The Best Recruitment Process for Software Engineers: 10-Step Guide
When it comes to hiring software engineers, having a clear and well-defined recruitment process is essential.
The software engineering field is a highly specialized one — and today’s developers are in high demand. With so many companies competing for top talent, recruiters have to reevaluate their processes and impress candidates in order to stand out from the crowd.
We’ve put together this guide to help you increase your chances of making the perfect hire. By following these 10 steps, you can ensure that your recruitment process brings in the best people for your team.
What is recruitment (and how is it different than hiring)?
Recruiting and hiring are terms that are often used interchangeably. However, it’s important to understand the difference — especially because they require different strategies and approaches.
Simply put, recruiting is the process of sourcing and attracting candidates for a role. Recruiters identify potential hires, build a talent pool, and encourage them to apply through job postings, networking events, referrals, and more.
Hiring, on the other hand, involves selecting and onboarding the candidate who will ultimately be offered the job. When you have a foolproof recruitment process, hiring is easier and less risky. All you have to do is choose the best candidate from a group of qualified applicants.
Why is a strong recruitment process important?
The first thing a potential candidate asks themselves when considering a new job is, “Do I want to work with this company?”
Your recruiting process is your opportunity to make a lasting impression. Prospective candidates will be evaluating your company just as much as you’re evaluating them. And a good recruitment process sends the message that you are a serious, well-run organization with high standards.
An effective recruitment process allows you to:
1. Assess prospective employees thoroughly and identify the best ones for the job. Mis-hires can be costly and time-consuming. When you take the time to screen candidates carefully, you’re more likely to make a hire that sticks.
2. Create a positive candidate experience that attracts top talent. A great recruitment process makes potential employees feel appreciated and valued. It gives them a sense of what it would be like to work for your company.
3. Ensure that all candidates are treated equally and fairly. This is especially important in cases where you’re hiring for a highly skilled position. Streamline the process by setting clear criteria and using the same method to evaluate all candidates.
What are the basic steps in the recruitment process?
Your software engineer recruitment process will vary depending on the type of position you’re hiring for, but there are some key steps that should be included in every process.
1. Identify the hiring needs of the company
Before you can start recruiting, you need to know what your company is looking for. Identifying the specific skills and experience that are required for the job will help you target your search and find candidates that are the best match. Be sure to:
Define requirements based on hiring need
Whether you’re hiring for a new position or replacing a departing employee, start by assessing the needs of your company. What does the ideal candidate look like? How many people do you need to fill the role?
Determine what level of seniority is required for the right candidate
There are three general levels of seniority for software engineering positions: junior, mid-level, and senior. Each level has its own set of requirements. For example, junior devs typically have a degree in computer science and 1-3 years of experience.
Knowing the level of seniority you need will help you identify the right type of candidate and set realistic expectations for the recruitment process.
Select your hiring team
Once you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to assemble your hiring team. This will likely include people from different departments within the company. For example, if you’re hiring a senior software engineer, your team may include members of the engineering department, the HR team, and upper management.
2. Prepare the job description
The job description is your opportunity to sell the position to potential candidates. It should be clear, concise, and accurate, while also painting a picture of what it’s like to work for your company.
When writing your software engineer description, remember to:
Look up current job descriptions for the role from other companies
A job description that’s too vague or generic will likely result in unqualified candidates applying. Take the time to research current job listings from other companies and use the same language in your own job posting.
Write a job posting that sells candidates on your opportunity
Want to attract the best of the best? Emphasize the unique aspects of the position and what it’s like to work for your company. Use strong language that will make candidates want to apply for the job.
Pair down requirements to only include minimum qualifications
Don’t ask for more than you need. Screening candidates against unnecessary requirements will only waste their time and yours. Create a list of job specifications and technical competencies that all candidates must meet as well as a “nice-to-have” list with preferred credentials. Be prepared to be flexible.
Be upfront about compensation
Software engineers know their value, so be upfront about compensation from the beginning. Candidates will appreciate knowing what they can expect to earn and will be more likely to apply if they feel the salary is fair.
3. Determine market compensation for the role
Speaking of salaries, it’s important to know what you’re willing to pay for the position. Do some research on market compensation rates for software engineers and use that information to set your salary range. Don’t forget to consider the cost of living in your area and the experience of the candidates you’re targeting.
Online resources like AngelList, Indeed, and Glassdoor can give you an idea of what software engineers are earning.
4. Document the recruitment plan
Recruitment planning is key for an efficient recruitment process. Your plan should outline who is responsible for each step of the process, from identifying potential candidates to screening and interviewing them. Some tips:
Write a document that captures the recruitment strategy
A recruitment process flowchart is the best way to visualize your recruitment plan. It will help you map out each step and ensure that nothing is overlooked. Don’t forget to include your timeline, targeted channels, methods for evaluating candidates, etc.
Create a shared communication channel for the entire hiring team
We love tools like Slack and Asana for their ability to keep everyone on the same page. Create a communication channel for your hiring managers and use it to share updates, candidate information, and important documents.
5. Build a screener based on your role’s rubric
Screening candidates is a great way to narrow down the pool of applicants. But it can be time-consuming if you’re not careful.
We recommend using a screening tool or questionnaire to quickly assess candidates against your essential qualifications. It should be based on your role’s rubric, which is the list of the skills, experience, and attributes that are required for the position.
You can create your own screener or find one online that’s already been created. Just be sure to tailor it to your specific needs.
6. Talent search: external sources of recruitment
Once you’ve defined the role and created a screener, it’s time to start recruiting candidates. The first step is identifying potential sources of talent.
There are a number of places to find software engineers, including:
- Job boards (Indeed, AngelList, Glassdoor)
- Social media (LinkedIn job ads)
- Talent agencies (Hired, Toptal)
- Job fairs (Local and/or industry-specific)
7. Talent search: internal sources of recruitment
You can also look for candidates within your own network. This includes current employees, past employees, and personal contacts.
Employee referral program for current employees
If you have a referral program in place, make sure all of your existing employees are aware of it. Send out an email or a Slack message with all the details and offer a bonus for successful employee referrals.
Your employer brand is the way you’re perceived by your employees. If it’s positive, you may be able to attract former employees and top talent from other companies. Make sure your website, social media, and career pages are up-to-date and reflect your company’s values.
Referrals from recruiters at other orgs who passed on good candidates
Working with a recruiter? You could ask them to keep an eye out for talented software engineers who may be a good fit for your role. Or, you could sign up for Woven Match and get matched with top candidates who have already passed our technical assessment and are looking for their next role. (Yes, it’s that easy.)
8. Evaluate applicants to pass to hiring manager
Once you’ve identified a few potential candidates, it’s time to evaluate them. This is where your screener comes in handy. Assess candidates against your qualifications and see if they meet the requirements for the role. If they do, pass their information along to the hiring manager so they can begin the interview process.
9. Calibrate candidate quality based on hiring manager feedback
After you conduct interviews, it’s time to calibrate your candidate quality. This means taking a step back and reassessing the candidates based on the feedback you’ve received from the hiring manager.
Keep in mind that every role is different and that what may be considered a “red flag” for one position may not be for another. Use your best judgment and trust your gut.
10. Measure results in the recruitment process
Congratulations! You made a job offer, they’ve accepted, and now you have a new employee. Next, you’ll want to measure the results of your recruitment process. There are a number of metrics you can track, including:
- Retention rate
These metrics will give you a good idea of how effective your recruitment process is and where you can make improvements.
What’s the best recruitment process?
The best recruitment process is the one that works best for your company. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, but the 10-step process outlined above is a good place to start. Ultimately, the goal is to find the best software engineers for your team and get them in the door as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Which brings us to…
Running a good interview process
A good recruitment process means nothing if you can’t conduct job interviews that make suitable candidates want to work for you. Here a few things to keep in mind when conducting interviews:
Have a standardized screening process
Technical screening allows you to see how a candidate thinks and problem solves before getting into the behavioral interview process. Use Woven’s technical recruiting platform to screen software engineering candidates with real-world simulations that focus on debugging, architecture, and systems thinking. Then, move the right candidates through to late-stage interviews.
Use an applicant tracking system (ATS)
An applicant tracking system can help you keep track of candidates, manage your recruitment pipeline, and store information about previous applicants. This is especially helpful if you’re working with a large volume of candidates.
Tip: Check out our blog about the Ultimate Remote Tech Stack for ATS recommendations.
Create a positive candidate experience
Your software engineer interview process should be fair, transparent, and positive. Candidates want to feel like they have a good chance of getting the job if they’re qualified. And if they don’t make the cut, they should still feel like applying was worth their while.
Luckily, Woven provides personalized engineering feedback to every candidate who takes our challenges. We want everyone to have a positive experience — even if they don’t get the job.
Software engineers are some of the most in-demand professionals in the world. And as the need for these skills continue to grow, the competition for top talent will only get more intense.
That’s why it’s so important to have a strong recruitment process in place. We hope that these recruitment process steps have given you the confidence to go out and find the best developers for your team.
Looking for more hiring help? Start a free trial of Woven’s technical recruiting software today. We know how to build high-performing engineering teams and can take your recruitment process to the next level.