Software Engineer Job Posts: A How-To

Looking for the most senior software engineer in the room? Just look for the person with the most oversized ego. Often you can spot it a mile away. They’re probably the ones saying no while shaking their head violently to someone’s idea. They might be wearing a polo shirt. (At least pre-COVID.)

OK, that’s a joke. It’s also a stereotype. Every industry has jerk leaders, but engineering seems to struggle the most with a straight-up God complex. Ok. You built it and you are the one we call when the website is down. Do you think we should all bow to you and your comments?

Honestly, at most companies, the answer is yes. They spend so much time and energy getting these people to the door in the first place that they are golden children. People spend hours on webinars and researching to find these people let alone recruit them. They know they are special just because they open their inbox to 1 million emails trying to capture their attention every day.

I mean, some of these folks have had people they’ve never met send an entire catered lunch to their office. No wonder they have a huge ego.

Hiring Manager Intake: Turning Tech Into Software Engineer Job Posts

The other thing that gives complexity to their ego is that no one understands what they do. We type in, type out and try new tools, but we can’t create them. We don’t know a lot about what happens behind the curtain.

There’s implied respect when we can’t just call some intern to create the first version. We all know the value of a great engineering team. They keep your start-up alive and you in a job.

With that said, it’s fascinating to me that recruiters spend a lot more time looking for these teams than understanding what they do. It’s an instant trust builder and critical to recruiting the best of tech. The only way to beat an ego is with knowledge. While you might not win, you can’t lose on stump questions. Know your Javas (the coffee and the script.)

If we spent a little bit of time with hiring managers to understand who we’re bringing in, it would make the whole process a lot easier. It all starts with writing better job postings.

How To Write Software Engineering Skill Requirements

By far, software engineering job postings are the most challenging to write because we don’t have a baseline of understanding. You need to speak their language and communicate about experiences they have had if you want to start attracting technical talent to your company.

When writing about skills for software engineer job posts, you need to get more detailed than you would for any other type of job posting. Three levels of detail have to be in engineering job postings to convey seniority while also being clear about everyday work.

  1. Independence – how independently can you take on the project,
  2. Accomplishment – what have you built, length of code, functions of code
  3. Interaction – how many people can you manage, meetings, day in the life. How much do they have to people every day?

Not sure what I mean? Let me show you a few examples.

Still not sure how to write better requirements for tech? Sign up for my how to write a job post course. I have examples, writing techniques and more that will make it so easy for you to write better job postings.


Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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