The first-time interviewer’s guide to hiring an Azure Developer

By Lina Arshad

It’s no secret that we’re living in a digital world—and the added pressure put on most industries as a result of the pandemic means we are now doing more things than ever online. As a result, there’s a growing need for more storage space and virtual access required from organizations around the globe.  

The world’s solution? An accelerated influx and adoption of cloud computing products and services. In fact, Gartner has predicted that public cloud spending will exceed 45% of all enterprise IT spending by 2026—which comparable to the less than 17% it accounted for in 2021, is testament to its crucial role in the modern workplace.  

With a vast number of figures and research showing that more businesses than ever before are moving to the cloud, or have already done so, and Statista reporting Azure’s total global cloud infrastructure market share sitting at 22% in 2021, it’s likely that the Microsoft cloud vendor will contribute to your IT strategy in some way, at some point.  

But if you’re already using, or considering using Azure for your IT operations, you’ll need to have an Azure Developer who knows that they’re doing. From handling cloud migration, to maintenance, and solving any issues that arise, this member of staff will be invaluable to your team. So, hiring the right person from the outset is crucial. 

In this blog, we will be sharing our top tips for first-time interviewers on how to hire an Azure Developer that will ensure your business is thriving.  

Why do you need a good Microsoft Azure Developer? 

Before we dive into the nitty gritty of the interviewing process, it’s a good idea to recap on why any Azure Developer you hire needs to be the best of the best.  

Azure has so many different functions, and there is a plethora of programs that harness its power to run. So perhaps most obviously, the sheer responsibilities an Azure Developer needs is evidence of why whoever you hire to take on this role needs to be confident in their abilities. By underestimating these duties, you could be making an extremely costly mistake when hiring your next Azure professional.   

Because an Azure Developer will oversee migrations and of course, help to develop business applications that will boost your company’s success, it’s important that the person you hire is comfortable with unpredictability. And with competition in all industries becoming fiercer as companies try to bounce back from the lasting effects of the pandemic, it’s key that there is as little downtime in your systems as possible, so having somebody who is able respond efficiently under these circumstances is crucial.  

Plus, with predictions from Gartner estimating that by 2023, 40% of all enterprise workloads will be deployed in cloud infrastructure and platform services, it’s likely that Azure Developers will be in even higher demand now than they already had been. 

 And with the impacts of the digital skills gap and the Great Resignation to compete with, talent is scarce and will be tough to find, which means many businesses may fall into the trap of hiring someone just to fill the vacancy. But it’s more important than ever in this time of high demand and talent shortages, that the Developer that you hire meets the criteria you need them to—as if you’re forced to look again, you might have lost out on great talent to other companies, and the landscape could be even more competitive and scarce than it was before.  

Things to remember before you begin 

It’s important to consider a few things before you begin the recruitment process for your next Azure Developer, so you’re fully prepared for what you might encounter. Here are some of our top tips:

1. Be prepared to pay more

Pay is important to everybody no matter the economic circumstances, but with the pandemic having a massive financial impact on so many people, and forcing others to upskill to set themselves apart, to hire a good Azure Developer, you’re going to have to be prepared to pay more than you might have originally thought. Add competition from other, larger companies into the mix who can afford to offer bigger pay packets and it’s a given that you’re going to have to offer an appealing salary.

2. Offer the perks Azure professionals want

Despite financial incentives still being important to Azure professionals when considering a new role—with permanent Azure employees revealing a better salary and compensation package are some of the main reasons that would encourage them to change jobs (Nigel Frank Careers and Hiring Guide: Microsoft 365 and Azure Edition 2021-22)—the modern workforce is prioritizing flexible working and a better work-life balance. And for many, this can mean they’ll sacrifice larger pay packets in favor of more freedom over their own schedules. 

So, researching the perks and benefits that attract Microsoft Azure professionals will help you to not only bring in the staff you want, but also retain them. However, be aware that as the pandemic has shown, the demands of employees can change quickly and without warning, so ensuring you’re asking for annual feedback and responding to the wants and needs of your team will help you to keep up. For example, here are 5 employee perks you should be offering in 2022.

3. Take a skills-based hiring approach

Traditionally, employers would prioritize a candidate’s education history, overlooking important aspects like the size, scale, and number of projects they’ve worked on, and the experience they’ve got with Azure. 

So, when you begin hiring a new Azure Developer to join your team, make sure you’re taking a skills-based hiring approach rather than basing a candidate’s capability off something as surface-level as education or background. In doing this, you’ll release the limits you’ve been unconsciously imposing on your candidate pool, including geographical and socio-economic constraints. You will also be contributing to improved diversity practices in the Microsoft Azure ecosystem 

What qualities should an Azure Developer have? 

Although you should be open to Azure Developers having come from a wide range of backgrounds, there are some things all developers should ideally have in common in terms of their qualities and skill set. This includes: 

  • Qualifications and experience with Azure and optionally, other cloud computing vendors 
  • An awareness of Microsoft products, including cloud-based products like Teams, PowerShell and Office 365 
  • Ability to problem-solve, as well as build, manage, and deploy apps built in Azure 
  • Ability to explain complex cloud computing concepts in layman’s terms 
  • Programming skills in languages including Java and C# 
  • Innovative thinking to help set up and manage your Azure services in a way that’ll maximize your business’ overall efficiency 
  • Soft skills including communication, decision-making, emotional intelligence, and a solution-oriented mindset 

While it isn’t the be-all and end-all for your decision, it’ll also be an additional bonus if a candidate has experience working in a company like yours, whether that’s in industry, size, or morality.  

5 Azure Developer interview questions that you should be asking 

You can never fully prepare for the exact direction an interview will head in, no matter how hard you try. This is because the answers a candidate gives can steer the conversation down another pathway—whether that’s because you want them to elaborate on their answer, or you want to home in on something interesting that they’ve said.  

However, having a set of questions ready to ask means you can have some prompts and they will also serve as a reminder of areas you’ll want to address. 

If you’ve got some interviews lined up for your next Azure Developer vacancy, or you’re looking to prepare ahead of time, here are five great question prompts that’ll help you to get to know each candidate’s competencies, work ethic and style, and their decision behind working with the cloud a bit better. 

1. Could you tell me where your interest in Azure came from? Why is it still a platform you’re interested in working with despite AWS currently owning the largest market share?

This question will probe a bit deeper into the level of passion and capabilities that a candidate has with Azure, and essentially, show you that they understand its advantages over the competition. Each candidate is likely to have been inspired to try Azure for a different reason, so it’ll also be interesting to hear about all the different pathways into it—and this could even ensure you keep an open mind for future recruiting purposes.

2. Please describe a project you’re particularly proud of where you acted in a Developer role and include details of your involvement. 

You want to know that you can trust who you’re going to hire to fill this vacancy, so by finding out about a project they’ve worked on in a similar role, you not only get a taste for their work ethic, and experience, but also a look into what they rank as a successful project or one they’re proud of being involved with. 

3. What do you think the biggest challenges a business like ours would be facing either now or in future, and how can using Azure help to solve some of these?

The biggest mistake a hiring manager can make is to hire someone who just fits the criteria but doesn’t actually know much about the business they’ll be joining or seems to have an interest in helping it to develop. Of course, we all predominantly work to make money in order to live our lives, but it’s also important that you enjoy what you do—and this means picking a company you are passionate about working for, whether in terms of ethics, or the actual work given.

4. Tell me about a time when you had to use problem-solving within a work setting, and what particular skills of yours did you use to solve it? 

Problem-solving is a key skill needed for Azure Developers as they’re likely to come across a lot of issues during the migration, management and deployment of apps, as well as many other duties their role includes. Hearing first-hand the thought process that dictates a candidate’s decision-making in a work setting and the skills they leaned on to help see it through to completion are also great indicators of their work ethic and their personality. 

5. What do you predict the future of Azure will look like over the next 510 years?

Keeping up with industry news and events is important for professionals operating in tech given it’s such a fast-paced space. By asking this question, candidates will be able to prove they are up to date and that they have a genuine passion for the industry outside of work—and are able to see what a realistic future for Azure is. Plus, it gives you an insight into what they think the industry is missing and how it could be manifested when it’s introduced. 

Interviews can feel like a pressurized environment for both interviewer and interviewee, but for those looking to fill vacancies efficiently, it’s important that you get the right person the first-time round. Whether you’re looking for a new Azure Developer now or expect to be soon, be sure to take our tips on board to ensure your recruiting efforts are a success.  

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