Magazine Article | October 1, 2018

The Hard Thing About Hiring Software Engineers

By Peter Fernandes, Exago

Finding the best developer talent means treating the hiring process like a marketing funnel and a process that can be patched.

I’ve been involved with hiring at Exago, Inc. for about three years. In that time, I’ve learned that hiring technical people at a software company is really hard and demands long-term commitment in order to produce sustained success.

This is the interview process we created and then iterated on at Exago (let’s exchange notes about your process). The title of this article references The Hard Thing About Hard Thingsby Ben Horowitz.


Our hiring process has multiple phases and resembles the marketing funnel. A relatively large number of candidates exist at the top of the funnel, and we want to spend the least amount of time possible screening out those who are obviously unqualified. As candidates move “down” in the funnel, we have progressively higher confidence in their fit for the role and invest an increasing amount of time in them.

After being prequalified by our hiring guru, Jeff Kalpakis, who oversees new hire recruitment and staff development, and submitting a small code sample through third-party software, the top of the funnel feeds candidates into a technical phone screen.