How to recruit and hire engineers

Recruiting Lessons 201: How to Hire a Developer for Your Team

Posted February 15, 2016 by Leilani Lucero in Hiring and Onboarding
It's not easy to hire a developer when they're so in demand. Here are some tips on how to recruit talent you'll keep.

Leilani Lucero helps Justworks find and hire exceptional people as our head of recruiting. She brings a wealth of experience in recruiting in the tech and startup industries.

Here, Leilani shares tips and tricks from her experience to help your small businesses grow. If you have any hiring questions for her or us, tweet us at @JustworksHR.

Finding the right talent for your team is an important mission. The people who you hire for your organization could really make a difference on how the business grows and whether it ultimately succeeds. And as the importance of technology grows, so has the importance of finding competent developers.

So, how do you hire a developer that will fulfill your company's needs and help it grow? As a recruiter for Justworks, I have a lot of first-hand experience in finding the right people to build out our software platform. Here's how to recruit a developer you'll be happy with at your company, and that will love being a part of the team in turn.

Hire a Developer You'll Love 

Developers are in a unique position when it comes to job searching. They’re in a field right now where they don’t have to actively seek, because of such high demand. That means you'll have to make your workplace attractive and challenging to a potential hire. Developers at Justworks have joined because they’re solving a real problem. They want to join a product they believe in and that they can get behind. If your company has real purpose, you're off to a great start. Here is a checklist of do's and don'ts to help you out along the way.

You Do Need to...

Take Your Time, But Hurry Up

Across everything, hire slowly and hire right. But when you find the right candidate, move quickly. You don't want to risk losing them to a drawn-out process.

Be Honest

Don’t bullshit. Be transparent in every hiring process. The last thing you want to do is sell someone a false bill of goods when they're signing up for a big life choice.

Give Value to Referrals 

If you hire top talent (in engineering) who love what they’re doing at the company they’re with, they’ll tell other engineers. Referrals count at Justworks.

Show Them an Interesting Problem to Solve

It’s all about networking in a genuine way. Show them you love your product and the need we’re solving. Engineers love to solve problems.

Seek Out Developer Communities

I like to target developer communities like GitHub, Stack Overflow, and Hacker, Inc. Look for who is most active in this community — you'll want them.

Attend Tech Meetups

Tech meetups are a great way to meet potential candidates. Many of them target specific programming languages and communities as well. Seek out developer conferences for referrals, hosting, and partnering. At Justworks, we attend talks at Flatiron School, for example.

Host your own meetups

Bring the talent to you. We’ve hosted a hackathon called Justbrunch, and we had our first one the other weekend. It's a great way to meet potential candidates, and everyone gets together and collaborates.

Learn how to attract and retain top-notch employees.

Win the Talent War

You Don't Need to...

Stick Just to LinkedIn

Push your boundaries and look at other sources. LinkedIn will only go so far.

Blast Generic Messages

People want to feel like they're being genuinely sought out. Send out personalized messages to that offer a 1-on-1 search. Not a blast.

Get Pushy

You don’t need to aggressively push a job. Tailor the position to one person, and explain the problem your company is genuinely helping to solve.

Ignore People's Applications

Respond to everyone. Again, developers have a community. And we’re holding true to the integrity of the brand.

Assume Their Skill Set

Don’t typecast engineers. Make sure you ask about the depth and breadth of their skills, there may be something crucial you could miss out on otherwise.

Check out these other tips to avoid recruiting mistakes.

Final Tips

Make the interview worth the candidate's time and yours. That means....

Always Do a Code Test

A lot of eligible developers don't have classic computer science major backgrounds, but will still have the applicable skills. Make sure to give a code test that applies to the everyday work they'll be doing. For example, will they be using bootstrap or PHP regularly? Build a test around that before you hire a developer!

Do the Test in Pairs and in Person

This will give you a more tangible idea of your applicants' on-the-job skill set.

Don't Forget Culture Questions

Hiring someone who plays well with others is important. If you have company values established, be sure to conduct an interview around those guidelines as well.

 

Hiring great people matters. We've compiled a free resource library for recruiting the right talent here.

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, legal or tax advice. If you have any legal or tax questions regarding this content or related issues, then you should consult with your professional legal or tax advisor.