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5 Tips for recruiting software engineers

September 21, 2022

Engineers are the backbone of modern companies. Every company – both in the tech industry or otherwise – has a software and data component that requires engineers. Has the way recruiters source for engineers changed over the past year?

The headlines declare that college degrees are no longer a requirement with bootcamps and certifications on the rise, but we found the opposite in actual search data on the Findem platform. So, what are recruiters looking for in evergreen engineering roles today and how can you find top talent that other companies are missing? We dig into the data to help you optimize your sourcing for engineers.

Why attributes matter in a competitive workforce 

The US economy has shifted a lot over the last two years. Remote and hybrid roles have skyrocketed, layoffs at tech companies and resignations at an all time high, the increasing importance of diversity, people eager to make big career changes… the list goes on. 

For recruiters, this all boils down to one thing: competition is fierce. 

Knowing what attributes competitors are searching for gives you a recruitment edge. Findem data allows you to shift gears, find the talent that isn’t on other recruiters’ radars, and turn those offers into new hires. 

The current search profile for software engineering roles

The top sourced roles on Findem are software engineer and senior software engineer. We compiled search attributes in the following chart to show what most recruiters use to find talent. 

Experience with ‘software as a service (SaaS)’ was the most important attribute. This was followed closely by educational benchmarks including degrees and a computer science concentration. 

Next came stage relevance for company experience. Recruiters aim to bring on engineers who have experience with similar companies at a similar growth stage. Findem Magic lets you find a software engineer who was at a company before IPO, even if the company is a tech giant today. Uncovering that preference can have a major impact on response rates. 

‘Verified code contributions’ is another attribute that can be searched for with the power of Findem. This search triangulates data across Github and other digital platforms to extract the verifiable experience of each candidate.

The top attributes searched shifted significantly from Q2 2021 to Q2 2022, as outlined in the following chart.

Specific programming languages dropped as a search requirement in 28% of searches to 14%. While Findem Magic including the stage of the company, seen through an exit, and seen through an IPO went from 19% to 28% of searches.  

Despite the headlines, education requirements increased with a bachelor's degree or equivalent included in 40.25% of searches. However, searches with a CS or STEM focus declined, which suggests that the degree is more important than the specific area of study.

A master’s degree or equivalent rose by a significant 21% to be included in 33.59% of searches. Meanwhile, years of experience decreased by 12-35% depending on the category (with the exception of at least 1 year at the current company). 

So in a nutshell, what are companies looking for today when recruiting engineers? SaaS experience with a degree, experience with a company at a similar stage, and at least one year at their current company. 

5 tips for recruiting software engineers

This data offers recruiters a unique window into the recruiting landscape for engineers today. Here are five tips you can use to connect with talent that your competitors may be missing.

1. Proactive pipelining

Sourcing for engineering roles by skills instead of years of experience level helps you widen your outreach. You can level them based on your own assessment and uncover talent who would otherwise not apply for a role. With the right onboarding and preparation, you’ll be better prepared to bring on top talent who can get the job done.

2. Improve response rates

Writing effective recruiting emails can have a massive impact on response rates. Set your emails apart by highlighting candidates’ unique skills, personalizing each email by the attributes that align to your mission, value, and stage. (Check out these cold recruiting email templates.)

3. Gain a competitive edge

With the rise in remote and hybrid work, you can widen your talent pool by expanding the geographical requirements of each position. Other levers to pull are refining your ‘must have’ attributes vs. ‘nice to have’ attributes, and setting your company apart from the competition in all communication. Make sure you have a plan to close candidates remotely.

4. Reconsider requirements

Does your position really require a bachelor’s degree in computer science? A lot of recruiters are moving away from the CS major. Different areas of study add cognitive diversity to your team. If you’re able to verify candidates’ skills in other ways – like code contributions – you can significantly open up your talent pool. Searching for specific skills could be limiting your pool. Consider if there are adjacent skills to search for or other ways to measure a candidate’s potential value. 

5. Leverage Findem Magic 

Findem’s powerful sourcing software makes it easy for recruiters to hone in on hyper-specific attributes in their sourcing. That’s why we see such a long tail in our attributes list. A few examples are ‘verified code contributions’, ‘seen a company through an exit’, and ‘saw a company from Series A’. When you search for attributes that other companies aren’t able to, you uncover hidden pools of talent that match your needs. 

Recruiting engineers in turbulent times

Recruiting engineers in 2022 has changed and there are many talented people looking for the perfect next step in their careers. It’s important for recruiters to continue to adapt to the changing market and adjust their recruiting efforts to match. 

Expanding your talent pool, being proactive in your search efforts, and making the effort to optimize your outreach can help you bring on top engineers when you need them.