How To Hire Developers For A Start-up

How to Hire Developers for a Start-up
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As a start-up business owner looking to hire developers to handle various tech aspects of your business, you’re taking a very bold step.

One that could ruin your start-up if done inappropriately.

Hiring developers for your start-up involves many steps that you may not be familiar with as a start-up business owner.

Hence, you’ll need a guide to walk you through every step of the way.

Even more, having the right team on board is as important as every other aspect of the business to the success of your start-up.

After extensive research into various start-up businesses, we’ve come across various approaches to hiring developers.

Using the information gathered, we’ve compiled this blog post.

Hence, this blog post will show you easy and actionable steps to hiring developers for your start-up.

Even if you have a non-technical background or no idea of what it entails, this post will show you how.

So, let’s dive right in.

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How To Hire Developers For A Start-up

This blog post will walk you through important steps to take before, when, and after hiring developers for your start-up.

Overall, it will cover the following important aspects of this topic;

  • Who is a developer; is it the same as a programmer?
  • What do developers do; Job roles and responsibilities
  • Hiring developers; Before the hiring process, when hiring, and after hiring

First off, Who is a Developer?

A developer is someone who builds and creates software and applications.

A developer can also be referred to by the following names;

  •  a software developer,
  • computer programmer,
  • programmer,
  • software coder,
  • or software engineer

Although developers are sometimes referred to as programmers, there are some basic differences between them based on their work scope.

Hence, let’s examine the differences between a developer and a programmer.

Differences Between a Developer and a Programmer

Firstly, developers have a much larger scope of work in terms of their roles and responsibilities than programmers.

Both roles involve creating and writing error-free codes for software/applications.

However, developers are more involved in the general/holistic aspect of any technical project.

On the other hand, programmers are involved only in handling specific aspects of a project.

Also, developers can do what programmers do and more.

Whereas, programmers can only do coding and programming.

Developers can apply a more creative/conceptual approach to creating software and solving technical problems.

On the other hand, programmers rely on specific guidelines and instructions to create, code software, and solve technical problems.

Developers are the brains behind software applications.

They can develop the concepts for software that relate to your brand and can program it to run.

Programmers can only code your software to run.

Overall, a developer can take responsibility for the overall design of software and applications uniquely tailored to your start-up needs.

Now you know the basic differences between developers and programmers.

Hence, you know what terms to use in your search for developers for your start-up.

Now let’s find out what developers do.

What do Developers do; Job Roles and Responsibilities

There are many things developers can do for you.

This depends largely on the nature of your start-up and your business needs.

However, here’s a detailed list of a developer’s roles and responsibilities.

This will give you a clearer idea of what developers can do for your start-up.

  • Identifying errors in existing software/applications.
  • Troubleshoot, debug, and modify existing applications to fix errors, improve their performance, upgrade user interface, and test efficiency.
  • Directing software programming and documentation development.
  • Working with other departments, programmers, or customers on technical project status, proposals, software system design, and maintenance.
  • Analyzing information and data gathered from users to recommend and create new systems or modifications of existing software.
  • Collaborating with the engineering team to evaluate software-hardware interface and develop specifications and performance requirements.
  • Designing, creating, and developing software systems using scientific analysis and mathematical models to predict and measure outcomes and design consequences.
  • Researching, designing, implementing, and managing application programs
  • Writing and implementing error-free codes for applications
  • Determining operational practicality in relation to your start-up needs
  • …among other things.

Now you know who a developer is and what it is that developers do.

Let’s examine how to find and hire some of the best developers for your start-up.

Actionable Steps to Hiring Developers for Your Start-up

So, you’ve decided to hire developers for your start-up but don’t know how to go about it.

Here’s what to do in three easy steps.

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Step One: Things to do Before the Hiring Process

This step involves a couple of things to do before you hire developers for your start-up.

Be Sure It’s The Right Time For You/You Actually Need A Developer

Hiring developers for your start-up is a critical decision that can negatively impact your business if not done at the right time.

As a start-up business owner, you may be eager to hire a developer.

This is because you’ve seen other businesses (mostly) your competitors doing the same thing.

Hence, to keep up with your competitors, you also want to hire a developer.

If this is the reason you’re considering hiring developers for your start-up, then that reason is not valid enough.

Yes, keeping up with the competition is good.

However, as a start-up, you need to weigh your actions carefully.

This is because one wrong financial decision can ruin your start-up before it gets off the ground.

Hence, before hiring developers for your start-up, make sure that it’s the right time for you to do so.

So, when is the right time to hire a developer for your start-up?

The best way to go about it is to take some time to analyze your start-up.

Analyze your business to see if you really need a developer to grow.

If you do, then ask yourself what stage of the business you need to develop software/ applications to grow.

Overall, hiring a developer is important for a start-up when it’s an essential part of the business growth process.

For a tech-start-up, software development is an integral aspect of the business.

Hence, it may be an initial part of the start-up process.

Whereas, for other forms of start-up, software/applications development might be a mid-level investment.

Hence, consider the nature of your business and the importance of software development to your business.

Consequently, helping you decide the right time to hire developers for your start-up.

Have a Clear Idea of What You Want to Develop- Hiring Developers for Your Start-up

Before hiring developers for your start-up, you should have a clear idea of what you want to develop.

This would depend on the problem you want to solve with the software/applications.

Will the software be suited for mobile/web or both users?

What will the application or software help you achieve?

Is it to increase more brand awareness or sales in the business?

These are some of the things you should have in mind when thinking of the software you want to develop.

Of course, the developer you hire would have an idea of what works best for your type of business.

However, knowing what you want makes it easier for the developer to match their ideas with your business goals.

Develop a Unique Brand Voice

Developers work with you to develop software that will add value to your customers and promote your brand simultaneously.

However, the result of any software/application depends on what you communicate to the developer.

This is why you should create a unique brand voice before you hire developers for your start-up.

Hence, think of the value you want to add to your customers and what will make you stand out from the competition.

By doing this, you’ll have a unique brand voice that will help the developers create applications that truly represent your start-up brand.

Check Your Finances

As a start-up owner thinking of hiring developers for your business, you must know that they don’t come cheaply.

The average software developer salary in the USA is approximately $110K.

More so, the price could be higher than this, depending on the developers’ level of experience.

This makes hiring developers very costly, especially for start-ups.

Hence, you need to consider this properly if it’s something you can afford.

Luckily, there are ways you can cut costs and reduce your expenses when hiring a developer for your start-up.

One of these is hiring freelance/part-time developers.

The advantage of this is that you’ll pay the developer per project done rather than by monthly payroll.

However, you won’t have the developer at your beck and call as you would with full-time employees.

Nevertheless, it’s still an affordable option for hiring developers for your start-up.

Overall, consider your finances and make a decision that’s best for you.

Step Two: The Hiring Process- How to Hire Developers for Your Start-up

Set Your Expectations Clearly

This step answers the questions;

What do you want the developer you hire to do for your start-up?

What tech aspects of the start-up will the developers be handling for you?

Also, what kind of developer do you want to hire?

This is because there are different types of developers such as;

  • Frontend Developer; develops visual user interfaces, aesthetics, and layouts. 
  • Backend Developer; specializes in design, implementation, functional logic, and performance of a system that runs on a machine or server that is remote from the end-users
  • Full-stack Developer; specialize in designing the front and back-end of program or site.
  • Mobile Developer
  • Game Developer
  • Data Scientist Developer; develops programs to analyze data.
  • Software Developer
  • Web developer
  • …among others

Before now, you must have identified the goals you want to achieve with the software/applications.

You’ve also acquainted yourself with some of the responsibilities of developers.

Hence, you know the type of developers you want to hire for your start-up and what to expect from them.

This would create the foundation for a smooth working relationship with the developers you hire for your start-up.

Search in the Right Places- Hiring Developers for your Start-up

Hiring developers for your start-up also involves searching in the right places.

You can decide to do an online or offline search.

For your online search, you could search for developers for your start-up on social media or job boards.

Some of these include;

Job boards; Upwork, Fiverr, Toptal, Guru, Indeed, Crossover, LinkedIn, etc.

Social Media; Twitter. Instagram, Telegram, Facebook, online developers communities… among others.

Also, you could decide to do an offline search.

This may involve attending professional seminars or conferences to connect with various professionals in this field.

You could also ask for referrals or recommendations from people around you, such as friends or colleagues.

Create A Unique Job Description/Ad

After your search, you now know some of the best places to find developers for your start-up.

However, that’s only half of the journey.

Another major step you need to take is creating a unique and compelling job description.

To do this, it’s best if you think of your job description as a sales copy.

Yes! a sales copy that sells your offer (Job) to potential buyers (Jobseekers).

Developers are one of the most high-in-demand talents in the business industry.

To make things worse, most big companies make mouth-watering offers to these professionals.

Hence, writing a list of duties and responsibilities as your job description might not get you that top-talent you’re seeking.

Due to this, your job description should be clear, concise, and compelling to grab the attention of talented developers.

However, be careful not to embellish your job description with false statements or exaggerate your offerings.

Post/Pitch Your Ad (Job Description)

After creating your job description, the right people (job seekers ) need to see it.

Hence you need to get it out there.

If you’re using online job boards in your search, you need to post your job description on these job boards.

If you’re using offline means, you need to pitch your offer by telling the right people the kind of talent/skills you want to hire and why.

Review and Pick the Ideal Candidate – How to Hire Developers for Your Start-up 

After pitching or posting your job description, you’ll get a lot of responses.

Many interested candidates will send in their applications, profiles, and portfolios.

You possibly cannot work with all the applicants.

Hence, you have to thoroughly review each candidate and pick the best person for the job.

When doing this, keep the following tips in mind;

  • Pay attention to the applicants’ skills, qualifications, expertise.
  • Remember to look beyond attractive portfolios.
  • Pay attention to personal qualities and working principles.
  • Focus on developers with relevant knowledge in your business industry and that matches your organization’s culture.
  • Pay attention to records of past work /references

Another important thing you want to seriously consider in this process is expertise level.

A developer’s expertise level can mean two things.

One with a higher level of expertise and experience would have a higher competence level.

However, such a developer might be highly-priced, which you may not unable to afford.

On the other hand, a developer with entry-level skills/expertise is not so bad as well.

Their price range may be quite affordable.

However, they may not have all the technical knowledge, tools, and resources to handle the job effectively.

Hence, you may need to provide more instructions, guidance, and some resources.

This may prove costly in the long run.

Overall, the best thing to do is to find a developer that offers efficiency and affordability.

Keeping these in mind, review and shortlist the best candidates, contact them, and schedule an interview.

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Interview/Assess the Selected Candidate

In this process, you should assess the developer’s skills, competence, working style, and personality.

To do this, you could;

Conduct some tests to access the practical knowledge of the developer.

You could also have a one-on-one meeting with the potential candidates and ask some questions concerning the role.

Some of the questions you could ask include;

  • What are the skills you possess that you feel are very important to this role?
  • What challenges do you encounter on the job, and how do you overcome them?
  • Have you ever create codes that had some errors, and how did you handle the negative feedback?
  • What are your most important soft skills?
  • How do you manage time to meet tight project deadlines?
  • How do you capture your client’s brand voice in your designs?

Overall, you should be clear on if the candidate is right for the job at the end of this process.

Make Your Offer

Discuss and negotiate how much you’re willing to offer for the project.

Remember to keep your budget in mind when doing this.

Also, remember not to compromise quality work for cheap labor.

Hence, keep your offer at a reasonable and workable price range.

After all, is said and done, you can settle on some working arrangements and hand over the project.

Step Three: After The Hiring- Tips on How to Work with Developers in your Start-up

Always Communicate Clearly What You Want

At each stage of the project, be clear on what you want and communicate this clearly to the developers.

This would ensure that everyone is on the same page and is working towards achieving the same goals.

Include Your Developer in Every Step of the Tech Project

This is very important for a more effective and efficient working relationship.

Keep the developers updated and informed in the planning, implementation, and execution phase of the project.

Trust the Developers to do their Jobs

As much as you want to be in control of your start-up, you need to learn to let go of some control.

Hence, trust the developers with the job you hired them to do.

Try not to micro-manage or interfere too much with the project.

Provide Adequate Feedback

Always give relevant feedback when necessary.

Also, understand that developers are coders and not robots.

Hence, there are bound to make mistakes.

When this happens, be sensitive in your approach and provide feedback appropriately.

Final Words on How to Hire Developers for Your Start-up

There you have it!

Some easy steps on how to find and hire a developer for your start-up.

Hiring a developer for your start-up can help you create unique software that represents your brand and offers unique value to your target customers.

Consequently, helping you grow your start-up and achieve success.

However, this is only possible if you have the best team on-board.

So, use these steps now to find the best developers for your start-up.

Good luck finding the best person for the job!

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