Being on the hunt for a software developer is kind of like being in the volatile, uncertain world of dating. You’re supposed to make quick, significant decisions based on surface level observations and hope that it evolves into a lasting relationship.
But there’s a significant difference — heartbreak in dating leaves you in a week-long Netflix and ice cream binge, and you’re back on track. Heartbreak in software development leaves your project behind schedule, your team in disarray and in dire need to quickly fill the empty position.
A common mistake that recruiters make is overly focusing on the technical skill of the candidate, instead of his problem-solving skills, adaptability, creativity, and capability to work in a team. When recruiting, screen for these qualities as well — a short one-to-one conversation should do the trick.
Trust your instincts
If the candidate seems difficult and uncooperative, that’s likely the case. People like that can seriously hurt the team synergy and the project itself, so give it another thought. A slightly less experienced but more cooperative developer is likely to benefit you in the long run.
By all means, hire a headhunter. These people know the ins-and-outs of the business, they know the scene, and they more than likely already have a pool of candidates one of which might suit your needs. But there are more hands-on, and less expensive methods of recruiting, potentially saving you a lot of money.
Sponsor a hackathon!
Not only will you be able to set the rules and screen for the specific skill sets you need, but you’ll see how potential recruits work under pressure, tight deadlines and constraints. Also, it’s a great way to assess creative thinking abilities.
Get involved in the open-source community
While open-source developers are usually considered idealistic enthusiasts with little real development skills, they are creative, agile, and valuable. Most importantly, they’re great team players.
Great place to work
But most importantly, make your company a great place to work. A good reputation spreads fast and is the highest incentive a software developer can have to join you, and it immensely expands your recruitment pool.
But remember, being a great place to work isn’t about offering free coffee, vintage pinball machines, and slides. It’s about offering a relaxed, creative working environment, as much flexibility as possible and a respectful attitude towards your developers’ personal needs. An atmosphere in which developers feel that they meaningfully contribute to the project and the company. That’s what draws great people in.
The free coffee doesn’t hurt, though.