For most tech startups, hiring a developer is one of the first steps in building their company.
Finding a great developer is like finding a great spouse: It's not easy, and you must be willing to compromise. There is a multitude of job sites that all offer similar services, and the differences between them can be difficult to discern at first glance.
There are two common ways that startups go about hiring talent:
- Get a job posting in front of as many developers as possible through traditional channels (like Jobvite, Indeed or Dice),
- Find the right team member(s) through a network.
Many startups need developers, and finding good ones is not always easy. There are many ways to go about this, starting from hiring full-time employees or freelancers and going all the way to outsourcing the job to a country with lower labor costs.
What type of developer do you need?
The first thing you should know is that your startup will need two developers: backend developers, who create the code for the website or app itself, and frontend developers, who make it easy for users to interact with. However, it doesn’t end there—depending on your business’ needs, you may require a full-stack developer, data scientist, engineer, DevOps, and several other kinds of developers. Read more on how to hire developers and what they can specialize in. This isn't a hard distinction to make in practice, but it's essential to understand that several are important to your startup's success.
When you're looking for a web developer, there are a few things to need to consider:
What other technologies do they know—for example, whether you need a website that integrates with an existing system, or if there are specific programming languages that are needed for certain aspects of your project.
What level of seniority do they have? Seniority level is also vital—if this is your first time hiring a web developer, or if you don't have much experience in this field yourself, it's best to hire someone who has seniority in their field.
What previous experience do they have and what types of projects have they completed? This can help give you an idea of how well they might fit into your team environment and what kind of results they can deliver on time and within budget constraints.
What to note before making your first hire
If you're a startup technical co-founder, you must make your first hires wisely. You should be looking for people who are great at what they do, but more than that, you need to find people that will work well in your specific company culture. The first step is to develop a profile of the kind of person you're looking for. This will give you something to go off of when you start asking around and keep your search as focused as possible.
- Do they have any certifications or special knowledge?
- What languages do they speak?
- Do they have recommendations from previous clients?
- What's their personality like? How much work can they handle at once?
- Any personal details could be useful—do they have a family?
- Are they introverted or extroverted?
- Do they work well alone or with others?
Questions to consider before hiring:
- How many developers do you need?
- Do you want them to work with you as a team, or do you want them to do everything themselves?
- Do you already have a tech stack in mind?
- Will they build it from scratch or modify an existing platform?
- Do they need to know how the project will be promoted and marketed or is that your job?
If you're not sure where to start looking, here are some options you may want to explore:
Using traditional channels
Hire a remote employee through a site like Flexjobs or VirtualVocations. For a subscription fee, you get access to various resumes and the ability to browse candidates based on hard and soft skills and their location. You still have to do an interview after posting the job description and choose someone to work with, but unlike freelancing sites, there's usually no bidding process—you choose who you want and contact them directly.
There are more than enough job boards around these days. But no matter what site you choose, make sure that it has some kind of screening process in place—the last thing you want is someone who will do half-baked work or won't be able to get along with the rest of your web development team.
Pro: You have a variety of candidates to choose from.
Con: Traditional job sites don't always make it easy for remote workers to find jobs. You can place ads on them, but your results might not be as good as you’d like. It's hard to tell if they are interested in doing the kind of work you're offering or just spamming your ad because they can. Traditional jobs limit you only to the talent pool within your country, whereas hiring freelancers opens up the whole world.
Check out freelance marketplaces
Freelance marketplaces connect startups with freelance developers. These marketplaces offer full-time or part-time services (as well as hourly) for short-term projects and longer-term engagements. You can hire an individual or a development team depending on your needs.
Pro: The most significant advantage of using this platform is that you can easily compare candidates' portfolios and reviews left by previous employers.
Con: The main drawback is that you will also have more competitors and probably need to pay more than if you were hiring directly.
Get in touch with Proxify
Proxify is a marketplace for top-tier, vetted and tested senior software developers to work remotely for the startups that need them. We aim to make it easy and cost-effective for you to find and hire developers to work on your team within days.
Our website allows you to match with developers for a certain period to complete a specific project, or even to onboard them as a part of your regular team without a specific time frame in mind.
This service enables companies that don't have enough developers on staff but still need programming work the opportunity to outsource it without the hassle of finding, screening and vetting new people every time.
Pro: This solution has several advantages—it's faster, more affordable, easier and more convenient than hiring someone full-time.
Con: There is no ability for the developers to work in-office. You will need to adopt a remote working strategy. Some of our developers might be in a different time zone to yours, still, we try to match them with these details in mind.
Here are some tips on how to find a great developer for your startup:
Find a startup partner (this can be done through meetups)
Social networking is the key to finding a developer for your startup. You can talk about the benefits of working at your company, but you have to show that you're already working on something and that you're invested in getting it off the ground. After all, there's no other way to prove that you're serious about the venture than to actually be doing it. Meetups are a great way to network since both small business owners and developers will be present (it's a good idea to reach out to meetup groups related to your industry). Branching out into your existing network is also helpful—you can't make new connections if you never put yourself out there. The people around you now likely know potential candidates who could be a good fit for your team or could be interested in joining themselves.
Find developers who want to work in your niche
You'll want a developer who understands your niche and has worked in it before. If you've built up a following in your niche, you can search for people who have been following you or writing about similar things. That way, they'll know what problems specific people are running into and will be more likely to want to help solve those issues by becoming part of your team.
Why turn to freelancers?
When it comes down to it, working with freelancers is pretty much just like working with any other contractor. Freelancers charge by the hour, take on new clients when their schedule allows, and generally do everything in their power to complete the job before the deadline. But freelance marketplaces can also be advantageous for startups because they provide access to talent that's not easily accessible through more traditional methods of hiring.
There are plenty of ways to find developers for your startup, but it's worth looking at all of them to see which one is the best fit for you.