How to Hire a Software Developer

By Robert Half on May 17, 2022 at 7:30am

Does your business need to hire a software developer? You should know the role has evolved in recent years, but the qualities of a great software developer remain the same. These pros should have top-notch programming skills, a laser focus on the project at hand and that dash of ingenuity that enables them to find elegant solutions to knotty problems.

Today’s software developer is also a team player. Moving on from the lone-wolf coder personas of legend, the dev world has switched to methodologies like Agile and DevOps, which emphasize teamwork, communication and collaboration.

In the current hiring market, staffing software developer jobs can be tough. Competition for standout talent in the field is robust, to put it mildly, as companies look to continue digital transformation and position for growth. In fact, the latest Salary Guide from Robert Half lists the software developer role among the hottest tech jobs this year.

So, how can you increase your chances of hiring a software developer? Here is what you need to know:

Decide what kind of developer you need

A well-targeted search for a software developer can help you get results. Software developers come in many varieties, but most fall into one of three categories:

  • Front-end developers — The front end is what the user interacts with, whether it’s a website, an app or another type of interface. Developing the front end usually requires knowledge of scripting languages like JavaScript and a talent for design.
     
  • Back-end developers — If the front end is the software’s chassis, the back end is the engine. Back-end developers typically work in a compiled language like Java, C++ or C#. Also, these developers generally have a good understanding of database technologies, such as SQL.
     
  • Full-stack developers — Full-stack developers do all of the above. Full-stack developers might help with application design, project coordination and more in an enterprise setting.

There are other kinds of software developers, including those who specialize in middleware, security and big data. To define the role you want to recruit for, think about the type of software you’re building and the additional skills you need on your development team.

HIRE TECH TALENT NOW

Craft a winning job description

When advertising your open position, you need to give potential candidates a clear sense of what your ideal software developer looks like. Things to consider when hiring software developers include:

  • Essential technical skills — This includes an understanding of the main programming languages the software developer will need to know on day one to do their job well. Working the name of a must-have programming language into the job description title is an excellent way to catch the eye of developers who might skip over a more generic listing. For example, if you know that your developer will be working mainly in Java, a posting titled “Java Developer” makes more sense than one labeled “Software Developer.”
     
  • Nice-to-have skills — You may choose to list some additional skills that are useful but not essential: working with Docker or Amazon Web Services (AWS), for instance. However, no candidate is all-knowing, so make sure the nice-to-have skills don’t come across in the job description as must-haves.
     
  • Your team environment — Development is team-based these days, so you want candidates whose work style will align well with your company culture (and vice versa). Is your team Agile? Planning to pivot to DevOps? Does the team work within certain business hours all the time, or do you often go into crunch mode, with everyone putting in extra hours to meet a project deadline?
     
  • Soft skills — These can be as important as programming skills, especially in a collaborative environment. Outline the nontechnical skills essential for this position, especially those relating to communication, empathy and teamwork. And in this age of working from anywhere, your new hire should be comfortable working virtually or with teammates who are working remotely.

Make the most of the interview process

Because software developers need to be well-rounded team players and coding wizards, it’s common to use two interviews to evaluate a diverse set of skills:

  • Technical interview — Ideally, the technical interview should take place either by video or in-person, with an experienced developer on your team leading the process. If it’s not possible to arrange that, provide the candidate with written questions to test their programming chops.
     
  • Personal interview — Any hiring manager or human resources professional can conduct the personal interview. If the interviewer has zero coding skills, you can test the developer’s ability by asking the candidate to explain complex concepts to a layperson. You will also want to assess the personality, soft skills and employment history of the potential hire during this interview.

Try not to leave much time between the first and second interviews, or you could miss your opportunity to hire a software developer. Keep the candidate interested — and your hiring team on track. You want to assess each candidate’s attributes while they are still fresh in your mind. A week or two delay between interviews can muddy the waters, and you risk losing out on a great hire (or even making a bad one).

Offer a competitive salary

Skilled candidates for software development roles know they are in demand and expect to be offered an attractive salary, along with compelling perks and benefits

To help you determine an appropriate rate of pay, consult our latest Salary Guide, which features up-to-date starting salary projections for a software developer.

Team up with a recruiting specialist to hire a software developer

It can be a time-consuming process to hire software developers for your team. Writing a thoughtful job posting that hits all the right notes, sorting through the stacks of resumes that posting will likely yield, vetting the candidates and calling references can all take weeks. And that can be a drag on your development projects.

The good news is that you don’t have to go it alone when you need to hire a software developer. Recruiters with Robert Half can help you find highly skilled candidates fast and assist with the initial interviews, job descriptions, determining the right salary range and much more. (They help firms across the country to staff remote teams, as well, which they were doing even before the pandemic.)

In short, our recruiters can bring in the talent you need for your remote, hybrid or in-house teams, leaving you to focus on moving your critical tech projects, and your business, forward.

Hire Remote Talent ASAP

Millions of remote candidates. Secure virtual workspaces. Let us connect you.

Remote Hire Banner

More From the Blog...