Startups Uncategorised

How to increase your chances of getting hired as a developer

How to increase your chances of getting hired as a developer

Encore is growing fast, which means I’ve been in the process of hiring developers for nearly four months straight.

In that time, I’ve seen a lot of candidates on a variety of different platforms (we really like Hackajob, Hired, and Angellist) and I’ve gradually become more and more frustrated by the lack of individuality in developer profiles.

Here are the five things I wish more developers would do when looking for their next role:

1 / Show me your personal side

What makes you unique? What gets you out of bed in the morning? How do you spend your evenings and weekends? I’m specifically looking for people who love music, so some mention of music in your biography will do wonders for anyone wanting to work at Encore.

If you want to work at a sports company, talk about your sporting side. If health is your thing, talk about what it means to you. You get the picture.

2/ Build your own personal website

This is one of the best things you can do to make yourself stand out from the crowd. A fantastic personal website earns a lot of brownie points, and differentiates you from the other twenty people I’ve seen in a given day.
Your site doesn’t need to be flashy or extensive, just make sure it:

  • Does justice to your front-end abilities
  • Behaves nicely across all screen sizes
  • Doesn’t comprise of a completely uncustomised Bootstrap theme 😉

3/ Showcase your projects

I love to see the projects you have worked on, regardless of whether they were labours of weekend love or projects from previous jobs. This gives me an insight into your ability to craft a user-friendly product and present information in a clear way, and good projects stay with me long after I’ve looked at your profile.
“So, who are we interviewing today?”
“The girl who built that really nice one-page React app for doing X”
It’s a talking point, and we really enjoy going through previous work in interviews.

4/ If you can’t show me a live demo, show me screenshots

I go through the following thought process on a daily basis:

“Ooh, they’ve linked to a GitHub repo. I wonder what they built…”

“Okay, haven’t been able to find a URL so far. Maybe there are screenshots…”

“Oh, they want me to follow a 10-step process in order to run a server locally on my machine. And still no screenshots.”

I don’t really have time to install every project I see, so it’s really really helpful if you can provide live demos of your work. I don’t care if your URL still contains or, as long as I can play with the code you’ve built.

If, for some reason, you’re not able to host it online, or if it’s unfinished, then at least include some screenshots in the of your GitHub repo or in the Portfolio section of your website.

5/ Be specific with your ambitions for your next role

If you’re looking to work on hard machine learning problems in your next job, then please say so in your profile. It’s quite common to read through someone’s profile, talk to them on the phone and only discover after 30 minutes of talking that they’re not looking for the work you’re offering.

I really like when people mention the following:

  • Do you prefer front-end, back-end or both?
  • What size of team do you want to join?
  • Do you want to (are you ready to) lead a team in the near future?
  • Are there particular types of business that appeal to you i.e. marketplace, e-commerce, deep tech?

I hope this has been helpful, and if you have suggestions for how I could improve this guide, please fire them in my direction: [email protected]

And just to demonstrate that I practice what I preach: the last developer we hired had a fantastic personal website with a Labs section showcasing 41 different projects he had built, all with live working demos. He mentioned music in his biography, and was specific with the type of company he wanted to join next. Perfect. 👌


By James McAulay

Encore CEO, Triathlete and Musician