November 17, 2020
5 min read

Step 1: How to Define a Web/Software Engineer Job Vacancy


As we said in our overview of the 7 steps to hiring a web/software engineer, this is the first step. You have to define what you want from the person you’re hiring.

This is only common sense, of course. You’re hardly likely to find the right talent if you’re not clear on what sort of talent that would be!

Today, we’ll take you through the process of defining a web or software engineer job opening. Note that this step is critical because it will guide the rest of your recruitment procedure.

Without it, you may well end up hiring people who contribute nothing to your team. You may even end up with ones who cost more than you can afford in wages, despite not being a perfect fit for your needs.

As such, it’s absolutely critical to get it right and avoid wasting effort on poor candidates later on. So, let’s go over how to do that now!

Get the Stakeholders Together

A big problem that many business owners run into here is that they themselves aren’t sure what to look for in a web/software engineer.

They may not be familiar with the technical skills that go into web or software engineering, for instance, and may therefore be uncertain what technical skills to look for.

Another possibility is that they may not be sufficiently acquainted with their tech team’s processes. This means they won’t know what cogs are still missing from their organisation’s machine.

Either way, that can lead to a lot of recruitment mistakes. Engineers have so many possible specialisations and competencies now that you can easily hire someone with skills unnecessary to your team if you don’t know what you’re doing.

That’s why it’s necessary to consult others when defining the job opening. Think of this as a team decision.

Possible stakeholders to invite to the discussion would be team leads, management, recruitment managers, and members of your tech team.

You want to get their input on expectations, responsibilities, necessary skills, and traits.

You may also want to check that individual biases are not affecting your recruitment process here.

Note that this may be beneficial in that it can prevent you from overlooking great talent due to unreasonable prejudice… and may also help you put together more diverse tech teams.

Why does that matter? Because studies have shown that diverse teams tend to be smarter, as well as more likely to produce novel solutions. Hence, do what you can to drop prejudices and focus on actual quality instead!

Ask the Right Questions

There are a lot of questions you can ask to help your recruitment team define the requirements for the job opening.


Here are a few of them:

  • What responsibilities will be assigned to the new hire? 
  • What sort of everyday tasks will the new hire have to do?
  • How are they expected to get the work done? 
  • What technical skills are needed and which ones are nice-to-haves, even if not necessarily required? (You may want to rank these in terms of priority.)
  • How will the person’s performance be measured once they do start?


Some of these queries can only be answered by other engineers, of course. Here are some examples of technical questions to ask:

  • Which part of the project are they expected to focus on?
  • Are there specific libraries, toolkits, or tech stacks to be used for the project? Is experience in them necessary?
  • Will the new hire have to adhere to specific development standards?
  • What level of detail will they have to work in? Are they expected to tinker with bits of code or perform full-on architectural changes?

Address the Question of Soft Skills or Work Style

Here’s something a lot of business owners fail to get right: soft skills and personality types should be considered as important as the tech skills.

You see, you want someone who fits into your team culturally. Think about it: even the most brilliant engineer is useless if he can’t contribute to the organisation.

To figure out what you need here, it may be necessary to step back and take a look at your business.

Are you a startup? An established mid-size business? A large corporation?

The company culture and ideal employee personality tends to change based on the answer to that question.

For instance, engineers working in startups are often expected to thrive in highly flexible environments where they have to face a lot of changing demands.

By contrast, those working for bigger companies tend to do best if they follow orders to the letter and are fairly specialised.

You should also specify if there are communication methods or skills you require for the new hire to work well with the rest of the organisation or team.

It may be useful to talk in particular to the people who will work with them or manage them directly to get ideas here. They will likely have input on what sort of personalities they need for the team to do its best.

Put It All Together

Now you just have to put all of your notes together. At this stage, remember that you have to make sure all stakeholders’ ideas of what the new hire will be or do are coherent.

Only when you reach something of a consensus should you feel that you have a fairly well-defined idea of what you need in your next web or software engineer.

That means you can move on to the next step, which is to get that description of your vacancy out into the world to invite candidates.

That’s the next step we’ll describe in detail in this series. If you can’t wait or have any questions about what we discussed here, though, feel free to reach out!

Our speciality is web/software engineer recruitment, after all, so we can surely help you with your concerns. Drop us a line at Skilledd now!


As we said in our overview of the 7 steps to hiring a web/software engineer, this is the first step. You have to define what you want from the person you’re hiring.

This is only common sense, of course. You’re hardly likely to find the right talent if you’re not clear on what sort of talent that would be!

Today, we’ll take you through the process of defining a web or software engineer job opening. Note that this step is critical because it will guide the rest of your recruitment procedure.

Without it, you may well end up hiring people who contribute nothing to your team. You may even end up with ones who cost more than you can afford in wages, despite not being a perfect fit for your needs.

As such, it’s absolutely critical to get it right and avoid wasting effort on poor candidates later on. So, let’s go over how to do that now!

Get the Stakeholders Together

A big problem that many business owners run into here is that they themselves aren’t sure what to look for in a web/software engineer.

They may not be familiar with the technical skills that go into web or software engineering, for instance, and may therefore be uncertain what technical skills to look for.

Another possibility is that they may not be sufficiently acquainted with their tech team’s processes. This means they won’t know what cogs are still missing from their organisation’s machine.

Either way, that can lead to a lot of recruitment mistakes. Engineers have so many possible specialisations and competencies now that you can easily hire someone with skills unnecessary to your team if you don’t know what you’re doing.

That’s why it’s necessary to consult others when defining the job opening. Think of this as a team decision.

Possible stakeholders to invite to the discussion would be team leads, management, recruitment managers, and members of your tech team.

You want to get their input on expectations, responsibilities, necessary skills, and traits.

You may also want to check that individual biases are not affecting your recruitment process here.

Note that this may be beneficial in that it can prevent you from overlooking great talent due to unreasonable prejudice… and may also help you put together more diverse tech teams.

Why does that matter? Because studies have shown that diverse teams tend to be smarter, as well as more likely to produce novel solutions. Hence, do what you can to drop prejudices and focus on actual quality instead!

Ask the Right Questions

There are a lot of questions you can ask to help your recruitment team define the requirements for the job opening.


Here are a few of them:

  • What responsibilities will be assigned to the new hire? 
  • What sort of everyday tasks will the new hire have to do?
  • How are they expected to get the work done? 
  • What technical skills are needed and which ones are nice-to-haves, even if not necessarily required? (You may want to rank these in terms of priority.)
  • How will the person’s performance be measured once they do start?


Some of these queries can only be answered by other engineers, of course. Here are some examples of technical questions to ask:

  • Which part of the project are they expected to focus on?
  • Are there specific libraries, toolkits, or tech stacks to be used for the project? Is experience in them necessary?
  • Will the new hire have to adhere to specific development standards?
  • What level of detail will they have to work in? Are they expected to tinker with bits of code or perform full-on architectural changes?

Address the Question of Soft Skills or Work Style

Here’s something a lot of business owners fail to get right: soft skills and personality types should be considered as important as the tech skills.

You see, you want someone who fits into your team culturally. Think about it: even the most brilliant engineer is useless if he can’t contribute to the organisation.

To figure out what you need here, it may be necessary to step back and take a look at your business.

Are you a startup? An established mid-size business? A large corporation?

The company culture and ideal employee personality tends to change based on the answer to that question.

For instance, engineers working in startups are often expected to thrive in highly flexible environments where they have to face a lot of changing demands.

By contrast, those working for bigger companies tend to do best if they follow orders to the letter and are fairly specialised.

You should also specify if there are communication methods or skills you require for the new hire to work well with the rest of the organisation or team.

It may be useful to talk in particular to the people who will work with them or manage them directly to get ideas here. They will likely have input on what sort of personalities they need for the team to do its best.

Put It All Together

Now you just have to put all of your notes together. At this stage, remember that you have to make sure all stakeholders’ ideas of what the new hire will be or do are coherent.

Only when you reach something of a consensus should you feel that you have a fairly well-defined idea of what you need in your next web or software engineer.

That means you can move on to the next step, which is to get that description of your vacancy out into the world to invite candidates.

That’s the next step we’ll describe in detail in this series. If you can’t wait or have any questions about what we discussed here, though, feel free to reach out!

Our speciality is web/software engineer recruitment, after all, so we can surely help you with your concerns. Drop us a line at Skilledd now!

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