I could use some advice. I've been developing Laravel apps for 18 months now and I've been a PHP dev since 2008, but always in a freelance capacity or for personal endeavours.
I've created a new startup for a new personal project, but I required help. I need to hire 2 talents to offload some work I have to do and to speed up the project. One might say that with the many years I have behind me it would be easy to assess someone's skills, but yet I find it hard to come up with a good way to do that. Hiring a talent acquisition agent is unfeasible with the 16% (lowest I found) overhead to the annual salary of the talent they will acquire for me. As I mentioned it is something new I'm trying, I have my personal funds committed and planned for 12 months (rent, equipment, utilities, salaries, etc.)
I need to hire Full Stack PHP devs. Which means they also need to know JS+HTML/CSS for front-end work, and PHP/MySQL+Laravel for back-end work.
I have some candidates lined up, and I plan to start making screening calls. I came up with the following process.
30-45 minute session call with pre-screened (CVs) candidates to determine personalities, what their goals are, why they applied, previous experience, how they see their future, etc.. I think this is somewhat standard practice and I should be able to handle it.
Code Assessment Call
45-60 minute session using some type of screen sharing tool or coderpad (not free). Here is the most difficult part of the whole process. I need somehow to come up with 2 tests (front-end and back-end) that can be completed within the session time frame and that can give me a general idea about the candidate. I've read online that this is a waste of time or not accurate enough. I do also agree with the fact that the candidate could be stressed out and not perform well. I certainly would be stressed. The candidate could be a good fit and I could miss it this way.
Now, I know the specifics of my project and should be able to come up with tests, but I've been at it for some time now and can't. I also think that code interviews might give false-negatives or false-positives about the candidate. This is where I need help mostly. I've looked up coding interviews and found some listicles that are kinda lame. 25 PHP Coding Interview Questions or XX Best PHP Programming interview questions... etc. etc. I might seem as a freeloader here, I know talent acquisition agents have spend sweet sweet $$$ to answer my problems, but can't commit more funds right now.
Final Call - The simulation (not completed yet)
After the Code Assessment call I will probably do a final follow up call to assess a finalist's problem-solving , communication, teamwork skills, etc. with a simulated and theoretical assignment to design a new 'something' for the company or a client. This call should take more or less 60 minutes.
Anyway, I'd like to read some thoughts and advice.