How to Hire Software Developers (For Non-tech People)

Hire the Perfect Software Engineer Without Having to Actually Turn Into One

Hiring software engineers for a custom development project is harder than it seems. You have to search through the many, many candidates out there, select the ones that have the right profile, interview them, and finally make the choice. In a sense, it’s like a traditional hiring process although it has a caveat – when hiring developers, you need to know how to assess the candidates’ technical skills.

For project managers or seasoned software developers, that’s extremely easy. But what happens if you aren’t tech-savvy? It’ll be a harder challenge, for sure. But that doesn’t mean you can do it yourself. Here’s a brief 3-step guide on how you can hire the perfect software engineer without having to actually turn into one.

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Define Your Project’s Requirements

If you don’t know what you’re going to build, you won’t be able to find the right engineering talent for your project. So, before going online to search for developers or creating job posts, you need to have a detailed understanding of the product you’re aiming to build. The first step towards that goal is to conduct thorough research to see if your product makes sense for your industry and audience. You can do so by analyzing your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.

After that, you should define the platform on which your product will run on. It’s not the same to build a mobile application, a cloud-based CRM, or a web app, because the type of developers you’ll need for each of those are very different from each other. The platform will define programming languages, frameworks, libraries, and technologies you’ll need. Naturally, you’ll have to search for a developer that’s experienced in the core technologies for your project.

Finally, you should imagine your product to make a list of features you see in it. Creating such a list will allow you to better understand what developers you should be looking for (and will also provide the candidates with a clearer picture of your idea). Make sure you include the core features (those that define the product itself) and the advanced (or nice-to-have) features that will provide something extra. 

Understand Who you Need to Search

You’ll obviously start your search by defining the type of developer you’ll need for your project. You might be thinking about something along the lines of “Angular developer with experience in the healthcare industry” and you’ll be half right. While you’ll evidently need to create such a profile for your desired engineer, you’ll need to go beyond that.

One easy way to check whether the candidates are right for your project or not is to see if they have one (or all) of the following traits:

  • A developer with a knack for tackling challenges. An engineer who’s capable of solving complex challenges is someone you need by your side. Thus, you can ask your candidates what’s the biggest challenge they faced when working on a project. The answers will obviously vary but you should go for something beyond basic stuff (such as debugging or meeting deadlines). Look for challenges like refactoring entire platforms or implementing cutting-edge technologies. 
  • An engineer that can work under pressure. While this might be difficult to test in an interviewing process, it’s actually simpler than it seems. Have your candidates write a simple program in front of you (or, even better, a member of your team that isn’t part of the interview process). That way, you can see how well they work when someone’s monitoring them and check whether they are able to focus on the work. Sounds grueling? Maybe, but this will get you closer to the perfect engineer. 
  • A developer that can communicate technical concepts easily. A quote often misattributed to Albert Einstein says that “if you can’t explain it simply you don’t understand it well enough”, an adage that applies perfectly here. Ask your candidates to explain complex concepts in simple terms and pay attention to how they answer. Someone that’s used to work with the technologies you’re asking about shouldn’t have problems explaining them. Besides, you’ll want an engineer with good communication skills, something you can also test with this simple exercise.

Exhaust your Hiring Options

Armed with the information you’ve gathered in the two steps above, you’ll be ready to start your search. In other words, this is the moment to create the job posts, announce you’re hiring in social media, get in touch with software development companies, and write to freelance engineers. This step might take a while, as you’ll surely be flooded with candidates that don’t fit your basic requirements. 

Keep going forward but be sure you’re exhausting your hiring options. Maybe you’re too focused on posting your ad on job boards and forget about the professional network you have at LinkedIn. Or perhaps you’re running an intense social media campaign to hire the right developer while you should be hiring staffing services to fill a role that may be too specific to easily find out in the wild.

The takeaway from this is simple – multiply the channels through which you communicate your search. You’ll never know where you’ll find the best candidate for your project, so by spreading the word through every channel you can, you’ll be increasing your chances.

A Tough Yet Rewarding Effort

Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this brief guide. Each step on it will have you doing a lot of work, from researching your own project to searching throughout countless platforms for the right talent. It’s a tough effort after all, especially because you’ll have to learn some of the tech basics to do the hiring yourself. However, doing it can be rewarding, as you can also assess the candidates on another level, especially when it comes to fitting with your company’s culture.

Still, if you feel like all of that is too challenging or if you don’t have the time to do a proper search following this method, don’t do it. You’ll just lose time and money in a vain attempt. Instead, you can always rely on the staffing or development services of companies like BairesDev. We have a highly sophisticated hiring process that allows us to work exclusively with the Top 1% of IT talent.

We can provide you with the right developers for your project regardless of requirements, complexity, industry, or needed experience. What’s more – we can source you with hard-to-find professionals, because we collaborate with more than 1,500 software engineers with expertise across any industry you can imagine. Don’t believe us? Contact us today and let’s discuss your development needs.

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