May 2, 2019 Last updated May 1st, 2019 1,228 Reads share

A Guide to Recruiting Software Development Engineers

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The number of software development companies in the world today is increasing at an exponential rate. In such a scenario, finding talented and well-trained software development engineers is the biggest challenge. According to statistics, there are only less than 1% of unemployed engineers in the US. This makes it evident that companies are snatching up every good engineer that they can get.

In this piece, we’re going to examine the different challenges that companies face when looking to hire software developers. We are also going to look at a few actionable solutions, so you hire none but the best for your business.

First things first: Why is recruiting software development engineers so difficult?

A massive talent shortage

Did you know that 9 out of 10 HR managers in the US and Western Europe believe that identifying quality software engineers is undoubtedly the most significant challenge in the recruitment process?

The primary reason for this is that there just aren’t enough engineers today. In the West, there is immense pressure to hire qualified engineers who have the right technical expertise and attitude. But, universities are producing fewer graduates, and the supply is clearly lesser than the demand.

An ever-growing payroll

Because of the massive shortage of talented engineers, if you want to hire the best of the best, you have to pay an absolute premium. Payroll is only one aspect of this. You also have to take into consideration other costs like HR, employee-centric benefits, bonuses, and office space. This makes it a frighteningly expensive business.

Then, what are your alternatives?

We’ve already established that local talent, especially in the US and Europe are scarce and expensive. Here are a few popular alternatives that can work for your business’


Outsourcing is where, rather than working on a software development project in-house, it is offloaded to an external third-party on a contract basis. The external party then sets up a temporary team that works on the project and then delivers it to the client.

The primary attraction of outsourcing is the fact that it is ridiculously cheap, sometimes as low as $10-20 per hour. However, what you’re not prepared for is the substandard quality of deliverables, hidden charges, and little to no customer focus.

Thus, outsourcing is more of a quick-fix to help you temporarily sustain a project, but doesn’t work as well for long-term valuable projects.


Offshore software development is a model that is very different from outsourcing. Going offshore means to build a dedicated software development team abroad, generally in a growing tech nation like India. By going offshore, you get access to world-class engineers who can become a value-driven extension of your current workforce.

The primary advantage of going offshore is that you get access to skilled engineers, at a fraction of the cost as compared to back home.

The recruitment process

How do you build a pipeline of the best software development engineers?

Considering the scarcity of talent available, it’s important to start looking in the right places. Social media is the most powerful option available today, with more than 94% of recruiters depending on social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn to source candidates.

A survey that was conducted showed that 59% of employees said that a company’s social media presence was one of the main reasons why they chose their workplace. However, even social media is getting saturated, and there’s only a finite number of candidates that you can reach on there. This has made it necessary to look into more unconventional places to recruit software development engineers. Some of them include:

  • Blogs and technical postings
  • Quora
  • Conferences
  • Open source code websites
  • Slack channels

Defining your hiring needs

Once you have a pipeline of candidates that you’re happy with, the next step is to define your hiring needs. Simply knowing that you want the best software development engineers is not enough. You should know exactly what you need, or you’re not going to find it.

The best way to go about this is to make a thorough and all-inclusive list of the skills and characteristics of your version of an ideal candidate and set that list as a benchmark. This list can include technical knowledge, programming languages, experience, personality traits, and anything that you think is relevant for your business.

Using this list as a guideline, create job descriptions for all the open positions. Be sure to include all the duties and responsibilities that the employee will have to undertake, no matter how insignificant it may seem. This helps in two ways – it helps build the foundation of your recruitment process, and makes your expectations from the prospective employee crystal clear.

Look beyond the technical know-how

To analyze the true potential and skills of a software development engineer, it is important to look beyond a performance report.

The best way to do this is to present the candidate with a programming problem that is unconstrained by a particular coding language. The main focus of this exercise is to determine the candidate’s coding style, problem-solving abilities, and broader technical knowledge.

You can even engage in non-technical conversations, which acts as an opportunity to gauge the personality of the candidate. This will help you to discern a significant amount about their character, confidence, honesty, and professionalism.


In the end, give someone the job!

The last thing left to do is make a decision. You’ve screened for exactly the right candidates – whether that’s in your local area, or looking offshore. You have also evaluated them thoroughly during the interview process. Though there’s a lot of work involved in hiring software development engineers, the effort is definitely worth the reward!


Pavithra Dennis

Pavithra Dennis

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