Still, hiring a senior software developer is completely possible – as long as you stick to some rules and put in the effort.
Ready to bring your hiring game to the next level? Welcome to our short guide on how to hire a senior software engineer!
First things first – you need to know who it is you need and why. If you specialise in websites, for instance, you’re choosing between hiring one full-stack developer or two engineers, one of whom is a frontend developer and the other a backend one.
At first glance, a full-stack developer seems like the better choice, right?
Except the demand for this kind of role is at an all-time high, so it might be much more difficult to hire one full-stack engineer than two specialized developers. Not to mention you’ve got to factor in the value of specialization.
So, our tip number one is to research the market. Talk to other tech founders, go on Reddit and Quora to see what software engineers talk about, and map out how you can establish yourself in the field.
You should also consider:
Next, don’t stop working on your employer branding. Keep your LinkedIn page active, polish up your culture deck, and put together what you can offer a senior software developer.
How will this propel their career further? Are there any fascinating coding challenges they get to work on? Are there any benefits?
Since everyone wants to hire a software engineer nowadays, it’s more important than ever to get your employer brand up to shape.
As Andrew Carges, a VP of Talent Acquisition, says:
“The best messages are never about you or the job you’re trying to fill. The best approaches start with the work that they are passionate about and how you can connect them to 1) new, really challenging problems in their space, and 2) help them grow in their career.”
Senior software developers are busy people. They don’t want to wade through paragraphs upon paragraphs of description.
But they also don’t want to go in blind.
Your job advert should include:
When crafting your job ad, make it short and sweet. Paragraphs ought to contain 3-4 sentences max. This way, the ad will look great on a phone as much as it does on a computer.
Extra Tip: DE&I is important. According to statistics, women make up only 26% of the tech industry. We recommend you use tools like Totaljobs Gender Decoder to ensure you attract a large pool of talent.
Alright, you’ve got some potential candidates!
Now it’s time to split your evaluation process into three stages: a portfolio, an interview, and a task assessment.
CVs are out, portfolios are in. Ask to see any past projects your candidate has worked on – this can be via LinkedIn, their own website, their profile on GitHub and StackOverflow, or a demo of a hobby project. As long as it’s relevant to the job ad and is based on the technology you need, it’s a green light.
An interview comes before an assignment. Why? The reason is simple – tech tests can get complex, and you don’t want to waste anybody’s time. The interview stage is shorter. It’s where you ask your candidate about their past projects, test some of their knowledge, and assess if they’re a good cultural fit. To avoid any bias, we recommend you use structured interviews.
Alright, time to test!
Unlike with hiring junior developers, you don’t have to check if your candidate knows Angular or React. As long as those programs are in the job ad, the senior engineer knows what they’ve signed up for.
Instead, create an assessment that can show you the candidate’s creative process. This can come in the form of:
Another great idea is to create “playdates” where candidates get to spend a couple of hours with the development team. A kind of “day in our life” session, if you will.
What better way to assess a potential employee than to actually see them function in the target environment?
However, do keep in mind that you’re dealing with senior software engineers here. If a “playdate” seems like too much of a hassle, keep your testing stage short and sweet. One to two hours per assessment should do the job.
And that’s a wrap!
Before you go and throw yourself into the hiring process, remember that establishing what you can offer a senior software engineer is of the utmost importance. Based on stats from 2022, 72% of engineers said that the primary factor drawing them to this career path was the opportunity to face new challenges and continuously learn.
Make sure your company delivers on that promise.
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Since only 9% of software engineers are actively looking for a job, it can be difficult to find and hire software developers. Remember to keep your employer brand in good shape and make the application process as simple as possible.
On average, senior software engineers in the UK make around £52,377 per annum. The salary can range between £41,682 and £62,355 as reported by Salary.com.
UK software engineers are 55 years old on average. However, age is something you shouldn’t rely on too much when hiring because it doesn’t portray the complexities of someone’s professional experience, not to mention their tech skills & soft skills.