How to hire developers: The complete guide ūüíĽ

Copied to clipboard

Finding great developers is easier said than done.

If you’ve found yourself googling how to hire developers, it’s likely that you’ve been overwhelmed by the massive variety of developer roles that exist.

As with any job, you should begin the hiring process for developers by pinpointing exactly what you are looking for in terms of software experience, technical skills and how long you need them for.

This guide will direct you through the process of how to hire developers, from gauging your company’s need to hire developers, right through to the onboarding process, and niches of where to hire web developers and how to hire java developers.

Our expert IT recruiters have compiled advice on the best techniques for hiring the right candidate, finding developers, whether they be tech engineers, full-stack web developer, or back-end developers.

If you need further advice or help how to hire developers, please get in touch with us today to find out more about our developer recruitment services, or read on for our hiring developers checklist.

Advertise on our job board now to find excellent graduates!

For more hiring needs, check out our managed recruitment services!

1. Identify the need to recruit developers

Does your firm need help finding engineers and hiring developers? Are you certain a software developer is what you are looking for or do you need someone with more experience in Java or Python?

When you are thinking about recruiting developers, the first key thing to consider is whether you need to hire in-house developers, perhaps if you have multiple or ongoing development projects, or whether you only need a developer/s for a short period of time, such as a one-off project.

During the recruitment process, you will need to be clear about what type of work you will require the developer to do.

2. Establish if you are hiring a team of developers or if it’s just a one-off hire

It’s important to establish at this stage, the development workload to be completed, the existing capacity within the business and the budgets available to you for hiring IT staff.

Knowing the specifics of the role that you’re hiring for is the best way to create a plan of action for your hiring process.

Do you need to hire dedicated development teams or do you need to recruit one Developer only?

As part of our expert IT and Software recruitment services, we’ll work to understand your unique business and how you operate, to suggest the number of roles, seniority and type of developer(s) that are right to hire for your business.


How to hire software developers:

Finding developers for startups or for larger businesses can be tricky if you haven’t had experience hiring for them before.

One of our top tips for hiring a team of developers would be to consider holding an Assessment Day, enabling you to examine and directly compare individuals more easily.

Assessment centres are a quick and cost effective way to bring on multiple staff.

Setting interviewees group tasks during the hiring process will prove their ability to work with others and show how well they communicate.

This interview process may seem rigorous and time consuming, but it will be more time efficient and cost effective for your company long term if you hire the right Developer for the job from the beginning.


Key soft skills needed when building a development team

When looking to hire a development team, as well as technical skills it’s also important for when you find developers for them to maintain these key skills:

  1. Team player:¬†A favourable quality of any employee is to be able to work well in a team. Communication is crucial across the board to ensure that the project is carried out efficiently, clearly and correctly. It’s also important for the individual to have a good working relationship with other employees and other teams within the business. For example, Developers are often required to communicate with Marketing teams, or eCommerce. So whether you’re looking to hire a team of Developers, or if you only require one Developer, the ability to work within a team is a necessity to look out for.
  2. Able to work independently: Whilst the ability to work with a team of Developers and other employees is imperative, it is also important to be able to work efficiently independently. Both experienced and entry-level Developers need to have the confidence to use initiative and pursue tasks independently. Hiring a developer with autonomy and a proactive mindset will increase the productivity of your business
  3. Good communication skills:¬†The reason why communication in a team of Developers is so important is to ensure that every individual is able to communicate their ideas and information clearly and accurately, to both technical and non-technical personnel. Without this, a project won’t be able to reach its potential.


3. Consider the types of developers to hire

The second thing to consider before asking where to find developers, is which type of Developer you require.

Developers will usually have experience in a certain field and it is important to ensure that you hire a Developer with the right skill-set for the role.

  • Web Developers will be focusing on writing code which will be implemented in the back-end of web pages.

    If you’re thinking of creating new website features and tools then you will need to know how to hire web developers.

    “The right website experience will create a bond between your brand and your audience.”¬†– say experts from¬†Once Interactive¬†referring to the influence of professional Web Development on online presence.

  • Software Developer’ is a generic term that usually refers to people who code software packages.

    If you are looking to hire a Software Developer, then you might be looking to develop applications that allow people do to specific tasks.

    Other experience you could look for while hiring Software Developers is someone who develops systems that work underneath devices or control networks; this may include payroll systems or marketing contact systems. Find out why we are the best Software Developer recruiters in the UK.

  • Nowadays, hiring App Developers is becoming increasingly popular.

    Mobile app developers create popular apps for smartphone users.

    With the majority of the population using a smartphone, you need to know how to hire app developers whom can prove their ability in creating user-friendly, simple and smooth apps.

  • Perhaps you need to recruit Front-End Developers, focusing on the screens. This could be customer details screen in a shop or credit control department.


  • You might consider hiring Back-End Developers to carry out work which is often invisible to users; although they can be periodic processing like collecting and sending payments to banks, gathering data and summarising it in databases.

4. How long do you need the developers for?

The length of time you need to hire Developers for depends entirely on the scale of the project you have planned.

  • Long-term development projects

If you are hiring for a series of big, ongoing projects and need a Developer for a long period of time, then it could be worth considering hiring for a 3 month temp-to-perm placement.

This will help to ensure the individual is right for the job, before passing their probation period and becoming a full-time employee.

Find more information about how these work on our recruitment services page.


  • Hiring Developers for short term projects

Do you have a one-off development project, which requires some extra hands for one year or two?

Or maybe you are looking to hire an experienced Developer with niche skills, for the purpose of sharing their experiences and training Junior Developers or other employees? This is where short-term contract hiring can be very beneficial.

Hiring contractors can work well for both parties, the best Developers for hire, who are ambitious and driven, will often be looking for their next career opportunity.

Whether that is the possibility of a promotion within the company they are in, or a career move, short-term contracts are appealing for those who like to be kept on their toes and enjoy a new challenge.

5. Speak to a top IT recruitment agency

Once you have an idea of who you need to hire, you should start thinking about how to attract the right inhouse Developers to your business.


What are the benefits of using graduate IT recruitment agencies to hire developers?

  • Using a specialist recruitment agency will enable you to hire the very best candidate/s for the job. One of the main advantages of recruitment agencies is that they have a wide network and reach. At Give A Grad A Go, we have a database of over 300,000 graduates and 43% of our candidates have computer science, a computing language, software or development on their CV – a huge talent pool to choose from.
  • They will have great knowledge of the market, for example our specialist IT recruiters have years of experience in Graduate IT recruitment for Developer roles. We have connections to some of the highest caliber of graduate and early career Developers, with 84% of our database graduating with 1st, a 2.1 or a Master’s degree.
  • Working with recruitment agencies saves time and allows you to focus on other areas of your business, by taking away the hassle of screening CVs, conducting telephone interviews, and communicating with candidates. At Give a Grad a Go, our average time to fill a job role is 17 working days (almost half of the industry average).
  • Working with a recruitment agency can also be highly cost-effective. As well as cutting down the cost of time-consuming processes, recruitment agencies will reduce the cost of sourcing talent by covering the cost of advertising job vacancies. They will usually also have a rebate structure in place, reducing the risk of hiring and preventing costly mistakes from being made.


Why should you consider hiring graduate developers?

  • Talent: The popularity and demand for working in the tech industry as tech engineers continues to rise and the demand for ever-improving software and technology is getting greater. Talented graduates offer first-class skills and an eagerness to learn and succeed.
  • Affordable: Experienced Developers come at a price. If you hire Junior or graduate Developers, they will be keen for experience and be willing to take a lower salary. Graduate employment statistics from 2019 revealed that graduates listed salary 3rd when ranking ‘what is most important in a job’, with growth opportunities and learning and development ranking higher in importance.
  • Innovative: Graduates will thrive in most company cultures. Hiring software developers for a startup or for a large corporation brings a fresh perspective and new energy will be beneficial to your business. Find out more reasons why you should hire graduates for your startup.
  • Personable: Graduates tend to be more open to change and will have experience working in teams, presenting and communicating their ideas, having done so at university. Hiring Junior Developers will help you build a team of Developers who are able to work well together and bounce ideas off each other.
  • Competitive and passionate: If you are looking to hire graduates, you will find a range of talents, experience and personalities.


As the UK’s leading graduate employment agency, we have a vast network made up of students, recent graduates, and those in their 2nd or 3rd roles after university and know how to hire developers for a startup.

The moment students graduate and begin to look for their perfect job, we can help you with your staff recruitment needs by connecting you with the very best graduate talent pool.

Companies that hire junior developers/graduate developers can expect to see fresh perspectives and adaptability, that may not come as naturally to more senior developers.

Our approach to hiring graduates is proven to succeed. With a huge 96% candidate probation pass rate and over 90% of companies using us on a repeat basis, our staff hiring process works time and time again.


6. Write a compelling job description for developers

Your job description needs to attract the best candidates.

This is likely to be their first introduction to the role and your company, so it’s important to make a good first impression.

Explain the aspects of the role and why it is a great opportunity, but ensure that you don’t ‘oversell’ the role, it’s important not to over-promise things that cannot be delivered.

Read on to find out exactly how to write a job description for Developers.


How to attract the best developers?

If you want to attract the best developers, or if you are recruiting graduates for a development project, then we would recommend investing in additional training programs.

This will offer junior developers the chance to improve their skills and learn which will be appealing.

Offering training programs for your employees is also a good way to market your business and increase employee satisfaction and morale.

Speak to your employees and find out what they are interested in.

Offer opportunities for staff to get involved in different areas of the business, or different projects which aren’t necessarily under the remit of the job.

Not only can this help to bridge the digital skills gap in the workplace, by allowing individuals to build upon their current experience, but it will also help to increase job satisfaction.

Our Top 5 Tips for writing a developer’s job description:

  • This is your opportunity to show off!

    Demonstrate why a candidate would want to be a part of your company. Include any other vital or exciting information; try to paint a clear picture of who you are.

    Consider these points:


    • What is the company’s USP?
    • What exciting clients do you work with?
    • What has spurred on your recent expansion?
    • What‚Äôs the working environment like? Corporate, co-working space, start-up vibe?
    • Where are the offices located?
    • What has the company already achieved?
    • Where is the company headed? What are your goals and plans for the future?
  • This section should be a brief summary of the role.

    Be clear about which type of Developer you are looking to hire.

    List examples of the coding knowledge you will require the Developer to have, for example ‘experience with coding languages such as Java, JavaScript or C++‘.

    Using lots of keywords throughout will not only be useful for potential candidates to understand the role, but key phrases and terms are also good for SEO, ensuring the job description is visible online and seen by as many great candidates as possible.

    Is this a full time position? Or a paid placement? Is it a remote working role? Will there be shift work?

  • Here you can provide a bit more detail about what they can expect to be doing.

    Give a breakdown about the day-to-day tasks of the job and use bullet points to outline the main responsibilities of the role.

    Try and be as transparent as possible and include the following information:


    • A snapshot of what their day-to-day tasks will be.
    • What areas will they be managing or responsible for?
    • What relevant experience do they need – Google Analytics, Social Media?
    • What team will they be working within? Who will they be working alongside?
    • Detail any exciting projects they will be working on and scope for other areas to get involved in.
  • This is where you list what applicants will need to be considered for this role, helping to streamline your search.

    It’s important to be specific about what is required of the candidate, whilst also being open-minded at the same time.

    As well as candidates needing to understand what the job entails when they apply, they also need to be confident that they are the right individual for the role.


    • Do they need certain qualifications? A particular degree subject?
    • Which key skills are required? What soft skills and which technical skills are most important?
    • Any relevant experience or competence in certain tools?
    • Do they need to have an interest in the industry?
    • Are looking to hire a team player for a short term project, or someone who is comfortable working independently on a long term project?
  • This is the juicy bit and gives you the chance to paint a cohesive and positive image of the role.

    Whilst it can be tempting to oversell your role, it is important to be honest from the early stages as this will help you discover who will be the best person to get the job done.

    This section can be bullet points to outline advantages and perks of working at the company.

    Key areas to think about include:


    • Training and development opportunities?
    • It is a good idea to indicate what the company culture is like – is there a buzz in the office, work socials?
    • Is there room for progression within the company?
    • Will the role include commission, any targets or monetary bonuses? Will there be regular salary reviews?
    • Are the offices in the heart of London?
    • Do you have a pension scheme? What about a cycle to work scheme?
    • Any other perks like free breakfast? Table tennis table?

7. Interview stages – have some developer specific interview questions

When you are interviewing developers, you need to ensure that you are asking the right questions in order to find out the right information about the candidate.

Before you begin the interview process, create an interview strategy and plan interview questions that hiring managers should ask.


  • Pre-Interview:

Before any interview begins, it is a good idea to read and learn about elements of the applicant’s CV.

Find the candidate’s LinkedIn profile and use the opportunity to analyse the candidate’s attention to detail or any additional skills or interests that haven’t been included on the CV.


  • Online or Phone Interview:

Engage in a more casual chat at the beginning to assess the personality of the candidate and get an idea of how they might come across to other professionals.

Ask them questions about their hobbies and interest outside of work to get an idea of if they’d be a good fit within the company before you move on to the professional questions.


  • Face to Face Interview:

Open Ended Questions: When you ask the interviewee why they want to work for your company specifically, ask it as an open ended question. This will make it easier to gauge how much research they are actually doing and get a genuine opinion from them without asking leading questions.

Focus on Algorithms: Software development tools and new programming languages are being developed constantly. Therefore, being an expert on one type of code has a limited benefit. However, if someone has a natural ability to understand algorithms and concepts then they will be able to adapt to new advances in technology. You can implement this into the face-to-face interview by asking problem solving questions which require them to think outside the box.

Portfolio Passion: Ask the Developer to send in a portfolio of their projects and then use this as a focus point in your interviews. Find out what parts of the project the candidate is passionate about and then relate it to your company’s project/s.

More than one interviewer: Having more than one person conducting the face-to-face interview will help to reduce any individual bias on the candidate chosen. Having more than one opinion on who should be the best fit for your organisation will usually result in hiring a highly talented Developer who will fit in well with the rest of the team.

Include unexpected questions: This is a great way to see how fast thinking the candidate is. With interviewees researching your company and planning model answers for potential interview questions, it could be worthwhile to include unexpected questions or tasks to find out how they perform on the spot.

Interview questions for developers:

  1. Why are you interested in working at ____ company and what interests you about the job role?
  2. Please can you talk me through a project you’ve worked on from start to finish, at university or in the workplace, and explain the approach you took and why?
  3. When have you experienced errors or processes going wrong in a project and how did you overcome this?
  4. Can you find the error in this code?
  5. Please can you explain in simple terms what the ____ concept means, for an individual outside of the tech world (or a beginner to Development).
  6. Please can you explain the difference between a ____ development project and an ____ development project.
  7. Who would you say is your inspiration in the technology industry and why?
  8. Please give us an example of a time you faced an ethical dilemma, how did you solve the issue?
  9. What did you like about your previous work environment and what didn’t you like about it?
  10. Have you ever worked in a multidisciplinary team? E.g. a team with tech individuals as well as non-tech persons. How did you find it?
  11. What would you say are your 3 top strengths and 3 weaknesses?
  12. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
  13. How do you keep up with new advances in technology?
  14. What new tech advancements or development trends do you think we will see in the next 5 years?
  15. What new skill would you like to learn?
  16. How do you respond to criticism? Please can you give me an example of a time you have received negative feedback for your work?
  17. What APIs have you worked with? Do you know any API testing tools? Which CMSs have you worked with?
  18. Think of a software, website or app that you dislike using or annoys you, what is wrong with it and how could you improve it?

8. Choosing the right developer

    • Technical skills:¬†Written and verbal communication is important in any job, but as a Developer it is also important to be able to write clear code. Messy code can be detrimental for any project so it is important to ensure that you are looking for Developers with a clear code writing style. You can do this by setting out a code writing and reading task during the interview process to ensure that the Developer writes with clarity for your team to understand.
    • Experience:¬†If a Developer is really talented then you don‚Äôt need to think too much about their experience. If they have a lot of experience then they may be particularly useful at working on something repetitive. With the fast paced changes in companies, especially start-ups, having a Developer who can think on their feet to find solutions, be proactive and innovative could be more valuable than experience.
    • Personal Skills:¬†The right Developer will be highly skilled in code but also possess the soft skills to ensure that they can work within the team, communicate clearly and boost the office morale. While it is important for Developers to have the ability to work independently on projects and use their initiative, it is also vital that they are able to effectively work as part of a team. Some of the best high-tech software has been developed from a collaboration of expertise within the Developer, Software and IT fields.


    1. Competent in writing and testing code
    2. Team player
    3. Understand programming languages
    4. Able to work independently
    5. Good communication skills
    6. Analytical, problem solving mindset
    7. Thorough, accurate and good attention to detail
    8. Driven to succeed and continually improve
    9. Positive attitude and ability to motivate others
    10. Ability to take criticism and learn from mistakes
    11. Innovative and open to change
    12. Organisational and time management skills
    13. Commercial understanding
    14. Aware of latest tech trends
    15. Ability to keep up-to-date and continually self-develop skills
    • Don’t be reliant:¬†Ensure that you aren’t too reliant on the best Developers in your team. Having a group of Developers with varied skills will benefit your company. It is a good idea to employ those who are flexible and willing to pick up other people’s work if necessary. Having lots of eyes on one problem at a time will be beneficial in unexpected times where others may need to intervene and work together on different aspects of the project. Relying on one expert will put your project and business in a vulnerable position.
    • Don’t forget about soft skills: It is very easy to hire a Developer with outstanding technical qualities, but forget about the soft skills. Because your Developers need to be team players, you don’t want to hire people who aren’t open to other ideas or suggestions. Employees who are only able to work on their own time frame and work around their specific way of doing things could cause tension and be unproductive for your company. The key is to find someone who has the soft skills to be flexible and adaptable, and they should be favourable over someone who is highly skilled in one specific field.
    • You are offering something extra:¬†If you’re looking to hire the most talented Developers, make sure you are offering something extra. You won’t be able to attract top talent with a large salary alone; show them how you can add value to their career, help them achieve a good work-life balance and demonstrate why they should choose your position over another Developer position.
    • Hire a diverse workforce:¬†Some companies will encourage their current team of existing employees to get involved with the hiring process. While this is a great way to ensure that the new hire will fit within the company, it’s also important to remember to take into consideration¬†diversity and inclusion in the workplace, adding significant benefits to a workforce. It is a good idea to have a team that work in unison, but also able to question others’ ideas or judgement if necessary to ensure development projects are completed to the highest standard.

9. Onboarding developers

Now we’ve established how to recruit web developers, the final stage when you are hiring Developers is the onboarding process, but how do you onboard Developers?

Ensuring that your new employee is comfortable with the project and your company is imperative from the first day.

This guide will focus on onboarding Developers specifically, but it is worth taking a look at our employee onboarding tips for virtual and face-to-face onboarding advice, which can be applicable to any role.

Our first tip is not to leave the onboarding planning process until after you have hired the Developer. Employee onboarding shouldn’t be an afterthought¬†or you could lose the best starters before you’ve managed to settle them into the company. To save yourself the time and money later on, dedicate the time to creating a solid onboarding plan when you invest in hiring a new Developer.

When your new Developer begins their role, one of the first things you should do is introduce them to the rest of the team. Especially for remote employees, as this will make them feel more involved in the project and enforce that they are part of a team. This will be the first step to build your new employee’s loyalty to your company and integrate them with the rest of the team. This will boost team morale and motivation and as a result benefit your business by enhancing productivity and employee satisfaction.

It is not the responsibility of the mentor to solely onboard your new employee. Documentations such as tool guides, charts, contact lists, program and process guides and manuals, project overviews, software tutorials, common issues and general information about the company should be readily available and introduced to your new employee. Taking the time to create training documents and handover process guides will save time in the long term when hiring new IT staff.

Ensure that you are communicating and getting feedback from your new Developer recruit. Their advice and suggestions about your onboarding process will be crucial for employee satisfaction and retention in your business. You should be arranging a face-to-face feedback or review sessions with your new starter and separately with their mentor, to ensure that you can understand how they are finding the onboarding process. Make sure that you listen to their comments and adapt accordingly.

The final thing to consider when onboarding your new employees is flexibility. Working hours and external factors such as travelling hours and family commitments mean that it can be difficult for employees to stay motivated. Flexibility will improve the productivity of employees and increase employee satisfaction levels in your company. If you are flexible with your employees, then they will be flexible with you and work more productively to reach deadlines on time.

Implementing a systematic approach to finding the best candidates will help you to streamline your recruitment process.

As the UK’s leading specialist graduate recruitment agency, our services help companies employ staff as quickly as they need to grow and succeed.

Wondering how to hire good developers or how to hire a team of developers?

We can help you solve how to recruit software developers or recruit web developers for your business. You will receive a shortlist of vetted candidates usually within 48 hours; you can trust us to find talent, whatever your deadline.

Are you curious on how to hire developers? Find out more about our hiring services or get in touch to find out how to hire developers.

Get in touch

Revolutionise your hiring process.

Let us know your requirements and we’ll build a plan tailored to your needs.

    PhoneSchedule video call via emailEmail
    Was this post useful?