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Hiring Software Engineers? 7 Crucial Tips for Success

The battle for engineering talent is officially on! Is your hiring process evolving as quickly as the technology market? Candidates are in high demand, and there is a shortage of exceptional talent. Follow these crucial tips and learn what it takes to land the best software engineers.

Avoid exploding offers

Exploding job offers are offers that are retracted if candidates do not accept during a very specific window of time. If you are trying to land coveted software engineering talent, don’t squeeze them for an answer; it’s an immediate turn-off. Job offers with “end of the day” deadlines, and they are usually rejected. In addition to losing a stellar potential employee, these candidates may not have great things to say to their fellow engineers about your company’s hiring practices. Give candidates the respect, time and space they need to make an important and thoughtful life decision.

Don’t present the culture as being more important than the work

Don’t get us wrong, strong culture and great people are core to any good and attractive company. Over time these qualities become increasingly important and will be a crucial way to retain vital employees. But, software engineers are a unique breed. The technical challenges and scale of the project will attract the best talent, and your recruitment marketing needs to lead with the problems they will be solving. Explain to the engineers what they can do to help your company and why their skills are needed to solve a particular problem.

Team engineers with engineers

When putting together your hiring team, ideally, you want an engineer or a technical leader spending the most time with the software engineering candidate. Engineers enjoy talking with people who speak their language, understand exactly what they do and have the insights and expertise to have a meaningful and insightful conversation. As a rule, engineers don’t like talking shop with HR or the sales team. It’s fine to have these candidates meet with non-technical employees – just be mindful of how much time is being spent with folks outside of their world.

Show them what’s under the hood

When an engineering candidate comes in for an interview, let them see everything! Show them the code, let them build a real feature, show them the problems and detail the challenges you are struggling to solve. For an engineering candidate, this is where they decide if they are interested. A great way to do this is by implementing “pair programming” during the interview process. Pair one of your engineers with the candidate, and let them get to work. This is a new development taking place that has yielded great results. Not only does it show candidates the guts of the work, it also gives you an opportunity to test them technically.

Always be flexible and creative

Each candidate you meet is unique. They may need to move through the process at different paces and various aspects of the company, and the role will be more or less important. Remember this, and be nimble with your hiring process. One candidate might ask to talk to someone in QA or account management, another to the UI guy. Maybe they want to get a beer with the team to get a stronger sense of the culture. In this market in particular, you can’t afford to be rigid and unresponsive to the candidate’s requests. Ultimately, being receptive will mean a stronger long-term fit which is better for the candidate and your company.

Sell hard 

Too many hiring managers think the interview is only to vet the candidate. But, as you are evaluating the candidate, the candidate is evaluating you and your company. Everyone on your team needs to sell the company and the role. In addition to learning all about the interviewee, they need to talk about why they love the projects, the company and the culture. They need to find out what excites the candidate and sell specifically to those points. At the end of the process, the candidate should be enthusiastic about working at your company.

Make the offer

In this market, engineering candidates have many options. If you find a candidate you love, make the offer. If you wait too long, the talented candidates will get snatched-up by other companies. While it’s important to weigh your options and conduct a thorough search, be responsive and close the deal when you find a good one!

Getting all of these tactics accomplished with every candidate may not be realistic, but training your team to focus on that goal is not. Recruiting for software engineers is a team effort, from technical leaders to the sales staff; everyone has to be creatively selling. Following these tips will help capture the best talent and prevent them from getting grabbed by the competition.

Photo Credit: Hacker Jobs UK