How to hire developers for a startup?

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Are you the founder of a startup? Are you wondering how to hire developers for a startup? What are the proper steps? How to ensure you have all the skills you need? Also, how to manage all of this while staying on budget? Let’s explore the best ways to hire developers for your startup below.

Man doing research on how to hire developers for a startup. Startup owner looking to hire the best developers

So you got a venture capitalist to invest in your startup & you can finally build that dream software. But now you have to figure out how to hire developers for a startup. You know that you have to be smart about this because, with MVP nothing is guaranteed. This could be a long-term project or a short one. It all depends on how it pans out. It depends on if there is a legitimate need for this software development on the market. You need to be smart about hiring developers for your startup in order to meet your goals and remain within your budget. Let’s explore how to hire developers for a startup.

How to prepare to hire programmers for your startup?

Before you can consider putting out job offers, you need to prepare. There are a few things you can do, that will make the recruitment process much easier. Let’s explore each of them below.

Identify & set up the tech stacks your project scope needs

First, you need to identify which tech stacks you need for your project. Your venture capitalist may have suggested a tech stack they would like or it may be up to you. For your project, you may choose from a wide range of 👉tech stacks 👈 from front-end, back-end, mobile, and even niche. Also, find out what roles and responsibilities will start and end where, chances are some developers won’t be with you for the entire duration of your project development.

Figure out a timeline for your product development

Also, you need to figure out a timeline for developing your minimum viable product. An MVP usually takes less time than other software development projects, but you still need to narrow down the logistics. You should also into consideration any expansions and ongoing development on an MVP. Any expansion, new features, etc. should also be taken into consideration.

Know what you are looking for in an ideal software developer

When recruiting developers you should know what you are looking for. You should be aware of the technical knowledge you need along with the soft skills that will work best for you.

Man in formal clothing posing writing the steps how to hire developers for a startup in his notebook

Steps to hire programmers for a startup

Okay, now it’s time to go over the steps of hiring talented developers for your startup. Some key steps include:

  • Analyze the market
  • Identify the skills you need
  • Build your hiring funnel
  • Interview candidates
  • Hiring decisions & final negotiations
  • Onboarding & Integration

Let’s go over each of these aspects in more detail below.

Analyze the market

Many software development companies will start by analyzing the market. They take a look at existing job descriptions, demand for technical skills, etc. Based on this as a startup owner, you can better navigate your own hiring process. Also, you will have a better idea of what developers are available at what salary and how competitive the market is.

Moreover, you can consider major talent hubs to source talent. Additionally, you can try to access talent from some of the best countries around the world, if you are considering hiring remote developers for your startup. You will gain a better understanding of the current market and how your needs can be met within that frame.

Identify the skills you need

Now you need to identify the skill you need for your software development project. Figure out who should make up your dedicated team. You may need front-end developers, or backend developers for your project. This may be an app development project, web application development project, or much more. As a startup owner, you a probably aware of what skills you need, but in case you aren’t you can also try running a 👉 skill gap audit 👈.

If you are an existing startup you may need to compile a list of existing roles & responsibilities. Furthermore, survey your workforce to see what skills your current employees think are missing. They compile everything together to figure out who you should hire to join your team. Also, take into consideration who should be hired permanently full-time or perhaps part-time. Moreover, can there be developers who you hire temporarily for a certain time period?

Build your hiring funnel

Now you can build your hiring funnel. Firstly you need to craft a clear and compelling job description. This job description should include the role, responsibilities, and required qualifications. Then you can post the job description on different job boards. You should also try to proactively hire developers through the help of headhunters.

Once you gather enough CVs it’s time to vet through them and see which candidates are the right fit. When reviewing CVs take a look at specific skills, education, certifications, and past achievements that indicate a potential fit. You should also consider using applicant tracking systems (ATS). This will help to streamline the process and manage candidate data efficiently.

In your hiring funnel, you should also include the various stages of the interview process. Also, whether these interviews are remote, hybrid, or in-person. Consider what technology to use to carry out remote chats. You may also decide to carry out certain aspects of your interview process via videos, forms, etc.

Happy mid adult manager talking to young female candidate during the hiring process

Interview candidates

Now that you have picked candidates that fit your job descriptions, you can interview them. During this process take the time for technical evaluation by running a skills test. There are a few ways that you can run a skills test. The first way is via live coding, so the candidate and yourself sit down during a video chat. You watch them during this chat and carry out the code for a given project. Another way to test technical skills is to give your candidates a take-home assignment.

During the interview process is it also important to avoid basis. Try to gain a diverse workforce, as opposed to just homogeneity. Consider a scorecard during the interview process, to give every candidate a fair chance.

Also, make sure that at the interview process, make sure that each candidate knows where he or she stands. There shouldn’t be a situation where you interview a developer and they no longer know where they stand. If they are not going to the next step or they are not getting hired, they should be informed. Make sure that this message is conveyed in an empathetic and kind manner. Try to provide encouragement and some positive words. This way the candidates you don’t choose, can try to find employment elsewhere.

Hiring decisions & final negotiations

Now that you have gone through interviews, you can make a decision on who to hire to join your startup. Some key factors to consider when making those hiring decisions include:

  • technical expertise and proficiency in relevant programming languages and frameworks
  • developers who possess a diverse skill set and the ability to adapt quickly to changing needs
  • cultural fit and the alignment of values between the developer and the startup’s mission are crucial for long-term success
  • strong communication skills and the ability to collaborate effectively with cross-functional teams are highly valued
  • an understanding of the startup environment, including its fast-paced nature and the need for flexibility, is vital

Finally, the negotiation process should focus on ensuring fair compensation packages. Along with providing opportunities for growth and professional development. Overall, selecting developers who not only possess the required technical skills but also align with the startup’s culture and values. All of this is key to building a successful development team for a startup.

Business people shaking hands. Man onboarding new team member of tech startup

Onboarding & Integration

Now that all of that is done, you need to make sure that you onboard your new startup developers. Moreover, you need to make sure that you integrate them so they can work together and collaborate. A solid 👉 onboarding process 👈 will help you retain developers for your startup. Some key features of solid onboarding include:

  • Provide a welcome package with an employee handbook about company culture and procedures
  • Create a strong relationship among developers, project managers, etc. by scheduling video chats such as coffee chats
  • If you are a longer-term startup you may consider providing onboarding buddies for new developers
  • Introduce and provide them with access to all the necessary tools they will need for their job.

You can also help with teamwork and retention by integrating your team members. Some tricks that we recommend for 👉 successful integration 👈 are:

  • Set clear expectations from the beginning about communication, processes, and procedures in your company. Also, how to handle knowledge transfer within your company.
  • Introduce your new hires to everyone on the team and inform them who has what role, who to report to, and so on.
  • Include everyone in team meetings, to ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to project development
  • Make sure that your project manager also builds a strong relationship with your developers.

Challenges when hiring software developers for startup

When you hire developers for your startup, you may face some challenges. Some of these challenges include a limited talent pool, employee turnover, financial restrictions, hiring issues, and much more. Let’s go over each of these in more detail below.

Limited talent pool

If you restrict yourself to your local market, you may not find the talented developers that you need. You may want to consider hiring remote developers for your startup. The world has changed since the pandemic, making remote work in the IT industry a standard. This enables startup owners to hire developers from around the world to work on their projects.

You no longer have to limit yourself in terms of location, in order to avoid relocation expenses and more. Remote developers can join your startup and push your project forward, without ever relocating. This way you don’t limit yourself to the level of talent that you can hire.

Moreover, you can hire freelance developers, or developers via IT staff augmentation, or lastly, through outsourcing, you open more avenues. With models like IT staff augmentation and outsourcing, you can 👉 hire developers offshore or nearshore 👈. You can take advantage of global talent from countries near and far away.

Side view man carrying cardboard box as he has decided to leave the company he was working at. He is increasing the employee turnover rate by quitting his job.

Employee turnover is rampant

Any software development company worries about employee turnover. Employee turnover among developers is highly prevalent. It is reported by the US Bureau of Statistics that there is a 57 percent turnover rate among software engineers. Part of this turnover rate is voluntary so people are leaving. While the other is developers being let go for various reasons.

Companies need to find a way to attract good talent. Moreover, they need to work on strategies to retain developers. As a startup, you need to also find a solution to keeping developers on your team. This way you can avoid the costs associated with offboarding, hiring, and onboarding on a consistent basis.

Financial restrictions

You may also find that you are limited financially in terms of who you can hire and how many developers you can hire. While startups tend to gain quite a bit of money from their investors, it’s still important to manage your budget and stick to its parameters.

Also, during 👉 tough economic times 👈, investors tend to tighten their belts so brand-new startups may struggle to get as much funding as they need. This is why you need to be smart when spending investor capital.

Group of business colleagues having a headache while working on laptop and trying to solve hiring problems during a meeting

Hiring issues

Startup owners may face hiring issues because if you are an early-stage startup you lack credibility and employer branding. Early-stage startups may not have enough branding to be trusted by potential candidates. This can lead to some hiring issues.

Moreover, the 👉 organic recruitment process 👈 can be time-consuming. The process to hire a developer on a permanent basis can take 3 to 6 weeks. Not to mention recruiting can be expensive. You need to pay to post job openings. Also, you need to pay a headhunter, hiring manager, etc. to source developers for you. Additionally, you may choose to use a recruitment agency to hire developers, which can break the bank. It is also time-consuming. Some startups may struggle with this as they don’t have the time to wait to hire someone after 3,4,5 or 6 weeks.

Also, a startup’s position is never certain. Generally, we don’t know how the situation will play out. Someone may be counting on a long-term job but if the MVP falls short, then they may be out of a job as well. There are certain risks associated with working at a startup. The lack of stability and the need to be very flexible can be a concern to some software engineers.

Lastly, a startup may not always be able to offer a high salary like big cooperation in the tech world. The same holds true when it comes to offering a variety of benefits that may entice developers to want to work for them. A big cooperation can afford to do so, whereas a startup may not.

Consider IT staff augmentation to hire developers for startup

One way to avoid some of these startup hiring woes is to try to hire developers using IT staff augmentation for your startup. 👉 IT staff augmentation 👈 gives you access to a wide talent pool of pre-vetted developers that can work on your project, Moreover, they can work on your project on a temporary basis. You can hire temporary developers for as little or as long as you need.

Augmented staff are a better option than trying to hire freelance developers for a few reasons:

  • They are committed to an IT staff augmentation company and to you
  • Swyply developers will only work exclusively for you. You don’t have to worry that the developer is working on multiple projects, thus not making yours a priority.
  • Their technical skills have been evaluated through a rigorous recruitment process, so you know that they are legit
  • Communication is made easier because you always have the staff augmentation vendor to fall back on. In a scenario where there is a communication breakdown with the developer, you can try to contact the vendor. The vendor will also then try to contact the developer & fix the gap in communication.

Here at Swyply, we offer you a flexible contract. Our developers have to work with you for a minimum of three months. Of course, they can work with you for much longer. Swyply developers can work for you as long as you need. They enjoy long projects, that last 6 months, 12 months, 15 months, etc.

Moreover, as part of the staffing services we provide startup owners with a 👉 14-day trial period 👈. Our risk-free period allows startups to test out developers. You can see if the developer(s) you borrowed is the right fit or not. If they are not the right fit or something changes, you can exchange said developer. Moreover, within these 14 days, you can always end our cooperation if you are unhappy and do not pay a cent. You don’t get this option with freelance developers, in-house developers, or other extension models.

Medium shot man working on laptop writing code for a new software development project

Gain experts, not juniors that you have to teach and lead

When choosing IT staff augmentation you gain experts. You can hire developers with many years of experience, who are ready to sit down and get to work. They have enough experience to be able to 👉 push your product forward 👈. Moreover, our Swyply developers can also act as consultants. They can offer their expertise and provide you with valuable technical solutions. Moreover, they can make suggests how to make your existing product even better. They will add value as opposed to being a liability.

While there is nothing wrong with hiring junior developers, they do need some hand-holding. They are at the beginning of their careers and still need guidance. Moreover, they need someone to check their work as their code may not be as clean as that of a regular or senior developer. Junior developers are a great option if you need someone to strictly code, but you need to take into account the investment you are making. There is a time and teaching investment with young junior coders that are still learning the ropes. They may not be the ideal solution for a startup.

Adding new functions to a given minimal viable product

If you have an MVP that needs a new function, developers from staff augmentation may also be a great option. In the case of a startup, you may wonder if a new function will take the way you want it to. So you may not want to use your in-house team to try it out. You don’t want to waste internal resources to test out a maybe thing. This is where hiring augmented developers is a great option. They can help you test out new functions with less investment. Moreover, your internal team can continue focusing on core business goals.


Create a development team with in-house recruitment & IT staff augmentation

Another viable option is to combine recruiting developers using the traditional hiring process plus IT staff augmentation. You have more flexibility this way because you can build your team the way you see necessary. For example, you can have 9 augmented developers plus 1 in-house developer. And then once you get further in the development process you may decide to another developer permanently. Making your team 9 plus 2. You can continue this process until your team is how you want it.

Use IT staff augmentation as a bridge

Moreover, you can use IT staff augmentation as a bridge. So you can have augmented developers until you hire someone on a permanent basis. This way you don’t have to rush with your in-house recruitment process but you still have the developers that you need. Let’s say you hire a backend developer using IT staff augmentation for 6 months but then you replace him or her, with a permanent developer.

Scaling your team becomes a breeze

You get the best of both worlds when you combine in-house recruitment and IT staff augmentation. Moreover, you are able to 👉 scale your team 👈 as needed. You can expand and collapse your team as your project changes. Moreover, you have the comfort that if something changes for the worse, you can let go of augmented staff, keeping only your in-house team.

System developers analyzing code on wall screen tv looking for errors while team of coders collaborate on artificial intelligence project. programmers working together at machine learning software

Divide work among different teams of talented developers for your startup

If you have different teams for various aspects of development, using in-house teams and augmented teams may be a good way to divide work. For example, if you have an MVP that requires maintenance work, you can delegate that strictly to augmented staff. Meanwhile, your in-house can focus on developing new features. Or vice versa. You have more flexibility in how you divide up the work. This can be useful if you don’t want to overload your in-house team with things that don’t need necessarily need to be handled in-house.

TL;DR: Concluding hiring developers for startup

Let’s go over everything you need to know about how to hire developers for a startup.

Once you have figured out the project scope, timeline, skills you need, and what is the ideal candidate, you can begin the hiring process.

The process to hire developers for a startup consists of 6 steps:

  • Analyze the market
  • Identify the skills you need
  • Build your hiring funnel
  • Interview candidates
  • Hiring decisions & final negotiation
  • Onboarding & Integration

While carrying out the recruitment process, as a startup owner, you may find that you encounter certain problems. Some popular challenges include:

  • Limited talent pool
  • Employee turnover is rampant
  • Financial restrictions
  • Hiring issues

To avoid some of these hiring challenges, as a startup, you can turn to IT staff augmentation for help. IT staff augmentation can provide you with pre-vetted developers that are ready to work. These developers are experts and can hit the ground running. Moreover, these developers can be used as a bridge. What does this mean? Well, you can use augmented staff until you hire permanent staff. Moreover, you can combine augmented staff and an internal team. This will make dividing up various work easier. Also, you can scale your team up and down as you fit.

Want to learn more about how to hire developers for a startup? Or perhaps you want to take advantage of the IT staffing augmentation solution to hire temporary coders? 👉 Drop us a line 👈, and let’s chat. We can demystify further, the best way for a startup founder to hire developers. Also, we can break down how IT staffing may be the best way to go, especially for new startups.

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