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Recruiting

How to Find and Hire Full Stack Developers: A Guide to Full-Stack Recruiting

Lauren Dixon
Written By Lauren Dixon
On Jun, 8 2022
20 minute read

Once again, full stack developers have topped the list of most sought-after software engineering roles in 2022 — and demand is so high that a recent Hay’s survey found that Full stack salaries, already eye-wateringly large, rose another 17% in 2022.

 

To add insult to injury, there is a raging technical recruiter shortage. Many talent acquisition teams have to upskill their recruiting generalists in a short amount of time to know how to source for new technical roles.

 

Check out our guide below so you will be able to spot a full stack developer and effectively move them through the hiring process to close them.

How to recognize a full stack developer

Full stack engineers are technical experts in coding "across the stack": the user front end, API code in the middle, and server back end for web applications and software. With all of those skills, it’s no wonder that every tech company wants to hire them!

 

How to recognize a full stack developer

 

We’ve put together three sample resumes for Full stack Engineer, Senior Full stack Engineer, and Principal Full stack Engineer to illustrate what skills a full stack recruiter should look for, typical projects and experiences, and how to gauge seniority.

 

Early-career Full Stack Developer:

 

Sample Resume: Amy Moore

 

Hi! I'm Amy, a Computer Science grad from the University of California, Berkeley. I'm passionate about using technology and entrepreneurship to drive healthcare progress and innovation.

 

Professional Experience:

Software Engineer at Novella Health (2021-)

  • On 4-person team designed and developed fullstack interactive web application with front end in React and back end in Java to analyze and transform data

  • Core development on a Java and AngularJS application to transmit very large files over a UDP protocol with reliability and security in mind.

  • Accelerated deployment of patches for security vulnerabilities

Intern at Slack (Summer 2020)

  • Infrastructure team: Building tools to improve database performance 

Intern at IBM (Summer 2020)

  • Asset management tools and testing

Education:    

  • UC Berkeley - BS in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering (2016-2020)

  • UC Berkeley - MS in Computer Science (2021)

Skills:

  • JavaScript, HTML, CSS, Java, React, Angular, Node, MySQL, Python

 

You can identify early-career full stack developers by their combination of front end skills such as JavaScript, Angular, and React and back end skills such as Python, Node, and Java. Full stack engineers may also reference their work on web applications, APIs, both the UI/UX, and the back end infrastructure.

 

Typically, strong early-career full stack engineers will have a "Software Engineer" title. Other early-career titles include "Associate Software Engineer",  "Software Engineer I", "Software Engineer 2" and "Junior Developer" — though the last may indicate that an engineer has not yet acquired significant experience.

 

Full Stack Developer

 

Senior Full Stack Developer:

Resume: Robert Martin

 

I am a full-stack software developer with an emphasis on modern JavaScript frameworks. Skilled in Node.js for developing back end and building RESTful API endpoints and React for building appealing and user-focused front end.

 

Professional Experience:

Senior Developer at Toptal (2019-)

  • Responsible for full-stack development and driving various initiatives focused on creating value for the organization through innovative technology solutions 

  • Resolution of identified security vulnerabilities, conducting code reviews for team, streamlining and improving SDLC practices

Senior Developer at Trend Micro (2014-2019)

  • Responsible for full stack development with Node, JavaScript frameworks, and SQL databases

  • Designed and implemented UI as a single page application 

  • Designed and implemented REST APIs

Software Developer at Datacloudz (2014-2014)

  • Built various frontend and backend features for an early-stage startup 

  • Work closely with customers to identify requirements and technical support.

BS - Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at North Carolina State University (2012)

 

Skills:

  • JavaScript, Microsoft SQL Server, Node, React, CSS, Git, Java, Spring, Scala, Jenkins, Redis, Kubernetes, MongoDB, C#, SOAP, REST API

 

 

 

This candidate also has a solid mix of front end and back end experience. At the senior level, a recruiter would expect a candidate to demonstrate ownership of a feature or product from end to end, including design, planning, troubleshooting and implementation.

 

Senior engineers are also typically expected to participate in leading projects, interview processes and mentorships of junior developers.

 

Staff/Principal Full Stack Developer:

Resume: Elise Young

Elise Young is a Staff Software Engineer with nine years of experience in Fullstack web application development. She received her BS in Computer Science from UC Santa Barbara.

 

Professional Experience:

Staff Engineer at Precisionly.ai (2020-present)

  • Worked across teams, mentored new engineers, reviewed engineering designs

  • Led frontend team in migrating the platform from Angular to React

  • Implemented enterprise service architecture which can be split into microservices if needed

Staff Engineer at Galvanize (Feb 2020 - Sep 2020)

  • Responsible for the entire revenue optimization frontend. 

  • Maintain and improve on Java services

Senior Engineer at Galvanize (2018-2020)

  • Building the frontend app architecture as well as backend APIs 

  • 3rd party authentication integration, various visualization tools as well as app infrastructure

Senior Frontend Engineer at Deloitte (2015-2019)

  • UX design, frontend architect, core visualization, render optimization, componentizing elements, documentation, unit-test and backend data

Software Engineer at Microsoft (2013-2015)

 

Skills:

  • Java, Python, Angular, React, JavaScript, APIs, Microservices, Docker, Kubernetes, Node, Express, Apache Spark, C, C++, C#.Net

 

 

At the Staff, Principal or Tech Lead level, engineers take ownership of increasingly complex problems and systems, with an impact on repeatable processes, overall engineering culture and the direction of the team. 

 

 

What to brush up on your technical terms for sourcing Full Stack developers and other in-demand software engineers? Check out our guide that covers everything you need to know for finding, evaluating, and contacting top developer talent.

sourcing software engineers

How to conduct outreach

With only 3.4% of software engineers currently looking for a job, pursuing passive talent is vital to successfully filling an open position.

 

Persuading candidates to reply to your cold recruiting emails can feel almost impossible — let alone perennially in-demand full stack software engineers who are already happy at their current position.

 

However, we’ve found that it’s possible to boost your reply rate to 30% — even for those elusive full stack engineers.

 

How do you do it?

 

How to conduct outreach

 

By telling developers a personalized story about why they should work with you.

 

  • Explain how this opportunity fits into a candidate’s career trajectory and what your company can offer them in terms of culture, values, and personal growth

  • Reference the candidate’s domain experience, technical skills, work history, and other background details. And don’t forget to personalize your subject line — this can lead to up to 50% better results.

  • Mention common backgrounds such as education, career history, geographic location and mutual connections

  • Send 2-3 follow ups to connect with many more candidates — according to our own company recruitment data, two thirds of replies come from follow ups.

 

Passive candidate cold outreach template: ultimate edition

To make it easy, here is a template we’ve put together that we’ve used to source and hire real engineering candidates. You can plug in your own company pitch and candidate background details to supercharge your reply rates.

 

 

Passive candidate cold outreach template: ultimate edition

 

After creating intrigue with a vague yet personalized subject line, this passive candidate email template keeps the focus on the candidate throughout the email – envisioning their state of mind and feelings about making a move, calling out their specific accomplishments, and establishing common background in the pitch.

 

Check out our blog post for more free passive candidate email templates. 

 

Candidate experience for developers

In the wake of the Great Resignation and ever-persistent tech talent shortage, candidate experience for software engineers is more important in landing a hire than ever.

 

"You should always treat your candidates like customers because your candidates are customers!" - Recruitment expert Jan Tegze

 

However, if candidates have a good recruitment experience, they are 80% more likely to apply again.

 

Tip #1: Good Communication

Candidates want a speedy and seamless recruitment process, as well as frequent and quick updates and scheduling. 

 

Nothing makes candidates unhappier than an employer who fails to communicate — in fact, it is the number one pain point for job seekers.

 

Tip #1: Good Communication

 

To avoid receiving a review like this, an ATS or automated system can help you keep track of applicants who are awaiting feedback.

 

With three quarters of candidates reporting having been ghosted by employers, you’ll leave a positive lasting impression regardless of recruitment outcome.

 

Tip #2: Respect Developers’ Time

As some of the most expensive, critical hires a company can make, full stack developers are asked to do it all — the front end, the back end, core product initiatives with tight deadlines, being pulled into product strategy meetings and called in for technical interviews.

 

It’s no wonder that developers are some of the professionals at the highest risk for burnout.

 

You can make developers happy and keep them engaged by streamlining the application, recruitment and scheduling process. And for busy recruiting teams, not having to track excessive stages and interview coordination will also lighten your load.

 

Start by noticing the bottlenecks in your recruiting process. For example, Flock Freight once had a take-home assignment requiring 4-8 hours to complete and it caused 50% of candidates to drop off. By replacing it with a 90-min on-site programming exercise, they reduced attrition to 20% and slashed time-to-hire in half.

 

Another practical tip is to ensure everyone in the hiring process has blocked off time on their calendar during an interview month to avoid scheduling or communication delays.

 

candidate experience for developers

 

Tip #3: Make a personal connection

Another way to stand out from the horde of recruiters beating down a full stack engineer’s door is to make a personal connection. 

 

By beginning the interview with five or ten minutes of personal conversation, you’ll give your candidate some time to let go of interview stress and be themselves. And by showing genuine interest in them as a person, you’ll signal that they won’t be treated like a cog at your company.

 

Introducing small, personalized gestures into your recruitment process will really create a lasting impression. Here are some ideas:

 

  • Remember details about them for post-interview correspondence

  • Create a custom slide deck with their picture, preferred name, and other small details

  • Send a small gift relevant to their interests after the interview

 

Tip #4: Transparency

Once you’ve designed your tight and streamlined recruiting process, it’s important to be transparent with candidates about your timeline and next steps to keep them engaged.

 

A lack of clear expectations about the hiring process and long stretches of silence from employers will prompt developers to explore their other options — the ones who are communicating with them.

 

candidate reply

 

It’s also crucial for recruiters to be transparent around salary, job responsibilities, and other key information in the beginning of the interview process — you’ll avoid wasting your time and candidates’ when there’s not a match. 

 

Recruitment is an important window into your company’s culture — by being forthright, you’ll signal that you’ll treat them honestly and ethically as a workplace.

 

Tip #5: Branded Careers Page

Another great place to showcase your engineering team’s culture is a branded careers page. 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job, and 65% consider the careers page.

 

With Millennial and Gen X workers who increasingly value culture over salary increasingly dominating the workforce, a strong careers page can help recruiters compete with even the biggest names in the battle for top full stack engineers.

 

Your careers page should showcase your company's values, team culture, and intangible benefits such as a positive work environment, opportunities for personal growth, and inclusivity.

 

Tip #5: Branded image

 

You may also consider having a dedicated engineering team page.

Some ideas to include:

 

  • Shares information about your tech stack

  • Challenges your team is tackling

  • Opportunities for personal growth and development

  • Hackathons

  • Specific engineering benefits such as “no meeting” coding days

  • Communities you are a part of and organizations you support

 

Developer interview tips

Software engineers agree that the technical interview is broken. But, there are ways to design interviews that developers won’t hate! Let’s look at both the skills assessment and effective questions for gauging culture fit.

 

How to optimize your skills assessment portion

How to optimize your skills assessment portion

 

Here are a few tips:

 

  • Keep it short (1-2 hours maximum, or compensate developers for their time).

  • Focus on concepts with an open-ended challenge rather than quizzing technical minutiae — most developers don’t bother to commit to memory what they can easily look up.

  • Use a language-agonistic assessment. This will allow you to test a candidate’s fundamental technical knowledge, problem-solving ability and coding skill.

  • Try out your assessment on your current team first to ensure that it’s a reasonable test of the skills a candidate will actually use on the job.

  • Experiment with alternatives. One can be an assessment that is less of a “quiz” than a conversation — such as talking through a project they did on GitHub or a code sample they have provided in advance. Many great candidates don’t perform well under highly stressful and new situations.

  • Administer the tests yourself rather than relying on automated grading if you use a coding challenge from a site such as Coderbyte or HackerRank. This way you won’t miss the nuance, elegance and creativity in your candidates’ solutions.

 

How to find a culture fit for a developer

Culture is notoriously difficult to screen for. It’s valuable to ask developers about how they see themselves; however, a candidate’s self-perception may be quite different from reality. 

 

Often, asking about how candidates have actually handled situations in the past gives you a better idea of how they operate and their individual strengths.

 

  1. You might ask how an engineer has handled conflict or disagreement in the past. 

  2. You might also ask them to provide an example of a time they learned from a situation, or how they handled feedback.

  3. Even better, talking through a specific coding problem or hypothetical scenario can allow you to see how they think and problem-solve — also a good opportunity to offer some constructive feedback to see how they react. 

 

Are they defensive, or open to other points of view?

 

It’s also valuable for recruiters get a good understanding of the culture and pace of a candidate’s current workplace. Though there are always exceptions, a developer at a large enterprise such as Microsoft or Oracle might not be a good fit for a founding engineer role at a small startup — and vice versa.

 

developer culture fit

 

Sample Interview questions a full stack recruiter might use to assess culture fit:

 

Question 1: Walk me through one of the projects you’re most proud of — something that you saw from start to finish that you solely were a part of — from ideation to implementation. Who did you work with? What were the problems you were solving? What was your approach? How did you handle bottlenecks and setbacks? What did you learn — was there anything you could have done better, or did you pick up a new language, technology or skill?

 

Question 2: What does your average workweek look like? How many code cycles do you typically go through in a month? How would you characterize your team’s processes?

 

How startups can make a competitive offer

Here are some market salary data to help recruiters plan headcount and compensation targets for Full stack developer roles.

However, It’s important to note that pay may vary significantly depending on location and company.

 

  • A Software Engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area (CA) is compensated $132,221 annually on average but one in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area (FL) makes $114,138.

  • A Senior Software Engineer at a well-established tech company like Meta can receive up to $194,428 annually, while a Senior at a smaller company like Datadog would receive closer to $127,555.

 

how to make a developer an offer

 

 

Not surprisingly, the average compensation for Junior to Principal level software engineers stays within the six figures in the United States based on data from Glassdoor

 

  1. Junior Developer or Engineer (0-1 years): $104,815 ($67,585 base; $37,230 additional)
  2. Software Engineer (0-3 years): $122,029 ($96,633 base; $25,396 additional)
  3. Senior Engineer (4-6 years): $134,981 ($117,711 base; $17,270 additional)
  4. Principal Engineer (7-9 years): $162,524 ($142,447 base; $20,078 additional)

 

Though startups can’t always compete on the total annual compensation number for salary, according to a recent study, Millennial tech professionals actually care more about benefits such as flexible work. Since Millennials will make up the bulk of the workforce by 2025, startups can get a leg up on the competition by including these benefits in their compensation.

 

Here are the most in-demand benefits for software engineers in 2022: 

 

  • Remote and Flexible work

  • Health, Disability, and Life Insurance

  • Team-building activities

  • PTO - this is particularly important to avoid developer burnout

  • Unique benefits and perks you won’t find anywhere else

  • Generous stock options-At a company's earliest stages, many founders expect to give a senior engineer as much as 1% of a company

 

For example, X-team offers an annual budget of $2,500 for things that energize you such as a gym membership or organic produce and runs regular X-Outposts, company retreats which take place for 2-3 weeks somewhere exotic in the world.

 

In order to show off your benefits in the best possible light and increase the odds of closing your full stack developer talent, we suggest that you present an offer in a personalized slide deck which clearly lays out your benefits, offers multiple options for equity and salary splits, and explains what equity compensation will actually look like in multiple exit scenarios.

 

Wrapping up: How much should hiring a developer cost? 

 

How much should hiring a developer cost

 

The total cost for hiring a Full stack Developer can be around $30,000 or more in 2022.

It’s no secret that software engineering salaries are a huge part of any tech company’s budget, and any reduction an employer can get in hiring costs is a huge advantage. 

This is especially important during cost-saving times when talent acquisition department budgets are thrown out the window and their teams are understaffed.

 

AI-based solutions can help companies slash time and cost by streamlining their recruitment processes, providing access to vast amounts of data and extensive talent networks, and hyper-personalizing candidate outreach and engagement at scale.

 

Celential.ai's Virtual Recruiter service delivers high-quality and engaged talent with zero effort or learning curve on your part — freeing your talent acquisition team to build and nurture candidate relationships and make top quality hires.

 

We offer:

  • 70%+ Present-to-interview Ratio. Hiring teams accept 70%+ of the candidates we submit for interviews.

  • 3-Day. Average Turnaround. You receive warm talent ready for interviews in 1-5 business days.

  • 50% Cost Saving. Our 'Virtual Recruiter' helps clients save 50% recruiting costs on average compared to other hiring methods.

With concerns about an economic slowdown, record-setting inflation, and VCs slowing down investing, 2022’s hiring market involves a lot of uncertainty and lower recruiting budgets for tech companies.

 

Celential.ai offers you the flexibility to scale up and down your recruiting efforts instantaneously as your hiring needs shift.

 

Schedule a call to learn more!

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