Hiring a new employee can be a daunting task for any company. From writing a job description to screening resumes and conducting interviews, the process can be time-consuming and costly. At Mindstone, we recently hired an iOS Engineer to join our team, and we wanted to share our experience, as well as some tips and learnings. Please share anything we’ve missed, we’d love to hear from you. 


Firstly, let's dive into the stats. We reviewed a total of 392 profiles for the iOS Engineer position. From there, we phone screened 27 candidates, which represented 7% of the initial pool. We then conducted technical interviews with 9 candidates, which was 33% of the phone screened group. Finally, we conducted final interviews with 3 candidates, which represented 33% of the technical interview group. The entire process took us 4 weeks from the initial job description to the candidate accepting our offer.


One of the most important things we learned during this process is that speed matters. When it comes to hiring, it's important to act quickly and efficiently. We responded to applicants promptly, scheduled interviews for the next day, coordinated schedules, and insisted on a quick turnaround for feedback. This helped us move the process along quickly and kept candidates engaged.


Another key learning we had was the importance of headhunting. While we received a lot of applications through traditional job postings, we found that actively reaching out to potential candidates was essential. We reached out to engineers directly and were pleasantly surprised to see a 75% response rate. By taking a proactive approach to recruitment, we were able to identify top talent that we may not have found otherwise.


However, one area where we struggled was with coding tests. While it's important to test candidates for the skills required for the job, we found that we lost over 50% of candidates at this stage. It's important to strike a balance between testing for skills and creating an overly arduous process that may deter otherwise qualified candidates. This is an area where we're still learning and would love to hear further thoughts and tips on the matter.


Another area we failed entirely was gender diversity. Less than 5% of our candidate pool (successful headhunting matches and inbound) were women. The problem of gender diversity in software engineering is serious and cannot be solved through creative tactics with one job hire however. We have written more about gender diversity here, but there is more we can do as a software engineering community too, particularly making connections and inspiring girls earlier in their journey.



Below is an overview of the tech stack we used to help (you will notice that Linkedin doesn’t feature here at all - we’ve found the headhunting function close to useless in the field of software engineering).

  • ATS: Workable (we also leveraged Workable’s “AI sourced” functionality - the quality of candidates was great but engagement was very low (less than 2%).
  • Headhunting: Cord - this is a great tool with excellent candidates, super response rate (over 60%) and sensible pricing. A great customer service experience too. It’s not well setup for collaboration, so there’s a fair amount of faff moving candidates manually to the ATS on the basic plan.
  • Checks: Veremark - an easy and intuitive tool, sensibly priced and perfect for small but fast growing companies.
  • Onboarding: Humaans like us, a Moonfire backed company with great functionality. Some small niggles, but a good team and well setup to handle onboarding smoothly.


When it comes to hiring great iOS engineers, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

  • First, be prepared to move quickly. Top talent won't be on the market for long, so it's important to act fast if you find a candidate you like. 

  • Second, consider headhunting as a recruitment strategy. Reaching out directly to candidates can be a great way to identify top talent that may not be actively seeking new opportunities. 

  • Finally, be thoughtful about your hiring process, especially when it comes to testing for skills. While it's important to ensure that candidates have the skills required for the job, it's equally important to create a process that is fair and doesn't unnecessarily deter qualified candidates.

Hiring for a new position can be a challenging process, but it's also an opportunity to identify and bring on top talent to your team. At Mindstone, we recently hired an iOS Engineer and learned a lot along the way. By moving quickly, headhunting, and being thoughtful about our hiring process, we were able to identify and hire a fantastic candidate. We hope that our tips and learnings can help you in your own recruitment efforts. If you have any additional tips or thoughts on hiring for great iOS engineers, please let us know!

Author: Romanie Thomas