Talent Acquisition

How to Hire a Senior Software Engineer

software code

Market demand for senior software engineers rises by the day. It’s a great time to be one, that’s for sure. Not so great to need one, though.

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!

  1. Foundation, Part 1: Clarify Your Needs & Work on Your Tech Employer Brand
  2. Foundation, Part 2: The ABCs of a Senior Software Engineer Job Advert
  3. Evaluation, Part 1: Portfolio & Interview
  4. Evaluation, Part 2: Task Assessment
  5. FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Part 1: clarify your Needs

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:

Work on your employer brand

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.”

Part 2: The ABCs of a Senior Software Engineer job ad

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:

  • What you offer in terms of benefits, career progression, and challenges
  • What technology you’re using and how (senior software engineers prefer to focus on wide technical frameworks rather than the details – e.g., instead of rambling on about why you’re using Python, describe how you’re using it to reach your goals and solve problems)
  • What the recruitment process looks like and how long it takes (don’t embellish things – be honest)

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.

Evaluation, Part 1: Work samples & interview

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!

Evaluation, Part 2: Assessment

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:

  • Code review – your candidate looks at some of your code and offers recommendations on how to improve it
  • Live coding test – your candidate gets to perform in a real-world scenario at a specific time and place
  • Take-home assessment – your candidate tries to fix a problem by using everything at their disposal and then sends it to you

To make things easier, sign up for some great coding assessment platforms, such as CodeSubmit and CoderPad.

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.

Final words

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.


Move's embedded talent service ensures you get it right when you most need to. We’re experts at securing top talent that thrives in early-stage tech businesses. And, we’ll set you up for hiring success so you can do it without us in the future 🚀 Work with your own dedicated, expert talent team on a subscription basis during periods of growth. No long contracts. Guaranteed hires.

We’ll make the hires, you keep the playbooks 🛠🤝 Don't take our word for it, check out our testimonials page 👀🚀🚀

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

How hard is it to hire software engineers?

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.

What is a good senior software engineer salary in the UK?

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.

What is the average age of a software engineer in the UK?

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.

Share on :
vector 4 svgvector 3 svg

Related Blogs