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How to Hire Engineers for Startups [7 Fundamental Steps]

Are you a startup looking to hire an engineer for your first project? Or are you an enterprise looking to expand your team with skilled professionals further? This guide will help you to hire the best tech talent and deliver the best.

By Radhika Wangoo

17 Mar 2023 · 7 min read

How to Hire Engineers for Startups [7 Fundamental Steps]

Hiring engineers can be a time-consuming and difficult process. Whatever factors you take into account when evaluating candidates, whether it's technical skills, personality or anything else, it is resource-intensive.

The demand for engineers is growing daily, making the hiring process more complicated and time-consuming. Many of you reading this will have been there, and possibly also made plenty of mistakes before learning about engineering hires.

This article has been written to help companies hire engineers effectively. We have outlined an approach that has helped us hire people faster and cut costs.

Why are engineers so hard to find?

From startups to scale-ups and enterprises, organisations face a global skills shortage. The shortage is expected to increase yearly, from robotics to full-stack engineers.

According to the National Foundation for American Policy report, the employment rate for computing occupations and engineering jobs was 2.5 per cent in 2022. This is 11.5 per cent lower than the normal average.

A global skill shortage isn't necessarily a negative sign. This can also result in new opportunities for engineers to develop their careers. Also, the number of jobs to choose from makes recruiting engineers even more challenging.

With a lack of education and awareness of STEM, fewer people seek out opportunities in the engineering sector, another reason why software engineers are hard to engage.

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How to hire an engineer for a startup?

Since great engineers are always hard to find and hire, hiring managers must have a proper plan and devote more time to hiring managers. Check out the steps on how to hire an engineer for a startup:

Step 1: Invest in your organisation and attract suitable candidates

Company culture is an excellent factor to promote in the recruitment process. To attract and engage software engineers, you must become the organisation they seek. Salary is a significant factor, but also short-termed.

💡 Related Read: How to Hire Employees [A Definitive Guide]

While picking the right jobs goes far beyond salaries, you must decide the right factors for the recruitment process. For instance, specific engineers might be drawn to positions where they can make a difference and see the fruit of their labour.

Many people also search for possibilities for learning and growth and the ability to upskill. As a business, think about funding development opportunities or taking on more challenging projects that will draw top engineers to your diverse team.

Step 2: Display the culture

According to a report by Deloitte, 94 per cent of executives and 88 per cent of employees believe a distinct workplace is a significant hiring factor.

Most hiring procedures start with a job description. Showcase your organisation's culture on your website, social media accounts, and other external communications to attract engineers from the job market. You also need to explain your services in the job description.

An organisation's founding story, values, and ethics should be displayed. Also, what industry is your organisation targeting for the future? For example, if your organisational values are more oriented towards flexible working, you should display it as your unique selling point.

💡 Related Read: How to Build a Work Culture That Attracts Top Employees

Step 3: A great job description

An intense job description does more than just list responsibilities and tasks. This factor helps you attract potential candidates from the hiring funnel.

Your job description should balance facts and persuasion, given how hard it may be to draw in engineers from inbound applications. Explaining how the position fits into your larger company objective is the first step in creating a job description that makes sense for hiring people for engineering roles.

Engineers who aren't attracted just by salary may find the position appealing if tied to a larger purpose. Also, to create equality, it is essential to remove any bias in the job descriptions and hire according to qualifications.

Generate job descriptions

Step 4: Keep the screening process slow

The hiring rate among engineering graduates across India stood at 31 per cent in 2020. Overall, the engineering sector saw a higher hiring rate than other fields of study in the country.

While hiring software engineers, recruiters should take their time with the process. Just because a person isn't ticking all the right boxes of the skills for the job requirements, it doesn't imply that they aren't the right fit.

Instead, the hiring process should aim to build a relationship with employees. To better understand the candidate, hiring managers can set up a call for a casual conversation to learn more about their reasons for applying.

💡 Related Read: How can an ATS Improve the Candidate Experience?

Understanding what a candidate expects from a particular organisation allows the hiring manager and recruiter to stay on the same page. Even if you choose not to hire a candidate, you may still contact them regarding openings.

To further understand the suitability of a candidate, consider issuing a test that reflects the suitability of the candidates.

For instance, a coding test for hiring developers, writing tests to understand the writing style of a content writer, and so on.

Step 5: Focus on all the right questions

While interviewing for hiring in the engineering team, asking all the right questions is essential. You must ensure the candidates demonstrate all the right skills regarding their experience and technical understanding.

Ask questions about the programming languages they will be utilising rather than asking general questions about where they hope to be in five years. Give them fictitious briefs and inquire how they would approach the project and what resources they would employ.

Also, it's critical to remember that cultural compatibility isn't everything. In reality, achieving inclusion and diversity can make it more difficult.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, companies with above-average diversity saw a 45% gain in innovation revenue.

Better methods may exist than setting tight cultural fit objectives for face-to-face interviews. The capacity of an engineer to effectively interact with other team members is more crucial than cultural fit.

💡 Related Read: How to Conduct a Successful Interview

Step 6: Close the deal as quickly as possible

It's crucial to close promptly if you're sure you've discovered the right person for the job. Excellent engineers are rapidly hired because of the present need for engineering talent.

Feel free to send messages and extend the job offer if you find someone who fits the demand. As you follow up, make sure to individualise the message and restate how they can be a part of the top talent at your company.

You may provide all the necessary paperwork if they verbally accept the position. Discuss honestly expectations to end recruitment efforts for a position promptly.

Recruiters must include salary, working hours, benefits, company culture, and other pertinent information that both parties should know in the documentation process.

Step 7: Hired? Keep looking!

It's crucial to remain to continue to keep a look out for other potential employees even after you've recruited an engineer. You can hire a recruitment agency or look for job sites or hiring platforms. The more engineers you have in your skill pool, the quicker you'll be able to employ again.

You can maintain their interest by keeping your contact list informed about developments at your startup. Inform them of any available new positions and share relevant material with them.

You might also sign up for specialised job-hunting websites and display information about your business to prospective candidates for an engineering position. In the same way, get in touch with any job searchers you think would be a match for open positions.

Finding qualified engineers can be done effectively by using outbound prospecting.

Common pitfalls to avoid while hiring engineers

Engineering recruitment is challenging, and there are several pitfalls that businesses need to avoid in their hiring processes. Here's how you can tap into the job market and attract talent from a high-demand market:

Not being flexible in requirements

You may pass up otherwise terrific prospects if you are rigid about the conditions stated in your job specification. Be flexible with your requirements during the interview process.

Particularly about the perennial question, "Are hard skills more essential than soft talents?" If a candidate possesses other attributes that make them an excellent fit, try to be more flexible with your request.

We are not being informed about the job market

Media-driven views of a labour market brimming with perfectly skilled personnel and the reality is frequently at odds with this.

There is now a slight skills gap in the UK. Of course, working with an engineering recruiting firm is always a good idea for this reason alone.

They have access to a vast talent pool that is pertinent. Yet, it's always a good idea to be aware of the bigger picture if you want to be realistic about how long a hiring process can take or the sort of candidate you would aspire to discover.

Being unrealistic about job expectations

The pay you want your ideal applicant to earn is another area where injecting some reality is wise. Paying people the market rate is essential to attract the right talent.

Don't be shocked if you attract individuals who might not have nearly the talents you're seeking if you offer the lowest salary. Once more, a little expertise in the field helps a lot.

Speak with your recruiter and obtain professional advice regarding your options if your personnel budget is a worry.

Top tips to hire engineers for your startup

With software engineers in such great demand, you need to make the right hiring decision calmly and not in haste. Here's a quick checklist to help you understand how to hire an engineer for a startup:

  • Make sure you have several projects aligned for your engineering hires. You need to break down the projects into smaller units to divide the project quickly.
  • Scope the market trends to map how the recruitment trends are going and the prerequisites for hiring the right candidate.
  • Depending on the candidates' skills, qualifications, and experience, you must clarify seniority and divide the work accordingly.
  • You also need to hire candidates with the proper qualification and required skills so that you can deliver the best to your clients.
  • Offering a startup engineer a contract-to-hire option offers more flexibility. Before committing to a full-time employment arrangement, this contract enables both parties to work together temporarily to gauge how well they get along.
  • Pitch the candidate the benefits of being the first engineer at your startup. This should appeal to an engineer since they can take responsibility for defining and growing the job.
  • Optimise the hiring funnel to keep recruitment costs down.

How can hiring software like GoHire help?

The founding engineer of your organisation would play an integral role in hiring the right person for your organisation.

Knowing how to hire the right engineer, and all candidates for that matter would allow your organisation to reach new heights. Also, you can always outsource your recruitment efforts to hire dedicated teams.

If you are having hassles with hiring, you can smash your process with GoHire. So, what's different with GoHire?

  1. Easy collaboration
  2. Worldwide support
  3. Fast adoption
  4. GDPR tools

Want to learn more about how you can accomplish your goals together?

Schedule a call with our team to get a product tour for GoHire today!

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How To Hire Engineers FAQs

1. What skills to look for in an engineer while hiring for your startup?

Listening skills and the ability to proactively ask questions and take constructive feedback are some basic skills to look for in an engineer while hiring for your startup.

2. How to recruit an engineer?

Reflect on why your organisation is looking to hire an engineer. Research well for the position you are hiring. Create proper job ads.Use an ATS and potentially hire a recruitment organisation to simplify the process.

3. Why are engineers hard to find?

Engineers are hard to find due to the nationwide talent shortage for certain positions. While engineering students are still majoring in several disciplines, there has to be a growing majority in certain specialities.

Why is hiring engineers for startups particularly challenging?

Well, let's put it this way - it's a bit like finding a needle in a haystack. Qualified engineers are in high demand and are often courted by big tech firms. They may also have specific needs and expectations. It's a nuanced process that requires a solid strategy and the right tools, such as GoHire.

How can I make my startup attractive to engineers?

Good engineers are attracted to challenging work, a strong team, and a company culture that values innovation. It's like creating the perfect cuppa - the right blend can be irresistible. Utilising a platform like GoHire can help you present these attributes effectively.

How can I assess an engineer's technical skills?

Consider practical assessments or trial tasks that are representative of the work they'll be doing. And remember, it's not just about how quickly they can solve a problem, but how they approach it. It's a bit like a cooking challenge - the process can be just as revealing as the end result.

What role does company culture play in hiring engineers for startups?

It plays a huge part, really. Engineers should not only be a fit for your team but should also align with your startup's mission and values. Think of it like a puzzle - each piece needs to fit together to complete the picture.

How can a hiring platform like GoHire help me recruit engineers?

GoHire acts like your personal assistant, streamlining your hiring process from posting jobs to managing applicants. It helps you showcase your company, and ensures you don't miss out on the perfect candidate. It's like having a reliable butler to manage your party, while you focus on mingling with the guests.

By Radhika Wangoo

17 Mar 2023 · 7 min read


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