How to hire a software developer
We’ve got plenty of brilliant ideas about making a top-notch and mega-useful product that conquers multiple markets and brings us fame, glory, and prosperity. But sooner or later, we understand that our ideas are dust in the wind without a talented squad of developers.
Multiple tech reports underline a tech crunch problem: in 2022, its worth can jump to $8,5 billion. Gifted hands deficiency can easily result in a few million unfilled positions in the tech startup ecosystem.
What are the possible reasons for that?
- Tough competition. The tech market is overflowing with startups, each needing new hires.
- Lack of hiring experience. It’s not a must for startup owners to be able to hire teams properly and thoughtfully.
- Wrong hiring model. Often, startup owners don’t know how to hire software developers and make common mistakes.
You’ll surely get some tips from this article if you’re a startup entrepreneur. Here, we will give you plenty of tips and answer the following questions:
- Who is a software developer?
- Why do startups hire software developers?
- What are the six top things to look for in your candidates?
- What are the benefits of hiring software developers?
- How can you assess candidates?
- Ten steps to hire the software developer of your dream.
Table of Contents
- Who is a software developer?
- Why hire great software developers?
- How do you access software developers?
- What are the benefits of hiring a software engineer?
- How to hire software developers: 10 steps
- Step 1: Decide what kind of developer you need
- Step 2: Identify your requirements and build an ideal candidate profile
- Step 3: Analyze the engineering landscape
- Step 4: Compare salaries
- Step 5: Craft a winning job description
- Step 6: Check talent availability
- Step 7: Optimize your hiring process
- Step 8: Get the most out of your job interviews
- Step 9: Propose a competitive salary with bonuses
- Step 10: Build your hiring funnel
Who is a software developer?
Before giving you our advice on how to hire software developers nowadays, let’s find out what a software developer’s scope of duties is.
Generally, software developers are programmers whose primary purpose is to design and develop software, i.e., applications, programs, and other non-hardware stuff used for specific purposes. Most developers collaborate with clients, colleagues, and end users. A good developer has strong communication, time management, and empathy skills, remote work experience, and a good command of the oral/written English language.
Why hire great software developers?
Great software developers differ from good and ordinary software developers in several things. To succeed in hiring engineers, you should know what these things are.
First of all, they get you extra quality results. Not just any results, not good ones — because good results won’t give you a competitive advantage. With great software developers, all your investments will bring you maximum revenues.
Secondly, they are always up-to-date. They use the newest technologies; they get hands on the most recent databases and frameworks.
Thirdly, they know where to find everything they lack.
Thirdly, they have teamwork experience and outstanding soft skills. Bare coding proficiency won’t make any dev superior — because no dev is an island, and efficient collaboration always makes star unions.
But the thing is, they’re not easy to find. Great software developers are spread thin among organizations looking for their services.
According to reports by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for IT talent will grow exponentially to 21% by 2028. Other jobs can’t boast such an illustrious boost — their average demand will increase by 5%.
How do you access software developers?
Here are some evaluation criteria you can add to your hiring procedure when hiring IT professionals. They will surely come in handy if you’re looking for a remote software developer, need a developer to supplement a short-term demand for your team, or even outsource the full software development project to third-party services.
1. Look for smart problem-solvers
The best talent is someone smarter than you, whether you’re an entrepreneur with little to no experience in software development or an IT specialist.
Search for a software engineer that excels at addressing problems, not merely one who is technically intelligent. Dynamic problem-solvers are better than static task-completers because they can simultaneously move the processes forward in many dimensions. Moreover, if unexpected problems hinder the ongoing development progress, they will be useful for corrections.
2. Polyglots are worth a lot
Becoming an expert in every programming language, tool, algorithm, and framework is difficult. There are too many facets of the IT world, and daily advances in all of them change how developers handle problems.
Finding software engineers proficient in two or more technologies is always preferable to finding one-language pundits. Look for a versatile person; they’ll save you tons of HR money.
3. Search for a communicator and collaborator
Even while working alone, a highly motivated software engineer can move some project blocks quickly, but any significant general progress requires teamwork. Any developer will eventually need to collaborate to improve the whole application as an ecosystem.
Good communicators streamline workflows and join group efforts. High-quality software development projects’ success results from competent developers carrying out their responsibilities and can also support the demands of other team members. This is particularly true when we’re talking of Agile technologies.
Without clear communication, team members won’t be on the same page, and all the efforts of people working with various project aspects will go haywire. This goes true for in-house and remote developers working in the same team.
4. Creativity is what you need
You undoubtedly have a handful of ideas for your project — and a talented developer will surely give it more color. They can incorporate elements that improve usability and the user experience, employ imagination, turn on creativity, and augment the project with details and functions that potential users need.
Before starting the construction process, you’ll need employees who can think on their feet and collaborate well with the team. Working with creative developers gives you a broader perspective of your software project.
5. Look for a clean coder
Sure, software development is a complex process. However, clean coders make the work easier, especially regarding maintenance, troubleshooting, and future updates. Hiring messy noobs will make the overall communication tougher and more demanding — and bog down all the core operations.
6. Talent beats experience
Choosing between a talented and an experienced developer, pick up the former.
We don’t claim the experience is insignificant: on the contrary, if you want your devs to grab your ideas instantly, it’s next to none.
However, we’d advise prioritizing talented executors if you want to employ unconventional ideas that will give you the lead over rivals.
What are the benefits of hiring a software engineer?
- Routine testing
When a company employs a software engineer or developer, the service or product is improved by constant evaluations of its suitability. If a company does not employ a software developer, there is a chance that its product or service will experience unanticipated implementation issues.
- Subject matter expertise
Remote or in-house software engineers you hire will regularly check in with subject-matter experts. For instance, the software developer of an ML legal technology can frequently consult with practicing attorneys on the precision of a contract law solution. Or, if we take an eCommerce site under construction, subject matter specialists may make sure that marketing language constantly aligns with how the website functions.
- Project and program management
Software engineering does not occur in a vacuum: even if development is outsourced to a third party, internal oversight is still necessary to ensure that the results align with the business’s demands and expectations. This assessment is challenging without a software engineer or a whole team.
Outsourcing brings you unwanted hindrances. If you outsource talents, all the developers in your team will have to wait for third-party commands, slowing down the progress.
Before we propose a roadmap for hiring software engineers for a project, let’s find out what qualities these professionals should possess. This article section will be handy for hiring specialists since it’s their job to comb through dozens of candidates and find those who spur the company’s growth.
How to hire software developers: 10 steps
Step 1: Decide what kind of developer you need
Identify your precise needs at the outset because it’s a key factor in the hiring process, especially when creating a job description. Front-end developers construct the user side of the software, back-enders specialize in software logic, and full-stack masters are jacks of all trades. Web developers are the best at web applications and websites, mobile devs create software for your smartphones, and UX/UI developers/designers attract customers by making all the app elements user-friendly.
Step 2: Identify your requirements and build an ideal candidate profile
Outline the goals, skills, knowledge, and experience of the candidates you value most. With this ideal candidate’s profile, it will be easier to sieve off unwanted applicants and separate them from prospective ones.
Doing this, ask yourself two questions:
- What outcomes do I anticipate from someone who succeeds in this role? Example: “We’ll be able to construct the web service MVP in four months if we hire a full-stack engineer.”
- What effect will the position have on the group, the undertaking, or the business? Example: “I anticipate that by bringing on a full-stack engineer, my project will be led by a technical leader, giving me more time to concentrate on other areas of the company.”
Step 3: Analyze the engineering landscape
Finding a good engineer is as difficult as finding a decent pizza. During the next stage, you’d better choose a haystack you will concentrate on. To better understand market demand, the number of engineers available, and the hiring process itself, assess the employment market and the degree of technological adoption.
Study market trends
Looking at market trends, you can better understand the demand for particular technologies. There is increased competition for candidates as demand rises, which raises pay scales. Reviewing recent research is the best place to start when researching the job market for software engineers. Most major tech sector participants each year release similar studies and analyses. For example, here are some insights from the 2021 State of Software Engineers report of the Hired.com platform.
Compare technology adoption levels
They give you an idea of how difficult it will be to find a software developer with experience in a particular technology and influence the decisions you make for your hiring project based on your budget.
Step 4: Compare salaries
If you don’t stick to in-house hiring from your country only, we’d advise you to examine global IT market trends and scan recent IT companies’ yearly reports (you’re interested in the salary part). Scan the geographic data, and pick the regions with the most developed IT market: they will provide you with the best choice of experienced professionals in different stacks and stack combinations. Next, sort the filtered-out countries according to their cost of living: it will possibly influence the median rates. Finally, range the outcomes according to their attractiveness for you as a startup founder.
Step 5: Craft a winning job description
Before hunting for professionals, formalize all the demands, requirements, benefits, and bonuses of your job offer. Think over everything you can announce before the job interview. A well-crafted job description will spare you (or your HR department) tons of time. What can an all-encompassing job description look like for tech companies? Visit the job description hub page at Lemon.io. We’ve been taking care of startup founders since 2015 and composing job description templates for all the trending stacks.
Step 6: Check talent availability
Let’s pretend you checked all the data and opted for a country to hire remote software engineers. Now, you can get some extra chunks of availability data by analyzing online stats on this country’s IT market. Research the online IT media resources and try to find statistics on hires and job markets. How many software developers are there in total? What are the main software engineer goals? How many of them were available last year? (What’s the overall market tendency?) What are your chances of finding unemployed professionals or luring them from another company?
Step 7: Optimize your hiring process
Short and easy hiring procedures are preferable unless you’re Google and have the luxury of creating a lengthy, multi-step triage process. There is always a strong demand for engineers, and candidates frequently have numerous interviews at once. If your hiring process is delayed, you risk losing candidates.
- Do you need to complete six rounds of interviews, or will three suffice?
- In terms of your precious time, would the interview last two hours or just half an hour?
- How long are you willing to hold off on your final choice?
Factor in that a longer process creates more work hours for your engineers and people ops — and therefore costs you more — and you can see why a shorter process makes sense.
Step 8: Get the most out of your job interviews
It’s typical to use two or three interviews to assess a wide range of talents because software developers need to be skilled coders and well-rounded team players.
- Technical interview — In a perfect world, the technical interview would be conducted in person or by video with a seasoned developer from your team in charge. If that can’t be arranged, give the applicant written tests to gauge their proficiency with programming.
- Personal interview — Any hiring manager or human resources specialist can conduct the interview. Asking the developer to communicate complicated ideas to a non-technical person might be used to gauge their communication skills if the interviewer has no experience with coding. You should also evaluate the candidate’s personality, soft skills, and employment background during this interview.
Not to lose the chance to recruit a software engineer for hire, try to keep the gap between the first and second interviews as short as possible. Maintain the candidate’s interest while keeping your hiring team on schedule. Evaluate candidates while the qualities of each prospect are still fresh in your mind. The one-two-week gap between interviews can create confusion and increase your chances of missing out on a fantastic recruit (or even making a bad one).
Step 9: Propose a competitive salary with bonuses
Seasoned candidates for software development roles perfectly know they are wanted and expect to be offered a competitive salary, along with a full-fledged list of perks and benefits.
Step 10: Build your hiring funnel
Now is the time to examine the hiring procedure. We know how desperately you want the results of your hiring efforts to be acknowledged. But the only other option is to take your time and construct this procedure appropriately using a thorough methodology.
At this point, we’ll demonstrate how to choose your hiring funnel, the key components of the hiring procedure, and how to evaluate their efficiency.
Although the funnel may look diverse from business to business and even from candidate to candidate, there are generally five key stages:
- Sourcing and choosing. Create a list of prospective matches and choose the most promising candidates from the pool of applicants once the job requirements have been decided upon and the opening has been posted on job portals.
- Screening. This is a preliminary evaluation on a call with the HR or recruitment specialist to determine which candidates adequately fit the role requirements.
- Interviewing. This is typically done by HR and an internal field specialist further to assess a candidate’s technical background and personality. Depending on the position, a test assignment may be required.
- Offering. You may invite the candidate to join your team or opt to part ways based on the interview results and test work.
Once you clearly understand your funnel, it’s a good idea to add details about who is in charge of each stage or choice and how long you anticipate each stage to take. Anyone on your team that views this funnel should be able to comprehend how your hiring procedure operates. This aids in coordinating your team’s hiring efforts.
Hiring software developers isn’t a bed of roses — but if you equip yourself with an all-encompassing guide, everything will start looking clearer and more understandable. Carefully plan the process, keep to your schedule, feel the job market — and may your MVP be efficient!
Here's a FAQ for you!
Why is software development widespread?
Software development has become widespread for several reasons:
– The proliferation of computers and mobile devices has created a demand for software to run on these devices.
– The Internet has made it easier to distribute and sell software and collaborate on software development projects.
– The rise of agile development methodologies has made it possible for software development teams to quickly and efficiently build and release software.
– The increased reliance on software in various industries has led to a need for skilled software developers.
– The use of software has become essential for automating tasks and processes, making it a critical component of many businesses and organizations.
How much does it cost to hire a software developer or engineer?
The cost of hiring a software developer or engineer can vary widely depending on many factors, including the developer’s experience level, skills, location, and specific job requirements.
In general, hiring a software developer or engineer may be more expensive in cities with a high cost of living and countries with a strong economy, as developers in these locations may command higher salaries. For example, the average salary for a software developer in the United States is around $107,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor. This figure can vary based on factors such as the developer’s experience level, skills, and the specific industry in which they work.
It’s worth noting that the cost of hiring a developer or engineer may also be influenced by the demand for their skills and the availability of qualified candidates. Companies may need to offer higher salaries or other incentives in a competitive job market to attract top talent. On the other hand, if there is a surplus of qualified candidates, companies may be able to negotiate lower salaries.
How do companies hire software engineers?
There are several ways that companies can hire software engineers:
Job postings: Many companies post job openings for software engineers on their websites or job boards. Interested candidates can apply for the job by submitting resumes and cover letters.
Recruitment agencies: Some companies use recruitment agencies to help them find qualified candidates for software engineering positions. The agency will handle the initial screening of candidates and present a shortlist of qualified candidates to the company for further consideration.
Employee referrals: Many companies offer incentives for current employees to refer qualified candidates for open positions. This can be an effective way for companies to find talented software engineers who may not be actively looking for a new job.
Campus recruiting: Some companies visit college campuses to recruit recent graduates for software engineering positions. This can be a good way for companies to find candidates with up-to-date knowledge and skills.
Technical assessments: Some companies may ask candidates to complete a technical assessment as part of the hiring process. This may involve writing code to solve a problem or building a small software application.
How many software developers should I hire for a start-up company?
The number of software developers you should hire for a start-up company will depend on various factors, including the size and scope of your project, your budget, and the availability of qualified candidates.
In general, it’s a good idea to start with a small team of developers, especially if you’re working on a small or medium-sized project. This will allow you to get your product to market quickly and efficiently while also leaving room for growth as your company expands.
As your project grows, you may need to hire additional developers to keep up with the increased workload. It’s important to consider your hiring needs carefully and to hire only as many developers as you need to meet the demands of your project.
It’s also worth noting that full-time employees are often more efficient than contractors, as their hiring will give you more control over your development process and allow you to build a cohesive team. However, hiring contractors can be a good option if you need additional resources for a short-term project.
Ultimately, the number of software developers you hire will depend on your specific needs and resources. It’s important to carefully evaluate your project requirements and make hiring decisions to help you achieve your business goals.