What you need to know about hiring software developers


Software developers have become one of the most sought after professions over the past couple of years. Even businesses that do not specialize in producing software have found a need for them, and as a result, the demand is higher than ever. Companies that want to bring in the best developers must find a way to stand out from the crowd to make their business an attractive place to work.

Of course, this means more competition from other companies who are also vying to staff their teams with top-tier software developers and engineers. Whether your company is looking to hire its first developer to create and manage an app or adding multiple developers to an already established and successful development team, it’s important to first have an idea of what you’re looking for when screening candidates. Once the basic requirements and job duties are decided upon, then you can begin to look for ways to get talented candidates to apply.

Know what software developers want

Take an objective snapshot of your business to determine if it would be an environment where most software developers would like to work. For instance, for some developers trying to decide on a potential new workplace, salary is not as high a priority as other factors. Of course, you could always offer a higher salary than your competitors to entice the best talent, but one survey found that 85 percent of software developers care more about the projects they will be working on than their salary.

Besides interesting projects, developers also tend to prefer independence. They may like working alone or having the ability to work from home some days. Even if you plan on hiring someone to work with an existing team, providing them the freedom to choose how they work will be a bonus. Giving your developers the autonomy to work on a project with little interference, and in their preferred work environment, will go a long way towards enticing them to join the team.

Lastly, software developers, like most employees, love perks. Besides a decent salary, if you can demonstrate that your company cares about their developers, it could be the difference in a developer choosing your company over another. For instance, you can have the latest equipment set up in the office for them to work on, offer free lunches, or even unlimited vacation time (within reason). Explore different methods, and see which ones you can afford.

Give them competitive salaries

While some developers may care about more than just salaries, that does not mean salaries aren’t important. You will need to offer at least a competitive salary if you want to draw in the top developers to your company. Of course, this will require some research if you’re bringing on your company’s first developer, or a developer specialized in a sought after technology stack. Find out what other companies in your area are offering to similarly-experienced software developers and examine your own budget. You can use websites like PayScale or Glassdoor Salaries, which provide averages of salaries of specific jobs at a national level and a local level, to gauge the approximate amount you should be offering software developer candidates. You do not necessarily have to offer the most – although it won’t hurt – but you at least need to be the in the ballpark. Combined with any perks you include, the overall compensation package can encourage curious job seeking developers to apply.

Choose the right developers for your team

When evaluating your candidates, focus on talent rather than longevity. While it may seem like a good idea to hire someone who may stay with your company for a long time, you won’t find the best candidates this way. The best developers are always going to be looking for new opportunities, so plan on hiring the best, and continuously bringing in new people, rather than hiring one person for a long time.

Second, try to be open to candidates without a formal or relevant degree. If a candidate does not have a degree, look at their relevant work experience. In some cases, people change careers late in life, and do not bother getting another degree when they already have plenty of experience. While a degree is nice, don’t make it a requirement. You’ll open yourself up to many more qualified candidates this way.

During the evaluation phase, look at past projects the developer has worked on. Are they similar to the type of project or goal you’re hiring for? Was the client or company happy with the finished product? What role did the candidate have in the creation and management of the project? These are all important questions to get answers to before making your final decision.

Lastly, do not focus all your attention on hiring a “superstar” – and on that note, try not to use buzzwords like this in your job descriptions. Instead, try to find a developer that can easily integrate and work well with your team rather than a candidate who stands above the rest. While hiring the best person in their field may sound like a good idea, if they cannot work well with the rest of your team, the project is not going to go well. To determine this, consider opting for personality assessments or behavioral interview questions that focus on evaluating their willingness to be a productive member of a team.

Also: keep in mind that some of the software languages being used today are relatively new. This means that many of your candidates may have only a little experience across a dozen or more languages, frameworks, and technologies. If you focus all your time looking for that “rockstar” with over 10 years of experience – with tech that was created in 2011 – you are going to have a hard time finding them. And if you somehow do find them, the competition to get them to your company is going to be fierce. Be willing to take a risk on someone with less experience, but who has demonstrated competence in previous projects that they have worked on, as well as a willingness to learn on the fly.

Want the right developers so that the right developers want you

Putting together a team of software developers is a twofold approach; you first need to figure out how to entice them to apply to your company, then you need to evaluate which developers will be the best fit. With the demand for good software developers being so high, it’s one thing to make your business stand out from the rest, but screening, evaluating, and verifying potential candidates can be a much tougher feat. Partnering with a qualified recruiting agency that understands the typical headaches that can occur during the hiring process can help speed up the process and free you from most of the heavy lifting, ultimately providing you with more time to run your business and lessen the cost of a long term vacant position.

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