All You Wanted to Know About Hiring Software Developers

So you’re looking to hire a software developer? That’s cool. But developers are not one size fits all—make sure you’re finding the person who not only has the skills, but fits within your company and team.

Not entirely sure how to go about the hiring process to ensure success? Take a look at these helpful tips to stay on track—from reading their resume to the full-fledged offer:

Before taking a look at them, you need to take a look at yourself.

As the leader of your team, the most important thing you can do is evaluate how this new hire will fit within your structure. Are they a senior or junior level employee? Should they be heads down coding or interactive with business units?

Evaluating these pieces will eliminate a lot of wasted time—for both you and your prospective developers.

Have a compelling company story.

Software Developers want to work with a company that has an interesting mission. What exactly does that mean? “Interesting” for one person could be “average” to another…

You don’t have to have a “Cinderella” story, but at least have a story. Why do your employees show up to work, day after day? What is your company all about—besides the “have to” stuff?

Candidates want stability, and the public presence must be well projected.

Rethink the traditional job description.

Get away from skill based job descriptions and have outcome based descriptions. What problems will this position be solving?

Most software developers won't take a job if the role doesn't have a direct impact on company revenue, so be sure to share how their role will make a difference. Tell them how they fit into your company’s story.

Don’t just look for local hires.

Open up your talent pool and offer remote hire opportunities. The big tech companies do, so if you want to be in the “hiring an awesome software developer” game, you should as well. Be sure to ask for referrals and references.

Respect the Side Hustle.

In this day and age, it’s really not cool to fault someone for having freelance work on the side, aka side hustle. Instead, use it as a basis to ask questions. What skills do they use for their side hustle? Why are they important for the work?

If the candidate doesn’t have any freelance work, consider asking them to find code examples on Gitup or Stackoverflow and explain what they would do differently.

And forget “canned” questions you ask every candidate—they won’t get you high quality results.

No one likes “standardized” tests.

If you have a screening test/coding challenge, make it close to an actual problem the developer may face in their position. If your test is one other companies use and doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the position, all you’re doing is determining their skillset—not whether or not they are a good fit for the job.

Be sure the test is level appropriate, has clear and thoughtful directions, and isn’t just a way to get free work done.

Determine your interview style—one-on-one vs. team interview.

You’re most likely going to have at least two rounds of interviews. After your candidate makes it through the first round, determine the best course of action for the second round. Is this position more of a solitary one? A second one-on-one interview will be fine.

But if they will be working with a team of a few people or more, it’s a great idea to bring those teammates into the interview process. Because if they don’t gel with your candidate, your projects probably won’t come together, either.

Set your candidate up for success with realistic expectations.

If you want to help yourself, help your candidate. One of the best ways you can do so is by giving them true and realistic expectations of what to expect at every level.

If you think this is a “cheat sheet,” think of it this way: Giving your potential developer some insight will prepare them for the job, should they get it. And if they don’t do well with the cheat sheet, then you know they won’t do well with the job ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

Don’t waste time getting back to them.

Get back to your candidate promptly before another competitor gets them. And, pro-tip? Use technology to keep in touch—they are developers, afterall.

Making the offer.

This may be the most crucial part of the hiring stage, so it’s highly recommended that you play a part in this stage as well. Don’t just leave it to HR.

Being honest and upfront from the start is key, because if you’re going to lose them, this is where it will happen.

The final step: On-boarding.

Give the new team member a week to get acclimated. Software developers are tribal and having the “tribe” (team) involved in getting the new hire up to speed is vital. As the leader, have a clear plan on expectations in the first week. Everyone is busy, so scheduling and planning is key here.

Again, not all on-boarding plans are created equal. You must customize the plan for entry, mid, and senior level developers.

Looking for additional help?

If hiring software developers—or any IT positions seems daunting—we’d love to help. CTRL+F is Charlotte’s answer to permanent placements for IT.

It’s our mission to always be helping our clients find the best candidates for their position.

CTRL+F thanks Ramu Pulipati, Co-Founder & CTO of Botspash for his help and impute.