Two men shaking hands.

Hiring good developers or software engineers can be a herculean effort. As it goes when hiring anyone, the best way to get what you need for your company is to hire the right people the first time around. This not only refers to finding people with the right level of experience, but also knowing what your company’s needs are. This can take a lot of foresight and brainstorming, especially when opening a new position. Then, when applicants roll in, you have to make sure you get the right information in the interview. It’s a lot of work.

You have a lot of options regarding software developers, so we want to walk you through some of your options so you can make the best decision possible for your team.

Ways to hire a developer

Before we get into what to look for in a developer, we need to go over the options of hiring software developers. 

First, you could hire internally, if you have someone already on your team that can adequately fulfill the role of a software developer. If you’re looking to hire externally, you can hire a recruiter to look for developers if you don’t want to wait for candidates to apply. This might net you results a bit quicker than the latter option, but recruiters are brutally expensive. They often charge at least 25% of the position’s yearly salary, and in this industry, it’s usually more. For example, if you’re hiring for a position that pays $50,000 annually, you should expect to pay a recruiter at least $12,500 to fill that position. A five-figure bill is nothing to sneeze at for most companies, but you can make that call for yourself. Again, this is about your company’s needs and capabilities.

Searching for Soft Skills: 

Unfortunately, knowing how you want to hire someone isn’t enough. You still need to determine the best candidate for the job after you get people walking through the door. Paying attention to their soft skills (their ability to fit in at a workplace) is crucial. 

When hiring software developers, you’ll need to think about how they will integrate with your company, and here are some great questions to get you started: 

  • Do they seem like they will gel with your business and the rest of your team? 
  • Do they seem like a good fit with your company culture? 
  • Are they humble? Will they take their peers’ or your feedback? 
  • Are they motivated? 
  • Do they exhibit proper manners? 

This may seem like a lot to keep track of, but we generally make these judgments on people soon after meeting them. Red flags in these departments are quite easy to spot and shouldn’t be ignored: soft skills are often the reason you hire or promote an employee, even above their technical expertise.

Development is not simple, regardless of the approach to it. When hiring software developers, it’s a worthy time investment to conduct thorough interviews to ultimately find someone who can accept feedback and strive to improve their work. Even if it takes five interviews with someone, don’t sleep on determining soft skills. Your patience will be rewarded!

Assessing Technical Skills

Although soft skills are critical, The right technical skills are vital. It’s worth your time to understand your candidate’s technical skill set. Focus more on elements of their career than if they can program in your preferred language. Take it a step further: ask them questions that demonstrate they understand the fundamentals of programming, like algorithms, data structures, design patterns. 

Taking the time on the front end to learn their level of development skill can save you some time in the long run. Better yet, try to find someone who has those technical skills and can translate them to your specific industry. If you can, limit your candidate search to people with experience in your vertical.

Types of developers

After all these considerations, there is still the issue of the type of person who could walk through your door for an interview when you’re hiring software developers.

Senior Developers: 

You may meet with a senior developer, who probably has many years of experience in coding and web development. The problem is senior developers are subject to a notoriously high turnover rate. It can be difficult to find them, and if you do, it can be difficult to keep one at your company for a long time.

Junior developers: 

On the flipside, junior developers may have less experience or coding skill, but they may stick with you longer (perhaps up to five years). Especially if you provide a strong culture, training & learning opportunities, and mentorship.  Overall, it could be simpler to integrate them with your team, but be sure to take your time and find someone who exhibits the soft skills we mentioned above. Find someone humble, willing to learn and work, and with a go-for-it attitude. As you interview them, pay attention to the types of questions they ask you. Are they asking good questions?

After your interview is complete, check out their GitHub account, if they have one. As GitHub is a source code management platform, you can easily see how they’ve contributed to the industry at large.

Freelance developers: 

You may also end up finding a freelancer when you’re hiring software developers. Freelancers can easily be a good fit to your team, but like with the rest of the options, there are a few caveats. 


First, developers can simply be snarky and intense. We couldn’t tell you why, but this is just how it is sometimes. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if they have a good track record, but of course, don’t go for total jerks. When it comes to freelancers, it’s a great idea to get some contacts and references for their work. 

Work commitments: 

You should also see what their commitment level is; if they tend to overcommit like we used to, this could cause trouble for you later on if you choose to hire them. They should be ready to own their mistakes and improve by learning from them. 

Experience and blogs:  

For any candidate, check for a blog! You can not only gauge what their current projects are, but you can even check their writing — their writing skills probably indicate their overall communication skills. If they’re writing about the technologies, and challenges they’re facing, you know they’ll have real world experience that will give you a sense of their soft skills and technical skills. There are pros and cons to each option we listed, so find the path that suits your needs best. 

Why hire Steele?

As we’ve emphasized, we want you to go about hiring software developers in the way that best suits your company’s needs. But we certainly wouldn’t be disappointed if you felt Steele would best suit your needs. At Steele, we’re ready to send two or three of our developers to help support your team. We are ready to help support teams with immense amounts of vertical knowledge (deep knowledge in a particular subject) by offering our expertise in different areas.

When we’re hiring for our team, we focus on eager, intuitive junior developers (often right out of college) and help them hone their skills as a group of Yodas training a bunch of Lukes. As we find candidates, we engage them in challenge sessions to test their soft skills. We focus on hiring the right individuals for our team so we can serve your team better.

As we’ve written before, we aren’t interested in taking on every project we can. Instead, we want to help businesses around us make the best choice for themselves when it comes to their custom software needs. We would love to help everyone we can, but our hope for this blog post is not just to promote ourselves a little bit. Instead, we hope it points readers looking to hire software developers in the right direction — to put them on the right path for their business.