Hiring is the most important part of a startup. But it's also one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish, especially when you're competing against larger companies with more resources. The best way to stand out from the pack is by finding and hiring top-tier engineers who are passionate about your company and its mission. Here's how:
Step 1: Identify your hiring requirements and candidate profile.
Before you can begin to think about how to find the best software engineer for your startup, you'll need to identify your hiring requirements and candidate profile.
Your recruitment requirements should be clearly defined based on the company's needs and its candidate profile. These factors will help determine what type of employee will be best suited for the job and make sure that your business has the right skillset in place.
Step 2: Don't hire in haste, fire in leisure.
When you hire, do so slowly. When you fire, do so quickly.
Hiring is a process that can take weeks or months: talent acquisition and vetting, background checks, reference calls, interviews—it all adds up to quite an investment of time and energy. Firing a bad employee is not nearly as costly in terms of time or money as hiring them was in the first place (unless there's severance involved), but it still takes time to do it right—and the longer it takes for you to fire someone who needs firing, the greater your chances are of making things worse by dragging out their termination or allowing them access to sensitive information after they're gone.
Step 3: It's never too early to start interviewing.
Even before you have a product, it's important to start interviewing candidates and getting feedback from them on the product design. The sooner you can get people in the office, the more likely they'll be willing to stay there when the work starts picking up.
Interviews are a skill that takes time to master, so don't expect your first few interviews with engineers to go smoothly—but keep at it! Every candidate will learn something new about how to interview as they practice more interviews with other companies and projects. And every company will learn something new about how to hire software engineers by experimenting with different approaches until they find one that works best for them and their team members.
Asking questions related only directly relevant topics (like whether someone has actual experience building software) is better than asking general questions like "Why do you want this job?", which might lead candidates down rabbit holes unrelated specifically.
Step 4: Think long term.
Hiring a software engineer is a lot like hiring any other kind of employee: you want to find someone who fits your company culture, has the skills needed for the position, and will be happy there in the long term. But when it comes to software engineers specifically, there are some additional factors to consider.
Think long term. A good software engineer should be able to grow with your company. This means they'll need to be able to learn new technologies quickly as they come out on top of their game with what they already know—in other words, they're not just good at one thing right now (like programming in Java), but rather have an aptitude for learning new things quickly when necessary or expanding their skill set by taking on projects outside their comfort zone (for example, if they're not particularly knowledgeable about Python).
Step 5: It's all about culture.
You can have all the technology in the world, but without a culture that encourages collaboration and communication, your team won't be able to achieve its full potential. In fact, it's important to make sure that your candidates are excited about working with you and your team before they even start.
If you're looking for a new software engineer or developer, what should you look for? What makes someone stand out as an ideal candidate? While there are plenty of technical skills to consider when hiring anyone for any role (especially in software), we think it's most important to evaluate whether or not someone will fit into your company's culture.
Here are some questions we ask ourselves when interviewing candidates:
- Do they like the type of work we do?
- Do they share our values?
- Are their interests aligned with ours?
- How would they fit into our environment day-to-day—would we enjoy having them around during coffee breaks and after hours events too (not just during 9-5)?
Step 6: You need somebody who can make the hard decisions.
You need somebody who can keep the project moving forward.
You need somebody who can make the hard decisions.
If you are building something, you will hit obstacles and have to make decisions on how to overcome them. You need someone who can do this quickly and efficiently without losing momentum because they have taken too long to decide what should be done next.
A good software engineer is able to make these kinds of decisions even when they don't have all of the information they require or they do not understand everything that is going on with the project at that point in time.
For example: If a developer knows that there is an issue with some code but cannot determine why it exists or how severe it might be, then he/she must still decide whether or not fixing this issue should be prioritized over other tasks which also require attention (testing bugs etc.). Making such a decision requires critical thinking skills which are often lacking in newer software engineers; however this skill can be developed over time through experience!
Step 7: Analyze the engineering landscape.
Recruiting the best software engineer requires an understanding of the engineering landscape, including what skills are in demand and who is hiring. The right candidate will have a proven track record, be well-rounded (i.e., not just specialized) and possess a positive attitude.
The best way to identify these traits is by understanding the market and competition in your area or region. You can do this by researching job postings on sites like Indeed or LinkedIn, looking at headlines from local papers or websites, attending meetups related to your industry and talking with people who work in similar industries to yours (i.e., if you're building an app that helps homebuyers find houses near them).
Step 8: Compare salaries.
- Compare salaries at competitors. If you're trying to attract a software engineer who's already working for a competitor, you can use salary data from Glassdoor and other sources on the web to determine what they're earning.
- Look at salary surveys. Some companies publish salary surveys online that show how much people are paid in different fields and locations; this information can be useful if you're looking for an employee with specialized skills or who works in a particular location or industry.
- Look at Glassdoor data. Glassdoor is an online service where employees can post reviews about their jobs and companies; these reviews include information about compensation packages, including base salary and bonuses. The site also provides detailed statistics such as median pay rates by title, years of experience required for each job level (e.g., entry-level vs mid-level), etcetera—all valuable information when interviewing potential hires!
Step 9: Use the right recruiting channels.
Recruiting the right software engineer for your startup is a time-consuming process. You need to make sure that you're using the right recruiting channels, and you need to ensure that you're getting candidates who actually have what it takes to succeed at your company.
- Use job boards
With so many different companies hiring software engineers these days, it's important for job seekers to be able to find them all in one place. Many companies offer premium listings on popular sites like Glassdoor and Indeed; if not, then consider creating your own profile online where potential hires can find out more about what makes working at your company so great!
- Use social media
If you've got other employees who are also active on social media (such as LinkedIn), then this is a good way of reaching out directly without having spend too much time looking through endless resumes just yet - especially since there might be some overlap between those same people's connections lists which could result in higher quality candidates being introduced first rather than later on down the line!
Step 10: Look for the right qualities in engineers.
When you're looking for the right candidate, it's important to consider the qualities that make a good software engineer. Some of these include:
- Passion for what they do. An engineer who loves what they do will always be able to put in more time and energy than someone who thinks their job is just a paycheck.
- Communication skills. Communication is an essential part of building relationships with your teammates and clients, so look for engineers that are great at communicating both verbally and visually (through code).
- Teamwork ability. A good engineer will be prepared to work within a team environment where there are multiple people working on one project together. They should also know how to approach conflicts when they arise as well as how to listen carefully and understand different perspectives (even if those perspectives differ from their own).
- Work ethic/ethics/proper attitude towards others
Step 11: Startups should look for a combination of technical skills and personality traits when recruiting software engineers.
- Look for engineers who are passionate about their work. Passionate workers will be more engaged and productive than employees who aren't as interested in their jobs, so startups should try to find people who genuinely enjoy what they do.
- Seek out candidates with a willingness to learn new technologies or programming languages, both within the company itself and elsewhere in the industry at large. This way you can keep your team fresh and up-to-date with all that's going on in the tech world, which can only benefit your startup's overall performance over time (and attract even better talent).
- Seek out self-motivated programmers; ones who know their own strengths and weaknesses well enough not only ask for help when needed but also seek it out when appropriate (eagerness counts!). Self-motivated employees tend to have higher job satisfaction levels too because they feel like they're constantly growing instead of stagnating within their current role(s).
Step 12: Create a descriptive job posting.
- Define the position.
- Include a job description.
- List required skills and experience, including a list of technologies and tools used.
Step 13: Determine how to assess candidates.
Before you start the hiring process, you need to determine how you will assess candidates. There are a variety of ways that a candidate can be evaluated. You can use multiple interviews and tests, or use a combination of interviews, tests and references. You may also want to consider different approaches for in-person or remote interviews. In some cases written questions might be more appropriate than verbal ones. You should also think about what makes sense based on your company and its needs.
Step 14: Make sure you have a competitive salary and benefits package.
The first step in finding the right candidate is to make sure you have a competitive salary and benefits package. A competitive salary will ensure that you are attracting the best talent, but you also need to include a bonus structure in your offer letter and be prepared to negotiate if necessary.
A key factor when determining how much to offer someone is understanding their skill level, experience level, and what their responsibilities will be at your startup. For example, if this person is going to be leading software development efforts on an important project for your company then they may need more money than someone who would only be working on smaller tasks or projects throughout their time at the startup.
Step 15: Have a plan for onboarding new hires.
The onboarding process is an employee's first impression of your company. You want that to be a good one.
Onboarding new hires can feel like an afterthought in the early days of a startup, but it shouldn't be. If you're planning to grow your team quickly, having a well-defined onboarding process will help you maintain high standards and keep quality consistent across hires.
The exact steps and content will depend on what you're hiring for. For instance, if you're looking for engineers who know how to build their own tools from scratch (e.g., encryption algorithms), they should have experience doing that already—so don't waste time going over basics like how computers work! But if you're hiring someone who'll primarily be performing mundane tasks like responding to customer service tickets, then it makes sense to spend more time covering those topics so they can hit the ground running as soon as possible.
Step 16: Conduct technical interviews.
A good software engineer is a problem solver, so it's important to ask candidates to solve a problem during the interview. You can do this in a few ways: have them work with an interviewer on white-boarding (literally using a whiteboard), give them a live coding exercise (them writing code on their own computer while being watched), or ask them to take home an assignment and return with their solution.
Ask candidates about any previous projects they've worked on—it'll give you insight into what kind of mindset they have when solving problems and whether or not they're detail-oriented enough for your startup's needs.
Step 17: Avoid common pitfalls.
When it comes to hiring, there are many pitfalls that can cause you to make a bad hire. Here are some of the most common:
- Hiring someone because they are friends or family members. If you have an opportunity to work with someone who knows you well and trusts your abilities, it may seem like an easy decision to bring them on board. But if this person isn't up for the challenge of working for a startup, bringing them on as an employee could be disastrous for everyone involved (including yourself). Instead of taking advantage of their familiarity with your strengths and weaknesses by being able to gauge how much more training they'll need when it comes time for promotions or raises down the line, consider hiring someone who will fit into your organization better from day one by coming from outside your circle.
- Hiring only one candidate out of several options due to lack of time or resources available at this point in time; maybe even because another candidate was referred by so-and-so...
- ...because doing otherwise seems unfair since all these candidates came highly recommended by quality references! While referrals do tend toward having higher standards than those recruited through other means due simply because they're not trying hard enough; nevertheless referrals still aren't perfect indicators either way (and neither is word-of-mouth advertising). After all these individuals were chosen based solely upon their past successes - rather than how well they'd fit into.
Recruiting software engineers is a complicated process. As a startup, you want to hire the best candidate for your company. But with so many companies vying for talent in this field, how do you make sure your engineers are exceptional?
Please gaze through our other blog posts for other up to date informative articles around hiring, ATS, recruitment and so on!