Days ago, Instagram and WhatsApp messengers were startups, but now they are the most downloaded apps in the world. Creating a digital product requires an idea, finance, and a strong team. While the first two points are clear, finding the IT development team is a complex step-by-step process. In this article, we will share our recommendations and provide instructions on how to hire a programmer for a startup.
Table of Contents
Preparing to search for developers for a startup
The idea of the project
Of course, each industry is different. For example, digital healthcare products must comply with all requirements to protect confidential patient health information – read to healthcare app ideas for startups in 2022. Try to find such nuances in your project. Key preparation steps are:
- Create a how-to plan and interface layout for the future IT product.
- Draw up user path and required functionality.
- Set a budget and timeline for each step in creating a digital product.
Startups start by creating MVP versions. For them, it is enough to make a list of standard functions like registration, personal account, notifications, and chat. Having made a skeleton of the project, the founder can understand what specialists are needed.
For the web application, you must select an operating system (iOS or Android) to search for appropriate developers. Most users download IT products on Google Play. So, in the third quarter of 2021, 27.6 billion applications were downloaded from Google Play and about 8.1 billion from the Apple App Store.
Kinds of Programmers
Some work with backend tasks, while others with frontend tasks.
An IT architect designs software to reduce the risk of errors, missed deadlines, and overstated budgets. This specialist chooses between a boxed or custom solution, monolithic or microservice. The Architectural Committee is a team that includes the most experienced Backend, Frontend, and Mobile developers.
Backend developer works with the software and administrative part of the web application, the database, and the internal content of the system. It provides the functionality of the website and its computational logic.
The frontend developer is responsible for UI, navigation, and transitions. It turns the design layout into HTML and speeds up the website.
An iOS / Android specialist performs the technical part of mobile app development. It turns layouts into readable code with subsequent support.
Discuss with your IT staff the technologies needed to create a digital solution. Also, select the architecture type, which depends on the product: monolithic (CRM systems, Internet portals) or microservice (marketplaces, social networks, mobile banks).
Outsourcing Company. As Statista reports, the size of the IT outsourcing market was $66.52 billion in 2019. The method is suitable for a large project where you need a close-knit team with different IT specialists (designers, testers, etc.). Such companies can demonstrate their best sides by showing case studies and lists of famous clients. They provide experienced employees, new ideas, and guarantees to get the job done. However, problems can arise with time management in different time zones and legal nuances.
Freelancers. Upwork predicts that 73% of all teams will have remote workers by 2028. This method has gained great popularity due to the pandemic and globalization. Freelancers are paid for the results of their work. They are not on the staff and do not go on sick leave or vacation. As a rule, free developers are cheaper than permanent IT specialists. The main disadvantages of this option are problems with trust and communication, no product quality guarantees, and the freelancer’s inconsistency (working on different projects).
Official employment. A traditional option used in large companies but rarely suitable for startups. The employment of a new professional is regulated by national legislation and requires a lot of documents. The hiring company must cover tax payments, medical insurance, and vacation pay. An HR manager is needed to control employees. The advantage of this approach is a developed corporate culture and prescribed job responsibilities for each team member.
Online and Offline Search Resources
Reputable platforms with a wealth of talent can help you find programmers for prototyping, MVP, and entire product or website.
Freelancers’ habitats are:
Special agencies and other platforms for hiring freelance specialists will help you select a team as well.
To find an outsourcing company, you can use Clutch.co. Its tools allow checking out customer reviews. Also, you can find representatives of IT firms at technical conferences.
Additional online search sources are message boards (AngelList, Stack, Mashable, CrunchBoard, TechCrunch, GitHub), social networks (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook). Offline sources are meetings, hackathons, and coworking spaces.
Obstacles to hire Developers for Startup
Statista predicts that small businesses will spend about $645 billion on IT services in 2021. The main reasons for the bankruptcy of startups are mismanagement of financial operations, insufficient funding at the beginning, and lack of a business plan. A personal accountant and reporting automation software solutions can help you manage your cash resources. The limited finances that most startups have in the beginning do not attract experienced IT pros.
Lack of local IT talent
According to Korn Ferry, 74% of CEOs believe their company lacks the skills and capabilities needed for the future. The main reason for the difficulties in filling vacancies for 45% of respondents is the unsuccessful search for qualified talent.
In 2022, there will be a downward trend in qualification requirements for candidates, for example, four years of university studies and several years of work experience. Organizations also look for talent among employees in other industries, former students, or retirees. The main requirements for a candidate are flexibility and quick learning. The shortage of employees in an IT company can be solved with advanced training/retraining of employees.
Chaotic talent management
A startup founder can combine several positions such as HR manager, accountant, and developer. There is often not enough time for interviews and employee selection, which is why most founders post ads on LinkedIn and other resources. Lack of trust in the new company causes a shortage of developers willing to join the project.
Candidates often get multiple offers, so companies try to stand out by offering the best deals. Virtual interviews should include a demonstration of the workplace, a presentation of the future product, and an introduction to other team members. The main goal is to interest and convince the candidate of the work prospects and project stability. According to Korn Ferry’s research, more organizations will reinvent employee onboarding processes in 2022.
Tug-of-War: Corporations vs. Startups
Startups have limited budgets that complicate issuing bonuses or pay increases. Getting an offer from big companies like Skype, Google, or Apple is much more prestigious for candidates than working on a no-name digital product. For example, WhatsApp attracts specialists from other countries to develop iPhone applications.
How to lure programmers over to your side? Get them interested in the product, show the prospects in figures, and give them the freedom. New ideas can appeal to users and repeat the success of digital products from Meta and other giants.
5 Steps to Hire Programmers for a startup
Set the requirements for the candidate
Voice the Soft and Hard Skills that your employee must have.
Decide the following:
- Mobile or web application development: iOS/Android or SaaS platform.
- Qualification level: junior/middle/senior.
- Personality characteristics: self-organization, stress resistance, hard work, creativity.
If you are looking for an iOS developer, knowledge of Objective C, Swift (the basics for creating applications), and Xcode IDE are mandatory hard skills.
Android developers have to be proficient in Kotlin and Java and have experience using Android Studio, an IDE for Android applications.
IT developers for building cross-platform apps need to know one of the frameworks: React Native, Flutter, Ionic, Xamarin, and NativeScript.
Create a portrait of the prospective employee and turn it into an ad for job seekers.
Explore the portfolio and experience of an IT specialist
A startup needs a developer who knows the required technical stack and is looking for non-standard and new solutions. A developer’s portfolio, test assignment, and feedback from past clients/employers will help validate the developer’s experience. According to Stack Overflow, most respondents (31.26%) have worked from 1 to 4 years as professional developers.
Review and test some of the products previously created by the candidate. If you are not a technical expert, ask the IT professionals to rate the portfolio of a future colleague. You can hire a software developer for a startup based on platform ratings from Clutch.co, Upwork, and others.
Check employee availability. For example, the country of residence, the ability to constantly be in touch, the success of previous projects.
Check for “first communication”
Write to the candidate, agreeing on the time and communication channel. For example, a video or audio call in Zoom. The COVID-19 pandemic has made adjustments to the selection of developers. According to a survey by Korn Ferry, almost a third (32%) of employees do not think they will return to the office full-time, and 74% believe they have more energy when working at home. Clarify the capabilities and desire of the future colleague about the place to develop the product.
Ask key questions: they will help you understand if the person is suitable for your company. Assess the communication skills and speech of the interlocutor. If you have a good impression, it’s time to move on to a second in-depth interview.
Invite a Candidate for a Final Interview
When hiring a developer for a startup, study their resume and make a list of clarifying questions. Focus on the set of technical skills and the programmer’s ideas about the future development of the project. The candidate must have communication and teamwork skills.
Ask the developer about their background in IT: the beginning and the path up the career ladder. Ask for a description of previous work and responsibilities. It will help you understand how passionate the person is about programming. Talk to the candidate about their hobbies to assess personal development and build trust.
Assess the employee’s ability to work
Before cooperating with an outsourcing company or freelancers, you must sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). It will ensure that your startup’s data and ideas are protected from being copied. Do not start development without the signed document.
Give the employee tasks gradually, correcting mistakes at the initial stage. Introduce the programmer to colleagues and assign an experienced technician to supervise the newbie. Define remote communication methods between team members and set fixed working hours.
Virtual work makes it difficult for candidates to understand the corporate culture and internal relationships. Adopting a positive, inclusive culture fosters business development. For example, the Korn Ferry study shows a direct connection between highly engaged and capable employees with the growth of company profits.
How to Hire Developers for a Startup: Basic Guidelines
Create an attractive and detailed job posting. It should describe the benefits of a startup to the programmer. For example, getting a unique experience in developing an application based on augmented reality (AR).
Welcome new employees early on. Send the candidate a video tour of the office and suggestions for career growth. Introduce them to coworkers and tell their stories to keep their future colleague interested.
Calculate the project budget based on the duration and salary of the employees. Outsourcing services can be more expensive than freelancers. But if you engage a team of specialists, you may avoid the cost of revision, bug fixing, and retesting.
So, consider the complexity and importance of certain technologies for your startup. These factors determine the need for hiring in-house developers, an IT development agency team, or freelancers. Well, you are now ready to meet your new employee.