How to Hire a Software Developer

Two software developers working on code on a white board.

Whether you’re shopping online, scrolling through social media, playing a video game, or using your favorite app, a software developer made it possible. Software developers help build the websites and mobile apps you use every day. Successful software developers can handle the technical skills and have the necessary soft skills to calmly catch a bug in the code and collaborate with teammates across the company. It is crucial to learn how to hire a software developer you trust to build and improve the technology that your users rely on, so you have repeat customers and clients.

Whether you know your Java from your Javascript or think Python is just a scary snake, you can successfully find the right software developer for your business. The three main steps you’ll take when finding the right fit are:

  1. Attracting a large enough pool of qualified candidates
  2. Screening out all but the top candidates from those applicants
  3. Using the interview process to find the right fit for your needs

1. Attract Qualified Software Developers

Start with a job description that explains the role, responsibilities, and qualifications. Customize the job description for the opening so you end up with candidates who are qualified for the role and excited about your company. Every job description should have a summary section, a list of responsibilities, and a list of general requirements.

In the summary section, write two to four sentences describing the position, company mission, and why it’s a great place to work. Part of figuring out how to hire a software developer is knowing how to stand out from the competition, so be sure to share relevant details like bonuses, equity, unlimited vacation days, tuition reimbursement, and ample opportunities for professional growth and promotions.

Use the responsibilities section to list the day-to-day tasks so the candidate knows what to expect and can assess if they have the necessary technical skills. For example, the software developer might be responsible for:

  • Creating computer vision or machine learning software
  • Executing the full software development lifecycle (SDLC)
  • Developing software verification plans and quality assurance procedures

As you list the daily tasks and responsibilities, make sure to include the databases, frameworks, and programming languages they’ll use on the job.

In the requirements section, it’s helpful to separate the must-have requirements from the nice-to-haves. Some people will only apply for a job if they meet 100% of the requirements, which means you might miss out on top talent if you don’t cast a wide-enough net. While it might be necessary to have an undergraduate degree in computer science or a related field, knowledge of certain databases and frameworks might be a nice-to-have.

2. Choose Candidates to Interview

After posting the job description on a job board and your company website, it is time to screen candidates. Part of learning how to hire a software developer is learning how to speed up the process by using an applicant tracking system (ATS) and resume screening technology to filter for the keywords from the job posting, like “Java,” “C++,” or “Python.”

Focus on the skills and responsibilities a candidate gained at each job rather than their job titles. A candidate may have gained transferable skills from being a computer programmer, computer support specialist, database administrator, data scientist, or technical writer. Hire software developers who are agile and can learn new skills on the job.

The next step of the screening process is to conduct short phone interviews. The call should help you to evaluate the soft skills every software developer should have, such as clear communication, active listening, and focus. This is a good time to discuss the salary range, benefits, and company culture so the candidate can decide if they want to move forward.

3. See the Software Developer’s Skills in Action

Whether you have one in-person or video interview or multiple rounds, by the end of the process you need to know that the candidate has the necessary experience, skillset, and professional values to be successful at the company.

It’s helpful to assess the candidate’s skills by having them complete a short assignment during the interview, like writing or debugging code. Additionally, ask behavioral interview questions that require the candidate to reflect on past roles and consider how they’d handle situations they may face in this one.

People who know how to hire a software developer effectively know insightful interview questions to ask. Here are some examples you can customize based on your company’s technical needs:

  • What programming languages, databases, and frameworks have you used in the past? Which do you prefer?
  • What is your quality assurance process? How do you check your new code or existing code for any mistakes? How do you test and find bugs?
  • Please tell me about a time you collaborated with coworkers from other departments. How did you help them brainstorm features that would help them accomplish their goals?
  • Please tell me about a time you encountered a software development problem at work. How did you fix it?
  • What skills and qualities make you a stellar software developer? Why should we hire you?
  • Why do you want to work at this company? What excited you about this role?

You Know How to Hire a Software Developer. Now Find the Right Person for the Job

Ready to find a software developer who can create the technology you need to delight customers and clients and boost the bottom line? Monster can help you streamline the process and get to the right candidates, right away. Get started before you pour your next cup of java with a free job posting today.