How to create an interview process for software engineers
If you want to attract top tech talent, nailing the interview process for software engineers is crucial. But where do you start?
If you’re eager to optimise your hiring strategy and find the best software engineering talent, you’re in the right place.
We’ve definitely seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of interview processes! So, here’s our advice on how to get it right first time.
Understanding the core of successful interviews
Before we dive into the interview process, you need to have a solid grasp of what you’re seeking in a software engineer.
Before you even write the job description start by defining the required skills and traits. What’s a must have? What type of person do you think will succeed in this role? What personality traits are you after?
Prioritise these aspects when you are creating your hiring strategy, making sure your interview questions and assessments are judging against this. As we’re sure most Software Engineers will attest to – there’s nothing worse than being assessed for irrelevant skills!
Our 3 step interview game plan
When it comes to interviewing software engineers, we’ve found that breaking it down into three stages works wonders: The introductory call, the technical assessment, and the cultural fit/team evaluation.
1. The introductory call: crafting a strong first impression
The initial contact with a candidate is far from routine—it’s a golden opportunity to showcase your role and assess mutual fit.
Whether it’s handled by a seasoned recruiter or the hiring manager, this call shapes the candidate’s perception of the journey ahead.
It’s not just about outlining the position and checking the role is a good fit for each party. You also need to align expectations, making sure everyone knows what to expect throughout the process.
2. The technical assessment: the true test of skill
Here’s where you find out whether the candidates know their stuff, or if they’ve been all talk!
Each company will have different requirements, so you need to take this into account when selecting how you assess a candidate’s technical ability. We recommend choosing from one of these three approaches:
Present them with a hands-on coding challenge resembling real tasks. This reveals their problem-solving abilities and coding skills. This could also be done as a paired programming exercise, which is great if you want to see how well they work with others.
Love them or hate them, the take-home test is still something to think about. However, make sure it takes no more than 2 hours to complete and is relevant to the work the candidate would be doing on the job.
Now this is our personal favourite. This is where you ask targeted questions to delve deep into their experience and skills. A great way to really understand how a candidate approaches problems. The secret sauce is in the questions you ask—tailor them to reveal the candidate’s expertise and practical knowledge.
If you want to hear more about the tech test debate, we sat down with a panel of experts on our Workplace 2.0 webinar to discuss whether they’re still fit for purpose.
3. The cultural fit evaluation: where values align
In the final stage, you have the chance to not just sell the position at your company, but also assess cultural alignment. Whilst we talk about ‘cultural fit’, it’s as much about what a candidate can add to your company’s culture as it is about fitting into it.
When it comes to ‘selling’ the role, this is your time to shine. Especially when the candidate has multiple options, showcasing your company’s unique values can be a game-changer.
Closing the loop: thoughtful feedback for all
Once the interviews finish, you’ve still got plenty of work to do!
For candidates who don’t make the cut, providing timely and constructive feedback is an absolute must. It’s a small gesture that can have a big impact. Even if they’re not the right fit this time, your feedback can steer their career journey in the right direction.
Onboarding: transitioning from candidate to employee
Once you’ve got your chosen candidate(s) who’s accepted the offer, the interview process doesn’t stop there. It gracefully transitions into onboarding, a pivotal phase.
A well-structured onboarding experience paves the way for a successful journey within your organization.
Luckily, we’ve created a complete employee onboarding checklist to help you out with this.
Need a helping hand?
For more comprehensive guidance on mastering the software engineer interview process, why not head to our blog – home to 100s of articles helping you hire tech talent.