7 Tips for Hiring Qualified Software Developers

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“Any fool can write code that a computer can understand. Good programmers write code that humans can understand.” – Martin Fowler

It is true that with some practice, anybody can write code. It is even sufficient if it is you and the machine alone that will ever see the code.

On the contrary, recruiters usually look for software engineers or developers who can work in a team environment, and who can collaborate with other developers on a single piece of code.

Hiring a good software developer may sound like a daunting task. However, there are certain pointers that you need to keep in mind while headhunting.

7 Expert Tips for hiring professional software developers

With technology racing forward at an incredible pace, we now witness revolutionary changes in how we relate to user interface (augmented reality/virtual reality), infrastructure (blockchain technology), and how we do things (Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence).

As a result of new products pushing out rapidly, the software development niche is severely lacking professionals. There are more jobs and fewer software developers.

Irrespective of what you intend to establish, it is important that you create a checklist that you can use while recruiting software developers. Here are 7 tips that might help you out in this regard.

1. Outline the must-have skills for the desired profile

This one may sound obvious; however, physically outlining specific skills needed to achieve project goals make your hiring job easier.

It is a good idea to create two lists—a list of “must-haves” skills and another list of “good-to-have” skills.

You can discuss the must-haves during the initial call to eliminate applicants who might not be the most suitable for the role.

This does not mean that you weed out candidates who lack experience or knowledge of specific programming languages and tools. Keep in mind that you are looking for a competent coder who can pick up a new language in a short period.

Figure out the type of problems you want to solve, the challenges your candidate may face, and the outcomes you want to accomplish.

Once you have a clearer vision of these objectives, you will be able to determine the strengths, essential skills and qualities, and foundational knowledge that an ideal applicant must have.

2. Ensure the developer fits well in your organization

The atmosphere of one company will be different from another company.

If your developer doesn’t fit in, it can be disastrous financially as it may affect your product negatively and make everyone, including the developer, in the office unhappy.

It is a proven fact that employees who identify more with their organization are happier, experience greater job satisfaction, and tend to be more productive and committed. Hence, cultural fit is paramount.

To ensure this, first, you need to thoroughly understand your company culture. Then get a feel of your candidate’s fit—ask questions about preferred working environments to make sure that you and the candidate are on the same page.

If you work on a remote team, it is better to hire a software developer who is independent and can work with minimal supervision.

If you are expecting a lot of collaboration, you need to look for someone who works well in a team environment.

If you are looking to upskill your team, check out Potential’s practical training and certification programs that can be customized to match your business needs.

3. Have an IT professional interview candidates

Developers would like to talk about tech with other developers.

To attract top candidates, consider having peers who attend conferences and tech meetups do the interview or at least a casual chat with potential candidates over coffee.

This will help bring out honest interactions and offer potential candidates a chance to have a peek into the job and its expectations.

If you belong from a non-technical background, it might be hard for you to find common ground with your candidate.

If this is the case, it is better to bring in someone with an IT background or expertise in relevant areas for technical evaluation.

You may still assess a potential candidate’s strengths that correspond to your area of expertise, such as soft skills.

The bottom line is that having an IT professional interview applicant will help you make an informed hiring decision.

Moreover, having more than one interviewer will help reduce the likelihood of a biased attitude that may interfere with the hiring decision.

4. Determine your developer’s standard

If there is one thing that is common to all top developers for hire, it will be the fact that they have high standards. You don’t want to hire a software developer who is fine rolling out a half-baked product. You should also avoid someone who will leave a complete mess for the next developer.

Larger corporations can afford to hire freshers and assign them to senior developers for training. Smaller businesses might not have this privilege.

To make sure that your developer has high standards and has the desired experience, evaluate their portfolio and experience carefully.

Ask the applicant to show you projects that they have completed in the past, and ask them about the problems they faced and how they solved them.

You should also check their references to verify that a software developer is exactly what he or she claims to be.

5. Administer realistic coding tests

To ensure that a software developer is the right candidate for the position, ask them to resolve a small but realistic issue. These can be coding problems inspired by real-life situations your organization’s software developers face.

To get a feel of a candidate’s on-the-job performance, you can simulate a typical work environment. For example, instead of asking the candidate to solve a coding problem on a whiteboard, ask them to write a code on a computer.

Allow the developer to explain their approach to solving the problem.

Observing a candidate in action will help you quickly evaluate the quality of their code and allow you to determine if the candidate is the right for the position.

Another thing to keep in mind is to ensure the test or the assignment hits the perfect balance between easy and difficult.

If the test is too simple, you are lowering the entry bar and may end up with a developer with basic experience.

On the other hand, an extremely complex task will intimidate any qualified developer who wasn’t given enough time to solve a long or complex problem.

There may come a time when you need to administer additional coding evaluations or interviews to separate one or two exceptional developers applying for the same role.

In such a scenario, consider paying for the extra time and effort candidates put in. This is a wise move considering the current market conditions.

Studies have shown that candidate experience can influence whether they leave or stick to their candidature.
Subjecting potential candidates to multiple evaluations and interviews without any job assurance will affect your brand negatively.

This will also damage your ability to attract top tech talents in the long run.

5. Administer realistic coding tests

To ensure that a software developer is the right candidate for the position, ask them to resolve a small but realistic issue. These can be coding problems inspired by real-life situations your organization’s software developers face.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projection, software developers will remain one of the hottest professions over the next 10 years.

This demand for skilled developers is made more urgent with almost 200,000 hard-to-replace positions every year.

This suggests that good professionals are already engaged somewhere or the other. Thus, it is increasingly becoming difficult to hire a software developer who is aligned with your standards.

It is even more challenging if you are not aware of all the options that you have at your disposal.

Here are a few places where that will increase your chances of running into a potential candidate for your hiring position.

  • Get referrals to find good developers: Referrals can be from your employees, associates, business partners, friends, family, or anyone in your network. This also increases the mutual trust factor if the developer is recommended by someone from your network.
  • Explore freelance niche platforms: Depending on what you intend to achieve, you can also go for freelance software developers. You will find qualified and talented developers on platforms like Arc, Upwork, and Fiverr.
  • Attend developer conferences and meets: This is a good way to connect with local developers who are looking for work or know someone who is.
  • Become a member of developer communities and forums: Platforms like HashNode, Reddit, CodeProject, and Dzone are great places to connect and engage with potential candidates.
  • Use LinkedIn to hire a software developer: Everyone knows that LinkedIn is the Facebook for professionals. It is a powerful platform for on-site as well as remote developers and programmers.

LinkedIn provides a comprehensive headhunting experience where you can combine the strategies mentioned above. You can go through candidate CVs, check out a developer’s experience and connections, and then make an informed decision about who to contact.

7. Know the cost of hiring a good developer

Technical professionals are one of the most sought-after talents and the cost of hiring a software developer may be quite competitive.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management, it typically costs approximately $4,129 to hire an employee.

You might live under the impression that you have gotten a good deal on a qualified developer, only to lose the bid because you didn’t make a compelling offer.

Chances are high that other recruiters like you are also seeking qualified developers.
Therefore, before you make an offer, you must have an idea of how much software developers cost.

In the United States, the starting package for a software developer in 2022 is $47,060 annually while the median pay averages at around $110,140 annually.

Freelance developers, on the other hand, may have hourly rates. On average, freelance software developers charge somewhere between $81 and $100 an hour.

Additional tips for hiring qualified software developers

In addition to the options and strategies for hiring software developers listed above, the following are some of the key areas that you must cover while interviewing shortlisted candidates.

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Note that the following skills may vary depending on the nature of your project.

  • Native Android/iOS development skills
  • Relevant skills in hybrid mobile development
  • Web development skills with proficiency in programming languages such as PHP or JavaScript
  • Proficiency in Python to develop Artificial Intelligence or Machine Learning
  • Experience in enterprise or public blockchain platforms
  • You can elaborate on applicable skills while tailoring the perfect job description.
  • Here is an example of an iOS developer job template that can potentially attract deserving candidates.

Other technical skills

Depending on the position you are vetting for, other technical skills may include:

  • Knowledge of integrated development environments (IDEs) such as Android Studio, Eclipse, Visual Studio, and NetBeans
  • Comfortable with tools like Git and CVS
  • In-depth knowledge of popular libraries like jQuery and React
  • Familiarity with cloud computing platforms such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS)
  • Knowledge of test automation frameworks like Selenium and WebdriverIO
  • Ability to minimize application security vulnerabilities
  • Code review skills
  • Networking skills to be able to work on client servers

Essential soft skills

These are some of the key soft skills that you need to look for while hiring a software developer.

  • Analytical approach to solving problems
  • Effective communication with team members and stakeholders
  • Work effectively with their larger team
  • Willingness to learn new skills and technologies
  • Ability to empathize with client or user needs


Headhunting and hiring good software developers is a laborious task and demands some preparation.

Tech professionals are hired primarily based on their technical skills. However, one cannot overlook other important skills like teamwork and communication.

Hopefully, through this article, you have found some new methods for finding the ideal software developers for your organization. Your next step would be to choose the strategies that will help accomplish your hiring goals within your budget.

With the help of these pointers, you should be able to connect with any kind of developer irrespective of the tech stack, location, or commitment.

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