Hiring guide

Software Engineer

Software Engineers design, develop, test, and maintain software applications.

In their day to day, they apply engineering principles and knowledge of programming languages to build software across web, desktop, mobile, hardware, etc. They work cross-functionally to understand and implement requirements for the end user. Depending on the area of focus, Software Engineers may further specialize into Frontend, Backend, Full Stack, Infrastructure, etc.

A thoughtful, well-designed hiring process is key to finding the right Software Engineer for your team. It enables hiring teams to ask the right questions and remain aligned through the process. Additionally, it influences your employer brand, company culture, and future recruitment efforts. There are multiple reasons to perfect your hiring process!

Initial Screen ⏰ 30 mins

An initial screen’s objective is to understand a candidates motivation, gather logistical information such as location, salary and gauge if candidates have base level skills for the role. Additionally, this round plays a crucial role in setting candidate expectations about the role, interview process and compensation.

This round can be taken by a recruiter or hiring manager in the absence of a recruiter.

✉️ Scheduling email templates

Scheduling template 1

Hi {{first_name}},

Great to hear from you, I'm excited to chat! To make scheduling easier, could you find some time on my calendar here: {{scheduling_link}}

In this round, we’d love to learn more about your prior experiences and share further information about the role.


Scheduling template 2:

Hi {{first_name}},

Great to hear from you - we're excited to connect! I'm going to loop in {{interviewer_first_name}}, {{interviewer_role_title_with_article}}, who can share more information and answer any questions you may have.

To make scheduling easier, could you find some time on {{interviewer_first_name}}'s calendar here for a first round screen: {{scheduling_link}}.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes!


Rejection Template:

Hi {{first_name}},

Thanks for taking the time to talk with us about the {{job_title}} position. Your background is impressive, and we really enjoyed speaking with you. Unfortunately, at this time we feel it's not the right fit.

We appreciate the time you took to learn more about {{company_name}} and hope you don't mind if we reach back out in the future.



Technical Interview / Assessment ⏰ 60 mins

Conducting a technical screen early saves time for both the candidate and the hiring team by focusing the interview process only on candidates who have the technical skill to succeed in the role.

Alternatively, candidates can be asked to complete a take-home assessment, and a live review of their assessment responses can serve as a technical screening round. If a candidate's take-home assessment does not meet expected standards, they can be rejected without scheduling a follow-up review.

This round should ideally be a conducted by a peer member of the engineering team.

✉️ Scheduling Template for a Take Home Assessment

Hi {{first_name}},

We have enjoyed speaking with you so far in the process and would love to move you forward to the next stage, which is a take-home assignment. The take-home assignment will test for XX.

You can access the assignment here and you should return it in 3 days in a XX format.

Please make sure to reply to this email when you have completed your take-home assignment so that we know to check it. If you have any questions, need any more time or anything else, please let us know.



Scheduling Template for a Technical Screen

Hi {{first_name}},

We enjoyed speaking with you about the {{job_title}} role and would love to move forward! The next step in our process would involve a Technical Screen and talking to {{interviewer_first_name}}, {{interviewer_role_title_with_article}}. I’ve looped them in and they can help answer any questions you may have.

Here's {{interviewer_first_name}}'s calendar to find a time: {{scheduling_link}}.

Hope the two of you find a chance to connect soon.


Rejection Template:

Hi {{first_name}},

Thanks for taking the time to learn about the {{job_title}} role at {{client_name}}. Our team enjoyed speaking with you, but ultimately we felt that it wasn't a fit at this time.

I hope you don't mind if we keep your information on file and reach out to you in the future! Best of luck in your search.



Onsite ⏰ 2 hrs 30 mins

The purpose of an onsite interview is to provide the hiring team with a more in-depth and comprehensive assessment of a candidate's qualifications, skills, and fit for a specific role and team. An onsite can be in person or virtual, depending on the location of the candidate / team.

Sample onsite round for a Software Engineer position

  1. Intro/Prep - ⏰ 15mins

    1. Overview of what the day will look like

    2. Interviewer: Recruiter / Head of Talent (Hiring Manager in the absence of a recruiting function)

  2. Behavioral 1 - ⏰ 30mins

    1. Review cultural fit questions

    2. Interviewer: Hiring Manager / Leadership in Business Area

  3. Technical Screen 2 - ⏰ 30mins

    1. Review remaining technical / role-specific skillset content

    2. Interviewer: Full time Employee from the Engineering Team

  4. Social Interview - ⏰ 30mins

    1. Casual non-evaluative opportunity for candidate to meet people from other Business Areas

    2. Interviewers: 2 Full time Employees from different Business Areas

  5. Behavioral 2 - ⏰ 30mins

    1. Review cultural fit questions

    2. Interviewers: Leadership in Business Area

  6. Wrap-Up - ⏰ 15mins

    1. Close out the day with the candidate, sell company

    2. Interviewers: Chief of Staff / C-Suite

✉️ Scheduling template

Hi {{first_name}},

Congrats on making it through the interview process so far, I've heard great things! I just connected with the team and we are excited to move you forward to the final round of interviews. Traditionally, we have hosted this over Google Meet, but if you're local to X (or happen to be in the area) we have an office in XYZ area in X and we could host this in person. We typically have folks in on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the office.

The virtual onsite should last about 2.5 hours, and below are some more details as to what you can expect from each panel:

  • Introduction (15 mins): You’ll be meeting with {{interviewer_Recruiter_HoT}} to prepare for the day and ensure technical logistics are set up properly

  • Behavioral 1 (30 mins): You’ll be meeting with {{interviewer_HM_Leadership_in_BA_1}} to cover behavioral and cultural fit items

  • Technical Screen (30 mins): You’ll be meeting with {{interviewer_FTE_in_BA}} to cover technical/role-specific content

  • Social Interview/Lunch (30 mins): You’ll be meeting with {{interviewer_FTE_outside_BA_1}} and {{interviewer_FTE_outside_BA_2}} from other areas of the company. This will be a non-evaluative break from the broader interview process and we hope it will give you a better chance to get a feel for our company and culture beyond the Engineering team

  • Behavioral 2 (30 mins): You’ll be meeting with {{interviewer_HM_Leadership_in_BA_2}} to discuss more cultural fit items

  • Closeout (15 mins): You’ll wrap up the day speaking with {{interviewer_CoS_CSuite}} to learn about our company vision and address any remaining questions you may have

Could you please share some time slots that work for you? I'll then send over an invite that works best for everyone.

The team is looking forward to meeting you, please let me know if you have any questions! Congrats on reaching this final stage!



Feedback forms / Candidate Evaluation Criteria

Feedback forms provide a structured approach for assessing a candidate's technical and soft skills, across various rounds and cross-functional interviews. It allows teams to align on grading criteria, to reduce bias in the recruiting process.

Hiring teams can rate the candidate's performance on each criteria, provide specific feedback, and make an overall assessment of their suitability for the role.

Sample feedback form for behavioural interviews

Sample feedback form for technical interviews