Recruiting Software Developers – A Full Guide

If your company is looking for recruiting software developers, you’re not alone. The demand for these highly skilled professionals has never been higher. It will continue growing throughout the next decade. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job market for software developers will expand by 21% between 2018 and 2028. That growth is a more significant increase than the average for all employment categories. Why are software developers in such high demand?

As one pundit put it, today, “every company is a tech company.” Advancements in digital technology are disrupting entire industries. Almost every business faces the prospect of engaging in some degree of digital transformation or superseding in the marketplace. Therefore, the demand for software developers has skyrocketed.

Many companies today are finding identifying and recruiting talented software engineers for business-critical projects is one of their highest and most challenging priorities.

The current state of recruiting software developers employment marketplace

In today’s employment marketplace for software engineers, the demand far exceeds the supply in the United States. As one Glassdoor report puts it,

“Software engineers are among the most difficult candidates to hire.”

For the foreseeable future, the U.S. will not produce enough homegrown talent to meet its needs. That has a significant impact on how companies recruit and hire software engineers. Let’s look at some of those realities:

Companies are struggling to find the software developers they need

U.S. educational institutions are not turning out new software developers at anything like the rate needed. In 2017, U.S. colleges and universities awarded 41,793 computer science degrees. It is growing at a rate of about 18.3% per year, which might seem to indicate that we can expect the gap between demand and supply to close soon. However, according to TechRepublic, the number of unfilled U.S. programming jobs is expected to reach 1 million in 2020. Rather than diminishing, the shortage of qualified software developers is growing.

That makes it very difficult for many companies to recruit the engineering talent they require. Indeed, TechRepublic says that 83% of the members of a CIO panel they convened said their companies are struggling to find tech talent they need. Additionally, Computer Business Review reports that 65% of corporate technology leaders believe their inability to find qualified technical professionals holds their organizations back from their business goals.

Competition for good candidates can be brutal

Today’s software development professionals find themselves in the enviable position of having companies compete for their services.

The unemployment rate among software engineers in the U.S. hovers around 1.3%, an all-time low. Those who are actively seeking employment have, on average, four corporate suitors to choose from. As DaedTech founder Erik Dietrich has said,

If you are a software developer, “you might not even know what [job board] monster.com is, and that’s because you don’t have to go looking for jobs like other people.”

If your company is seeking to hire well-qualified software engineers, you’ll have to seek them out actively. They’re probably not going to come to you.

However, connecting with highly-coveted candidates can be a daunting task.

Many top software engineers actively resist being recruited

According to one recent survey, only 6.4% of software developers are currently seeking new jobs. That fact significantly increases the difficulty of the recruitment process. As DaedTech’s Dietrich somewhat cynically observes, in today’s climate, “the only way to find software developers is to go prying them loose from other firms.”

The relative passivity among the most coveted developers seeking to change jobs has led to a corresponding level of aggressiveness among corporate recruiters. The result is that well-qualified professionals often find themselves so bombarded with unwanted employment solicitations that they actively seek to avoid contact with recruiters. Dietrich describes how this often plays out from the developer’s point of view:

“Typically, when you hear from a recruiter, you’re more than likely to ignore them or politely decline their invitations. But, if you don’t — if you show some interest — suddenly they’ll start blowing up your phone with interviews on which they want to send you.”

In such an environment, just finding suitable candidates, let alone enticing them to accept a job offer, is a significant challenge.

Salary and benefit costs are high

The natural result of the acute shortage of qualified software developers is that the cost of that commodity has risen to a high level. According to indeed.com, the average U.S. software developer makes $109,063 a year in base salary, plus a $4000 cash bonus. Workers at the high end of the skill and experience scale can command considerably more. Software developers at Facebook, for example, average more than $186,000 per year.

What’s more, when tech professionals do consider changing jobs, they do so in expectation of receiving a significant increase in pay. According to the 2019 Dice Salary Report, that is the basic motivation driving 68% of those who enter the job market.

Finding and hiring qualified developers can take a lot of time

In today’s environment, it typically takes about 39 days to make a software engineering hire. That time frame can significantly lengthen if you’re looking for developers with more experience or specialized skills. DZone reports it’s not unusual for a company to require 8-12 weeks to hire a specialized team of developers.

The recruitment process can be quite expensive not only in direct financial expenditures but in time invested in employees of identifying and interviewing candidates. Additionally, it’s important to consider the costs of delays in getting critical projects off the ground.

Unqualified applicants clog the pipeline

According to the aforementioned Glassdoor report, small and medium-sized businesses must consider an average of 120 candidates before making an engineering hire. Additionally, about 45% of candidates turn out to be unqualified. This is especially true when posting on job boards. That typically generates numerous responses from applicants who simply don’t have the skills you require.

If you implement a well-designed recruitment process, most of these inadequate candidates will be quickly weeded out during the initial screening process.

Tips for improving your recruitment process

An in-depth overview of the hiring process is beyond the scope of this white paper. However, some often-overlooked practices can make your recruitment efforts more efficient and effective.

1. Carefully focus your outreach strategy

Activities such as placing job ads on the web, posting openings on job boards, or sending out cold-call emails to every developer you can identify have some utility. But they constitute a wide net approach that, while identifying some quality applicants, will also gather in many others who only waste your time because they lack needed skills and experience.

Other outreach avenues to consider include social media, professional networks such as LinkedIn, and programming communities such as GitHub. And, of course, you’ll want to be sure to have a great career page on your website, with not just a list of open jobs, but in-depth descriptions of what each position requires and offers.

But perhaps the best place to start your outreach is with referrals. They allow you to reach 84% of developers who are not actively seeking a new job, but who may respond when a good opportunity presents itself. Glassdoor reports that while only one in 128 of all applicants is hired, one in 12 of those initially approached through referrals ends up receiving and accepting an offer.

Many companies found instituting a referrals program where current employees receive a bonus for referring a hired candidate can significantly shorten the recruitment process.

Whatever mix of outreach methods you may employ, you should provide as much job-specific information as possible at first contact. That will maximize your chance of catching the attention of software developers who are not seeking a new job but are open to hearing about what’s available.

2. Sell the candidate on your company and the position

Sometimes interviewers are so intent on evaluating the candidate, they forget the candidate is also evaluating the company. Because high-quality developers often have (or expect to have) several positions from which to choose, you need to do all you can to ensure that your offer stands out.

Of course, you’ll want to be sure you are offering a fair salary and benefits package. Additionally, you should proactively answer questions like: How does this job fit into the mission of the company? Or, how does that mission impact the wider world? What are the opportunities for professional advancement and for learning new technologies and tools? What are the company’s culture and work environment like?

The interview process itself will communicate a lot about your company’s culture and values. It’s critical to make sure candidates have positive experiences.

3. Expedite the offer

What could be more frustrating than discovering the perfect prospect, but finding out they accepted an offer from someone else? A top-notch candidate may already be sitting on multiple offers before they set foot in your facility for an interview. Before they leave, you should make an offer if possible.

4. Consider using staff augmentation instead of hiring directly

Hiring good software developers can be a long and expensive process. The time your engineers and managers devote to the interview and evaluation process pulls them away from other work. This potentially delays their already short-staffed projects even more.

What if you could find a trusted partner that could identify, vet, and hire the software developers you need? What if you could find one all without taking a cent out of your recruiting budget? If that sounds impossible, it’s not. It is, in fact, exactly what can be accomplished using a staff augmentation approach.

With staff augmentation, you outsource the recruitment process to an external company. External companies specialize in providing contract tech workers to staff clients’ projects. The time and expense involved in finding and vetting candidates fall on the provider rather than on your company. As if they were permanent employees, contract workers are integrated into your project teams. You simply pay the provider a fee for the time each worker devotes to your assignments.

ParallelStaff can save you time and money on recruitment

ParallelStaff is a US-based global business process outsourcing provider. We specialize in staff augmentation and software development using a remote nearshore model. We recruit and provide HR management services for software engineering contract employees who work remotely, usually from Mexico.

STEM programs at Mexico’s educational institutions are turning out 130,000 highly trained engineers every year. Many well qualified and highly motivated Mexican software developers are available to work with U. S. companies.

ParallelStaff has more than a dozen years of experience working with this pool of talented individuals. This allows us to identify software developers with at least an 80% skills match to your requirements. This usually takes five working days. Since our developers have a minimum of eight years of professional experience, they are quickly adaptable.

We also ensure all of our developers are fluent in English. Our 90% acceptance rate testifies ParallelStaff’s success in supplying highly qualified workers who consistently meet our clients’ needs.

ParallelStaff can help take the struggle out of hiring the software developers you need. Additionally, we can substantially reduce the time and money your company has to devote to recruiting.

If you’d like to know more about how ParallelStaff can supply your company with top-notch software designers and engineers at minimal cost, please contact us.

Janell Picon

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