to the new design.

While you can easily change a few of the plugins because they have that room for editing, some of the plugins do not offer that flexibility. In that case, they might have to talk to the support and buy the plugin so the developers can have access to all the files, or the developer has to look for a different plugin.

The Standard Skillset of a WordPress Developer Include

  • Programming languages: HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript
  • Theme and Plugin installation
  • Page builders: Elementor, Divi, Beaver, Gutenberg, WPBakery
  • On-page SEO
  • Web design: UX, UI, site architecture
  • Plugin development
  • Database management: SQL, MySQL
  • Github and BitBucket

All these skills need not have in one developer.

  • A plugin developer might not have workaround themes.
  • A database manager might have a good grip on on-page SEO.
  • Plugin developers need not have site structure knowledge.
  • A WordPress website builder might not be an integration expert as well.

It is icing on the cake if they do have a combination of skills. It is imperative for the recruiter as well to document the exact requirements based on which they are narrowing down the skills for the job role.

What kind of plugins and builders do you use?

  • The credit for the ease of building a WordPress website goes to four things
  • WordPress platform itself
  • Plugins for features and functionalities on the website
  • Website builders
  • WordPress community

If you are okay with the developer spending some time to teach the website builder you are using, then you can hire someone who does not have hands-on experience with the website builder that you use.

For example, if you are running Elementor on WordPress, then you can hire someone who has used Gutenberg or WPbakery before. It won't take much time of theirs to learn Elementor. Of course, the one with experience on Elementor is the first preference, but you can be a little bit flexible here. Make sure they are willing to learn and not to use this as an excuse if things go south.

The developer must be flexible enough to manage updates and changes to the software because there are many variables on a WordPress website that are entitled to regular updates. Plugins need regular updates, themes need regular updates, and WordPress is regularly updated. And we all know that one thing or the other always breaks whenever a WordPress update happens.

Asking developers about past projects will tell you whether the developers are open enough to adjust themselves according to your company's work culture or not.

  • Are they ready to adjust to your company's work culture?
  • Are they team players or lone survivors kind of people?
  • Do they get things done or keep on waiting?
  • Are they organized in their work?
  • What kind of coding standards do they follow?

Every company has its own set of coding standards. Some steps in the process are general for all, while others are a bit different, like how they name a file, where they store it, what backup options they choose, etc. Shifting from an old coding standard to a totally new one could be tough for the developers. If they are ready to adapt to the change, you are good to go, but if they are too stubborn to change, they will have a hard time adjusting themselves to the team.

Please note that if the stubbornness is about a new, better coding standard that your company can benefit from, then the team has to adapt to it and learn it.

What soft-skills traits are negotiable and what aren't?

There are basic soft skills that are non-negotiable. You can easily identify the right person if they match the mentioned traits

  • Time Management
  • Attention to key details, so minimum rework is required
  • Meeting deadlines
  • Utilizing the time of client efficiently as the client has to look after the business also

Ask developers questions about why are they looking for a change? Or what problem did they face in their last project, and how did they overcome it? This will tell you the technical skills as well as the soft skills of the person and can easily narrow down the list.

There are many managers who avoid working with WordPress developers due to various reasons such as the difference in time zone, or they are from a developing country. There will be one thing or the other that won't be ideal even with the perfect candidate, but see if the developer is willing to put effort into minimizing that gap. That effort makes all the difference.

Now in the phase of finding the best talent, you'll come across a few individuals who are trying for a part-time contract. Usually, all the businesses don't hire such persons who are interested in part-time as they cannot dedicate time or won't take the work seriously. Here one thing to be considered is that they might be working with the top companies in their respective sectors. They can infuse all the learning and skills into your project. That's why businesses should give them a shot.

Bonus Section: Here are some of the useful plugins for WordPress

  • 3cx plugin can infuse the real-time chat experience with the visitors
  • Optinmonster is used for lead generation.
  • Hubspot is the best CRM plugin.
  • The Events Calendar is perfect for booking events and avoiding overlapping events.
  • WP mail SMTP is a good Php mailer plugin.
  • Yoast SEO is a perfect plugin for you to support SEO and improve your website rankings. Currently, it is supporting more than 5 million websites.