If you’re wondering how to hire your dream engineering team, you’re in luck! Today, we’re going over the important things to consider when recruiting candidates.
We’ll admit right now that recruiting a “Dream Team” of engineers is no simple task. Engineers are among the most in-demand professionals today. The best ones are usually taken already!
But engineers are also often on the lookout for new and better offers. While that can make retention a problem for some companies, it spells opportunities for others.
Besides, if you know what to consider in the recruitment process, recruiting great engineers becomes much easier. It’s the difference between spending 100 hours sifting through candidates and 10 hours doing the same thing!
Our goal is to help you move nearer the 10-hour mark than the 100-hour one. For that, you just need to take a look at these things to consider when hiring a dream engineering team.
1. Your Needs
This should be a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many recruitment managers miss it. They just think of getting the most experienced engineers with the shiniest resumes or degrees.
Why is that a problem? Because they should be thinking of getting the ones most experienced in the tasks for which they’re being hired.
That’s why hiring the best engineers starts with defining the job role and expectations. Getting this wrong may result with you ending up with an engineer who’s great on paper, but can’t really contribute much to your company.
The idea is to take stock of your business. What does it need? What skills are required for it to grow?
Different projects and different companies may need different engineers. What’s more, a company’s “Engineering Dream Team” can change over time!
For example, startups tend to benefit most from hiring full stack developers. These talents have expertise across a range of tech stacks, yet are able to dip into specific areas of development if they need to for the startup’s projects.
It’s different for companies that are already established. They tend to need both full stack engineers and specialists, i.e. engineers who can address high-urgency or vulnerable areas of the company’s team.
So, figure out what your business needs right now. Talk to other members of the company about it until you come up with descriptions for these:
- Job Title and Role
- Necessary Skills for Candidates
- Bonus Skills for Candidates (skills that they don’t need but would value add to the team)
Remember that what you set has to be justifiable. Don’t list something as a necessary skill if you can’t explain why it’s necessary for the position!
2. Self-Management & Seniority
Take some time to consider whether or not an engineer needs to be managed. Ideally, you want to hire people who don’t require constant supervision.
Steve Jobs put it well: “The greatest people are self-managing, they don’t need to be managed. Once they know what to do, they’ll figure out how to do it.”
There are multiple advantages to self-managers, you see. They take initiative to solve problems themselves and can even help ensure most conflicts are solved internally.
They also handle their workloads efficiently because they know how to manage their own time. This reduces the amount of back-and-forth between them and their actual managers.
Moreover, they tend to value accountability, resourcefulness, and flexibility. That’s because self-managers tend to have the makings of leaders themselves!
If you have a team composed of self-managing employees, they save time and effort for managers and ultimately, each other. Because they understand how to manage their work within the team, they’ll also work more cohesively than others would in a group.
As for seniority, it’s generally advisable to look for engineers who are already equipped with the expertise and skill sets you need for the projects in your pipeline. There are definitely amazingly promising junior engineers out there, but it may still take time for them to learn the ropes and deliver quality work independently.
If you’re hiring for a “Dream Team”, you want someone who’s already shown brilliance and can sustain it with years of in-the-trenches knowhow.
What’s more, senior engineers are often better at self-management than junior ones, especially since they’ve had more practice at it.
3. Technical & Problem-Solving Skills
You want engineers with the technical skills that your business needs. That means asking candidates to do coding tests or assessments and giving them similar tasks in calls.
The assessments you give will be dependent on your company, of course. But screening methods like that used by entrepreneur Eric Ries may be helpful no matter your industry.
Ries states that he asks candidates to give him an algorithm for drawing a circle on a pixel grid, which typically leads to Bresenham’s circle algorithm.
That algorithm isn’t what Ries is interested in, though. Rather, he wants to see how candidates problem-solve and work with him towards a solution.
This helps him get an idea of how candidates would do in a team, when they decide solutions to be sufficient, whether or not they need feedback to work, and so on.
All of that tells you how an engineer would work as part of a development team. In addition, it gives you an idea of his (essential) problem-solving skills.
It even relates to what we said earlier about looking for self-managers! Good self-managers are good problem-solvers, because they know how to work towards solutions after being given a goal.
4. Soft Skills
Soft skills refer to things like adaptability, motivation, dependability, etc. Basically, they’re all those other non-technical traits that go into making someone a good employee.
Now here’s the important thing to remember about soft skills: they may be soft, but they’re crucial.
You see, you’re building your dream team, not a collection of Lone-Wolf pods. You need a team of engineers who can work together and deal with curve balls collectively as well as gamely.
Consider one of the key soft skills, adaptability. How can you launch successful projects with engineers who can’t adapt to new challenges or situations?
That’s what senior engineers (especially ones at startups) do all day!
It gets even worse if the soft skill an engineer lacks is collaboration. How will you pull off cross-team projects or tasks with them?
That’s why you should always consider engineers’ soft skills. Believe it or not, they make a big difference once the team starts operating.
5. Your Recruitment Sources
Making sure you get great candidates from the beginning is half the job done when hiring a dream engineering team! It will limit the amount of screening you have to do, which means you’ll have less work on your hands.
Now, there are several options available here. You can post on job boards and make your posting very specific, so as to narrow down the field early on.
You can even put out a call for candidates on your network. Some companies actually prefer to hire by referral, so this is their preferred method of gathering candidates.
But an even easier way to do it would be to use a service like Skilledd. The Skilledd platform lets you specify your exact requirements for your ideal hire, after which it matches you to the best possible candidates for the role.
Candidates are even matched to the level of skill and experience positions you need. Skilledd puts all talents through a thorough screening and evaluation process before recommending their profiles to you.
That means they’ve been tested for technical skills, soft skills, personality traits, and more - they’ve been pre-qualified even before they get suggested to you.
Find out how Skilledd can help you hire your dream engineering team as quickly and effectively as possible. Look up Skilledd’s platform for employers to try it out yourself!