How Much Time Does It Take To Hire a Software Engineer in 2021

December 8, 2020

How Much Time Does It Take To Recruit, Interview, and Hire The Right Engineer?

Most companies don’t calculate how much time they spend to hire a Software Engineer, which has ripple effects throughout the whole business. 

Meanwhile, as Software Engineer candidates are being sourced and screened, code isn’t being written. The department is lacking a leader, and projects aren’t being executed.

Without the right knowledge, hiring for your growing software or IT team can cost you time and money – and may derail the progress you’ve already made.

So, how long will it take your team to hire its next software engineer, and what can you do to hire them faster?

Sourcing a Software Engineer Takes 10 Hours

It takes a hiring manager 10 hours to sort through resumes. Because they have 100’s of them. They have to find more information, they have to ask the right questions, they have to look them up on LinkedIn.

And then, they have to book a phone interview and set an appointment. Do you know how long it takes to go back and forth and coordinate with the candidate? I’ve lost candidates going back and forth. Then you have a phone interview. And hopefully, the candidate did not reschedule on you or canceled or needed to push back. Meanwhile, you don’t even know if they are qualified because no one has talked to them yet and pre-screened them for you. And the HR does not know how to pre-screen on the technical side to hire a Software Engineer. Because everyone calls themselves a Software Engineer. 

It takes 30 Minutes to pre-screen each software engineer

Yes, that sounds crazy. 30 minutes might seem a long time just to pre-screen one Software Engineer. But it is true. And you don’t even know if they are qualified. Imagine you have to pre-screen 5 in one day (5 X 30 minutes) = 2.5 hours. Next, you need to move them to the next step, or maybe you need to go back to the drawing board and start over. That’s the time we call the “unrealized time loss” – most people don’t realize it would take that long to hire a Software Engineer. From here it depends on which way you go. Did you find someone good? Do you want more people just to see who else is out there? Most likely, you won’t move forward with the person you interviewed. 

At this point, it may take up to four weeks until you’re sitting down for the initial interview with a prospective Software Engineer candidate.

The Interview Process May Take Anywhere From 1 Day To 2 Months

The interview process depends on your organization’s hiring and interviewing process. Is it one interview that leads to a decision? Two interviews? Is it three or four interviews? Do they have to come on-site? 

Everything depends on how many candidates you have in the pipeline and scheduled to come in. Our software engineer recruitment specialist, Mauricio Montaldo has seen the interview process take anywhere from 1 day to 2 months. He mentions the importance of hiring managers being involved in the hiring process and creating optimized Software Engineer job descriptions.

The Jobvite 2018 Recruiting Benchmark showed that, on average, a company between 250 and 500 employees will make an offer to 22.78% of candidates they interview. So let’s round-up and say you’re going to hit a 25% offer rate. That means you’ll need to interview four candidates to make one offer.

The Process From Interview To Offer May Take About 2-4 Weeks

Our recruitment experts agree that the optimal timeframe to hire a Software Engineer and go from interview to offer should last between two and four weeks. Also, “If the process takes any longer than four weeks, the risk of losing those A-level candidates to another company rises dramatically”.

This is incredibly dangerous, especially in a field that’s projected to grow in demand by 24% in the next decade.

However, the good news is that because these factors are in your control, you can do something about them.

An average Software Engineer role is open for 64 days. 

This aggregate timeline data is useful for planning purposes, but if you need to hire a software engineer now, there’s probably an equally-pressing concern on your mind: your time. After all, your team has product roadmap goals to hit, and ambitious hiring goals can be the biggest threat to hitting key product milestones.

Let’s do some back-of-the-envelope math, with a few assumptions:

  1. You don’t have to spend a single second on recruiting or resume screening. You can partner with a specialized software engineering staffing agency like Focus GTS, so you only talk to candidates who are likely to be a good fit for your role.
  2. Your hiring process is relatively short, consisting of one 30-minute remote interview and one two-hour in-person interview, where the last 60 minutes consist of a whiteboard session to assess technical aptitude.
  3. Your team’s input is really important to you, so you have three of your engineers join for each in-person interview.
  4. It takes you approximately 30 minutes to prepare for each interview, decide on the next steps, and communicate with all relevant parties.

Based on those assumptions, you’d be committing approximately 3.5 hours of your time per candidate to the interview process. You’d also be committing six hours of engineering time to each in-person interview. This means that you’d be committing, on average, 9.5 hours of your team’s time per candidate towards interviewing.

In this scenario, it would take approximately 38 hours of the engineering team’s time to make one offer, and that estimate is optimistic.

This is why we want you to align yourself with a specialized IT staffing and recruiting agency.

Align yourself with Focus GTS!