Software Developer Hiring Process: What to Expect

As a professional in IT headhunting, I get many chances to speak with developers and other key people in the programming/software development niche. Many of these tech guys have become close buddies over the years and allow me to pick their brains from time to time. Recently, the hiring process of software developers was one of the topics of my brain-picking exercise because the tech jobs are unlike any other jobs.


The truth is, the software development niche has become more competitive than before, making it somewhat difficult for many developers to land their desired job. It has now become more important for developers to adopt strategies that’ll make employers notice their resume, get to the interview, ace it, and land the job. 


In that regard, knowing what the software developer hiring process entails can go a long way in effectively preparing for that next interview. It’s possible you may have some of the tips of this article, but you’ll do well not to overlook them. That here is all there is to know about the software developer hiring process.


1. Software developer hiring process: What is it? 

Like many recruitment processes in other industries, the hiring process of software developers is a series of stages involved before a talent is presented with an offer to become part of a company's software development team. The hiring process could be designed by the human resource of the hiring company or third-party recruitment agency. The aim is simple. To know the talent and evaluate his or her competence with respect to the requirements of the job. 


2. Software developer hiring process: Why you may likely pass through it?

Let’s face it, it's competitive in the software development niche. Hundreds of applications can come in for just a few tech advertised positions. Meaning, the selected few will have to go through a designed hiring process not only to evaluate competence but to also weed out some of the talents. Because at the end of the day, not everyone that applied for a position can be hired.


What’s more, the software developer’s job is unlike any other job. While it is possible to learn on the job even if you have next to zero experience at the point of hire, however, many tech companies don’t have the luxury of time and resources to train staff. 


Time is ticking. The client wants his tech idea to quickly get to the software market as that might be the only shot at claiming the market share. Therefore, many tech companies prefer software developers that already know what they are doing. Even for entry-level developers, some level of competence, enthusiasm, or even a few mini projects to brag about.


Furthermore, hiring processes also help employers determine to a reasonable extent that an employee will fit well into the company's culture and mode of operation, e.g., six months down the line. Meaning, a software development hiring process is more than just testing if a developer can code. As a developer, you'll also be tested on how you communicate, collaborate with others, and how you handle real-job problems that you'll likely face if you get hired.


3. Software developer Hiring process: What to expect.

Many tech companies will have slightly different modus operandi, but here are the likely stages of the process you’ll be facing.


The Telephone interview stage

This first stage is common with many tech companies. Other industries adopt this stage too. It is an initial walking of a potential employee through a brief telephone chat before the real in-person meeting. This first stage often involves a brief chat usually to measure a developer's confidence, communication skills, and enthusiasm. 


The brief chat might also involve knowing what you have been up to. You'll do well not to get carried away, as it isn't the time to talk about general world stuff. Therefore, try to keep your answers around the scope of the job you are applying for. This way, you'll sound more enthusiastic, passionate, and also interested in the job, rather than just any paycheck. 


For example, a telephone interview asking you what you are up to lately can be accompanied by an answer like,  "I'm quite fascinated with the latest trend of your company's new framework, and I've been learning how to manage its user interface.


The remote coding stage.

Success at the telephone stage ushers the software developer to a real-time online coding challenge, which is usually fixed for another day. Tech firms often used this stage for junior developers or fresh-out-of-college. The remote coding stage involves an initial or less comprehensive test of your hard skills, usually your knowledge of programming languages.  


So, it's mostly about simple code writing, editing, or code reading. Tech employers are usually interested more in the approach or thought process, so it might not matter if you skipped a semi-colon. If you will be writing code, not to worry, you'll be expected to code in a programming language you are familiar with.


Whether you will be hired as an offshore developer or an in-house tech person, this stage in the recruitment process is common with fair large and giant tech corporations. Small startups may not have this stage, so you may likely go from telephone tech interviews to the main in-person stage. 


Some companies present this stage in the form of a coding assignment, which developers have access to via preregistered log-in details. Since it's not real-time, the process may likely have a timer. Meaning you are expected to complete the coding assignment at a set time limit. You'll probably not be monitored via video, so don't think it's an opportunity to cheat. It is better, to be honest. 


If you answer the question by copying or using third-party help to ace the assignment, chances are, questions may come up about the test when you meet your tech-savvy interviewer in person. What usually happens at the interview stage is that you may be asked why you took a decision or answer a question in a particular way. If you did not make the decisions in the first place, i.e., a third party answered them for you, you may be exposed and disqualified. 


Onsite interview 

 Some people like to call the stage on the hiring process the "real tech interview" as the venue is usually on-site. Usually, you will meet an interviewer in person and will likely be tested on both your soft and hard skills. While it makes sense that a company will have computers on-site to test you,  all companies aren't the same. If you are interviewing with a startup, it's not a bad idea to go with your personal company. If you end up not needing it, fine.


The onsite interview stage can last from three hours to an entire day. If you are being tested by a startup tech company, your interviewer is maybe a tech person, for example, the head of your department, or another senior software engineer. On the other hand, if you are being engaged by a large, well-established tech firm, your interviewer may be a conventional HR personnel. 


Sometimes, you may even have to go through series of interviews with both a general HR and a tech team. Interviewers. The following are some of the areas evaluated in this stage of the hiring process


Programming language and software framework

No matter how comprehensive the test of your hard skills will be, you will likely not be evaluated outside the programming language you are good at. This stage will involve real-world or real-job challenges and how you will handle them.


Employers want to be sure you have a strong background in at least one or two programming languages. You cant know all languages, but you should be able to brag about one or two to a confident level.


Furthermore, tech interviewers will also evaluate your competence in a software framework. Whether it's C#, C++, Java, JavaScript, PHP, Python, or Ruby, proficiency in frameworks makes it easy to improve an application's quality, robustness, and reliability.

Algorithms and data structures.

For newbies and junior developers, a test of your knowledge on the algorithm is often used by companies to know if you understand the fundamentals. Also, developers in the area of data science are also expected to have strong competence in algorithms and data structure.


Source control.

An increasingly popular skill recruiters are now expecting even from new developers is the ability to use a version control system. In an era where remote work has come to stay, version control tools like Git used to write, edit code, efficiently manage and collaborate are now required. Therefore, being proficient in source control tools can also add to beef up your competence level and stand you out among other developers.



You almost cannot write code without some errors. During a comprehensive test of your hard skills, your ability to locate and eliminate problems in your codes may also be tested. Let's face it, a single semi-colon can prevent your software from running properly. So, tech interviewers are also interested in developers that can code and also solve common problems that arise in developing software.


-Project showcasing

During your onsite interview, there will likely be sessions to discuss the projects you have worked on. It doesn't matter whether you are a fresh-out-of-college developer or have spent many years in software development. You'll do well to prepare. In today's competitive tech world, It's not the best idea to not have any project or software development work to brag about. 


Even as a fresh graduate, a couple of course works, coding assignments, or curious research is not bad to present. You'd likely stand out from those who have nothing to show apart from a college degree or programming language certification, which is like bringing a knife to a gunfight. In that regard, a coding portfolio or is a better way to showcase any of your projects at this stage of the interview process. 


Team fit evaluation stage.

Your coding skills are undoubtedly important to discharge your duties as a software developer. Still, there's more. This next stage of the hiring process is designed to find out what type of work environment will bring out your potential. Because you are good at coding does not necessarily mean you are a good fit for the company's team. 


This evaluation may be in the form of a chat with mostly general HR persons and tech-savvy interviewers. It could also be in the form of a quiz or questionnaire. There's really no right or wrong answer in this stage as your answers are to guide the employer with the best place to utilize your skills. Yes, it may also lead to not getting a job, but trust me, it's sometimes for the best.


Soft skill assessment



This skill is not a software development-exclusive skill. It is essential for anyone to develop this skill as it ensures the task is understood and properly executed. Whether you are a junior-level software developer or a senior or team lead, being able to communicate effectively is a sift skill expected by employers.


Collaboration or Teamwork.

Some developers prefer working solo. In fact, they achieve a lot in isolation. Still, the collaboration in software development cannot be overemphasized. In large projects, teamwork usually makes completion time lesser. 

What's more a project completed quickly saves time and financial resources. So, if you are not being recruited by a single client but a large company, chances are, your ability to collaborate effectively in a team will be tested.



It's not uncommon for the conditions around developing projects to change. When it does, software developers are expected to adapt to the changes quickly. For example, large projects often involve adjustment, which may be different from the project's initial plan. As a programmer, your ability to quickly get into the new requirement will go along the way for the project's completion.


I hope you found this article useful. Here at Cloud Employee, we assist both developers looking for work and companies looking to hire dedicated offshore developers across many technologies. Talk to us, learn more about how Cloud Employee works, or see our Developer Pricing Guide.



AJ Develos
Work with world leading tech companies from the Philippines

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