Warning: 6 Signs You Are About To Hire A Bad Designer Or Developer

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dangerI recently wrote a post, “Caution! Six Warning Signs of a Bad Client,” about red flags that can help web professionals identify if a client or project may be one they don’t want to take on. Some of the feedback I received inspired me to write one from the other perspective. Since I have some experience being on the opposite side of the equation, I put on my client hat for this list.

So for everyone hiring a designer or developer, here are six potential warning signs that you may be hiring the wrong person:

1. There is no agreement to terms.

This was also #1 on my other list, and it can certainly go both ways. It’s a red flag if the client has X, Y, and Z as requirements, and the designer doesn’t clearly confirm that they will complete all three parts…especially, if the cost agreed upon only includes X and Y in the designer’s mind. This is a pretty powerful reason why effective and clear communication is so important. And always get everything in writing!

2. They are unresponsive.

As a client, I understand I am not the only client a developer is working with, and I don’t expect immediate responses to my messages. But it can be frustrating if several days go by and I have no idea if my e-mail was even received. If they aren’t shooting you back a quick message after a couple of days, even just letting you know they got your message, you may be pulling teeth to keep the project on track.

3. They don’t have examples of past work.

One of the first things I look for as a client is a portfolio. I want to see samples of work or case studies, even if it’s not in the public domain. If they have nothing to offer, that tells me it’s possible that they never did a project quite like mine before or that they don’t have relevant work they’re proud enough to share. This is vital information in deciding whether or not to hire them.

4. They have a dark history.

One of the best ways to find a great designer or developer is by asking your own clients and colleagues for referrals. There is no better testimonial than from someone you know and like, and you typically have a little more information about the professional’s past performance and how they tend to work to guide you in making your decision. But regardless how you find a them, pay attention if you hear rumblings or see things online about dissatisfaction or difficult working relationships. This could be a red flag, and at minimum, gives you some questions you should ask.

5. They are a jerk.

Just as service providers shouldn’t have to deal with an offensive client, neither should a client deal with a someone who acts improperly. So, I repeat: You should not have to deal with someone who is rude, obnoxious or disrespectful, no matter how good they are at what they do. Period.

6. The designer/developer doesn’t make the client feel assured.

I hire work out because there is someone who can do it better than I can. I don’t want to feel like the person I hire doesn’t like working with me, would rather be doing something else, or thinks my project is beneath them. A sign of a bad designer or developer is one that doesn’t make the client feel valued and important.

Clients, what else to you look for as a sign you haven’t found the right person? And web professionals, from your perspective, what are some other warnings clients should heed before making a hiring decision?

Image credit: Asif Akbar

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