As a founder, recruiting and onboarding top technical talent to your team is vital. A great software engineer will help scale your product and ensure the growth of your company. But, you probably don’t have a ton of time and energy to build the perfect hiring process and interview hundreds of candidates. So, how do you get started with hiring a software engineer?
Leaning on the expertise of an agency is a great option. But if your organization isn’t ready for that, we’re breaking down tactical recruiting steps that you can easily follow.
Scoping the Role
If your goal is to find the best candidate, hiring starts well before you post a job position. After making the decision to expand your team and bring on new technical talent, the first step is to scope the role. Scoping the role will maximize the efficiency of your hiring process by ensuring that you are attracting the right person for the right job.
1. Why this role and why now?
A basic but critical first step in the hiring process is to define why you need this role. This answer will help you and your team avoid spending excess resources throughout the hiring process. You’ll be able to identify your ideal candidate, the qualifications you’re looking for, the role title, and much more.
Start by answering the following questions:
- What are the gaps or pain points that your team is currently experiencing?
- How would this hire fill those needs?
- How would this hire impact your product / ROI?
2. Identify the most mature areas of your technology stack and code base.
Depending on the role you are hiring for, you may also need to look holistically at your technology stack and code base. It’s much easier (and less risky) to hire someone new to do a job that is already well-scoped than it is to hire someone to build a new product.
3. Select your hiring team.
Early-stage startups have two advantages over larger tech companies: speed and efficiency. To win over top talent, you have to move fast and be agile. Keep in mind that more people on the hiring team can result in a lengthier interview process. Consider whose perspective and buy-in are most important for selecting and onboarding the right person.
4. Nail down the position details.
Once you’re ready to create the job listing, start by listing the responsibilities. What will this person be doing day-to-day? Include the essential duties required for this position in order of importance. Try to narrow down your list to 3-5 key responsibilities.
After you’ve identified the responsibilities, it’s time to select a position title. This should be based on the seniority and responsibility that this hire would have. Selecting the title will also help you determine who this candidate will be reporting to, and/or their direct reports.
When determining the qualifications needed for this role, list them out in two categories. First, the qualifications that are needed to fulfill the job requirements. Then, the nice-to-haves that you’d like to see.
Defining what success will look like in a role is often an overlooked step. Locking in concrete answers can go a long way in identifying the best candidate for the role.
Consider which objective metrics will this person be responsible for. What will you base the quality of their performance on?
Determine the benefits and resources you can offer
The final piece in scoping a role is to identify what you can offer. Determine the salary range and benefits you can offer for this position. Will you be providing tools, software, a learning stipend, etc.?
Checklist: Hiring a software engineer starts before the interviews.
If you want to hire the best person for the job, take the time to scope the role. Defining the reason for the role and the optimal candidate will save you and your team time and energy.
Here is a quick checklist of the things covered above that you need to know before promoting your open role:
- Define why you need this role. What are the gaps that this hire would fill? How would this hire impact your product / ROI?
- Identify the most mature areas of your technology stack and code base. It’s much easier and less risky to hire someone new to do a job that is already well-scoped than to hire someone to build a new product.
- Decide who should be involved in the hiring process. As an early-stage startup, speed and efficiency are your biggest advantages over larger tech companies. To win over top talent, you have to move faster than the long interview processes of companies. The fewer people that are involved, the faster you can move.
- List out the responsibilities for this role. What will they be doing day-to-day? Include the essential duties that are required for this position in order of importance.
- Select a position title. This should be based on the seniority and responsibility this hire would have. This will also help you determine who this candidate will be reporting to.
- Determine needed qualifications. What does your ideal candidate need in order to fulfill the job requirements? What are nice-to-haves that you’d like to see?
- Define what “success” will look like. What objective metrics will this person be responsible for? What will you base the quality of their performance on?
- Determine the benefits and resources you can offer. Will you be providing tools, software, a learning stipend, etc.? Determine the salary range and benefits you can offer for this position.
We hope that this guide will help your organization continue its growth and development. Remember, hiring a software engineer starts well before your job listing goes live. Scoping the role ahead of time will lead to better candidates!
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