April 19, 2022

6 Essential Criteria to Evaluate Software Engineers

By Wes Winham

Hiring software engineers for your company requires you to screen a multitude of potential candidates who are all vying for the coveted position.

Selecting the right candidate can be a stressful and time-consuming process given the variation in experience of programming languages or the variation in expertise in certain areas, such as mobile app development or back-end web development.

Before you hire software engineers, use the following evaluation criteria to assessing software developers and hone in on the right candidates to call for an interview.

What to Include in Your Software Engineer Assessment‍

1. Years of Experience

Similar to hiring employees outside the software field, the number of years software engineering candidates have working as a developer will play an important role in whether they will be a good fit for your company.

However, for software engineers, this is not a hard and fast rule to follow.

Many software engineers are exceptional in what they do based on the comprehensive learning they have obtained, yet some will only have a few years’ worth of real-world experience.

So, how do you avoid missing out on a worthy candidate? Pick the lowest range allowable for years of experience to draw in a good even pool of candidates, as this process will not exclude rule-following candidates who are underrepresented minorities.

2. Specific Programming Languages

Your company’s network systems will require the candidate to be versed in several different types of programming languages.

When hiring software engineers, you want to ensure candidates know the current programming language you work with or any future languages you may switch over to when updating legacy systems. It’s also possible you are hiring developers to perform a specific task, such as creating mobile apps or company-specific desktop application development.

Decide on the types of programming languages candidates will need to know right out of the gate. Also, determine their motivation in continued learning of additional programming languages. You will want to have someone who may already be knowledgeable in Python for back-end web development, but is also eager to learn about the Ruby on Rails web application framework which may be used at a later date.

3. Async Communication

Asynchronous (async) communication is not just about receiving your work messages when it is convenient.

It is a type of programming running parallel to the work that is being completed in the main application thread. Once the work is finalized, async communication provides a notice on the completion of the work and whether it was a success or failure.

Hiring software developers who understand async communication is important in the improvement of an application’s performance and responsiveness.

Be sure the software developer is aware of the appropriate time to use async programming, as it can create drawbacks in certain situations.

4. Debugging/Problem Solving

Developing a program is only one step of the process. The application must also serve its intended purpose without failing or causing problems with other system resources.

Debugging and problem solving skills are vital for software engineers as they should be able to determine issues within their developed software and in turn provide a solution so that the application can be deployed fully throughout your network systems.

5. Systems Thinking and Design

When it comes to mobile app development, web software, desktop applications, and the like, software developers can take several different approaches.

They may focus on systems thinking, which involves looking at network systems and applications from the top of the hierarchy to the bottom. With systems thinking, the focus is the holistic operation of the organization as well as external factors when trying to solve problems and develop software. It allows a developer to look at the bigger programming and problem-solving picture as it impacts the entire company.

Design thinking requires a software developer to look at the systems from a client approach. By putting themselves in the clients’ shoes and understanding their pains, developers are able to produce programs and applications focused on the users’ needs.

Hire a software engineer who understands both systems thinking and design thinking. The combination of these two skills will bring you a well-rounded candidate who can create new technologies from every angle.

6. Specific Software Tools & Needs

There are a range of software engineering tools that can be deployed when developing specific applications. These tools and resources may be offered by third-party developers.

Understanding how to use these software resources, such as API, allows software developers to access the right tools when they need it to create a fully functional program or application system that integrates with the rest of the network system.

Rubric Creation for Resume Review

Now that you have the criteria to use to evaluate a software engineer’s experience and technical knowledge, you want to create a rubric that will allow you to drill down on these requirements that may be found in the candidate resume.

Think of the rubric as a “fill-in-the-blank” questionnaire that can be answered in a few short phrases. The rubric may look like the following:

  • Years of professional software engineering experience
  • Experience with Tools X, Y and Z
  • Software development team experience
  • Worked in SaaS
  • Consulting work
  • Has at least one numeric impact or outcome project measure

This rubric can be used to separate useless fluff from vital information that allows you to focus on whether or not a software developer is right for the job at hand.

In addition, to speed up the process, consider using an application screener form. Using a technical assessment tool can save you time and allow you to locate the ideal candidates.

Improve Your Process with Woven

When screening developers, you want to tailor your assessments and your software engineer technical interview questions so they focus on the specific needs of your company.

If you do not have a consistent means to evaluate developer performance and technical capabilities during the initial stages of the recruiting process, you end up wasting time and valuable resources.

In addition, you will pull your existing team members from current projects to perform needless interviews, causing them to miss important work deadlines.

Here at Woven, we help growing engineering teams streamline the hiring process so they can get a better signal on qualified candidates.

Curious about our process? Start a free trial or talk with our sales representatives today. We’ll help you find your next great developer.