How To Hire Software Engineers

Hiring software engineers can be one of the more difficult challenges any business leader must navigate through:  there are simply not enough qualified candidates available for the sheer volume of open positions at companies in the United States and beyond.  As such, employers are beginning to consider new approaches to recruiting and hiring, as well as the incentives they are prepared to offer new hires beyond the traditional base + bonus + stock options compensation plan.

If you find yourself in a position where you need to hire software engineers quickly, here are a few best practices to lean on to get a good pipeline of candidates in place:

Leverage  (Good) Agency Recruiters

Headhunters get a bad rap, which is to be expected given the low barrier to entry in the profession (anyone with an internet connection can essentially become a recruiter).  But by aligning yourself with a reputable software engineer recruiter, you’ll gain access to talent you otherwise wouldn’t have known about, and best of all, you’ll only pay for the talent you decide to hire.  Who could say no to a pipeline of candidates at no charge?

To find a good headhunter in your geographic area, talk with other Managers and Directors you know at companies nearby and ask them who they’ve worked with in the past to hire engineering talent.

Invest in Employee Referrals

The best talent may be only a few connections away from you, via your employees.  Commit to a solid referral program by offering a meaningful incentive and an effective way to provide ongoing messaging to your staff.  They’ll want to be reminded about what jobs are available, be given links they can share on their social networks, and most importantly, be given an easy way to submit and track their referrals over time.  A good employee referral software platform can help you do this work more effectively.

Make A (Personal) Connection With Good Candidates Early On

In a competitive and candidate-driven job market, building a personal relationship with good candidates early in the process is the easiest way to give yourself an advantage in the war for talent.  When you see a resume you like, don’t waste the candidate’s time by asking them to jump through technical hoops out of the gate.  Know that they are likely hearing the same thing from at least 4-5 other firms.  Differentiate yourself by doing a phone call (or coffee meeting) first where you introduce yourself, ask the candidate about the kind of role/opportunity they are looking for, and solidify a relationship.  The personal relationship you build with candidates as a hiring manager will make your effort hiring software engineers more productive.

Offer Remote Working Options

Increasingly, more and more companies are moving to a remote work model, specifically for their software engineering teams.  As video conferencing and work collaboration tools like Slack become ubiquitous, employees are learning how to work independently in a way that best suits their lifestyle.  Rather than require an engineer to relocate for your job, or worse, commute back and forth twice a day, consider offering a full or hybrid remote option, which will help the candidate prioritize your opportunity over others they are considering.

Hiring software engineers is no easy feat.  Adopting these best practices will certainly give you an advantage in the marketplace.  Most importantly, it’s imperative that you work hard to keep the software engineers you already have on staff by continuing to motivate them, keep their pay competitive, and remind them how much you appreciate them!  It’s much easier to keep the talent you have than constantly be hiring new talent.