Best Practices for Hiring Software Developers

Best practices for hiring software developers include expanding the location of potential candidates, being transparent with job candidates, and assessing candidates beyond their resumes and references.

hiring software developers

It can be a challenge to build the right team with the right skills and talents — especially when software developers are in demand. Here are four best practices we’ve found helpful when hiring software developers.

1. Expand your Search

Being able to hire engineers regardless of their location can be essential to success and fast growth. Rather than requiring relocation or limiting your search to cities like New York or San Francisco, you can focus specifically on the skills and experience a candidate has and how that might add to your team. This allows you to target the best talent in the world!

There are a number of talent insight tools that can help inform and narrow your search, gathering supply and demand data from around the world for specific types of talent. Using tools like LinkedIn Talent Insights, you can search for candidates in locations where the demand is low but the supply is high.

2. Be Transparent with Candidates

Interviewing for a new role can often be daunting, even for the most experienced software developer. Be upfront and transparent with potential candidates so that they know what to expect from you, your company, and the role itself.

For example, at GitLab, we publish a detailed overview of our hiring process for all roles, and we have a specific page in our handbook outlining what tech interviews look like for software developer candidates. We’ve also carefully defined the requirements and skills needed for each role and job level, helping candidates determine whether the role (and our company) is the right fit for them. This allows us to make faster decisions about each application, saving time for candidates, recruiters, and hiring managers.

Even when it comes to compensation, it’s best to be open about what your company can offer, and why. Our compensation calculator is public, giving job seekers the visibility into what they can expect for each role based on things like job level, location, and experience.

3. Assessments

Assessments can result in increased productivity and cost savings and decreased attrition. In addition to resume reviews, applications, references, and background checks, assessments should be a part of your selection process. Ensure the assessments you give are challenging and enjoyable. Work with your software development team to create assessments that they would be happy taking themselves. Don’t consider the assessment only as criteria to judge candidates, but to provide a realistic preview to the candidate of some of the work they will encounter if they accept a position at your company. Use your own product to perform the assessment so your prospective team member can decide if the work would be challenging and gratifying.

4. Build Internal Partnerships

The foundation for any successful hiring process is great internal partnerships. If you’re closely connected to your company’s hiring managers and their priorities, you’ll be on the same page and better equipped to advise them as they look to grow their teams.

Get Everyone on Board

Onboarding a new team member affects every part of your organization, so it’s important to work with your entire team to develop a plan that connects new hires with their prospective teams and showcases their top skills. With everyone involved, the onboarding process will run more smoothly, and it will position your new hire for the greatest success. 

Kevin Pursel


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