Hiring the right software developer can be one of your most crucial hires. Frankly, this is the person who builds your company image and enables you to interact online with your customers. And it doesn’t depend on the kind of developer. Will it be a frontend developer or backend developer or someone like mobile apps developer?
The demand for technical specialists including Software Developers has increased multifold over the last decade. This has been accelerated via remote work, and this is the new normal. International companies employ distributed teams across various time zones and geographic areas. Multiple teams consisting of multi-lingual specialists with unique perspectives are the new normal.
Professional recruiters often discuss the difficulty of finding software developers for their internal teams, besides their external client requirements. The most common problem is the long and expensive hiring process. Furthermore, software development brings occupational mobility, resulting in short-term projects and software developers moving on after a short tenure. This is not unique to global companies. Smaller operations experience a shortage of long-term developers as well. Due to high demand and occupational mobility, software developers enjoy an array of work options as their skills improve with each project they participate in.
Budgetary considerations also play a role in the recruitment and retention of software developers. Companies should always take into account their budgetary constraints, wage capacity, and market segment, and timelines.
At Orange Sputnik, we have a scoring system according to which we evaluate incoming software development positions, followed by a tabulation of the results, and communication with our clients on the results and necessary action items.
1. 1. Hire for fascination and aptitude first, then technical skills and experience
When you hire software developers, their personal fascination and engagement in the project is the most important consideration. While it holds true that technical skills and experience are important, the bigger predictor of success is the developer’s dedication, loyalty, and how his or her mindset fits into your company culture. Are drive and motivation, the strength of will, perseverance, and inquisitiveness important to your culture? Are you relaxed within the scope of time management and meeting critical deadlines? Whatever mindset makes up your culture, you want to ensure that the developer fits in.
Technology evolves every two years, skills become obsolete if you don’t keep an eye on growing trends. It’s better to hire a software developer who is open to learning new technologies than one with expertise in a specific technology at the current time but not inclined to learn and accept evolving trends.
So, do you want a recommendation? Make a list of your company’s soft skills requirements first, then start recruiting based on fascination and aptitude first. This will help you keep your desired company culture aligned with the industry while ensuring cohesiveness across your team.
2. Pay attention to multilingual capabilities relative to the English language
English is the de-facto language of software development. Developers who do not learn English as part of their education, have to learn English eventually. If you will ask a Senior Developer what the next best language is in software development, you will get the answer: Learn English first!
All documentation comes in English, most online resources developer-focused are in English. Yes, you can find local communities, you can find translated documentation, but all original information in development is in English.
Notwithstanding, you can use Google Translate, maybe another translator, but in the real world most languages still utilizes syntaxes based on the English language.
While Google Translate and other translation software work for general needs, they are prone to literal error because syntaxes require human translation. The lexical environment cannot be applied to machine learning syntax.
Software Developers must be able to express themselves. Nobody works in a language bubble. If you are a software developer, you will work across teams side by side and getting into details of projects. Having a learning curve in the specific business, you will at some point have to interact with clients, and understand better to deliver better. English is the most used language worldwide. Cultural differences are a shared responsibility, and you may be lucky to have a patient-client who understands cultural differences relative to English language differences. In some cases, you may have a few months to streamline communication, including pronunciation, and mispronunciations which may impact how you communicate across cultural, social, and linguistic lines. Unfortunately, not all clients exercise this level of patience. However, those clients who are willing to partake in the shared responsibility of language improvements, ultimately benefit from improved communication. They get a higher work quality, stronger relationships, deeper understanding, and higher performance across the board. They also ultimately gain the best financial rewards. This also leads to longer-lasting and fulfilling relationships over time.
Ok, and now I will dissuade you a bit to the contrary. If you, as a client, run a series of interviews for Software Developers, and perhaps one of your interviewees is not freely expressing himself or expresses himself with some minor problems, hire him if he has a great background! Expertise can be pumped up, English is important, analytical thinking is also important, knowledge of how to develop is crucial, intelligence is mandatory! This is a 2-way street, it’s a shared responsibility, and you have to decide what is best for you and how it fits into your scope of work.
3. Put interview stages low on your priorities list
Congestion with stages is a bottleneck, and never adds value. Teams who make hiring decisions quickly get the best candidates, including a reduction in lead times. But having only one stage is not the best option: you can underestimate the loyalty and readiness of the candidate. Stick to the golden rule: the screening stage should be completed with somebody in a psychological role (for example, HR Manager) to define soft skills and the technical interview stage with a technical person to define technical skills, after which you may submit an offer. This is the best approach that delivers results.
At Orange Sputnik, we run screening and technical interviews, and in most cases, we try to combine all stages into one meeting. Despite the simplicity of the process, the questions asked, and the general structure, our interviewing framework helps us deliver suitable candidates to our clients.
4. Admit the truth about Test Assignment for Software Developers
Do you like to ask to execute test assignments? I would say it’s not as good an idea as you may think. Hiring with a test assignment increases the selection funnel and time span by 1.5 – 2 times together with reducing the number of available candidates by 8 – 10. These numbers result from direct experience at Orange Sputnik.
Well, hang on, that’s not entirely true. It depends on the candidate level. Junior developers are happy to do a test assignment. They use this as a way to prove their skills. Mediocre Developers may complete test assignments if they are really interested in your project, and their expected time spent for such test assignments ranges up to a couple of hours maximum. This also means test assignments should not be that difficult, it should be as simple as possible to show the knowledge you want to see.
Senior Developers will mostly reject a test assignment. Their experience and portfolio speak for itself. They are quicker to pass yet another verbal interview because they will likely get another job offer the same day for other interested parties.
If you would still love to give a test assignment, combine it with a technical interview, do the online test with screen sharing or something similar. This is a much better way to see the software developer’s expertise, his intelligence, and his thought process.
5. Improve your feedback speed, this means “Hire fast, Fire fast”
Time is your ally… If you’re fast… and becomes an enemy when you’re slow. Fast feedback is a sign of respect for the time spent by both sides: the candidate and the interviewer. Research shows that it takes 45 seconds to make hiring after all conditions have been met. It also bodes that you are able to explain the decision and rationalize the decision to yourself and your team. Therefore, the faster all parties receive feedback, the greater the chances of a successful hire.
Take your time when hiring, you deserve this, just bear in mind that nowadays developers are in high demand and while you’re syncing with all your colleagues, the developer is likely to have another job offer and may accept it. The early bird catches the worm!
On the other hand, if you started with some software developer and he isn’t working out, dismiss the developer as fast as you can. An ineffective developer can disrupt the entire team and potentially the entire project.
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