Key Considerations Before Hiring Software Developers

February 16, 2024

Whether you’re thinking of hiring locally or going offshore, knowing these facts will help you hire software developers significantly easier. Read up and strategise your recruitment and hiring process based on these facts to best reach your target talent.

It’s statistically hard to recruit IT workers globally

According to ManpowerGroup’s 2018 Talent Shortage Survey, 45% of employers say they can’t find the skills they need. As for larger organisations, 67% of them have reported talent shortages. IT workers, which include developers, programmers, database administrators, and IT leaders, have consistently been listed as one of the “most difficult to fill” positions on a global scale for ten years now.

A 2018 Hackernoon article lists down the top reasons why it’s hard to fill these positions:

  • Lack of experience
  • Lack of hard skills/technical competencies
  • Salary demands that are too high
  • Lack of soft skills/workplace competencies
  • Lack of formal engineering education.

Related article: Cloud Employee Offers Alternative in the Midst of UK Hiring Crisis

The developers you want are already employed

Numbers from the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey shows that 97.5% of developers are currently employed. However, only 33.04% love their job.

In the US, 59.8% are not actively looking but are open to new opportunities, while 15.9% are actively looking for a job. The numbers are quite similar in the UK: 55.9% of developers surveyed are not actively looking but are open to new opportunities, while 11% are actively looking for a job.

These statistics from the 2018 Stack Overflow Developer Survey show that almost two-thirds of developers fall into the “passive candidate” type. These developers may be satisfied with their current positions, but they would be willing to talk with a recruiter once presented with a great offer.

Instead of just waiting around for active candidates to find your job ads, it’s also important for you to alter your hiring strategies to target these passive candidates. Focus on building and conveying your employer brand and coming up with competitive offers and benefits to effectively target these developers.

Employers are exploring alternative sourcing strategies

Aside from providing additional training and development for their in-house developers, employers are now looking at a variety of other solutions to find and to attract software developers. These strategies include recruiting outside the talent pool (36%), exploring alternate sourcing strategies (28%), providing additional benefits and perks to recruits (27%), and offering a higher salary package to candidates (26%).  

Related article: 5 Advantages of Hiring Web Developers Offshore

Most developers discover jobs through referrals

Basing again on the 2017 Stack Overflow Developer Survey, 26.8% of developers found their jobs through referrals from their friends, family members, and former colleagues. Experts say this is because software developers, like most people, want to work with people they already know.

This figure says a lot about the significance of tapping into your employees’ networks, especially as the competition for tech talents becomes increasingly fierce. Encouraging and promoting referrals in your company has a great potential of leading you to your next great software developer.

It’s also important to note that 17.9% discovered their jobs through headhunters and external recruiters, showing that recruiters are still effective in the recruitment and hiring process.  

Most developers self-studied a new language or tool

In Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey, over 60% of developers said they majored in computer science, computer engineering, or software engineering.

Aside from this, software developers engage in other types of education to equip themselves with the necessary skills:

  • 86.7% have taught themselves a new language, framework, or tool without taking a formal course
  • 48.6% have taken an online course in programming or software development (e.g. a MOOC)
  • 40.9% received on-the-job training in software development,  
  • 35.1% participated in a hackathon
  • 24.3% participated in online coding competitions (e.g. HackerRank, CodeChef, TopCoder)

When screening developers, look for self-learning skills aside from the technical expertise. Technologies will always change, so you’d want a software developer who is eager to learn new languages or tools.  

Compensation and benefits are important to developers when assessing a job

The same Stack Overflow report also revealed that developers prioritise the compensation and benefits when presented with a job offer. Here are the top factors that they look into when considering a job:

  • The compensation and benefits offered: 18.3%
  • The languages, frameworks, and other technologies they’d be working with: 17.3%
  • Opportunities for professional development: 16.0%
  • The office environment or company culture: 13.6%
  • The opportunity to work from home/remotely: 10.3%

Developers hope to work in a more specialised role five years from now

Finding software developers and hiring them means more than just providing them with tasks. A significant part of being a great employer is helping your software developers with their career growth.

About a third of Stack Overflow’s respondents said they want to work in a different or more specialised technical role in the future. 25.7% of the respondents (which are commonly developers younger than 25 years old) said they want to found or co-found their own companies, while 19.4% said they want to do the same work.

Now, how do I hire software developers?

What happens next?

As you rebuild your hiring process, it helps to consider the facts mentioned above. We also compiled two more tips to help you hire software developers more efficiently:

Be prepared to negotiate pay.

In fact, more than half of businesses have increased their salary offers to candidates last year. The competition for IT workers is fierce, so you have to be ready to use as many resources as you can to attract that elusive talent.

Be flexible with your criteria.

While formal education is a significant factor in a developer’s background, don’t be too strict with this criterion. Today, most developers are self-taught especially with new languages and frameworks, but that doesn’t make them any less of a developer than the others. Self-learning actually also means that they have the patience and the intelligence to pick up new things on their own. Don’t close your doors to self-learners.

Related article: Need to hire a programmer? Look for these traits