Hiring Developers for a Startup – a Complete Guide for Business

Summary

A brilliant idea came to your mind, and you decided to create a startup. Great! But have you already thought about where you will find developers for your project? Hiring developers for a startup is a difficult task for startup owners. You do not have either a stable profit, brand credibility, or any product yet, and the competition in the market makes you rush. Not every developer will prefer working in a startup rather than accepting an offer from a large tech company.

And yet, startups hire developers and often succeed. How do they do it? In our article, we will look at the main challenges associated with hiring technical specialists and tell you how to hire programmers for a startup and what employment models are preferable.

Challenges While Hiring Developers for a Startup

Hiring developers is always associated with a lot of difficulties, even for large companies, not to mention startups. In addition, there are specific recruitment problems in the case of early-stage startups. We will review them below.

Short on time

You need to hurry if you've come up with an original startup idea. Thousands of new companies appear every month, and your idea may become secondary tomorrow. In order to have time to capture market share, you need to be the first. To do this, you must assemble a team of skilled specialists to quickly release an MVP.

These time constraints mean you can't wait for a developer to leave their previous project. You have to hire those specialists that are available on the market right now.

No or newly built HR department

A startup can start with just one person. If you are still at an early stage, it is unlikely that you have an entire HR department – at the very least, this would be strange for a small startup. Accordingly, most likely you do not yet have a well-developed recruiting, interviewing, and hiring flow.

Lack of local tech talent

This is one of the main problems that companies face. Take a look at these stats:

  • On average, it takes companies about 39 months to hire developers from US tech hubs.
  • 86% of tech leaders say they've had trouble hiring tech talent, and 80% say there's a lack of tech talent in the market.
  • The demand for software engineers is growing by an average of 25% every year.

In addition, since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the job market has changed a lot. If you're determined to only hire full-time developers for in-office work in your city, you might be in big trouble. Today, remote or project-based work is becoming the standard.

Disorientation within teams

According to the CB Insights report, 23% of startups fail because of inadequate teams. Each team has its own vision, so it is important for startup founders to hire specialists who will share their vision and move the project forward. Synergy is important for any business. Even at the interview stage, it is important to understand whether the person shares your values and whether they will join your team seamlessly.

The best options to hire developers for new business

There are several options for hiring developers for a startup. You don't have to use only one of them. You can mix and match hiring models depending on your startup's results and market success. Let's look at the main models for hiring software developers for startups.

Hire a developer on your team

If you are looking for long-term cooperation with a developer, you can hire them on staff. This is a rather rare case for startups, but sometimes such a decision makes sense.

Pros:

  • A full-time employee can devote 100% of their time to your project and be involved in all internal business processes. Perhaps this will speed up development.
  • You can always contact the programmer with questions and suggestions and make quick decisions together.

Cons:

  • You are fully engaged in recruitment, and the responsibility is all yours. If you hire a programmer on staff but then realize that they do not fit in your team, you will have to fire them and look for a new developer. All this will cost you lost time and a lot of money.
  • Narrow-profile developers are expensive. Such specialists work with large companies, and their salary expectations are appropriate.

Hire a freelance developer on a project basis

This is one of the most budget-friendly approaches to hiring a developer. You can hire a freelancer who will devote part of their working time to your project. A freelancer can be located anywhere in the world.

Pros:

  • You can save a lot on salaries. Freelancers are often willing to work for little money. In addition, you will be able to cut the cost of management and maintenance of the office.
  • There are a lot of freelancers: you can definitely find a web developer for your startup. If you need a finished project very urgently, you can hire several freelance developers.

Cons:

  • A freelancer's reputation is not confirmed by anything: a person can disappear in the middle of a project, lie on deadlines, or take an advance payment and make a frankly low-quality product.
  • If you do not have a technical background, you are unlikely to be able to distinguish a serious specialist from a beginner. This means that you will hardly be able to assess the reliability of a specialist and the justification of his prices for services.

Hiring a dedicated development team for your startup

Over 68% of US businesses outsource their development, so why not give it a try? Hiring an IT development agency is a popular business strategy that involves temporarily hiring an entire team of developers to work on your project.

Pros:

  • Full delegation of tasks. Your active participation will be only required to set requirements at the start and review the work done at the end of every sprint.
  • You pay – you get the result. The hired team is responsible for the result and will definitely not disappear without completing the project.

Cons:

  • A dedicated team usually does not cooperate with full-time programmers, so it is important to properly distribute tasks and responsibilities and maintain communication.
  • If the contractor did not take into account something and ran into difficulties, you risk either overpaying or getting constantly shifted deadlines since changing the contractor in the middle of the project will lead to high costs.

Which option would be good for a startup?

As a rule, at the origins of any startup, there are 1-2 developers who, at some point, can't independently complete all tasks on time. As we wrote above, the speed of delivering the product to the market is important for any potentially successful startup.

In this case, another model for hiring developers may suit you – staff augmentation. A company provides you with specific specialists for you to complete your team. The provided specialists integrate with your in-house employees or specialists from another provider.

This model will be especially effective in the case of an established but slow product development process, or a lack of rare competencies when the throughput of the in-house team does not allow for reaching the required pace. Staff augmentation can be a great option if you need a few people rather than a whole team.

TOP-10 tips for hiring a software developer for a startup

How to find an engineer for a startup and what should you pay attention to when hiring a developer? Below you will find the 10 most important points for any startup:

  1. Specify your business needs. Determine why you need developers. Do you need to create a new product from scratch, design a new application architecture or refine an existing product at a fast pace? This affects the choice of recruitment model.
  2. Decide on the technology stack. Various technologies are used for web and app development, from JavaScript to Golang. You need to know exactly what you are looking for.
  3. Choose a country to hire from. If you are hiring remote developers, it is important for you that they are in your time zone. If your workday ends when the remote employee is just starting their workday, communication will be difficult.
  4. Always check the product development expertise of the developers. What a person writes in their CV and what they really know can be completely different things. If you already have an experienced developer on staff, ask them to conduct an interview.
  5. Don't hire freelancers who ask for much less money than others. If a specialist offers their services at prices well below the market, something is probably wrong with them. Trying to save in this way, you can lose both money and time.
  6. Discuss the payment model with candidates right away. Today there are several different models:

    - Fixed-price. You pay a pre-determined price based on the labor estimate that the contractor has provided prior to entering into the contract.

    - FFF: Fixed Price, Fixed Time, Flex Scope. Often, a business needs to specify a deadline and a budget in the contract, but there are no strict requirements for the scope of work. In this case, for the sake of the overall quality of the product, you can change the scope – that is, exclude the least priority parts of the functionality from the release in order to meet the deadlines and budget without compromising the project.

    - Time & Materials. You pay for hours worked. The format is suitable for projects with high uncertainty, where the amount of work is often determined on the fly, and the team size can change throughout the project.

    - Retainer. The staff provider sets a budget and reserves a certain number of hours for work performed on a regular basis. In other words, you pay a fee on a monthly basis.

  7. Feel free to take time to think and compare developers. The average cost of a bad hire is up to 30% of the employee's first-year earnings. Before signing a contract with a freelancer, agency, or in-house employee, make a pause to compare all candidates.
  8. Do not hire junior developers. Junior programmers are usually hired by large studios with a willingness to invest time and effort in them. For a startup, when time and money are limited, beginners are not suitable; hiring software developers with experience is better.
  9. Make sure the developer shares your values and vision for the final product. Your company is just getting started, and it's important to have people around who believe in your startup and sincerely want to create a valuable product.
  10. Don't hire too many developers right from the start. Overstaffing can lead to budget spending too fast. Staff augmentation can be a great option precisely because you can hire only those specialists that you lack at a certain stage.

A source of inexhaustible talent

Okay, you know which developers you need, what technology stack you need, and how much you're willing to spend. But where to find developers? There are not many free experienced specialists on the market, and many simply prefer to wait for interesting offers rather than apply for open vacancies.

  • If you are looking for a freelance developer, you can go to online platforms like Fiverr or Upwork. However, be prepared for a long search for a really experienced specialist.
  • You can also search for developers on job boards such as Glassdoor and Indeed. There you will find many resumes of developers with different experiences and technology stacks.
  • Another option is social media. The first thing you can do is go to LinkedIn. Facebook and Twitter can also help you.

However, what unites all these three methods? It takes a lot of time to find specialists that will fit your team, especially if you need to hire not one IT developer but several experienced specialists with narrow specializations. Hallwil can get you out of this hassle. We are ready to provide you with dedicated development teams or provide developers using the staff augmentation model.

How do you hire the Hallwil agency for your startup?

All you need is to contact our experts and tell us about your startup, its goals, and its objectives. We will study your requirements and suggest the most suitable hiring model and type of development that will allow you to enter the market as quickly as possible.

Hallwil is a leading European expert in no-code development. We use Webflow, the most powerful website-building platform. We can also help SaaS companies create MVPs faster and test hypotheses at a minimal cost.

We have dedicated teams with project managers that cooperate closely with your marketing department. Together we create beautiful and high-converting websites and other software products.

FAQ

How do I find a developer for my idea?

How many programmers does a startup need?

How to recruit great developers?

How do I approach a developer on LinkedIn?

Conclusion

Hiring programmers for a startup can be a real challenge since not all programmers want to work with start-up companies without a product and a stable income. First, decide which hiring model you prefer and how many developers you really need. This may differ depending on the type of your project and the scope of work. In the first stages, you do not need a large staff of in-house developers, as this incurs high costs. Staff augmentation can be a profitable solution.

Hallwil is an expert in no-code development. We will study your project, estimate real terms and cost of implementation, and become a reliable partner for your startup. We are ready to work on the staff augmentation model, which means that our experienced developers will be in close contact with your team. Contact us today to learn more and discuss your project!

Fill out the form

Contact us to discuss your app idea and possibilities. We’ll advise you on the best solution and estimate the project. If you have any questions – we’ll provide you with answers.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
How to recruit great developers?
How many programmers does a startup need?
How do I find a developer for my idea?
How do I approach a developer on LinkedIn?
This is some text inside of a div block.