Traits to Look for When Hiring a Software Engineer
By Megan Bandy
Software engineering is one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S - in fact, it’s projected to grow 22% between 2019 and 2029, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is due to the increased use of technology across various business sectors and the many investments made in recruiting efforts for software engineering.
According to Code.org, there are nearly 400,000 open jobs for software engineering, but only 71,000 computer science students graduated last year. With such a gap between the number of recent grads and open positions, not including the number of software engineers who will either retire or leave the field, it can be challenging to find enough qualified candidates that fit with your open role or company. And while it’s easy to assume the best candidates are those that have a computer science background and are already familiar with the programming languages your team uses, more often, the best candidates are those with personalities best aligned with the role and growth potential at your company. When an employee’s personality aligns with their job’s responsibilities, they’re likely to enjoy the work more and be more effective in the long-run.
Key personality traits for software engineers
Software engineering requires a lot of careful, analytical thinking, so it’s important for engineers to be collected, analytical, and meticulous. They must be able to remain calm, prioritize logic, and focus on using the details of the situation to address the root cause of a problem.
Because software engineers can often face long, tedious projects, they must be able to remain patient and collected. They’re unlikely to be happy and do their best work if they feel stressed out by repetitive or lengthy work. Those who enjoy working through a complex issue over a lengthy period of time are more likely to have an easier time taking on projects that may face a software engineer.
The nature of the job also depends on the software engineer’s ability to carefully analyze a situation and use proven solutions to create a reliable fix. Software engineering is a field that requires a lot of stable, secure solutions that help build strong foundations rather than riskier, more out-of-the-box ideas that could potentially lead to problems. Those who can use logic to examine a situation and present a solution are most likely to thrive as a software engineer.
Reading and writing code requires close attention, or else seemingly minor coding errors will result in bugs down the line. Painstaking meticulousness is regularly needed in software engineering. Otherwise, it will be challenging to find a mistake, especially in lengthy code. Candidates who show that they are careful and observant will make more effective software engineers than those who may have a hard time paying attention to details.
Asking the right questions
It’s essential to ask the right questions when approaching interviews with potential candidates. In hiring the right software engineer for your team, focus on asking questions that help understand the candidate’s personal approach to the position while learning more about their personality traits.
Within the interview itself, it’s challenging to know what questions to ask. To learn most about how each candidate aligns with your expectations for the role, prioritize questions that help you identify the key traits you’re looking for from a candidate.
Here are examples of questions to ask:
What processes do you tend to follow when working with code?
How important do you think details are in programming?
What programming languages are you most familiar with?
How comfortable are you with working through tedious, long-term projects?
Do you prefer to try new approaches to problems, or would you instead rely on what has worked in the past?
Introducing new members to the team can be difficult, but one way to make sure all new hires will fit in is to include others in the hiring process. When hiring a software engineer, it’s important to invite other stakeholders in the position, mainly those who would work closely with whoever is hired, to share their thoughts and expectations for the role. Crystal’s Jobs tool allows you to create a Job, invite stakeholders to take a role expectations survey where they can honestly share their hopes for the role, and view the ideal personality for the position, based on the traits mentioned in the Job description and identified through a combination of stakeholders’ survey results.
Hire the best software engineer for your team by using Crystal Jobs.