5 Recruiting Tips for Hiring the Best Developers
It’s never easy to assess a developer’s ability at the interview desk. Software engineering is complex, requiring a blend of technical expertise, experience, creativity, and flexibility. It’s a hard-to-find combination of skills that leave recruiters scrambling to come up with evaluation tools: Should we have them write a cover letter? Should we give them a coding test?
These efforts are well-intentioned, but they’re usually not the best ways to find the top development talent. Let’s dig into why.
1. Don’t get caught up on technical minutia
This might go against conventional logic, but when hiring developers, you’ll do yourself a disservice by getting too specific with the technical details. We’re primarily referring to interviewers who ask questions about specific programming languages that they believe the interviewer should know. But does your developer really need to know the specifics of merging Java arrays or event delegation? In recruiting, these details are trivial compared to how a candidate solves problems or how well he/she works in a team.
In short, keep in mind that programming languages move fast—and you’ll find better candidates by looking for those who can learn and be creative rather than those who have memorized the DevOps dictionary.
2. Cover letters are out
We’ve discussed this one in detail in the past, but it bears repeating. Ditch the cover letters! They’re old-hat and unnecessary. Your candidates will thank you for it.
3. Avoid coding challenges
It’s become common practice for interviewers to pose coding challenges to prospective developers. It plays into the common logic of try before you buy; shouldn’t we see how each candidate performs before we commit to one?
Not necessarily. A coding challenge is a big ask for potential hires, particularly in fields like development where it’s a buyer’s market. Even basic coding challenges could take hours to complete, and for candidates who aren’t willing to work for free, this can stonewall their interest in your company.
We’ve spoken with developers in our network about this issue, and most agree that the coding challenges they had been put through over their careers did little to provide meaningful context for their future job roles.
4. Look for proof of experience
You shouldn’t get too detailed with technical specifications, but you should come up with some questions that let you test a candidate’s experience. For example, asking them to explain their history with frameworks, APIs, decoupling front/backend interfaces, and so on.
Use these questions to prompt them but let them guide the conversation. Asking them to explain these workflows helps you cull the developers who aren’t up to the job you’re advertising for, but just as importantly, it shows you how their mind works and may help you discover how passionate they are.
5. Focus on your candidate pipeline
Hiring begins well before you sit down for an interview. If you want to find the best talent, you need to develop a systematic approach for finding candidates and identifying which have the most potential before ever bringing them in. Take a close look at your current hiring strategy. Are you picking randoms off of LinkedIn based on basic keyword searches? Or do you actually have a system for bringing talent into the pipeline?
This crucial recruiting step is where companies like Urgenci can help. Regardless of what position you’re looking to fill, you need a process for evaluating candidates and focusing your attention (via the above steps!) on the prospects with the highest value. For more detail on how to set up a review like this, contact us and we’ll give you a hand.