Updated: Jun 20, 2020
For a large portion of modern companies, an ideal and capable software engineer is an important ingredient in the recipe for professional success. Software engineers design, develop, improve, and update digital programs, applications, and systems.
Significantly, companies with lacking software properties and digital presences will have trouble competing in today's fast-moving and tech-driven professional landscape. In other words, companies should go out of their way to attract and hire world-class software engineers.
If you own a company and/or are interested in learning about the most efficient and effective way to hire a software engineer, the following step-by-step guide will prove useful. And by adhering to these tips, you can assure that your company's digital capabilities are optimal.
Let's take a look.
STEP 1: Clearly Define the Position's Requirements and Specifics
The first step in the software-engineer hiring process is clearly defining the position's requirements and specifics. As is the case with other jobs, but perhaps more so (owing to the immersive and detail-oriented nature of the work), software engineers must be comfortable if they're to perform at their best.
And the most surefire way to make software engineers uncomfortable is by failing to disclose the position's nuances.
Be sure to establish the precise tasks associated with the position, sick/vacation days, remote-work options (or lack thereof), workplace culture, and any other relevant details.
By being upfront and straightforward with this information, you can receive inquiries only from clients who're interested and well-suited for the position.
STEP 2: Create a Job Listing
Create a job listing that's as short, concise, and fact-oriented as possible. Emphasize the previous step's requirements and specifics while also identifying the employee qualities that your company is in the market for. That said, it should also be mentioned that many excellent software engineers lack formal qualifications.
Unlike lawyers, doctors, and other professionals, software engineers are often self-educated. Some of the top software engineers in the world—those who work for multinational companies—were hired directly out of high school. Others yet have dropped out of high school and been paid astronomical sums for their efforts!
Because most other companies have made a habit of providing salary and benefits details in software-engineer job listings, you might want to consider doing the same. Don't feel as though you need to lay everything out, though; general descriptions of benefits and a salary range will suffice until you personally meet and evaluate a candidate.
STEP 3: Publish the Job Listing
Instead of publishing the job listing solely on your company's website, consider posting it to leading job boards, including Indeed, Monster, and Craigslist. Virtually all software engineers use technology in their personal lives; they simply won't hear about word-of-mouth job openings or read about open positions in the newspaper.
However, they will quickly happen across your company's offer on one of today's most well-known job-listing websites. From there, they can send their personal information and resumes, and you can arrange to interview the most impressive candidates.
STEP 4: Conduct Performance-Focused Interviews
Bluntly stated, if you judge software engineers' interviews by the same standards you do HR representatives' interviews, you'll spend a very, very long time searching for "the right employee." Keep in mind that software engineers perform highly complex and individualized work for hours and hours on end.
To expect these individuals to maintain the same social skills and characteristics as salespersons are misguided and ill-advised. The same is true of their appearances and their answers to personal questions. That's not to say that you won't ever come across a by-the-books software engineer, but you must remember that these individuals put their energy towards specialized tasks and should, therefore, be judged by specialized standards.
Ask questions about candidates' work experience, software-development approach, and special skills, and put the traditional indicators of a candidate's worthiness—eye contact, appearance, higher education—on the backburner. Truth be told, these things won't help a software engineer to perform his or her job.
STEP 5: Make an Offer
Before there's time to worry about follow-up letters or competing offers, go ahead and send the most qualified candidate a fair and reasonable contract or agreement.
A phone call is probably the best way to do so, but video chatting is also a viable and effective option. Moreover, if the deal doesn't seem "sealed"—that is, if the desired candidate has reservations and/or questions—don't think twice about inviting him or her to the office for lunch. A post-meal tour and discussion should be more than enough to satisfy the individual's concerns.
And when your desired candidate signs on, remember to firmly shake his or her hand and issue a clear-cut reminder of how much their work is valued and how much they mean to the company. This might seem like overkill, but other companies are constantly reminding software engineers that their effort is appreciated. If you don't do so, another company will.
STEP 6: Offer Support and Assistance
While statistics backing the statement are hard to come by (as they're not often released by employers), anyone who's previously employed a software engineer can vouch for the fact that the first month is when things are most likely to fall through. If an engineer doesn't feel comfortable in the workplace, he or she will probably resign.
And if a resignation comes from a simple lack of compatibility or interest on the employee's part, it will be both unfortunate and unavoidable. However, company time and money can be saved by preventing resignations due to lacking support and assistance. Give a software engineer the tools and access to knowledge that he or she needs to get the job done. Leave little to chance, and check in on your new employee frequently during the first month.
This unusual approach's justification is simple: Software engineering is an unusual line of work.
These steps will make your software-engineer hiring process as straightforward and effortless as possible. Moreover, they'll also help you to find the best candidate for your company and save resources in the long term.