How to Hire a Developer for Your Startup: 5 Things to Consider

How to Hire a Developer for Your Startup: 5 Things to Consider

These days, every company is a technology company. Whether you take that to mean internally through process automation and business intelligence, or externally through digital storefronts and software products, there’s no question that technology plays a crucial role in running a successful modern business.

While much has been written about the technologies transforming industries, it can be easy to forget that it’s the people behind those technologies that will have the most impact on your business’s success. This is especially true for startups, 23% of which attribute not hiring the right team among the top reasons startups fail.

So how do you build a top-notch developer team? Like anything in business, hiring top developers is a skill that can be learned. Whether you’re in development or looking to scale your project to the next level, here are some key factors to consider when hiring your developers.

1. Get clarity on what you need

Before you can create a job listing and start interviewing candidates, you need to make sure you have a solid understanding of the type of developer you’re looking to hire. There’s a big difference between hiring a WordPress developer to build you a custom landing page for an information product, and hiring a software developer to oversee the design and development of a software-as-a-service (SaaS) product. And we haven’t even touched on specialized technology skills such as virtual reality, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT).

2. Be clear on who you need

Having a strong level of knowledge in their area of expertise is important, but you’ll also want to screen candidates for soft skills like communication and leadership. You want to make sure your candidate is a person who will add value to your team.

Will you need someone who is a good communicator, able to speak to stakeholders, or is this a more, back-of-the-house hire, focused on implementations, and not managing expectations? Is this person familiar enough with your organization’s tech ecosystem to get started right away with minimal guidance? The best candidate will be used to, or well-equipped to work autonomously with little guidance.

Regardless of whether they are client or stakeholder facing, you’ll need a candidate who is able to clearly articulate themselves—after all, communication is a critical skill no matter how it will be used.

3. Write a solid developer job description

Once you have a better understanding of the specific developer (or developers) your startup needs, it’s time to write that job post.

A solid project description should include:

  • Scope of Work: Clearly describe the work that needs to be done—the more specific you are on deliverables and job responsibilities, the better.
  • Budget: Set a budget and note your preferences for fixed-price contracts or hourly rates.
  • Project duration: Be clear about whether this is a short term project, or a continuous role you plan to fill long-term.
  • Desired developer background: Technology stacks, programming languages, developer tools, and relevant project experience—list the skills and qualifications you’re looking for in a developer.

Once you’ve completed your job post, consider posting it on a talent marketplace such as Upwork.

4. Create a shortlist and interview developers

Once you’ve created a quality job listing, it won’t be long before the proposals start pouring in. It can be helpful to create a shortlist of the candidates you may want to interview. Common screening criteria include:

  • Technologies. Do they have the specific programming languages, technology expertise, and qualifications you requested in your job post?
  • Communication. Did they communicate clearly and professionally in their proposal?
  • Feedback. Do they have any glowing testimonials from past clients that worked with them on similar projects?

When you’re ready, interview the candidates in your shortlist. It’s a good idea to have prepared your own interview questions in advance and test their working knowledge of the programming concepts and technologies needed for your project.

Related: The First 4 People To Hire for Your Startup

5. Building a dedicated team of remote developers

Once you’ve got a hiring process down for recruiting developers it won’t be long before you might want to consider expanding your development team with remote developers. The future of work is constantly evolving, and talent marketplaces like Upwork have long been leading the transition to a remote workforce. The pandemic has shown many businesses that contrary to popular myths about working as an independent professional  and remote work—you can get work done outside of the office.

That said there are a few things you need to be aware of when hiring remote developers. The three biggest obstacles to building a remote team of developers are communication, collaboration, and trust. Fortunately, there are a number of tools you can use to help strengthen these three internal aspects of your business:

  • Communication: From video conferencing apps like Zoom to project messaging apps like Slack, these tools give you a reliable way to stay connected, build community, and encourage an open-office culture on the web.
  • Collaboration: For developers, that means remote repository/version control systems like GitHub, BitBucket, and Google Cloud Source Repositories. More broadly you’ll also want project management tools that handle issue tracking well, like Jira.
  • Trust: Trust is the hardest to establish—it requires making genuine connections with a remote team. That said, tools like DocuSign make it easy to send out contracts and non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) for legal protection. You’ll also want to work with your system administrator to carefully control user permissions, which can be handled through your chosen code repository tool.

If you can nail the trifecta of communication, collaboration, and trust, you’ll be well on your way to building a remote team. To help you get started, here’s a handy list of the 25 best tools for remote teams.

Ready to build your own remote development team? Hire the best remote developers on Upwork today!


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Author Spotlight

How to Hire a Developer for Your Startup: 5 Things to Consider
Yoshitaka Shiotsu
Technical Copywriter & SEO Consultant

Yoshitaka Shiotsu is a project engineer turned technical copywriter and SEO consultant who regularly contributes to the Upwork Resource Center. He specializes in helping tech companies, startups, and entrepreneurs set themselves up as voices of authority within their target industries.

How to Hire a Developer for Your Startup: 5 Things to Consider
Technical Copywriter & SEO Consultant

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