Skip to content
IT recruitment

How to hire (great) software engineers

IT recruitment

If you landed on this blog post, chances are you have questions as to how to hire a software engineer. And you’re not the only one.

With so many factors at play, it’s easy to miss some important details and make an unsuccessful hire. This, in turn, can cause a lot of headache and frustration while also costing your company valuable time and money in the development process.

To help you avoid this ordeal, we’ve compiled a list of hiring tips you can use to find the best software engineers for your project.

But first, let’s define what a software engineer is.

What is a software engineer?

Software engineers build, maintain and improve computer software which requires extensive knowledge of coding languages, software development, and engineering principles. Generally, software engineers create complex projects like web applications, operating systems, robots, etc.

It’s important to point out the difference between a software engineer and a software developer. Software developers work on one specific aspect of a project, while software engineers are responsible for the big picture, supervising the entire development process and leading the team. You may hear these terms used interchangeably, but as you see there’s an underlying difference between the two.

Prepare for the recruitment process

Now that we have the definition out of the way, let’s dive into the preparation steps for the recruitment process.

Set your recruitment goals

First and foremost, even before crafting your job description, you need to outline your recruitment goals. These can vary depending on your project, budget, company policy, etc.

Some of the things you need to consider at the preparation stage are:

  • Full-time or part-time employment. Some projects may not require a full-time in-house software engineer, while for others it can be an absolutely must. Figuring out what employment type works best for this particular hire is crucial as it drastically changes your pool of candidates.
  • Must-have skills. Next up, create a list of the languages or skills that you deem necessary for your software engineer position. Keep in mind that the scope of duties of a software engineer goes way beyond writing code and also includes analyzing user needs, project coordination, team supervision, etc.
  • Previous experience/portfolio. Experience also plays a crucial role in hiring a software engieer. Whether your candidate is a seasoned software engineer with years of experience under their belt or an aspiring but very promising developer, the hiring decision will depend on your company’s short-term and long-term goals.
  • Certifications. Last but not least, you might want to see completed courses and/or certifications to have a bit more confidence in your candidates’ qualifications.

Establish a salary range (and include it in the job description)

Setting a salary range is tricky. While there are specialist websites that show salary medians for IT, unfortunately, there is no cookie-cutter solution to finding the perfect salary range.. It’s all about finding a balance between what your company can offer, versus your candidates’ qualifications.

According to Payscale, a software engineer in the U.S. earns an average of $82,192 annually.

However, other factors that come into play when defining a salary range for a software engineer position can include various benefits such as access to health programs, company equity compensation, or even the ambitiousness of your project. The latter is especially true if you’re a promising startup planning an industry revolution.

It’s recommended to include the salary range in the job description as this has becomes  an industry standard and is often expected by candidates.

Verify soft skills

While technical skills are the number one requirement for a software engineer position, soft skills are not far behind. In fact, they may make or break the success of your candidate too. At the end of the day, this role entails working in and supervising a team where it’s important to possess a certain set of qualities.

Some of them include but are not limited to:

  • Communication. As someone who supervises an entire project, a good software engineer should possess outstanding communication skills. This will ensure that all the processes in the team run smoothly.
  • Accountability. Another indispensable soft skill for this role is accountability. Being able to acknowledge mistakes fast will help avoid setbacks in the development process.
  • Emotional intelligence. Although this might seem as another buzzword, emotional intelligence gains more importance in every organization day by day. It stands for being able to manage your own and other people’s emotions. A quality that will come in handy for every software engineer, especially when met with tight deadlines.
  • Problem-solving. Software development is rarely a smooth ride where everything goes according to plan. Problem-solving skills can play a paramount role in the entire process.
  • Time management. Last but not least, without good time management, a software engineer will have a hard time setting accurate estimates as well as prioritizing problems as they inevitably occur.

Assess technical skills

When it comes to software development, verifying technical skills should be at the top of every recruiter’s priorities. This is why it’s so crucial to have effective screening processes in place that can ensure every hire is the best fit for the role from the technical skills standpoint.

Traditionally, there are two ways to screen technical skills.

Manual assessment

One way to assess candidates’ technical skills is to test and verify coding assignments using the company’s own resources. Usually, this process entails the following steps:

  1. Create a technical assignment
  2. Send it to all seemingly viable candidates
  3. Have an in-house developer go through every assignment

While this approach might work for small companies where the number of applications isn’t very high, for organizations with over 500 employees, it can do more harm than good.

The most common disadvantages of doing technical screening manually are:

  • No efficient way to process a sea of applications
  • Valuable billable developer time spent on checking assessments
  • Manual reviews might be subject to bias

For these reasons, many companies turn to streamlined technical solutions.

The benefits of a technical screening solution when hiring

When it comes to technical screening, it’s very important to have a robust screening process that helps you efficiently allocate your time and interview only the candidates that actually meet the job requirements.

Powered by the RealLifeTesting™ methodology, DevSkiller TalentScore accurately verifies technical skills by relaying on three main pillars:

  • Holistic testing
  • Real-world testing conditions
  • Assessing the entire technology ecosystem

This way, you’ll see how your candidates will fare in a software engineer role.

With DevSkiller TalentScore, testing and evaluating of a candidate’s skills happens automatically. You only need to send test invites to your applicants, significantly reducing manual work on your side. Thanks to the extensive DevSkiller library, you can choose from over 5000 ready-made tasks that cover the most in-demand languages for software engineers such as Java, Python, C and C++, as well as Scala and JavaScript.

Another important benefit of using a screening tool is a benchmark pass rate. By giving your candidates a specific number of points to aim for, you make the hiring process more transparent and bias-free for both the candidates and your company. This allows you to hire software engineers with the highest skill proficiency for your projects.

Not to mention benefits on the candidate side that comes from this approach. Quick hiring process, precise feedback, and engaging, real-world test assignments make for an excellent candidate experience.

Additionally, DevSkiller TalentScore generates valuable data and insights about candidates’ performance in technical assessments. These insights help recruiters and hiring managers make informed decisions by identifying top-performing candidates, understanding areas of strength and weakness, and comparing candidates’ scores against each other. This data-driven approach supports effective talent acquisition and improves the overall quality of hiring decisions.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, recruiting software engineers is a critical task that requires a well-planned and strategic approach. The demand for top-notch engineering talent is high, making it essential for companies to stand out and attract the best candidates. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of finding and hiring exceptional software engineers who will contribute to your organization’s success.

Remember to invest time in defining clear job requirements, crafting compelling job descriptions, and leveraging multiple sourcing channels to reach a diverse pool of candidates. Technical screening tools and assessments, such as DevSkiller TalentScore will help you evaluate candidates’ skills, while behavioral interviews and portfolio reviews will provide insights into their cultural fit and past experiences.

Get started with
DevSkiller today

Discover how DevSkiller can help you grow.