7 Tips to Shortlist Software Engineering Candidates & Reduce Hiring Time

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Employees are indeed the most valuable asset your organization can have. The skills and expertise they bring to the table to maintain and even improve business operations have a lasting impact on business growth. From manufacturing products to marketing them to the right audience, every employee plays a crucial role. However, shortlisting candidates for different roles and domains is not as easy as it may sound, particularly for the software development side of the business. 

The global software development market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.7% till 2030, says research. Amidst the Great Resignation and shortage of talent, hiring employees for software development roles has become a multi-faceted skill. It lies at the crossroads of technical acumen, networking, and process management. If your business involves software development for clients or internal purposes, you would agree that the hallmark qualities of software engineering candidates are quite difficult to evaluate.

Yet all too often, many organizations face the common pitfall of focusing too heavily on technical minutia only. What about the candidate’s ability to think creatively, solve problems, and be compatible with the rest of the team?

If you are looking for a way out to find qualified candidates for software development, we have compiled a list of effective hiring tips.

  • Set up a streamlined process to shortlist candidates

Shortlisting candidates in the tech field basically refers to the process of identifying candidates that meet the job requirements. It helps narrow down the pool of applicants you might have or would like to outreach and sets the standards for the talent acquisition team to follow. Ultimately, this shortlist will have the candidates that you want to move forward within the hiring process to the next recruitment funnel stage.

Wondering why you need to shortlist software development candidates? Well, it helps in identifying how on-target your team is with reaching the ideal candidates in the available applicant pool. If you struggle more with finding the right applicants that meet the criteria, it might be because your shortlist criteria are quite specific or you are not posting the jobs in the right places to simplify the hiring process

For example, if you want to hire an app developer, it makes sense to start the hiring process by creating a well-defined job description rather than simply posting the requirement on social media upfront. 

  • Have minimum criteria to shortlist profiles

One of the major challenges of hiring individuals for software development roles is the huge pool of applicants you receive for the open job role. Most applicants apply for a job if they find even a single requirement parameter matching their skills and expertise. Ultimately, this will increase the workload on your HR team to skim through the unsuitable applications.

This is where being specific to the shortlist criteria plays a vital role. By its very nature, it will keep you away from unqualified applicants and shorten the duration of the interview process. Let’s consider an example here –

You want to hire a WordPress developer having hands-on experience in creating simple-to-complex WooCommerce websites. You lay the minimum requirement to be 5 years of experience in this field, a well-built portfolio, along with the preference for candidates working in the same niche as yours and having a Master’s degree. 

As you can see here, these minimum criteria will only attract candidates having the required technical skills. To this job specification, a WordPress developer having two years of experience will not apply, knowing that the chances of the application being rejected are quite high.

  • Define additional skills that will help in candidate assessment

Other than the basic education and experience criteria, you can narrow down the list of applicants by specifying additional skills and certifications. It is up to you to keep these skills as a must for application consideration or just to show who will be preferred for the role. 

A simple example of additional essentials for the tech hiring process is whether the candidate is AWS or Springboard certified. You can also consider this as a knock-out criterion because either the candidates will have it or they don’t and get screened out in the first place.

You can also add such certifications and skills in the desirable criteria to showcase who will be a strong candidate for the role. Like many other employers or hiring managers, you might find the line separating additional criteria and the essential ones to be blurred. However, the more you focus on dealing with the best tech talent, the more you can skim the less suitable candidates to define an efficient screening process. 

  • Assign exact numbers of candidates to the shortlist for a job.

In literal terms, the importance of having a shortlist criteria is that it helps you obtain a short list of candidates. If you are not cutting down the number of candidates, shortlisting candidates won’t really help. This is where setting a list maximum can help.

In simple words, you need to fix the number of suitable candidates you will move forward with for the interview process. Once you have received that many applications, you can proceed with the next stages of hiring. Clearly, there will be no end to the applications you would receive if you do not put an upper limit here.

It is also important not to worry too much about this upper limit. In case you get more highly qualified candidates that seem to be a good fit, interview them. If you have fewer of them, don’t wait until you have the minimum number of applications for software development roles by your side.

  • Assign scores to job applicant resume for easy sorting

Think of it as analogous to student admissions into colleges. Having a certain cut-off prevents different colleges from dealing with candidates who are just not the right fit. Although you cannot have a tech applicant pool that will meet all your specifications and criteria, scoring candidates on a scale will help identify the strongest ones.

A good strategy here is to follow the standard MEP (Mandatory, Essential, Preferred) System to score the candidates. It involves the following steps:

  • Start with ranking your list of minimum basic criteria as mandatory (M), an important skill to be essential (E), and an additional skill to be preferred (P) but not necessary
  • As you follow the screening process, proceed with adding one point for every M a candidate possess, two points for every E, and three points for every P
  • In the end, sum up all the points that a candidate possesses as per the information given in his application

Such scoring will also help in identifying the strengths and weaknesses of candidates that you can use to frame screening questions.

  • Setup quantitative aptitude tests through online talent assessment tools

Hiring software development professionals is more challenging than hiring for other domains, shortlisting candidates being the most time-consuming part of your job. More than 75% of resumes received for an open job role are unqualified. Then it takes around 23 hours to screen the resumes for one hire. Considering the time and effort involved, it makes sense to automate the quantitative aptitude part of the process via online talent assessment tools.

Such tools have been designed to get the basic aptitude tests done at the start and then match the open role through a shortlisting algorithm based on candidate data points. The qualified candidates are then zeroed in through manual talent scouts. Once you switch to these tools, you will benefit from a dramatic reduction in time to fill a role. 

Similarly, you can use the Application Tracking System (ATS) to automate the resume screening process via knock-out questions. 

  • Setup a pre-screening over the phone call for personality assessment

Once you have the quantitative aptitude tests done to screen candidates, the process does not end here. For software developer jobs, you need more information about the candidates in terms of experience, previous projects handled, and even soft skills. This is where a pre-screening round of interviews can be used to take the candidature forward.

You can use either phone call screening or live video screening rounds after shortlisting candidates. Similarly, you can self-recorded video interviews to prompt the candidates to respond to different questions if you need to handle a large volume of applicants. This is a great way to get to know your applicants beyond their resumes.

Simplify Tech Hiring with Connect Tech+Talent

Hiring for tech roles such as software development and others is indeed time-consuming. If you feel the need for external help, join hands with Connect Tech+Talent – a leading staffing agency based in Austin. IT, Networking, Developers, Data Specialists, Connect Tech+Talent can help you hire more and faster. To get in touch, click here.

How can Connect Tech+Talent Help?

Connect Tech+Talent is in the business of finding the right talent for companies. Connect Tech+Talent takes the overbearing burden of finding human resources with the right skill set and lets companies focus on their core business. We specialise in IT jobs, helping businesses build and ramp up their technical staffing. We help build entire teams with the right set of skills in the technology that best suits their business.

We at Connect Tech+Talent will also help you as a candidate to acquire most sought after technical skills and forward your candidature to leading enterprises with global reach.

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