Startups: How to Find a Superstar Developer

Developers are an essential part of any online business. They have a massive influence on your growth and eventual success. If you’re a startup, you want to ensure you hire the right candidate or the right company. Unless you’ve got some serious angel investors, you don’t have much capital to fall back on in the event of a poor candidate. Your restricted budget should shape a startup’s hiring process.

Furthermore, you want to emphasise the importance of soft skills just as much as technical ones. This may be the first new person to join a relatively small team and you want them to gel with the people and processes of your business. Someone whose beliefs align with your business mission is especially valuable to you.

Only hire those who are self motivated. In a startup you want to invest your time as meaningfully as possible. You don’t want to waste time having to inspire those around you. Only hire those who share a similar drive to bring your business forward.

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Finally, acknowledge that finding the right candidate may be tough. You may be lucky enough that the first application you talk to is perfect fit, or you may still be searching months down the line. Whatever the case, patience is essential. Hiring the right candidate will always benefit you more in the long run!

Who is the Right Candidate?

How do you figure out who is the perfect candidate? You write down exactly what you’d like them to have! This will help significantly when narrowing down potential candidates and will assist in making difficult decisions between candidates.

Identify the Technical Requirements

  • What type of developer are you looking for and which coding languages, frameworks, CRM or CMS should they specialize in?
  • Would you like them to have any design skills?
  • Which qualifications should they have?
  • How many years of experience must they have?
  • Are they up to date with relevant industry standard tools and techniques? Are you willing to give them time to upskill?
  • How much experience do they have providing technical support to a team?

Emphasise Communication Skills

Communication skills should never be overlooked. This is a startup so it’s imperative you hire someone who is comfortable sharing their opinion, as well as providing and receiving feedback.

They also should have experience using a multitude of communication channels. The better they can prioritize different tasks, the more efficiently projects will be completed. Crucial project information may be better transferred during live meetings, while less important issues may be better kept in chat messages or emails.

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Identify the Soft Skills they Should Have

  • Empathy: appreciation for the problems of a project and its emotional impact on the entire team.
  • Patience: important when learning the entire complexity of a project, and when dealing with coworkers.
  • Open minded: can assimilate with new approaches and techniques that your startup prefers.
  • Problem solving: all developers should have a talent for problem solving, it’s the difference between an average developer and an excellent one.
  • Creativity: can they come up with new ways of doing things?
  • Time Management: will they prioritize that which is currently the most meaningful for the business? Will they say “NO” to things that will disrupt their workflow?

The Interview or Consulting Process

Considering your limited budget, you’re going to want to maximize every free or cost-effective channel you have to increase your chances of finding the best developer for your business. This means taking advantage of every social media, dev blog, or event you deem worthwhile. These also give you a chance to grow your presence on each site you decide to post on. This will make it easier to hire again in the future.

1. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Google+

Be creative on social media. Job postings need to be enticing—this may be achieved through a short videos, images, work stories and hashtags.

2. LinkedIn

On LinkedIn you want to create a separate careers page (presuming you’ve already created a company page). This is more likely to connect you with people who are searching for jobs or connect you with people that can point you in the right direction. You should boosts any posts on here with your personal LinkedIn page(s).

3. Stack Overflow

Commonly used to ask questions and help developers learn. Many developers will actively look for jobs on Stack Overflow, so it’s your job to stand out! Ask yourself what makes your business special? And what’s going to make developer talent invest their time in your post.

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Freelancers & Offshore Development Companies

The other way you can hire is of course, looking for candidates yourself. This can be quicker as you can identify possible candidates first and then see if their skills are up to the task or whether they want to accept the position/project.

The big upside of either option is that they remove the screening process for you. However, this only works if you hire from trustworthy freelance developer sites and well-established web development companies.

1. Freelancers

Freelancers can be very cheap, which is tempting but can have disastrous consequences. If the freelancer you hire submits poor work, you will have to pay a new developer to either fix things or start from scratch.

To avoid hiring a dodgy or inexperienced freelancer, stick to verified sites like Upwork and Toptal.

2. Offshore Development Companies

Offshore hiring is the most cost-effective option for gaining developing expertise for a fixed price. This will usually involve a subscription package that offers a flexible quantity of developers and services. Startups are likely to start with smaller packages, and as their business grows they can expand and hire more expertise immediately, including designers.

Different development companies will also specialize in certain services. Match your technical requirements with their services and contact them if you feel they’re a good choice. You will learn more about their communication and soft skills during the consulting process. Unlike freelancers, there are no sites that will screen the best development companies for you. Instead you have to research to ensure your hiring from a reputable company.

An example of a well-regarded global development company is Their global presence means you’re going to have no issues communicating with them, while their development team features the best in international talent.

The main reason I recommend them is because they offer developer packages, which are the best option for startups who want affordable and consistent growth. CodeClouds offer an abundance of services from specific CRMs to apps and CMS development. Of course, if you’re looking to hire a PHP developer from India, they specialize in a number of popular frameworks.

Finding a new developer for a startup will require time and consideration. There are so many ways to hire talent that you’ll stretch yourself too thin trying all of them. My advice, stick to one and invest what energy you can. Just remember to be patient and never settle for mediocre.