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How to Recruit Software Engineers? 3-Step Framework

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03 September, 2020

If you Google "how to hire a software developer," you will see 9,94,00,000 results:


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Imagine extracting any kind of real insights from so many references and articles. Seems impossible, right?

Worry not; in this blog, we'll provide a useful 3-step framework on how to recruit software engineers.


What to do Prior to Starting the Recruitment Process

Before we look at the 'what' component, it's important to get a sense of the challenges recruiters face when hiring a software developer.

Hiring managers deal with 360-degree issues day-in-day-out, such as:

  • Not being able to measure the candidate's technical skills properly
  • Not able to compare the technical skills between two candidates without any platform
  • Not having a data-driven approach or scorecard-based selection criteria without a platform
  • Absence of a streamlined and less time-consuming way to technical hiring at low costs

The solution? Get clarity on the recruitment process for software developers and get your fundamentals right.



Want to know how iMocha helped companies like Capgemini, TCS, and Vanguard hire the best software developers?



How to Recruit Software Engineers: Key Parameters

You need to answer the following questions and define the actual requirements for the role such as:

  • What are your organization's specific needs and expectations?
  • What will the day-to-day work look like for the software developer?
  • How and where to hire software engineers?
  • What kind of languages to recruit for?
  • How will you showcase your company's personality, culture, and values to attract top talent?

In addition to getting the answers above, you'll need to define the following:

  • Hire type: Whether you need a full-time, part-time, outsourced, or freelance software developer
  • Work style: Will the developer work remotely or in-house?
  • Level of experience needed:

    • Fresher – Hiring with campus recruitment or lateral hiring

    • Experienced candidates – By lateral hiring

  • Level of involvement: Will the developer need to lead the technical team or carry out basic tasks?
  • Budget and, by extension, the salary of the developer: How much are you willing to spend on the hire? Make sure to chart out a remuneration package.
  • Skills and expertise: Look at the skills the developers bring to the table (for example, are they able to write maintainable code?), analyze the quality of the open-source projects, and gauge the contributions they have made to the community. Depending on the experience, you can hire junior, mid-level, or senior developers.
  • Soft skills: The developer must also possess soft skills such as the ability to work in a team, communicate complex ideas effectively, and so on.

Once you've compiled the answers to the above, you are ready to ace the software engineer hiring process.


The Three-Step Framework on How to Hire a Software Developer

Step 1: Analyze Your Sourcing Options

Q1. Where can you find software developers?

When understanding how to recruit software engineers, note that you can hire them from a host of sources and fill your talent pipeline:

Source Description
 A. Personal Network
  • Direct networking with family, friends, and colleagues is critical to finding the right candidates, as a staggering 70-80% of jobs are not published
  • Referrals are the second most important source for quality hires
 B. Job Boards
  • A popular hiring source
  • Job board examples include Indeed and Glassdoor, which are home to millions of resumes
  • Recruiters can filter by skills, location, and experience to find the right talent fit
 C. Social Media
  • Social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter are good for finding software developers
  • As a recruiter, you must actively promote your company on social media to attract talent and place emphasis on the USPs of your company as compared to the competition
 D. Recruitment Agency
  • Comprise extensive databases of qualified candidates for you to choose from
  • Leveraging the services of an external headhunter or recruiter can cost you more as part of their fee
 E. Job Fairs and Workshops
  • Perfect for getting to meet and interview candidates in a short period of time
  • Recruiters can learn more about the candidates' skills and experience level
  • Before conducting a full-fledged workshop, pre-filter the candidates with an automated skills test 
 F. Professional Societies
  • Professional societies such as The Association of Software Professionals can also provide a steady stream of talent
 G. Conferences
  • Doubles up as a helpful place to discuss the jobs available at your company in person
  • Leverage the opportunity to build use cases for advanced, senior developers and prepare course-like content for junior developers
  • When presenting, understand how the audience will benefit from the presentation
  • Don't engage in live coding at a conference, as it can turn out to be a waste of time
 H. Hiring Events
  • Allows recruiters to showcase the company to newer software developers and build brand awareness
 I. Campus Recruiting
  • Colleges and universities offer a ready talent pool of software developers
  • Recruiters can visit campuses and meet students to learn about their skills, experience level, etc., and hire accordingly
 J. LinkedIn
  • The platform empowers hiring managers to filter candidates based on location, skills, experience level, and more
  • Recruiters must take time to:
    • Build the brand's reputation
    • Fill out the company's LinkedIn page
    • Post job openings 
    • Share engaging content
 K. Blogs + Open-Source Projects
  • Get onto GitHub to look at blogs and open-source projects and filter candidates based on their skill level
 L. Hackathons
  • Factor in additional costs such as food, prizes, drinks, etc.
  • To attract the right kind of developers, give your hackathon a theme


Q2. What are the different ways of sourcing a software developer?

The key to staying on top of your talent pipeline is to hire the right candidate while simultaneously creating a list of potentially good candidates.

This is why recruiters must balance their inbound and outbound sourcing strategies and create a robust talent pipeline.

A. Inbound sourcing – Involves activities such as:

  • Posting job ads on online job boards and social platforms
  • Developing the organization's career website
  • Building the employer brand
  • Conducting career fairs
  • Creating email campaigns
  • Building an employee referral program

Biggest limitation of inbound sourcing: Lack of passive candidates in the roster

B. Outbound sourcing – Comprises activities such as:

  • Driving outreach to an individual via cold calling or cold emails
  • Creating a pool of leads with the help of federated/resume search 

Biggest limitation of outbound sourcing: Pitfalls related to spam and the use of multiple resources to hire the right talent

If you are unsure about which sourcing method to go for, consider these tips:

  • Understand the type of organization you are hiring for (is it for a startup or a large-scale enterprise?)
  • Learn about the type of candidate to attract
  • Understand the kind of skills you'll need (whether niche or basic, as inbound sourcing is not a great option for niche skills)
  • Define the requirements and project end goals with clarity

Make sure to master the sourcing channel by arming yourself with the right information.



Did you know that iMocha can help you reduce your hiring time from 17 days to 7 days per role?



Step 2: Conducting an Accurate Interview + Assessment

When it comes to understanding how to hire a software developer, you need to remember two key components:

Component A: How to interview software developers?

Wondering about how to conduct live coding interviews? You need to leverage iMocha's Live Coding Interview feature.

This feature plays an instrumental role in selecting the right software engineer and eliminating bad hire options effortlessly.

How? By helping recruiters assess a candidate's coding skills in a real-world programming environment.

There are some prerequisites for joining a live coding interview that you need to keep in mind. The good part is that there are many robust coding interview tools you can choose from.

Instead of using the traditional whiteboard, hire experienced coders with iMocha's advanced live coding interview functionality.

You can also access detailed auto-generated reports post a Live Coding Interview and drive unbiased and informed hiring decisions.

Component B: How to assess software developers?

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when assessing software developers:

  • Do not solely focus on the resume and qualifications, as many seasoned developers may also be self-taught. Conduct an online coding test to gauge a candidate's coding skills. For instance, iMocha's coding simulator empowers managers to assess candidates' coding knowledge, analytical thinking, problem-solving, and logical approach capabilities.

    See how iMocha's coding simulator works
  • Provide candidates with real-world problems to solve: This will help recruiters assess candidates on talent and not just experience. Furthermore, they'll be able to hire 'clean coders who can engage in effective maintenance, troubleshooting, and updating codes.
  • Focus on the 3 C's: Creativity, Communication, and Collaboration: Apart from technical skills, a software developer must also possess sound soft skills. They should be able to drive creative thinking, work with greater collaboration, and communicate with extreme clarity. iMocha's AI-EnglishPro feature is great for recruiters looking to assess a candidate's reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills.
  • Make a list of the must-have skills that the candidate must possess: The software development world is constantly evolving as newer tools and technologies emerge. It can become challenging to lose sight of the end goal. This is why recruiters must make a list of the top 5 skills that the candidate must possess to complete the project and work with efficiency.
  • Assess for cultural fit: In addition to looking at the soft skills, it's important to assess whether the candidate would be a good cultural fit within the company or not.

Expert-Approved Tips to Remember While Interviewing the Candidate

Conducting a Live Coding Interview for candidates is not as complicated as it sounds. Follow these tips to get started on the right note:

1. Candidate-first approach: While conducting the live interview, most recruiters forget that the candidates are interviewing the company as well.

According to data, for 83% of developers, a negative interview experience can lead them to change their minds about a job/role they once liked.

On the other hand, for 87%, a positive experience can change their mind about a job/role they once disliked.

Clearly, recruiters need to hone their interview skills as much as candidates need to ace them—it's a two-way street in the field of software development.

2. Soft and technical skills: Don't forget to assess the candidate's technical and soft skills, such as their ability to:

  • Strike a balance between pragmatism and perfection
  • Fix bugs without getting flustered
  • Constantly and extensively test the code 
  • Gauge the business' objectives and goals
  • Speak up if the project does not require any form of code writing
  • Communicate complex ideas and not get too attached to their code, particularly if a better alternative exists
  • Simplify things 
  • Demonstrate industry knowledge 
  • Love all things code-related

3. Clear, concise communication: Another key point hiring managers must remember is that they should be able to answer all the business questions that candidates ask.

The recruiter must also be able to clearly explain the goals, functions, and objectives of the project (and the company at large).

Finally, they should be able to communicate about the career advancement opportunities available within the company and lay out a plan for the candidate.

Have questions on the Live Coding Interviews? Read our FAQs


Step 3: Driving Effortless Post Selection + Joining

The final and most important step is all about engaging the candidate post-selection but prior to joining. Here are a few best practices you can follow:

  • Stay in touch: It's paramount that recruiters stay in touch with the candidate once the interview is over. This is because the candidate may change their mind about joining the company if they get a better offer elsewhere. 
  • Focus on improving the joining rate: An extension of the previous point, recruitment managers must get the candidate excited about joining the company. There are multiple ways to do so. Here's an interesting example of how you can improve the hiring and onboarding process:

"A startup company in India surprised the new hire with a MacBook along with the offer letter. This smart move significantly increased the joining rate by 10x. Such an approach can help create a positive impression on the candidate and encourage them to accept the position." 

  • Provide personalized welcome goodies: Another strategy that works wonders is offering candidates elaborate welcome kits, which include handwritten cards, gift baskets, pens, notebooks, mugs, potted plants, granola bars, and more. Make sure to include items that reflect your company's values and culture.
  • Ask for feedback related to the hiring process: It's important to capture the candidate's opinions about their hiring experience. This will empower employees to be more productive, creative, and better aligned with the company's goals. You can roll out a survey that includes both open and close-ended questions.
  • Encourage completion of admin tasks early on: Ask the candidate to complete all their admin tasks before the first day. This will provide your employee with a head start. You can also provide the candidate with a centralized list of tasks they need to complete, such as activating email accounts, verifying personal details, and more.
  • Arm candidates with useful information: To make things easy, create a list of FAQs for the candidate, answering important questions such as:
    • What time to arrive?
    • What kind of dress code to follow?
    • Where to park the car?
    • What kind of equipment to get to the office?
    • Who to ask questions to?

Recruitment managers can create how-to tutorials as well as handy guides and post them on a centralized repository that candidates can access anytime, anywhere.

  • Send out calendar invites: To ensure that the candidate stays on top of the onboarding tasks and activities, send out calendar invites way ahead of time. You can also invite the candidate to the virtual team meets and catch-ups to instill a sense of belonging.
  • Introduce the new hire in a fun way: Finally, managers must think about how they would announce the arrival of the new hire. It can be on Slack, or they can send out a fun email with the candidate's introductory video. 

Recruiting Software Engineers is Easier with iMocha

Your search for selecting the right software engineer, leveraging a robust recruitment process, and embracing the right recruitment strategies ends here. 

iMocha is a skill assessment platform that allows recruiters to assess candidates:

Check out iMocha's skills tests

Recruiting the right developer is a challenging but rewarding experience. Take a cue from the tips outlined above and elevate your hiring quality.



Struggling to identify top software developers? Discover how iMocha can help you hire high-performing candidates while maintaining the organizational skills bar.




Q1. Is it hard to recruit software engineers?

Not necessarily. While hiring software engineers requires managers to assess a candidate's technical acumen and soft skills, it is not difficult if you have a few hiring tricks up your sleeve.

You also need to use the right kind of developer assessment tools to improve hiring quality, accuracy, and speed of hire.

Q2. Where to find good software developers?

There are hundreds of options from where you can hire experienced and professional software developers.

This includes recruitment agencies, Reddit, employee referrals, social media platforms such as LinkedIn, developer conferences, freelance platforms such as Upwork, Stack Overflow, Quora, and more. Read on to this blog to know about how to hire great developers for latest technologies.


Q3. What is the average time to recruit software engineers?

Generally speaking, the average time to recruit software engineers can be anywhere between two to four weeks. The timeline depends on how effective and speedy your hiring process is.

Q4. How much does it cost to hire a software developer/engineer?

According to Indeed, the typical salary of a software developer can be anywhere between $32,000 – $221,000 yearly based on their skills, expertise, and so on.

Another estimate by the  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the median salary of software developers is $109,020 per year (or $52.41 per hour). The cost to hire a freelance developer is $15–$30/hour, as per Upwork.

Q5. How to hire a software developer?

There are many ways in which you can hire software developers:

1. Hiring a software developer directly

2. Leveraging the services of a recruitment firm or a headhunter to do it on your behalf

3. Networking in industry events as well as software engineer conferences

4. Browsing through freelance portals, particularly if you want developers with niche skills

For smaller projects, you can go for freelance developers. Otherwise, for ongoing projects, consider hiring qualified employees. 

In terms of the qualifications to look at, consider the following:

  • University degree or relevant certification in technology or a computing field
  • Extensive industry experience and experience with relevant enterprises/startups
  • Knowledge in programming languages such as Java, JavaScript, Python, SQL, etc., and good testing knowledge
  • Good familiarity with key tools
  • Demonstratable soft and technical skills that will solve your unique project goals
  • Diverse skill sets that match your needs

Q6. How long does it take for companies to hire a software engineer?

According to research by Glassdoor, the average time taken to hire a software developer is 35 days.

Q7. What are some of the biggest challenges when hiring software developers?

Some of the biggest challenges of hiring a software developer include:

  • Access to a limited pool of candidates with the right (and relevant) technical and soft skills as well as certification
  • High recruitment costs, which include sky-high recruitment agency fees and huge cost per hire
  • Intense competition by companies with better offers
  • High salary demands
  • Lack of educational know-how and versatile skills that can match up to the project needs
  • Challenges related to candidate selection

Q8. Who hires software developers?

Generally speaking, high-tech companies such as Oracle, Dell, Microsoft, etc. hire software developers.

Additionally, Fortune 500 companies such as Proctor and Gamble, General Motors, Boeing, Mattel, NBC Universal, etc., also actively hire software developers,.

Software developers today are not just hired by tech companies. Non-technical companies hire them as well, depending on the company's needs.

Read on to this blog to know how you can use software development technical assessment to hire best developer.


Want to save 80% of your technical screening time? Try iMocha's technical interview tests and filter out irrelevant candidates.

Ankita Kharwal
Ankita Kharwal
Content writer by day and fickle reader by night. Ankita is a creative individual who is passionate about writing and enjoys finding new and interesting ways to engage with the audience. She is writing to support iMocha in its efforts to educate people all around the world about Talent Acquisition and Talent Development. When she is not writing, she is probably spending time with her family, reading a good book, or exploring the great outdoors.
Find me on:

Topics: Tech Recruitment

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