Starting a new venture can be exciting, but assembling a strong team of skilled professionals comes first. When you find a good programmer for a business startup in the early stages, you can achieve your business goals faster. Think about it: team issues are the third most popular reason for a startup failure, after poor product market fit and wrong marketing strategies.

According to the stats by Zippia, about 90% of hiring managers make their final decision intuitively. Yet, when you deal with the talent market for a long time and follow the systemic approach, you become data-driven when focusing on the right option.

Here are six steps to hire a programmer for a startup, based on the Outstaff Your Team’s 12 years of experience.

#1. Define Your Needs

Identify the programming languages and frameworks your project requires now. Ideally, think also which ones you are planning to use in the nearest future. What are you developing? A clear understanding of the tech stack for a web application, a mobile app, or an AI-powered solution will attract the right candidates and provide you with clear evaluation criteria.

After you have outlined what skills cover what features for your project, draw up a list of roles and responsibilities. Claim you need to hire web app developers? It is a pretty broad term and may be related to different parts of web development. Let us clarify it.

If you are focusing on the levelling up user experience of your app or already have back-end specialists, hire front-end developers. When planning to launch a web app from scratch and need a comprehensive approach, seek full-stack developers for hire. They can build both parts of your software product: user interface and robust back end.

Here is a short example of responsibilities list for a front-end developer position.

  • Build responsive and interactive user interfaces with HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

  • Ensure cross-browser compatibility and optimize performance for a smooth user experience.

  • Integrate design mockups or wireframes into functional web pages.

We hope you’ve got the main idea — set clear responsibilities.

Wonder how to hire a programmer for a startup and make that investment predictable? Pay attention to how many years of commercial experience with the preferred technologies each of your candidates has.

#2. Define What Compensation To Offer

When you're competing for top programming talent, the question arises: how to find a programmer to create your startup having a budget which is far from MAANG companies? Actually, a competitive compensation package should be relevant to the target specialists rather than enormous.

Sometimes business owners regret they haven’t conducted the talent market research for the special position before hiring a developer for a startup. But we hope you will not be one of them. To ensure you're in the right range, start exploring relevant developers’ profiles and job openings similar to yours before launching your hiring campaign.

Look for reputable global and local job boards, company websites, and professional networking platforms where software developer positions are frequently posted. Some popular options include LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, Stack Overflow Jobs, and specialized tech job boards.

You will be able to:

  • Expand or narrow the area of responsibility based on the existing candidates’ profiles;

  • Set different compensations depending on the type of market;

  • Adjust the hourly rates to the required experience.

#3. Showcase Your Startup's Unique Selling Points

When hiring a programmer for a startup, remember, not only you are picking candidates, they're evaluating your startup too. Highlight what sets your venture apart. Is it a flexible work environment, a culture of innovation, or the potential for rapid career growth? Talented programmers often have multiple options, so make sure your startup has something remarkable, and we are sure that it has.

Developers are careful about joining startups because of relative unpredictability, high workload and possible burnout in the end. At the same time, a lot of them value the startup environment for its democracy, an opportunity to work on some game-changing product, and a potentially powerful asset to their portfolio. So, showcase what impact your product can bring to the niche you specialize in. It also will be just to the point, if you can provide your new hires with additional perks like remote work options and a stake in the company's success through equity or stock options.

If you have any doubts related to remote computer programmers, take a look at the benefits of remote tech hiring.

#4. Craft an Engaging Job Description

Your comprehensive job description is a skeleton of hiring campaign

Writing a job description that resonates with top programming talent is not so tricky if you have followed the 3 previous steps. Thus, you can create an appealing vacancy announcement combining your requirements and your insight into market trends.

  • Outline your startup's mission and vision;

  • Provide the full list of technical skills you require;

  • Mention the compensation package and opportunities your startup can bring to their life;

  • Set the expectations about the weekly and monthly performance and how it will change over time.

  • Add a couple of words about your project team and company culture.

Polish your brand voice. It should reflect the communication style typical for your company. Thus, you give the first impression, aligning with the next interactions. If you are unsure about the writing style, stick to the generic language, as 75% of candidates prefer job descriptions which are neither too casual nor too formal.

Plus, note that 48% of candidates will be thankful for informing them about the interview stages right in the job description. In general, openness and clarity in each sentence help stand out from the crowd.

#5. Leverage Online Platforms

It is hard to imagine how to scale a tech team in the 21st century without entering online platforms where tech professionals crowd. Serf through the websites like LinkedIn and tech-specific job boards.

70% of candidates seek new roles passively, according to the report by LinkedIn. They don’t notify anybody they are interested in vacancies anyhow, but review job openings from time to time. Altogether, 90% of specialists prefer the company representative to contact them rather than start conversations themselves.

Conclusion? Engage in discussions and network with developers to spread the word about your startup's job opening. Actively participating in online tech communities can help you identify programmers who are passionate about their craft.

GitHub, the popular platform for hosting and reviewing code, boasts over 56 million developers. It's a goldmine for discovering top coding talent. Your constant presence in the IT environment makes hiring a programmer much easier, as you always have a couple of bright heads on your contact list.

#6. Conduct Structured Interviews

How to hire a programmer who will not leave in a couple of months? Interviews are the make-or-break phase of hiring programmers for your startup. Plan an interview process that discovers technical skills and cultural fit. Consider using coding tests, pair programming sessions, and behavioral questions to gauge a candidate's problem-solving abilities and how well they'd integrate into your team.

Google is known for its rigorous hiring process, which once included questions like “How many golf balls can fit in a school bus?”. While your questions don't need to be that quirky, focusing on problem-solving can reveal a lot about a candidate's approach to challenges.

When Hiring, Reputation is a Success Factor

One more point of success is your brand reputation. 70% of jobseekers make their investigations before applying, and it impacts their decision to accept your offer. You should check if your profiles on social media platforms and reviews from the existing team members on the job boards look attractive.

Want all your effort to bring the long-lasting effect? Then, share your constructive feedback with all those candidates who have applied to your position or accepted your pitch. Even, if you don’t hire a particular developer, you need to explain to them why. This approach helps you build transparent relationships with IT community and earn its trust. Also, your detailed debriefing can give clear points of growth to specialists. Who knows when you will meet (and need) them again, in more seasoned professional status?

Let's Shorten It to 3 Steps: An Alternative Approach

How to find a programmer for your startup and save time? Delegate hiring to survive in the conditions of intense growth. If you want to sleep easy knowing your hiring strategy delivers results, we recommend you follow this checklist when choosing an HR Partner for your startup. Ideally, when an HR team:

  • Is seasoned in hiring for IT, as that field suggests diving deeply into the specialized roles and working conditions;

  • Provides you with a list of mature candidates for your position, so that you could pick the most suitable ones;

  • Arrange regular well-being check-ins with your startup programmers to prevent their burnout;

  • Takes over any local compliance when you decide to extend your hiring geography.

In case you consider partnership with an outstaffing agency, here are 3 main steps to ready-made hires for Outstaff Your Team clients.

3 easy steps to hire a programmer for a startup

Outstaff Your Team gathers all the input necessary for a vacancy launch during a Discovery call. Then, we approve the interview stages, hand pick, and interview developers. Once, we have defined the best matches, hiring managers interview the top 5 candidates and make a final decision. After that, we hire programmers for the startup, onboard them and take care of payrolls and talent retention.

As a result, tech businesses skip the organizational burden related to hiring, and IT staff augmentation becomes an easy way for filling up the team with permanent hires.


How do you hire someone to code for you?

Write a job description that outlines the project's goals, technical requirements, experience level, vacancy budget and other relevant details. Post it on multiple job boards. There is no any guarantee that you will start receiving relevant applications on the very next day. That’s why it is better not only to wait, but also actively source for candidate profiles yourself and contact developers whose employment history aligns with your goals. Ask candidates to share their portfolios and work samples. Shortlist candidates and conduct interviews to assess their tech skills and problem-solving approach. If possible, contact references from previous companies to get insights into their work ethics and reliability. Consider test projects to evaluate their coding skills and style. Discuss project details, timelines, payment terms, and any legal agreements with a suitable candidate. Regularly communicate with the developer and address any concerns. Finding the right developer takes time, but you can reduce it by investing in a reliable HR Partner.

How much does it cost to hire a programmer for a startup?

It depends on the location, tech stack and experience. Hiring in tech hubs like Silicon Valley or New York City tends to be more expensive than in other parts of the world. We specialize in international hiring and will be happy to help with analyzing relevant hourly rates for your type of programmer, for example, a full-stack developer, mobile developer or machine learning engineer.

How to find a programmer for a startup in 6–10 days?

Within 6–10 days after the discovery call, Outstaff Your Team will share with you the profiles of the shortlisted candidates for your team roles. You may expect to see the matches with all the criteria we have approved beforehand.

Kateryna joined the IT industry 3 years ago. Reviewing B2B software and related frameworks, she concluded that the best-in-class programs need well-built teams and started to write about tech teams scaling. Her natural habit to improve texts and search for alternative visions comes from working at the publishing house in early youth.

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