How to Recruit Developers | Tips for Making the Right Hiring Decisions Quickly

Apr 10, 2017

A short while ago, we collaborated with our talented software developer recruiters to create a short checklist of developer hiring practices for our clients. The goal of the checklist was to enable us to connect our clients with the most suitable candidates, and to help them make the right hiring decisions quickly and never miss a great software engineer again.

And then, a thought struck us: why keep all this knowledge inside when we can share it with the world? This is exactly what we’re doing in this post.

However, before we start, here are a few quick words on our background. We started out on the software development market in 1999, and since that time, we’ve helped over 200 clients hire software engineers in Ukraine. As you can imagine, we’ve tried and tested a plethora of recruitment techniques on our journey, and now we’re sharing the ones that have worked best for us and our clients. Jump right in!

How to Recruit Programmers: During the Interview

Don’t rely on first impressions alone. Much has been written about how crucial the first few minutes of an interview are. However, relying on your first impressions too much won’t help you build a realistic picture of a candidate. It has been proved that techniques such as sample tests, general mental ability (IQ and similar tests), and structured interviews (behavioral and/or situational) are much more effective when it comes to helping predict a candidate’s on-the-job performance. Don’t worry though, you don’t necessarily have to include all of these methods into your interviewing process, but consider trying one or two of them to see whether they yield better results compared to your current routine. 

Follow a structured interview process. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to conduct a good interview if your approach is fully off the cuff. As such, it’d be wise to get ready beforehand. Prepare a list of questions and topics you definitely want to discuss, while also thinking about the order in which you want to discuss them. Include real business cases to challenge your candidates. That being said, don’t get too stressed out if an interview takes a different route, and be ready to adjust to the situation if the need arises. As it is with all things in life, balance is key.

Give candidates a reason to join your team. In a perfect world, candidates would walk out of their interviews with you thinking your job is the only job they would ever sign up for. Sadly, our world is far from perfect. In Ukraine, the competition for skilled programmers is at an all time high, and we’re sure the situation isn’t much different in your home country either. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for perfection, but the important thing is to let your candidates understand why the projects you’ll be working on together matter. Ask yourself, “What makes my company great? Why is our product better than that of the competition? What is the mission of my company? What makes it unique?” Then, present your answers to the candidates.

Encourage candidates to ask questions. An interview is a two-way street. It isn’t just a chance for you to grill your candidates, but also an opportunity for them to find out more about your business and corporate culture. Some people will be pretty confident and ask you all sorts of questions without any prompting on your part, but the shier ones will need a little encouragement. Remember to be open and honest in your answers, and to use this opportunity to build a personal connection with the candidate.

Hiring Developers: Test Assignments

Keep your test assignments on the short side. Sure, you want to see the candidate’s full potential before hiring them. But keep in mind that  test assignments that are too long and complicated can deter even the most enthusiastic developers from going ahead. So make sure your test assignments will take candidates no longer than 3 or 4 hours to complete.

After the Interview and the Test Assignment

Get back to candidates with feedback on their test assignment at your earliest convenience. Ideally, this should be within two or three days. Do your best to provide candidates with a detailed review of their performance — even if the answer is going to be “no”.  Not only will you soften the blow for the unsuccessful candidates by pointing out the areas of their test assignment that you did like and giving them a few helpful tips, you’ll also contribute to building a positive employer brand for your company.

Be prepared to make hiring decisions fast. In Ukraine, as it is in the rest of the world, the tech sector is booming, which means quality developers don’t stay unemployed for long. Based on our experience, even a one-week delay in making the hiring decision is sometimes enough to lose a good candidate. Therefore, if you’ve found an engineer that seems like a good fit for your needs, don’t hesitate to get them on board.

Working Through an IT Staffing Company

Provide the staffing partner with in-depth information about the skillsets you require and the projects you’re hiring developers for. You know your business needs better than anyone else, so your real goal is to help the staffing partner help you. Any additional information you can provide will enable them to get a greater number of high quality developers interested in your position, and you won’t have to deal with candidates who fit your requirements poorly.

Work with one staffing partner only. This is a controversial one, but we’re sure you’ll agree that managing your hiring process effectively is much easier when your attention isn’t divided between multiple software developer recruitment agencies at one time.

If You’re Recruiting Software and Web Developers Remotely

Consider inviting successful candidates to your headquarters. Even though most of your communication with your remote software engineers will happen through an instant messaging app of some kind, the best move is to invest in some real face time at the start of your cooperation. Face-to-face communication will help you get to know your new developers better, and give you the opportunity to establish effective business relationships based on trust from day one. An added advantage is that most candidates will view business trips as an extra bonus when considering joining your team.

If you’re going to relocate successful candidates, consider your relocation package beforehand, and don’t forget to tell the candidate (or your staffing partner) exactly what expenses you’re going cover, and what legal procedures the successful candidates will need to go through in order to join you.

About Daxx

Although you’ve just read over a thousand words worth of developer hiring advice, we’re not actually a recruitment agency — far from it. Our goal is to connect businesses from all over the world with talented software engineers in Ukraine, and then maintain (and retain) their development teams in our fully-equipped offices in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.

When you get in contact with us, all you need to specify is the skills you need, and our software developer recruiters will get back to you with candidates that fit your requirements to the letter. You then personally interview the developers you’re interested in, and approve the best ones as your new remote development team members.

You then go on to manage your remote software engineers directly, while we take care of team retention, HR, payroll, taxes, and much more besides.

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Find out more about our services, or go straight to the contact form below.

But wait, there’s more!

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