A 2022 Guide to Recruit Talented Software Engineers for Your Startup

Follow this 2022 guide to find your way around this over-saturated job market and recruit talented software engineers for your startup more efficiently.

They apply engineering principles and mathematical analysis to the design of software systems. They develop, test, and maintain application software. They make sure everything is running smoothly and optimized at every stage of the development process, and they consult with the users and stakeholders to maintain, modify, and improve software. Software engineers are is omnipresent in the day-to-day life of a startup and crucial to launching and maintaining businesses across all industries.

Why Do We Need Software Engineers?

Software engineers are now cornerstones of most small and large-scale businesses, highly sought after due to their proficiency in coding languages, such as Python, JavaScript, or Java, and strong analytical and problem-solving skills. Their areas of action are vast and can range from computer games to business applications, middleware, or even artificial intelligence software.

Even if software development is not an integral dimension of your company’s product or service, you will likely still need tech talent added to your team, whether for automation, website design, CRM, or quality assurance testing. In short, hiring software engineers is central to most startups’ strategy, regardless of industry and stage.

This means that software engineers are in high demand and are needed for an overwhelming majority of existing and emerging startups.

Is it Hard to Recruit Software Engineers?

Software engineers are indeed hard to recruit. Having more job openings than candidates, engineers and developers have the upper hand in this market. They are frequently approached by headhunters and recruiters and tend to keep looking for better opportunities even after securing a working contract.

Therefore, you will need to make a good case to attract and retain talent, which requires an understanding of both the job market and your startup’s added value.

Why Are You Having Trouble Finding Talent?

According to the US Bureau of Statistics, the demand for software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow 22 percent from 2020 to 2030, which is above the employment average. In 2020, it was estimated that software engineers in the USA earned on average $110,140 per year.

Despite being a high-paying career, companies struggle to find engineers to fill every job posting due to the sector's shortage of qualified professionals. They also struggle to secure lasting working relationships because of the high turnover in this sector. A LinkedIn survey found that tech companies dealing with software had the highest turnover rate in the whole job market in 2017.

Even with these possibly discouraging data, having solid software engineering systems is an unavoidable core structure for most businesses, crucial to avoid unnecessary complications with project development. The final verdict is that if you have a business, regardless of size and market area, you will likely need to hire software engineers and developers at some point.

Hire the right software engineers for your team with the help of Pareto

In this article, we will detail the best practices to navigate the possibly tricky hiring process of IT talent, especially directed at startups. Follow our tips and tricks to maximize your success rate.

Why Do Engineers Choose to Work at a Startup?

As we’ve seen, most software engineers will have multiple job offers to choose from. However, working at a startup brings some advantages that may give you a bit of a headstart. Learning why engineers could be more motivated to work in a startup versus in a corporate job could help you to attract and retain talent.

We have found five main factors that motivate software engineers to join startups:

  1. The work has meaning and impact. Not one among hundreds of workers, each team member’s work is crucial for the company ー and the individual contributions will be noticed and applauded. On top of that, if the product or service is early in development, it offers the unique and gratifying opportunity to actively participate in developing it from scratch and steer its direction.
  2. The work culture and internal processes are flexible. Unlike corporate jobs, that already have a pre-established work structure and culture, often with limited room for change, startups allow for experimentation and adaptation. Usually made by a small but highly engaged team, they allow each team member to play a significant role in building the basis of the work culture, as well as challenging existing processes.
  3. Creativity and proactivity are encouraged. Startups generally offer a very driven and motivating working environment with plenty of room to grow. A working environment that thrives as a hub for new and fresh ideas is exactly what some engineers are looking for to develop new skill sets, use new technology, and expand horizons.
  4. There is room to grow alongside the company. Team members are an integral part of the company’s structure and, in a way, responsible for its success. This brings great responsibility but also interesting possibilities to grow faster, especially when equity is part of the contract.
  5. Flexibility and remote work. Most software engineers appreciate the flexibility and autonomy that many startups offer. Plus, candidates favor work-from-home or hybrid models instead of more rigid working settings. Make sure to highlight if your work culture allows employees to make their own schedule, work from home, or prioritize projects according to their best judgment. In other words, apply the “once you hire someone, let them do their job” principle.

A motivating job has room for problem-solving, working to benefit others, and dealing with technical challenges. Engineers want to feel like their work is valuable and not be stuck doing mindless repetitive tasks, such as reading e-mails or attending corporate meetings.

Working in a startup offers variety, creative freedom, and constant learning opportunities, in a way that is not always true in multinational tech corporations. Startups are places of creative energy and can be a refreshing environment to escape the repetitiveness of corporate jobs.

When looking to hire engineers, highlighting the work culture, the mission, the opportunities for growth, and the varied nature of the tasks can be motivating factors to find the right people to join your team.

Where And How Can You Find Software Engineers?

Now that we hopefully understand the added value that can inspire IT talent to join the team at your startup, where can you find the right candidate? Talent acquisition is a fine and subtle art and many of its general principles do still apply. We will outline some of the specificities of this sector.

What Kind of Software Engineer?

It’s easy to have your job posting drowned by a sea of similar job openings. The first step in the hiring process is having a clear idea of what you are looking for. Only then can you have accurate and curated job descriptions with the requirements to reach your ideal candidate.

Are you looking for a software engineer to develop, test, and maintain software programs? Or do you need a front-end engineer to improve your website’s performance and work with CSS to vamp up its appearance? Tech jobs are often conflated, but you’ll need to understand the differences and assess the company’s needs to grant maximum success in finding the right fit.

Besides defining the right profile, you’ll want to maximize both your time and the candidate’s time by defining the specific skill set you are looking for. Some examples of skills you could highlight are:

  • Specific coding languages like Python, Java, C, C++, or Scala
  • Object-oriented programming
  • Database architecture
  • Cloud computing
  • Design testing and debugging
  • Specific knowledge of your industry
  • Interpersonal skills, such as teamwork, experience delegating, or good communication

You could also decide to require specific training, although this might limit an already limited pool of choices. Some qualifications you could ask for are:

  • Software Engineering Master Certification (SEMC)
  • Certified Software Development Professional (CSDP)
  • Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional
  • CIW Web Development Professional

Where Do Software Engineers Find Work?

Once you have defined the profile to look for, it’s time to know the right job listing websites, namely tech-oriented job boards. There are countless possible choices of where to advertise your job posting, but these 10 websites are a good place to start, whether due to their high traffic, their specialized nature, or the filtering options.

  1. AngelList offers an intuitive platform to connect startups with job seekers and is one of the websites of choice for engineers.
  2. F6S is focused on startup jobs and allows candidates to connect directly with recruiters and browse thousands of engineering jobs.
  3. LinkedIn, while not sector-specific, has unmatched traffic, and allows recruiters to communicate directly with job hunters and access detailed information on potential hires.
  4. HackerEarth hosts a community of 6.5 million developers and has 10+ years of helping developers look for a job.
  5. Dice is a paid tech job board with noteworthy traffic that allows both job posting and resume screening.
  6. TechFetch is a USA-based platform that offers job posting and resumes access for tech jobs.
  7. Ember Work is a free recruitment platform hosted by the open-source JavaScript resource Ember.
  8. Gun.io is aimed at remote opportunities for developers and pre-vets candidates and job offers before listing them.
  9. Angular Jobs is a job network catered to IT jobs that, while not particularly intuitive or easy to navigate, is free to post and allows filtering by coding language.
  10. Job Inventory is another free recruitment network that, while not tech-specific, gets high traffic and allows for filtering the results.

Browsing through these sites, the oversaturation of the sector will be notorious. Overlapping job openings multiply, which is why it is so important to be specific in defining the desired engineer profile and put your added value as a startup at the forefront.

Navigating multiple recruitment websites is an overwhelming and time-consuming task. At Pareto, we provide pre-vetted lists of the top candidates found across all platforms, while keeping your requirements in mind!

Are You Ready to Discover the Power of Pareto?

This process may take time and seem like a series of dead ends, especially if you’re not relying on third-party specialized services. Give your startup the best fighting chance by highlighting your mission and vision for the future, your work culture, and your plans to grow.

Stay Calm and Carry on… Recruiting With Pareto’s Help

Finding adequate engineers for your startup can be a daunting and time-consuming task, not to mention costly. Pareto takes care of browsing engineers' profiles and vetting candidates according to your criteria so that you can focus on building your team and growing your business.

Leave the time-consuming keyword resume screening, matching experience and skills to the job description, and browsing for valid contacts to us. Get a headstart in recruiting with weekly contact lists pre-vetted by experts and customized to your needs so you can skip right to interviewing the top candidates.

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