evaluate resume of software engineer

How to evaluate resume of a Software Engineer

Lots of things has been changed over the times. And now we are living in such an age where everyday we are getting introduced with new technologies, new trends. As times goes there has been a dramatic changes in our daily life. Our concepts, our perspectives on every matter is shifting to match the latest trends and technologies. This also applies to the way we evaluate a candidate for recruitment. There are always two parties involved in any recruitment process. One is candidate and other party is recruiter or employer directly. Software Engineering is directly related to technology. Due to the fast changes, it’s time to re-organize our process to evaluate resume of a Software Engineer candidate to hire them.

If I look back 5 to 7 years when recruiter was looking for a software engineer based on their work experience, educational qualifications. That time has already changed. Recruiting process for hiring software engineer is constantly changing to find out the best candidate for the job. Every employer wants to hire the best one. But hiring best software engineer is not an easy task and now it’s not related to only working experience and education qualifications.

Even lots of tech giants already eliminated educational qualifications from their job requirements. So how to evaluate candidates and what kinds of facts you should look into before inviting the candidates for interview? As a senior software engineer I have reviewed lots of resume for our office and some other offices where they hired me to review resume. So I have gathered some facts that I love to check to evaluate a resume of a software engineer. Remember, nothing is perfect but you have to be smart to give something new a try.

Important facts to check before hiring a software engineer

Last 8 years I have worked with lots of people (mostly software engineers) and I am personally an early tech adopter. So I had to keep myself up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies and how software engineers are increasing their visibility online. So here is the few facts I have considered effective and important before evaluating a resume before inviting a candidate for interview specially for software engineering position.

1. Review GitHub profile

GitHub is one of the popular and largest platforms to host your software’s source codes. It allows you to collaborate with other, share code with other developer using version control (Git). Software engineers who build software must know about it and they are heavily dependent on third party libraries that are hosted in GitHub. Also a software engineer upload his source code for any self made tools, utilities, packages in GitHub. Because for a software engineer you need to see how they solve the problem by writing code.

So checking their coding structure, the way they usually solve their programming problems. All you can find from a GitHub repository of your candidates. So most of the smart software engineer as well as senior programmers host their source codes into GitHub. And smartest programmers also love to contribute to other’s open source repository. 42% of resume I have evaluated in past, they mentioned their GitHub profile link as a portfolio or reference in their resume.

My first task is to check their repository and see their love-able works with codes. From their GitHub profile, you can see their timeline and can check how they improved and adopt new technologies, languages, etc. You need to give some times to explore their GitHub profile. If you are just a recruiter and not a software engineer then I would recommend you to take feedback from your existing software engineer on their GitHub profile.

GitHub profile of Shaharia Azam
GitHub profile public view to get an idea

2. Reputation on Stack Overflow community

Stack Overflow is one of the most useful platforms where you can easily get answers for your problem by other experts. I think there is no software engineer who never heard about it. Everybody knows about it to see solutions of problems. Mostly people get answers to their common issues or questions but geeks and broad minded developers or software engineers also give answers to questions posted by other developer. It’s a fantastic platform to evaluate problem solving capabilities of a person and also you can evaluate how your upcoming software engineer can be a great problem solver in your engineering team.

Now a day I see Stack Overflow profile link in lots of resumes. I review their profile and I never miss to do it for every candidates who provide their Stack Overflow profile link in their resume. Also I consider this as a ranking factor that helps me to filter candidates from crowd. You can see what types of problems the user posted in past, badges he/she earned in the Stack Overflow platform, how many questions he/she already answered and what types of questions were that. It will give you an idea about their technology stack. I am sharing a screenshot of my personal Stack Overflow public profile.

Shaharia Azam on Stack Overflow
Stack Overflow profile public view

3. Review activity on Quora

Smart people are everywhere and they love to engage with other. They love to discuss on various matters they love most as well as they want to engage and participate in topics they love to read with others. Unlike Stack Overflow, Quora is not only for questions and answers. It’s a discussion platform where people are asking and writing on various topics who want to know other’s thoughts on that particular topics.

I am a fan of Quora and using it since couple years. I never feel boring because I have Quora android app installed on my Android phone. If you found any Quora profile link in any resume, you should visit that and see where your candidate loves to engage and actively participate. He loves to talk about politics or technology or cloud or data analytics or software or what. You can get a good idea about your candidate’s knowledge sharing habits and you can measure his willingness to participate in group discussion. See a public profile screenshot from Quora.

Quora Public Profile of Shaharia Azam
Quora Public Profile Screenshot

4. Social media activity

Activity on Social media is a great signal to understand about your candidates. You can understand where they spend time most besides their work, what types of people in their connection, what types of contents they love to share and engaged with. But you have to remember, sometimes it’s not appreciated to dig deep into someone’s personal life. For example, Facebook. I never look into anyone’s Facebook profile, I always ignore them. Because I don’t want to know where and when our candidates went to a date and how much pretty his/her girlfriend/boyfriend is.

For social media review, I always prefer Twitter and LinkedIn only. Because these two are more professional social place to interact professionally most of the time with professional audience. LinkedIn is most vital place to get a signal about your candidate. You can verify their credentials from LinkedIn because it’s the most popular social media only for professionals. You can check their connections, their interests, their skills, endorsements they received from others as well. I read their articles if I found any. I want to understand the way they usually think. So LinkedIn is a great place to know about your candidates.

5. Personal Blogs & articles

Most of the time smart software engineers write blogs on the stuff they love to. Personally I write blog about all the technical things I work with. It’s my digital library and a great resource to read. If your candidate mention their personal website or blog or any specific article link, you must need to read them.

Personal blogs and article is a great place to review about your candidate’s proficiency and easily you can understand about what types of technologies, tools and stack your candidate plays with regularly in his/her professional career.

Get feedback from others

After gather all the facts from those places I have mentioned above, you should share those facts with your team members (I personally prefer senior software engineers in the team) and get their feedback. They also need to know about their upcoming team mates. They will feel honored if you ask their feedback on recruiting as well as they will feel comfortable with the candidates after joining in their team. It’s a great pleasure you should practice in your recruitment process.

As a matter of fact, if any candidates never disclosed their profiles on the above websites or platform I ask them directly over phone or email followup. Because I know what I need to know to recruit a software engineer who can play well enough with my existing team and who can think smartly and familiar with technology stack we use in our workplace.

If you need any help reviewing resume for any software engineering positions and want a feedback from third person I can be a great help and I will love to review some resume for the position of Software Engineer. Just connect with me and I can generate some great feedback to expedite your technical recruitment process.

Shaharia is a professional software engineer with more than 10 years of experience in the relevant fields. Digital ad certified, cloud platform architect, Big data enthusiasts, tech early adopters.

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