How to Hire Great Drupal Developers

Growing up, there was a legendary pizza place called Sal’s Pizzeria in my hometown of Mamaroneck, N.Y. To say that I was addicted to the pizza at Sal’s would be a colossal understatement. One evening, when it was close to closing time, I saw Sal himself walk by, politely smiling at me as I devoured one of his gastronomical masterpieces. Not being a shy kid, I asked him why his pizza was so amazing. His response continues to resonate with me until this very day: "We have great pizza because we use the best and freshest ingredients: the best tomatoes, the best mozzarella cheese – and here in New York we have the best water." That's it: great ingredients will yield a great pizza.

When I started Drupal Connect three and a half years ago, I set out to apply Sal’s principle to my new company. I wanted to hire the best Drupal developers in the space. The initial step for me is the resume. I always look for a robust amount of Drupal experience; a Drupal-centric resume always sticks out to me. I will then follow up with a search on to get additional insight on the Drupal developer’s level of experience. Now, let me be clear: a resume and a developer’s profile do not definitively reflect their caliber and expertise, but it is a good start. The second step in the search process is the phone call. Here, I am looking for a positive personality and attitude. I am looking for someone with the DNA that allows them to work well in a group setting, someone who exhibits an enthusiasm for life and a passion for Drupal.  At the end of the day, I would like to be able to go grab a beer with them.

These are our first steps in the vetting process, which can be rigorous. We pride ourselves on being leaders in the Drupal development space, and only hire exceptional talent. Now that we know that the “soft skills” are there, we proceed to the technical portion of the screening process.

The Technical Screen

  1. Solid communication skills: We look for people who have the ability to communicate effectively with clients. Our Drupal developers need to be able to translate technical ideas to non-technical clients.
  2. Experience solving challenging problems with Drupal: can the candidate lead through a large and complex site built on Drupal and explain the choices made (module selection, caching solution, implementation of custom features and reasoning behind them)?
  3. Innovation: we look for developers who have experience with solving problems that have no precedent. This demonstrates that they can solve problems rather than simply "Google" in the hopes of finding an answer. Our Drupal developers need to have strong imaginations and an abundance of creativity.
  4. Knowledge of Drupal API, solid understanding of Views, a seasoned LAMP programmer, strong passion for open source, (OSS) concepts.
  5. We look for Drupal developers who have strong module knowledge. The ideal candidate is someone who not only can find the correct module, but can go the extra mile and understand how the client is going to use that module on a daily basis and how it will be incorporated into their future business needs.
  6. We look for someone who LOVES what they do and enjoys coming to work in the morning, either to a physical office or from their virtual office.

Certainly there is not one single “recipe,” but this one is ours, and it’s helped us put together a world-class team of some of the best and brightest minds in the Drupal space.

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