Software Developer Hiring Tips For Startups

Startups often have to build their development teams from the ground up. Although exciting, this can also be challenging as leaders often work with limited resources while team members wear many different hats. Adding to that, everyone is under substantial pressure to build the tools the company needs to be successful.

While it’s hard for startups to build a great dev team, it’s essential that you focus on these employees. For many companies, a good development team helps ensure long-term success. With that in mind, here are some software developer hiring tips for startup leaders.

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Know What You Need

This might sound basic, but it’s a step that too many leaders don’t dedicate enough time to their needs and wants. Before hiring a developer, it’s important to know what you need your developers to build. While the scope of a project might change, you need to start by defining exactly what you need to create.

Once you define the project, you can then think through the specific developer roles you need — for example, full-stack, frontend, backend — and then begin hiring to meet those needs.

Test With Real-Life Scenarios

Once you’ve found some candidates, you should evaluate their skill set with real-life scenarios that your business has or will face.

There are plenty of ready-made assessments and screening tools available, helping you to screen applicants. However, it’s much more effective to have developers address an actual scenario that your team encounters.

This will let you see their problem-solving skills in action while giving them a good sense of the type of issues they’ll face. Then, after tackling a real-life scenario, both you and the developer will have a better sense of whether the candidate is a good fit for your team.

Don’t Overlook Communication Skills

Leaders commonly think that communication skills don’t matter much when it comes to software developers. While this might be the case for big companies, it’s not true for startups.

Startups are small teams that must communicate effectively during a critical time, eventually determining their short and long-term success. As a result, you need developers that can and will effectively communicate with all of your team.

Focus on the Person, Not Just Their Experience

When hiring, you don’t want to be singularly focused on discrete skills or specific experience. Programming languages and technology change often. Don’t worry so much about programming language experience or other specific parameters. Instead, look for someone with the right problem-solving ability, skill sets, and curiosity to meet your team’s needs.

Plus, company fit is essential when working with a small team. Your team will work closely together, often under pressure.

Additionally, startups often have their own DNA and style. This means that you need to hire developers that will share and willingly buy into your culture and values.

Set Clear Expectations

When hiring developers for startups, you must be clear about expectations from the outset. You need all team members to be on the same page and understand the project’s general scope.

It’s equally important to be clear about team member expectations — for example, will developers be expected to be available 24/7? Will all team members work remotely? Are there opportunities for flexible work schedules?

The pace of startups can be demanding, so it’s key that your developers understand expectations from the start to avoid confusion, conflict, and turnover.

Involve Multiple People in the Interview Process

Interviewing can be time-consuming, and it’s tempting for leaders to take on this responsibility solely. However, given the importance of finding the right developers for your team, it’s a good idea to involve at least two individuals in the interview process.

This will give you multiple perspectives on candidates, resulting in a broader range of questions, and helping the candidate get a better feel for your company culture.

The reality is that the interview is a critical time for evaluating candidates for key factors like communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and company fit. So, among the many things you’re trying to accomplish during an interview, you should:

  • Focus on the candidate, not the role;
  • Engage in a dialogue to evaluate communication skills;
  • Ask candidates about their favorite project — you want to see signs that they’re passionate about their work;
  • Ask them about a specific platform, language, or system, as this helps to evaluate their knowledge about specific topics and their communication skills and ability to think on their feet.

The interview can be a challenging yet essential phase of the hiring process. In just a few minutes, you’re trying to evaluate a candidate’s competence, problem-solving skills, creativity, learning ability, demeanor, and ability to communicate. As a result, you should involve as many team members as possible in the interview process to hire smartly.

Upstack Can Help

Building a development team for your startup can be overwhelming. At Upstack, we can make the process quicker and easier. We’ve got a pool of vetted, skilled, and experienced developers ready to get to work for you.

Contact us to learn more or to start hiring your software developers today.

Whether you are in the product discovery phase or are looking for a partner to launch your software development project, CONTACT US! We’re happy to help you discover the advantages of a dedicated remote team!

Originally published at Upstack.co on Dec 17, 2021, by Charlie Harper.

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