Quora Pixel
All posts Contracting Tips Developer Life Distributed Workforce Fractional CTO Hiring Strategy Screening Talent Sourcing

How Do You Hire Programmers?

Header image

If the thought of hiring programmers stresses you out, you’re not alone. The technical expertise needed to become a programmer doesn’t exactly overlap with other career choices. Programmers, known also as software developers or coders, are responsible for creating, testing, troubleshooting, and maintaining computer programs. If you’re looking to hire a programmer for your organization, you’ll want to find someone with sufficient proficiency with programming languages (C++, Java, Python, PHP, etc.), math, algorithm coding, as well as data science and structure. A candidate’s soft skills like communication, problem-solving, patience, and accountability are more easy to assess.

So, if you’re not a programmer yourself and are looking to hire one, what’s the best way to go about this? Luckily for you, it’s as easy as one, two, three:

  1. Define your needs
  2. Cast your net (strategically)
  3. Screen your candidates

While hiring programmers can seem daunting at first, especially for people who are unfamiliar with niche technology and programming languages, there are so many apps and services on the market today to simplify the process for even the most technically-challenged among us. The challenge becomes, then, finding programmers with the skills and experience best suited to your needs. As you begin your search to hire programmers, keep the following in mind:

Define Your Needs

There are plenty of programmers to choose from, but their expertise varies and you’ll find that most of the top tech talent is already spoken for, so to say. Keep your search manageable by defining your needs early on. Is your organization looking for a programmer to build out your site’s infrastructure? Do you need a cyber security specialist to consistently monitor your servers? A programmer could be anyone from a backend developer to a data scientist, mobile app specialist, full stack developer, UX designer, analyst, game developer, systems engineer, product engineer, and more. Simply put: if you aren’t specific with your needs, you’re going to be sifting through a lot of applications, many of which won’t apply to your open position. To further complicate things, depending upon your goals and projects, you may be looking for a freelance contractor or a full-time, on-site programmer.

By taking the time to check with your stakeholders, decision-makers, and affected departments, you can get a clear idea of what skills your candidates will need to succeed in their position. This way, whether you need a programmer who can create and maintain front-end software, a detail-oriented professional to monitor your systems and protect your organization against cyber threats, or a developer with specialized expertise regarding specific programming languages, you can target the right person with your recruitment.

Find Your Candidates

Depending upon your needs, you can join freelance networking sites like UpWork, Fiverr, Freelancer, or tech-specific talent networks like Esteemed or HackerEarth. If you’re looking to fill full-time positions, try sites like LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, and Glassdoor. Many organizations turn to tech recruiters that pre-screen candidates, so if you’re pressed for time or want to focus one hundred percent of your team’s resources on business growth (as opposed to hiring tasks), this might be a great route to consider.

A more hands-on approach to talent sourcing can also help you avoid bad hires. Sure, you’ll find talented programmers on LinkedIn and popular networking sites, but they’re also sitting behind your competitors desks, attending trade shows, and studying on college campuses. Sometimes the best candidates are the ones who aren’t actively trawling job boards.

Screen. Screen. Screen.

Speaking of pre-screening, now’s the time when we hop onto our proverbial soapbox to say: whatever you do, however you go about amassing a list of applicants and potential hires, do not skip the screening step. Screen your programmer candidates before they reach the final stages of the hiring process. If you choose the wrong person for the job, you’ll lose time, resources, and a considerable amount of money. The U.S. Department of Labor has calculated that the average cost of a bad hire can exceed 30 percent of the employee’s first-year earnings. What’s more, the CEO for employer branding agency Link Humans argues that the average cost of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and retaining a new employee is roughly $240,000.

A Robert Half International study from several years ago surveyed CFOs, hiring managers, and HR professionals. They discovered that 39 percent of CFOs reported lost productivity as a result of bad hires, and managers have to spend almost 20 percent of their time supervising poorly performing employees. Think about that for a second: if you’re working a traditional 5-day work week, you’re wasting nearly a full day supervising a bad hire instead of completing your own tasks.

Once you’ve posted a job opening for a programming position, expect to receive a very large volume of applicants. Whereas applications for other areas of your company can be filtered without the hiring team needing highly-specific knowledge, tech recruiting (especially when it comes to coding) requires technical expertise to screen candidates. If you’re unfamiliar with Drupal or JavaScript, how can you determine whether or not an applicant is proficient? Luckily, you won’t have to pull out a textbook for this. Once you have a list of potential candidates, you can screen them using skill tests and assessments — or by outsourcing to a screening-as-a-service company. (Here’s a great guide to screening tech candidates for anyone interested).

By filtering out top talent from mediocre tech professionals, you’ll be much closer to finding the perfect fit for your programming position (and reduce the likelihood of employee attrition).

Final Note

Hiring programmers can be stressful, especially if you don’t know much about coding. If you need to hire a talented developer and don’t have the time or resources to search for your own candidates, check out our network of pre-screened, highly-qualified, fully-vetted programmers and find a great fit in hours. Or, if you’ve already posted your job opportunity and have a thick stack of resumes waiting to be screened, try our screening service. Either way, you’ll drastically reduce your time-to-hire. Good luck!