Tips for hiring a software developer for a startup

Tips for hiring a software developer for a startup

Startups have unique specifics and work ethics that differ from well-established corporations. That calls for a particular approach to recruitment. What kind of skills, both soft and technical, should the developer have to function well in a startup environment?

Even though developers are not as scarce as they used to be, the market is still not saturated – particularly when it comes to mid and senior specialists. The environment undoubtedly became much more competitive, and it’s not only about the expertise anymore, but also the communication skills and other competencies that fall under the “soft category”.

Also, different employers should search for different things in their candidates. Startups are a good example, being quite distinct from corporate environments. In this article, we gather tips for hiring a software developer at a startup. Whether you work in recruitment or are a startup owner yourself, it may help you find the right person for your team.

Where to find developers for a startup?

Before we even start thinking about your requirements, let’s focus on the search process itself. If you are a startup owner, you may want to cut costs and reach the developers directly (unless you have a generous stream of funding behind your business). Although we don’t recommend this strategy – a trusted agency can do wonders, and startup owners often tend to be on tight budgets and deadlines – finding software developers this way is possible. It just requires much more time and effort.

It is not a mystery for anyone with ties to the IT industry that developers usually don’t actively search for jobs unless they are juniors who just entered the job market. Most frequently, they get found by recruiters or companies, who reach out with an offer. A little prospecting campaign using LinkedIn may thus be necessary.

If you don’t want to resign from job adverts, try the video ones – still relatively new, they generate 40% more responses on average than the regular postings. Employer branding is a crucial aspect if you want to find developers for a startup who will stand out with their skills, but also fit the team. The second aspect is crucial in startup environments, which are typically driven by shared enthusiasm for a common goal. Your landing pages and posts should not only spark a promise, but also act as a filter, attracting people that match your work culture and ethic.

How to hire developers for a startup?

Or rather – who should you be looking for? A lot depends on the nature of your project – but in general, as you may know, startups tend to start from scratch in a very competitive environment. They often deliver a product that the market has not yet seen, which creates both chances and challenges, and they rely on this product to survive.

That means you need someone with passion and determination, not the devs who just want to get things done. Even though it may sound like a cliché, you will quickly see how much it matters in a team environment. Pick these developers whose passion is contagious to keep up the spirit. How to find such? Ask them about their previous projects or those they are proud of the most. Their answer will leave you with an idea of their possible engagement in the future.

Another aspect worth paying attention to is the candidate’s resistance to stress. A startup environment can be stressful, as there is a lot of responsibility to share among a relatively small team. That’s why you may limit your search to the developers that already have such an experience in their portfolio. Also, a test exercise with a brief deadline can be a good way to verify it.

As a startup, you may be developing a solution from scratch, and while you focus on delivering it to the market, it is also worth thinking about the maintenance. If the code is well-taken care of, maintenance costs decrease, and the product is much easier to scale, which is crucial for startups. Thus, you may want to pick developers who can incorporate refactoring into the sprints as a good preventive practice.

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