Building a Development Team: How to Attract, Hire & Retain Software Developers

by | Leaders Lunch, Tech Employment

What attracts software developers to a company — and what makes them stay? This was the first of two topics we discussed at our latest Leaders Lunch, held on August 29, 2019.

John Boone, the President of ProFocus Technology, moderated the roundtable discussion of Portland-based software development leaders. Below, we’ve rounded up the tips, best practices, and lessons shared during our discussion.

Click to read part two — KPI Best Practices for Development Teams.

Best Practices for Attracting, Hiring & Retaining Software Developers

While people want to be compensated fairly, it’s not the only factor.

Our experts shared that people join — and stay with a company for the intrinsic value of the job, not so much for compensation. Some of the factors that attract developers and keep them around include:

  • Cool projects — people want to be excited about the things they’re working on. 
  • Co-workers who are intelligent and driven.
  • Giving developers authority — they want to have the power to make things happen. 
  • People need to feel that their efforts are making an impact. and that their work is meaningful. 
  • Job security – does your company have frequent layoffs?

What else can companies and managers do to attract, recruit, and retain talented developers? Here are some of the tactics our experts recommend:

Give back. Contributing to the community helps make people aware of your company.
Be enthusiastic. The manager’s enthusiasm for the company and projects is critical in recruiting top developers.
Sell your brand. Communicate the key selling points that make your organization a good place to work.
Have managers be responsible for recruiting team members. HR should help and assist but the manager should retain responsibility.
Think long-term. Managers should cultivate a list of talent over years and hire them over time.
Move quickly. If you move slowly through the hiring process they will get hired by someone else before you get the chance.
Team relationships matter. Good people stay with a company because they like the people they work with.

Try These Two Developer Interview Tips

An interview structure to try: Ask every candidate the same 5 questions about each job they have had. These questions might include things like, “What did you accomplish at that job?” and “What would the hiring manager say about you?” 

You might be surprised by the things you can learn — and the red flags that can come up.

A different approach to whiteboard tests: One leader shared that when their company does a whiteboarding test, the manager does the typing of the code. The interviewee says what to code and the manager writes it down. They have found this to be effective.

To learn more, read our complete guide on How to Hire Great Software Developers. 

For part two of our discussion, click here: KPI Best Practices for Development Teams

If you are a Software Development leader and would like to be involved in future roundtable discussions, please send an email to [email protected] with a request to be invited to upcoming Leaders Lunches.

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About ProFocus

ProFocus is an IT staffing and consulting company. We strive to connect a select few of the right technology professionals to the right jobs.

We get to know our clients and candidates in detail and only carefully introduce a small number of candidates that fit the role well.