Software Engineers Have New Ways to Land Jobs

When I first got out of school, the hiring process for my business school graduate friends looked like the hiring process for my software engineer friends.

You submitted a resume and cover letter; the phone screen; one to four in person interviews; and finally the hire or the “sorry, you’re not a fit for us right now” phone call. Sure, there were variations. Some of my business school friends were asked about CapEx ratios and my software engineer friends were asked how to move Mount Fuji ten feet to the left, but the basic process was the same.

Have you encountered a new technique a company used to hire a software engineer? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.  

Now there are some companies that are trying to change that.

There are a few systemic problems in hiring software engineers. First, demand in many areas hugely outpaces supply. In places like Boston, Silicon Valley, New York, RTP in North Carolina, and other places, there are dozens of engineering jobs that go unfilled for six months or more, simply because it’s hard to find good engineers to fill them.

Second, it’s really hard to know if someone is a good engineer based on a resume and some coding problems. Much of what makes a really effective engineer is the ability to work effectively on a team, the ability to work in an existing code base, patterns and habits that they use, and ability to learn new technologies (and recognize when to use them and when not to!).

So how do we find the good engineers who are on the market? Some companies are trying to help out:

TopCoder hosts online coding competitions, which it uses as a recruiting and evaluation tool to bring great coders to the attention of companies like Google and Facebook.
Quixey also runs online coding competitions focused on bug fixing and speed. Winners are often recruited by the company.
Github defaults profiles to the public, including all open source contributions. Companies are increasingly looking at this to see your work and how you work with others.
StartupWeekend and hackathons bring coders and business types together to show off for each other over a day or so, with the goal of meeting people you want to work with later.

All these companies have one underlying goal: to provide engineers with a forum to show off their skills and help companies make good hiring decisions based on the work… not a coding problem and a conversation.

What new hiring tactics have you encountered?

No Responses to “Software Engineers Have New Ways to Land Jobs”

  1. MIT Developer

    There is not a single market where there is a shortage of engineers or software developers. Of course, there are companies with unrealistic expectations, low ball salaries, or just flat out bad reputations/bad work environment. If you can’t find quality engineers, it is your own fault. Update YOUR skills.

  2. Catherine Powell

    MITDeveloper, having been a hiring manager in Boston for the last 8 years, I think I’m going to keep disagreeing with you. Some companies certainly do make it harder on themselves by building a bad reputation or asking for rates well below market, but many don’t – and they still have a hard time hiring.

  3. What percentage of IT is even close to the type of programming ability that Google, FaceBook, etc. are seeking? I suspect much of it is rather unexciting, although rewarding in its own way, and certainly will provide a career and ability to pay the bills. It seems the MEllenials are fixated upon the need to develop the next killer app that will “change the world”. Sadly it seems the FaceBoogle-esque questions are being adopted by every tech manager seeking to hire a genius.