Finding the Right Talent for Your Software Development Team

There has never been a better time to be a developer! It seems like every business wants to add to its software development team.

With so much demand, top developers can be very picky about who they do business with. People have noticed this, and many are transitioning into software development careers.

With picky top talent and inexperienced developers entering the market daily, finding the right talent for your software development team is hard.

Because demand is so high, your job offering needs to speak to the individual developer you’re hoping to hire. Generic job ads in general-purpose job boards won’t cut it.

Developers know how in-demand they are; even new developers aren’t scared of moving if things aren’t the right fit.

Not all is lost, read on and you’ll be growing your software development team in no time.

Understand the Makeup of Your Software Development Team

The first challenge is to understand the makeup of your current development team. When you know your team, you are in a better position to find others who will be a good fit.

Here are five questions to help you understand your team:

  • How diverse is your team? We know that diverse teams make better decisions. Hires that make the team more diverse will have long-term positive impacts. In what ways are your team not diverse right now?
  • What is the team’s goal? What are you focused on? How is this goal measured?
  • How is knowledge shared within the team? Is there a culture of documented decisions or discussing in the open?
  • Which development methodologies are your software development projects using? Have you adopted Agile practices? Do you follow Lean principles?
  • What is the experience level of the team? Is your team comprised of subject matter experts, or is it full of new coders?

Use these answers to help guide your next hire. For example, if your team isn’t great at documenting decisions, don’t hire a remote junior developer. Some work would need to happen to get the team to the position where hiring such a person would be possible.

Look for the Gaps in Your Software Team

Which gaps does a new hire need to fill for your team? Knowing this will help narrow down the types of people you need to be looking for.

There are two types of gaps you can fill: role-based and skills-based.

Role-based gaps are job titles missing from your team. Here are some examples: 

  • Team Lead – Is your team missing someone who can take the lead on technical decisions and help unblock the other developers? A Team Lead can help with these types of tasks.
  • Delivery Manager – Are delivery targets set and met? Are the stakeholders kept informed of product changes? If not, a Delivery Manager might help improve this.
  • Architect – Are your developers struggling to understand how their software fits into the big picture? An Architect can help map out what this could look like.
  • Developer – Do you need more code? Then you might need more people in your software development team.
  • Designer – Is the usability or design of your product as good as it could be? Designers are crucial to great software development teams.
  • Tester – If testing is taking up too much developer time, or mistakes are making their way to users, a tester could help.
  • Product Owner – Is your team producing lots of stuff, but you aren’t sure if it is the right stuff? A product owner can help you understand what is essential.

Skills-based gaps are harder to hire for because they don’t always have a clear job title. For a software developer, here are some skills your team might be missing:

  • Accessibility – Making software that is usable by people that work with assistive technologies is a unique and essential skill.
  • Performance – Having your website or software be fast loading and require the fewest resources will both make and save you money.
  • Scalability – Going from 10 users to 10,000 has unique challenges that someone with a background in scaling software would have.
  • Security – Keeping your users and their data secure should always be top-of-mind. As software changes, so do the security concerns associated with it.

Knowing the types of skills you need will help target who you are looking for. If you need a security-conscious team lead, you will look in different places than when looking for an accessibility expert.

The skills you are missing aren’t always clear. Look for patterns of issues raised during retrospectives and 1-on-1s.

Once you have an idea of the type of roles and skillsets you need, you can use this information to start searching for candidates. 

But, there is one more question to consider before you search: Should you hire permanent developers or contractors?

Hiring Permanent Software Developers vs Contractor Developers

When it comes time to decide if you want to hire contractors or permanent members of staff, here are some important considerations.

Contractors will cost more per day but have a fixed start and end to their time with you. Full-time members of staff need to get paid each month regardless of what work is coming their way.

Contractors are generally self-sufficient and can get up to speed to deliver value. There are fewer ongoing managerial concerns with contractors. You don’t need to do yearly performance reviews, for example.

Permanent staff will need extra onboarding but will have a positive impact on your company for years to come.

You will have an easier time hiring experienced contractors and new permanent staff. Developers new to the industry want the security of a permanent position. Those with more experience often move into contracting.

The opposite is also true. It takes longer to find experienced permanent members of staff or junior contractors. People who enjoy job security build roots in companies and don’t move around too often. There aren’t that many people who contract without the experience of working as a permanent employee for several years.

When you have decided if you need permanent or contractor software developers, you can start looking for your new hires.

Where to Find Talent for Your Software Development Team

Now you are in great shape to start looking for talent to expand your software development team! With all the due diligence suggested above complete, you can make the most out of the resources below.

If you are new to recruiting, we have dedicated articles all about recruitment to help get you up to speed.

Job Boards

Job boards come in all shapes and sizes. The more niche the job board, the better your chances of finding someone who will be a good fit. You can only go niche once you know what you’re looking for.

Some great developer job boards include:

Your Network

Don’t underestimate the power of your network and the network of your existing team. Recommendations, so long as they fit the criteria you’ve already set out, are a great way to speed up hiring.

Recommendations work so well because they are generally mutual. If someone recommends a developer, the person getting recommended is going to be happy about the idea of working with them again. 

Using your network could also mean passing on an email address or posting about the job on your social media channels.

Hiring Developers Takes Time

Hiring takes time. With each job ad you create, with each interview you have, you will learn something about what will work for your team and what won’t.

Have you had experience hiring developers into a software team? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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