Need to Hire Software Engineers? Target the Right Skill Sets
- David Kerr
- Jun 09, 2016
You’re looking to hire one or more software engineers, but are you clear on what you really want when it comes to engineering talent? Do you know the best approach to guarantee you wind up with the best candidate? Every job has a set of skills associated with it, and if you take the time to target the right skill sets, you increase your odds of successfully filling a position the first time around.
Define Your Target You may not always know exactly who you need to hire right off the bat, but a good start is figuring out the minimum skill set you require for your team and working from there. And while well-educated or experienced software engineers may possess the technical skill sets you’re seeking, you’ll also want to get serious about how a potential hire will behave and fit in at your workplace. More companies than ever before are looking at these non-technical skill sets to determine whether prospects will fit into their organization’s culture.
A Thirst for Knowledge Nothing defines a software engineer superstar better than the trait of curiosity. Assuming a candidate has the specific tech skills you’re looking for, original thinkers who are self-motivated to solve problems or develop new techniques are likely to deliver great product. Look for candidates who work on personal or open source projects, which indicates a real passion for the work and a desire to share it with the world.
Problem Solvers Ideal engineers are focused on understanding a problem, use empirical thinking to identify root issues, and apply their knowledge, training, and experience to identify solutions that are innovative, efficient and effective. You can test problem solving abilities during the interview process by having several interviewers present different kinds of coding/algorithm problems to see if the candidate “gets it” and can offer a plausible or reasonable path to a solution.
Healthy Ego Humility may not jump to mind when considering skills sets, but engineering teams have been nearly destroyed by unchecked egos. Fear of failure, ridicule, or a sense of superiority can cause a team member to behave in destructive and counterproductive ways that are detrimental to your organization’s goals. The ability to work with others is a skill worth pursuing when interviewing candidates. You also want someone who can admit to mistakes, with the idea being that they learn from them, which in turn leads to significantly improved product.
The goal of any hiring process is to predict how candidates will perform once they join your team. That goal is best achieved by understanding beforehand what skill sets you want those candidates to possess and then making an offer to individuals who have the perfect combination of technical and personal skills that fit your company’s culture.