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6 Tips for Hiring a Software Developer at a Startup in 2023

Oct 23, 2022 10 min read
"6 Tips for Hiring a Software Developer at a Startup in 2023"

Hiring developers for a startup is a challenging task. A company with a skeleton structure is sometimes handled by a one-person team and cannot compete with established businesses in terms of incentives and salary.

Even if you discover an excellent applicant, it might be difficult to recruit them since they usually pursue positions with established firms where the conditions and rewards are more secure.

However, you shouldn’t be disheartened just yet. Many startup developers are ready to help firms in their early phases – you just need to locate the appropriate individual.

We want to help. As a result, this post will go through 6 tips for hiring a software developer at a startup.

Identify hiring requirements and candidate profile 

Prepare yourself before posting a job listing or looking for possible prospects. Creating a candidate profile is the best preparation you can do. This will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of your applicant’s abilities, expertise, and experiences.

There are several factors to consider while creating a candidate profile. However, understanding the following will provide you with a clearer idea of what your startup is looking for:

  • Your hiring objective (what you expect your new startup developer to do)
  • Seniority level
  • Important technological knowledge
  • Optional technical abilities

Once you’ve established the above, it’ll be much easier to figure out who you desire. This dramatically simplifies the candidate search process.

Example of a candidate profile

Above, we’ve explained why you need to build a candidate profile and identify the hiring requirements. Though suggesting this is excellent, to find a developer for a startup, you need an example. Therefore, let’s break down the four steps: 

Analyze the current software developer landscape

Hiring programmers for a startup is challenging.  We like to compare it to looking for a delicious burger: you must research the market to find one.

Though few individuals think about it, you should examine the current work market to see whether you’ll be able to discover what you want. For example, you may find that there aren’t many Drupal developers in Europe. Therefore, looking for a more popular developer, such as jQuery, may enhance your chances of finding a decent recruit.

The best method to approach this is to research market trends such as:

Framework usage 

The popularity of frameworks gives us a good indication of how tough it will be to find someone for a startup. Based on the current market results and your requirements, it could influence the tech decision you make. 

The popularity of frameworks is constantly shifting in this ever-growing market. Statista has this information available, as shown below:

Source: Statista

As seen above, the top three frameworks are NodeJS, ReactJS, and jQuery. However, what if you’ve been searching for somebody specializing in the Play Framework, which is only 0.82% of developers? Without question, it would be much harder to find someone suited for your startup. We recommend switching to a more popular framework to find a developer in this circumstance. 

Average salary 

Startups have tight budgets, which is why you’ll want to learn about the average salaries of software developers in different countries. For instance, if we take this information supplied by CodeSubmit:

Country Average Software Developer Salary
United States $110,140
United Kingdom$55,275

As you can see, your budget will change your hires’ location. For instance, if you can only spend $60,000 annually on a software developer, searching for individuals in Norway, Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Sweden is recommended. 

Number of software developers 

Lastly, get a better understanding of where startup developers are located in your desired country. For example, let’s say you’ve chosen to select the United States. In that circumstance, you’ll want to search for software developers in regions that are highly populated – the more developers, the better chance of finding someone worthwhile. 

DQYDJ has the data available for the United States. From their research, they’ve discovered that these are the ten most popular locations for software programmers in the US:

County Rank County NameWorkers with Software Proficiency
1Santa Clara, California118,289
2Los Angeles, California106,417
3King, Washington93,871
4Cook, Illinois82,080
5Alameda, California62,874
6Fairfax, Virginia60,819
7San Diego, California59,611
8Middlesex, Massachusetts58,604
9Maricopa, Arizona56,931
10Orange, California53,476

When you have access to all this trending data, it improves your search dramatically. Though it’ll narrow down your choices, the chances of finding your ideal candidate increase dramatically. 

Build a hiring funnel to streamline the selection process 

The first two tips should give you a better understanding of who you want to hire. Afterward, it would be best if you looked into building a hiring funnel (similar to the sales funnel concept). 

Hiring plays an important role in how much success your startup will have. You’ll have a much higher probability of victory if you recruit driven individuals with the right skills. 

Although a hiring funnel structure can be different, most follow a similar step-by-step process depending on the recruitment process. Such as: 

  • Sourcing and selecting. Once the job criteria have got determined and the vacancy has been advertised, you may compile a list of probable candidates and choose the most promising ones.
  • Screening. After that, you must screen them. This initial evaluation is based on a phone conversation with a recruiting or HR professional to determine which candidates best fulfill the position criteria.
  • Interviewing. This is normally done by HR and an in-house field specialist to further assess a candidate’s personality and technical background. It may contain a test assignment, depending on the job.
  • Deciding yes or no. Based on the results of the interview and the test task, you may opt to hire the candidate or part ways.
  • Negotiating the deal. Often, a candidate will wish to re-evaluate the salary or ask for more benefits, or you may opt to provide some incentives to seal the deal.

When you have a functioning hiring funnel, it creates a process. A structure like this can get monitored and optimized to achieve more significant results now and later. 

Ask the right interview questions 

If a candidate reaches the interview stage, you must ask them the right questions. This isn’t only to establish their expertise but also their personality and dedication to join your startup. 

The only way to make the most out of this is by having a good understanding of the questions you’ll ask them. These can range based on the job, but we recommend at least asking the following: 

What compelled you to pursue a career as a software developer?

Ideally, you want to observe how enthusiastic the person is about the profession, role, and company. The answers to this question will differ. On the other hand, you are looking for solid answers—someone who has a genuine reason for attending the interview.

Where do you envision yourself in five years?

Hiring employees who want to make advancements in their careers is critical. This question provides a detailed insight into whether they’re always determined to improve themselves. You want the interviewee to respond accurately and as though they’ve previously considered the question.

How do you stay up to date on the newest industry trends? 

Asking this question gives you a further understanding of their passion for the industry. If they’re committed to staying in date with the latest trends, it shows passion, commitment, and the ability to improve. 

Do you know any development methodologies? 

You want somebody that can seamlessly fit into your current team and working environment. Therefore, you’re looking for somebody with experience in working in a specific development environment, as they’ll likely be able to adapt and quickly onboard into the team. 

What are your preferred programming languages? 

Simple yet effective question. Understanding what frameworks they’re comfortable with could make or break a hire. If you’re searching for somebody that’s a professional in a specific language, you’ll want to ask further questions to gain a deeper understanding of how much they know. 

Always verify the potential candidate’s expertise 

Whether recruiting freelancers, an IT development firm, or somebody for full-time employment, you must do thorough background checks. You must confirm they have the stated experience and can handle your project or goals.

If you’re recruiting freelancers through platforms like Upwork or Guru, read the feedback given by previous clients. Request a list of their completed projects. It helps you filter out individuals who lack the critical abilities required for your project.

Take the same strategy when looking for an IT outsourcing company. Examine the testimonials provided by previous clients and, if necessary, speak with them for first-hand feedback. The company’s LinkedIn page might also reveal a lot about its reputation.

Aside from expertise, you must also verify that the developers have soft skills such as communication, teamwork, etc. Clear communication between you and the developer is critical to success. Confirm that language won’t be an issue and that there is a shared platform for discussing ideas.

When you hire a committed team, you want the developers to work well together. They must be self-organized and capable of dealing with problems on their own. As a result, candidates should be proactive in providing ideas and reporting problems without being asked.

Onboard them into the team correctly 

The last tip we must suggest is correctly onboarding the selected candidate to your team. It doesn’t matter if you have a world-class software developer. If they aren’t onboarded correctly, the performance will suffer. Therefore, you need a solid onboarding strategy to make the most out of your new employee. 
Ideally, you’ll want to follow the below checklist, ensuring you complete each one: 

  • Welcome them. First impressions are crucial. You may avoid turnover by establishing a solid working connection with your new developer. Setting expectations both ways is also a bright idea. Discuss what your organization can accomplish for the developer and what you want the developer to bring to the table.
  • Handle business. New recruits will undoubtedly be required to complete a lot of human resources (HR) documentation before getting started. Help your new developer out by guiding them through the process. Check they understand everything and address any queries the developer may have.
  • Get organized immediately. Ensure that the new developer has access to all the tools necessary for success at work. You may need to supply the recruit with access to your corporate software or a working PC. In any case, you must be organized before your recruit starts their first day.
  • Start introducing them. Aside from the technical aspects of onboarding developers, the process is also heavily social. Therefore, welcome the new member to the team and make them feel at ease.
  • Monitor the onboarding process. Set up weekly 1-on-1s meetings to share feedback and celebrate any significant achievements. These meetings can become less regular as time passes, but the idea is to constantly be informed.

Summig up

These six tips for hiring a software developer at a startup should help you generate better results from recruiting. Considering all of the above helps you target and pinpoint talent that suits your defined requirements, it should be a breeze.