A Full Guide to Hiring Software Developers

A Full Guide to Hiring Software Developers

Software developers are the backbone of most businesses today, but that does not mean that the candidate market is oversaturated. The competition is fierce, and hiring a suitable talent for your project and your team can be challenging. There are shortcuts, of course — for example, you can hire an IT recruiter to select candidates most suited for your company and project goals.

But a common problem with shortcuts is that, while offering a quick and usually tolerable solution to whatever challenges you may be facing, they only sometimes work long-term. If you have a development company always looking for new talent, working with recruiters can be pricey and, sadly, not always 100% effective.

You may think — what can be easier than hiring a new employee? Decide which skills you need, message a few candidates, interview them, and make your choice. Right? In a nutshell — yes, but in practice, each seemingly simple stage has a few nuances that aren’t quite as primitive. Besides, there is the fourth and final stage of the recruiting process many employers ignore (regrettably).

So, here is a complete guide on hiring software developers with all the tricks and hidden reefs explained. If done right, it should help you streamline your software engineer recruiting process — and not just to cover your immediate needs but also for future ones!

Determining Your Perfect Hire

Today’s software development market offers plenty of opportunities for collaboration, whether full- or part-time, onsite or remotely, on a per-project or per-hour basis, etc. You will have to consider all of that when determining your perfect hire — along with the complex technical skills the right candidate should possess. And there are more questions to consider.

Short term vs long-term collaboration

When dealing with short-term projects, it makes sense to contact freelancers. But there is another reason to consider future projects’ potential scope, even when looking for an in-house developer. If you are not sure that the projects will continue, it is better to consider experienced candidates with little or no learning curve. If you are confident more contracts will come, you can afford to hire candidates with a longer learning curve.

Candidate’s position in the team

Besides the apparent tech skills, there is the corporate structure and responsibility the new hire must carry. This is one of the primary things determining if you need a junior, a middle, or a senior developer. 

Essential soft skills 

Another thing many employers ignore is the soft, personal skills that ensure a new hire is a good fit for the already existing team. There is no universal scenario here, of course. Still, in most cases, truly valuable candidates should: 

  • work both independently and as part of the team; 
  • have critical, analytical thinking skills; 
  • balance pragmatism and perfectionism;
  • be prepared to learn.

The rest is usually a matter of corporate ethics. 

Choosing Inbound or Outbound Recruiting 

With the picture of your perfect candidate in mind, you can easily choose the recruiting methods that appeal to this professional group. There are two ways to approach this – contact candidates first or let them come to you, aka outbound and inbound recruiting.

Inbound Recruiting Channels

Inbound recruiting appeals to active candidates looking for a job — those are usually junior and mid-level developers who are either unemployed or eager to change workplaces soon. There are two primary ways to reach out to such people (not mutually exclusive ones, by the way). 

Job sites & social media postings

Even when targeting active job seekers, you should still carefully structure your job postings. It will help you to attract better candidates. The absolute must-have info in your job posting (besides the technical skills and experience required) should be:

  • Salary range 
  • Company benefits
  • Quick outline of the recruiting process 

At the same time, try to avoid glossy, vague terms and stay as much to the point as possible.

Careers page on your website

The same job posting could be made official on your career page, so if you do not have a dedicated page yet, make sure to fix it. Additionally, you can opt for an ad campaign on Google or social media. Still, the extra ad budget is usually unnecessary if you target suitable job sites – sites where your candidates spend time.

Outbound Recruiting Channels

Outbound recruiting strategies target passive candidates not actively looking for a job. As a rule, those are top-tier middle and senior developers who are either already employed or have enough recruiting offers coming their way, so they do not need to monitor job posting sites actively. But this does not mean they do not consider new offers — especially if you can make it worthwhile. The best way to reach them is via: 

Direct offers on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the prominent go-to place when searching for passive candidates. And while this professional social media site remains the top place for finding talent, many job offers via LinkedIn remain unanswered. To ensure your offer is noticed, make it personal and carefully targeted. 

Make sure to mention the candidate’s previous projects that caught your interest and describe all relevant project details the prospect might be interested in. To boost your chances of reply, you can also use a LinkedIn email finding tool that extracts users’ emails directly from social media sites. This will certainly help if the candidate you are contacting is not very active on LinkedIn. But, it does NOT mean that the offer you make over an email should be less thought-through.

Professional conferences 

This method is a less straightforward way of acquiring talent, but it still works wonders if you are in no particular rush to hire new people. Note that hosting a conference or a workshop at your company works better for expanding your contact base than attending events organized by others. But, of course, the amount of effort is also way higher. 

Hosting Hackathons

Another solution that requires you to go the extra mile but can prove very useful in the long run. A simpler (and often cheaper) alternative is to host an online hackathon. Whatever you choose, the idea behind a hackathon is simple — organize a fun coding contest with prizes at the end and enjoy meeting new programming talent. The idea is perfect for tech startups targeting young and creative developers. But it is not only for startups! 

Screening and Interviewing Candidates 

Screening and interviewing candidates 

With the outbound recruiting strategies, most screening will be done before you make an actual offer. Inbound recruiting is in reverse, and you may have to sift through resumes before inviting people to the interview.

Whatever the case, you should be well-prepared to meet your screened candidates in person. Besides asking common, generally technical software developers interview questions, you should also consider a few more personal inquiries to see if the candidate can fit into your existing team. For that, you should always keep the perfect hire image in mind. 

Updating Your Recruiting Database 

Suppose you found your perfect software developer, made an offer, and are getting ready to meet the new hire onboard. Is that it? No! You probably have met quite a few people who could become a part of your team later. Add them to your potential talent acquisition pool — your recruiting database.

Plenty of software tools exist to analyze asset information, match candidates, and much more. They are great for large companies, but small startups could also benefit from these apps. And, of course, no one canceled the manual asset organization — so choose whichever option works for you.

Following this logic will help you hire software developers most suited for your project and eventually expand your recruiting database. This means the more people you hire, the quicker your future screening and interviewing will go. And that is the whole point!