Recruiting Software Engineers

Just this past week I’ve received two separate requests for help recruiting software engineers. I think it’s a sign of the times with technology continuing to be hot and the corresponding shortage of software developers becoming more acute. So, as someone who’s trying to recruit developers, what are some best practices?

Here are a few ideas for recruiting software engineers:

  • $10,000 referral bonus – Offer a $10,000 referral bonus to any employee that refers a software engineer that is hired and stays with the company for six months
  • Twitter – Build a brand online through social media and use it as part of the recruiting process
  • LinkedIn – Use LinkedIn, both on the job posting side as well as directly soliciting employees of other companies, to find great talent
  • Alumni Career Fairs – Sponsor both student career fairs as well as alumni career fairs (e.g. GA Tech has an alumni career fair)
  • Technical Meetup Groups – All the major programming languages have regular meetup groups (e.g. the Atlanta iOS Developers meetup) and engineers that attend them are interested in honing their craft
  • Recruiters – External recruiters are a way of life in the technology world and the key is to find ones that understand the importance of culture and fit when placing candidates

Recruiting great software engineers is a real challenge, and with serious effort, readily achievable. Build a methodical process and try a number of different avenues to find the right candidates.

What else? What are some more thoughts on recruiting software engineers?

6 thoughts on “Recruiting Software Engineers

  1. Coming from someone who was a software engineer for many years….

    Make your job attractive. And that does not usually mean more money. Instead offer more freedom.

    Keep in mind that talented people can pretty much work anywhere they choose. So they need to choose you.

    How do you do this?

    Stuff that really turned me on were things like:

    – More days off, or even better — unlimited leave.
    – Work from home or remote.
    – Ability to have time to do self-directed projects.
    – Paid trips to educational conferences.
    – Cutting edge work and with a team directed by someone with a technical background.
    – Evidence of managers that has experience doing technical work or a founder that used to be a developer.
    – Low amount of red tape and true ability to get things done and built.
    – Flexibility with hours (many coders I know like to work late at night) so having to be there 8AM sharp is a downer for many.
    – Culture that rewards great work and getting things done and not following corporate politics.
    – Not having to dress like a corporate stiff in the office.
    – Having a private office space. While some devs may like shared space, I always preferred being alone to focus and get in the groove.
    – Modern equipment. Fast laptop, nice monitor, and nice chair (outside of a few well-funded startups I worked for, most of the time I ended up bringing in my own Aeron chair to work in.) Why do companies pay 100K and up for talent and give them a shitty chair to sit in 8 – 10 hours a day??? It makes no sense at all.

  2. Another great recruiting opportunity is at high profile hackathons! They have been attracting a different type of person than the career fair has been, and engineers are becoming more connected with each other through these events. This might only apply to out of school hires as the top hackathons right now are college organized.

  3. @David $10K referral bonus? For 6mos stay? If that’s an industry standard, I’m starting an engineering referral StartUp with you as my first investor.

  4. @Kevin great list; freedom is a commodity for engineers, but can open the door to bandwidth issues as they take on side gigs.

  5. @Damon I understand where you are coming from..but I prefer to think from an abundance mentality.

    If my company is fun to work for, with smart people, working on interesting projects, and treats employees exceptionally well — I should need to worry too much about turnover.

    I actually ask engineers about side projects and do not hire people that cannot talk about at least some they have done recently.

    My reasoning is that a developer that has side projects displays:

    1.) Creativity
    2.) Drive for something more
    3.) Thirst for more knowledge
    4.) Ability to learn new things rapidly

    All very import values for a core member of the team.

    Also a developer that leaves because their side project is a success — really is a success for the company in a way. We would celebrate that as a great thing and not look at it selfishly.

    Also the company is now very well connected to a future CEO/Founder/Leader — which is never a bad thing.

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