Software Engineer Recruitment

Software engineers write code. But the recruitment process in software companies involves a lot more than just confirming that a candidate can write code on a whiteboard.

At Woven, our knowledge of how to hire software developers has enabled us to create the only platform for technical assessment that goes beyond writing code. We start with a principle of software engineer recruitment that is obvious but often overlooked:

A successful software developer recruitment agency begins by defining the role they are hiring for—frontend engineer, backend engineer, full stack engineer, data scientist, product manager, developer.

Select your role criteria, and Woven will work with you to choose the right scenarios for your role. We’ll integrate seamlessly with your current ATS to help you recruit candidates remotely.

Your candidates will be sent to a customized landing page where they will access a prep guide and instructions on how to complete the work simulation. When you use Woven, your candidates will show their abilities to do real engineering work that they could encounter on your job. And Woven is the only platform that tests for skills like debugging, architecture, and communication.

Woven employs software engineers who know how to recruit and hire great software engineers. When they complete their assessment of your candidate’s work simulation, they will send you an email and a Slack notification of the results. But we’ll let you in on one secret to Woven’s success:

Our clients aren’t software engineer recruitment agencies.

Software Engineer Recruitment Agencies: Do You Really Need Them?

The COVID pandemic exposed an under-appreciated truth about hiring in the software industry that software engineer recruitment agencies and software developer recruiters would prefer you ignore:

You might not need a headhunter to find a great software engineer.

And that’s a good thing, because any software developer recruitment agency in the US or UK will be expensive.

The Society for Human Resource Development (SHRM) reports that it takes an average of 42 days to find a new hire for most positions. Companies will spend an average of $4,000-$5,000 on administrative costs for an average employee.

Software engineers aren’t average employees.

Pay scale tells us that the average salary of a software engineer in the US is $110,000. If your company has offices in the UK, chances are, ReedCook tells us, that your software engineers earn about ÂŁ50,000 a year.

Headhunters in the US charge about 22% of annual salary to help you find a desirable candidate. That means you will spend around $24,000 to find a new software engineer. HiringPeople found recruitment agencies that charge as much as 30% of annual salary for placing software engineers in London and a recruitment agency that only charges 10% of annual salary to place a software engineer in Cardiff. But software firms in the UK can easily spend £30,000 finding a new engineer. You can easily get a  software developer recruitment agency UK to hire you if you have what it takes.

What will it cost you to search for the right candidate for a software engineering position? In the US, SHRM reports that in-house recruitment averages 12% of salary, or about $13,000 on average. Do-it-yourself could save the company $10,000 or more, right?

Not really.

There are other costs involved in recruiting a software engineer in house:

There’s lost productivity due to the interviewing process.

Your HR department still has to check references, credentials, and work status.

Your managers will have to shift attention away from project supervision and business development.

And you won’t really have control over your talent pipeline. You will be limited to the candidates you can bring in to interview. And if you are hiring for a job that can be done mostly remotely, is that a wise way to find job candidates?

Woven offers a hybrid model of software engineer recruitment. Woven acts as your recruitment developer. We confirm the skills, you confirm the fit by your usual HR process. Together, we can save your company hours and dollars with every recruit.

Leaving Software Engineer Recruiters Behind

It’s logical to be concerned about establishing your stream of talent if you are going to pursue a hybrid model of the hiring process. Woven can relieve you of the assessment burden and save you money on agency fees, but where will your hires come from?
Every software development firm and software engineer staffing agency stares down a difficult screening process. This makes the issue of how to find software engineers so intimidating. TopTal developed some statistics about the hiring funnel for software engineers:

26.4% of applicants pass language and personality evaluations.

7.4% of applicants pass timed algorithm testing.

3.6% of applicants pass technical coding evaluations related to the applicant’s primary tech stack.

3.2% of applicants pass test projects.

3.0% of applicants demonstrate continued excellence in dealing with clients.

You almost want to spend thousands of dollars of your company’s money to avoid saying “no” so much. But you can pre-vet great engineers before they even apply with these simple professional habits:

Keep up with blogs and online technical postings. Cream-of-the-crop candidates will reveal their communication skills, approach to problem solving, and technical acumen by their participation in technical forums.

Pay attention to open source code contributions. SourceForge and GitHub can reveal highly qualified candidates. You can review a candidate’s coding before you ever contact them.

Go to conferences, online or in person. Speakers and co-attenders are a great source of potential hires.

Let Woven keep up with the technical minutiae that you find essential to your operation. You can focus on getting to see the engineer in action to keep talent in your pipeline.

Making Software Engineer Jobs Salary Offers

There is a big difference between software engineer salary entry level and experience level. Great software engineers look for great salaries, but every situation is a little different. You will pay your software engineers salaries. You will give them benefits. Most of the time, you will give them opportunities for additional cash compensation. But how do you determine how much?

Location, Location, Location

A great salary in a rural area may not be enough to get by in a major city. San Jose, Seattle, and San Francisco all offer software engineers an average base pay about 40% higher than the national average, but their cost of living is up to 115% higher than the national average. Your offer must consider the cost of living. But that’s a strong reason for considering remote hires.


In every software engineer staffing situation, appropriate education deserves appropriate compensation. You probably won’t offer a self-taught coder the same salary as someone with a PhD in data science (although we won’t speculate which may be higher). Greater education leads to reasonably higher salary demands, but the education needs to fit the job. Make sure your employees can realize their potential, and pay them for it. In a nutshell, entry level software jobs require standard education like the experience level.


A senior software engineer salary will exceed a software engineer entry level salary, but your salary decision will be based on the value of niche skills to your company. The kind of experience that is valuable can change with time. For instance, in 2015, a software engineer  proficient in Ruby on Rails could earn $10,000-$18,000 more than “non-Ruby on Rails engineers” in a year. In 2021, Ruby on Rails is still popular for software development, but the supply of software engineers with Ruby on Rails experience has increased to the point that it does not command higher pay. You will always pay for the experience that your company needs, not mere years of experience.

Your HR department will make sure you don’t run into problems with equal employment laws and regulations. HR is an unavoidable cost center in the recruitment process. In all, entry software engineer jobs come with lower pay than the experience ones.

The Best Recruiters for Software Engineers

Your company may have specialized needs that steer you in the direction of using universities as the best recruitment agencies for engineers. US News and World Report would steer you to Carnegie-Mellon, Georgia Tech, USC, Cal Tech, UC-Irvine, IIT, and similar educational institutions. Top schools will generate a software engineer job description and salary recommendation for you. You can be sure the salary recommendation will be high. But you can’t be sure that the valedictorian at MIT will necessarily be a good fit for your organization.

The best recruiters for software engineers take care of issues with organization fit. Robert Half, Trillium, New Wave People, and Peak Technical Staffing can do national and international searches for top talent. But with Woven, and by vetting the best candidates constantly before you even have job openings, you can be your best recruiter for software engineers.

Woven in the Recruitment Process for Software Developers

There’s a lot your company is already set up to do as your software engineering agency. Your HR department already does background checks. Your management team has been coached on non-discriminatory hiring practices, and your company mission and culture statements give them a guideline for confirming the best hires. You know how you judge the skill of a developer when hiring without using agents for software developers.

What you need is Woven to help you with the technical evaluation of the candidates in your pipeline. With Woven on your team, you can save time and money, and keep the interview focused on the candidate, not the technical requirements of the job. Woven can find the technical talent you need, and you can focus on the right fit for the job.