If you are in the position to hire a Software Developer for your company, you know this is one of the most critical roles to fill and can have a huge impact on the progression of business.
Glassdoor reported last year that it takes 120 candidates to make 1 Engineering hire. Software Developer jobs are very tedious to recruit for and can be frustrating at times…but making the right hire is the most important thing you can do as a hiring manager.
To take the load off your shoulders and guide you through this tedious process, here are 11 tips for hiring a software developer.
1. Find Someone Smarter Than You
You never want to be the smartest person in a room. Bringing in top talent with different views, perspectives, and ideas is the exact kind of candidate you should be targeting. Their intelligence and experience can be leveraged and add tremendous value to the company. In a startup atmosphere, this is especially important in the first rounds of hiring, because top talent attracts other top talent. Collaboration is a huge attraction to this kind of talent and why finding someone smarter than you works for better hiring.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Test Them With Real-Time Company Challenges
Forgo basic coding challenges found online and test them by asking them to work on real-world problems from your company’s history. This exposure will give you and the candidate a great gage on whether they will be a perfect fit for your company.
3. Have an Open Mind for Different Programming Languages and Tools
Programming languages are constantly evolving and changing and, if you’re still asking questions that are too specific to the exact technologies your company uses, then you won’t have many successful Software Developer interviews. Focus on the programming algorithm and application concepts. Focus on how the candidate problem solves. It’s much easier to teach an excellent problem solver to learn new programming languages as opposed to teaching how to be a problem solver.
4. Multiple People Need To Interview The Candidate
There is a common misconception that at the end of the day, all a software developer needs to do is to code. There are several other factors that need to be considered when hiring a Software Developer, such as the problem-solving skills we mentioned above. It’s critical to get a second opinion before pulling the trigger on a hire because personality does matter in the long term. In fact, CIO reports that 60% of hiring managers agree cultural fit is the most important hiring criteria.
5. Communication is Key
Communication is one of the most important skills when looking for a software developer. An underestimated quality for sure, but this is something that can make all the difference between a top performing software developer and someone more mediocre. In the Fight for Top Talent, you won’t want to miss adding this as a requirement to hire a Software Developer.
6. Set Expectations Before Hiring
If you don’t set the expectations of the candidate at the beginning of the hiring process, you should expect total hiring failure. Be upfront about what the role and team require. Even the simplest information about the office hours need to be said out loud and agreed upon prior to the final offer. If you need them to be available 24/7, this needs to be established as well. Remember, communication is key (on both sides of the hiring process).
7. Don’t Rely Too Heavily on the Resume
Often times someone will look great on paper, but in person, they just aren’t a fit. There a hundred ways to write a Software Developer resume. Looking for 1 exact template will never work and shouldn’t overshadow the candidate’s actual experience. Use a take-home assignment to make fairer comparisons and judgments when considering multiple Software Developer candidates.
8. Ask Them About Their Passions
You want a passionate software engineer. If someone doesn’t get excited when talking about their favorite project or course, you don’t want them in your company. You need a software developer that thinks beyond the paycheck and codes because they have a passion for their work product.
9. Make Sure They Can…Drum roll please…Actually Code!
Nobody wants to work with messy code or even touch badly written code, no matter how functional it is. Make sure the Software Developer you are considering uses best practices, is smart with their development, can think ahead and is always considering the long-term use of the code.
10. Don’t Turn Away From Lack of Experience
If you need your hire to work on repetitive tasks, then yes – years experience is helpful. However, in the world of software engineering, new problems come up constantly. In fact, some recruiters say that the more Sr. Level Developers use out-of-date methods for coding, simply because they have been doing it for years. Look for a healthy balance of years experience, as well as an aptitude for problem-solving.
11. A Question We Always Ask – “How Do You Keep Up with Best Practices?”
This is an extremely helpful question to ask when it comes to learning how authentic the Software Developer is about their passions for their job. Someone who lives and breathes Programming and Developing can answer this with no hesitation and cite several examples of their favorite blogs and forums.