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How To Hire Developers For Startups

Jul 24, 2023

7 min read

Finding adequate Developers is a strenuous task for any business but it can be even more arduous for Startups once they have to compete with big companies that can offer structured and well-defined processes, superb compensations and perks, career development, among other benefits.

Embracing challenges is a hallmark of a thriving startup, and attracting talented developers is no exception. Rest assured, with the right approach, it's entirely possible to recruit top-notch Developers for your venture. This comprehensive guide is dedicated to equipping you with invaluable strategies that will undoubtedly draw skilled developers to your doorstep.

Before diving into the Hiring Process

There are some important things you need to define before establishing a hiring process for your startup in order to make it smoother and more assertive.

  1. Define your project and its purpose
  2. Dimension the size of the Development Team
  3. Specify the roles you need for the Development Team
  4. Set up the Tech Stack of your project
  5. Measure the duration of the project
  6. Establish the budget for each role
  7. Determine whether the talent should be local or worldwide based

Now that you have given your project a shape, it’s time to build a hiring process that can help you to hire the best Senior Developers for your startup.

hire developers

Mastering the hiring process for developers

It’s certain that each company should have a hiring process tailored for their needs and goals but there are some steps that shouldn’t be skipped when it comes to hiring talented developers. It can be applied to any kind of job openings you might have. So if you're looking to hire react developers, OpenAI developers or any kind of software engineers, these tips will certainly help you.

Different company stages require different hiring processes startup company hiring hiringprocess interview senior makingmoney starter recruitment recruiter tech job entrepeneaur

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Build a clear and objective Job Description

A well-built Job Description will help your efforts in attracting targeted Developers for your company and project. Then make sure it has the following basic structure:

  • It is clear and concise;
  • It has a summary of your company and its culture;
  • It contains valuable information about the role and seniority, main requirements and responsibilities, must-to-have and nice-to-have skills (both soft and technical), desired experience, compensation and perks, work conditions (contract type and duration, working hours, location), and any additional information that can grab candidates’ attention;
  • It clarifies how the hiring process works (steps and time taken in each one of them).

Define your Sourcing strategy

Optimize your sourcing strategy for both active and passive candidates. Utilize platforms like LinkedIn, GitHub, Social Media, and Job Boards. However, don't rely solely on job postings, as many qualified candidates may not be actively searching.

Utilize platforms like Wellfound, Google, PeopleGPT, and others to proactively hunt for suitable candidates. Master Boolean search techniques to filter candidates aligned with your vacancy.

boolean search

Shortlist candidates through a robust Screening Interview

Shortlisting candidates is crucial and it’s when you start narrowing the process and investing time talking only to the ones that are more adjusted to the job requirements.

Among the relevant skillset for the vacancy, recruiters and hiring managers typically look for:
  • Experiences
  • Seniority
  • Certifications
  • Fluency in some specific language
  • Educational background
  • Certain projects or businesses
  • Main technologies used
  • Location
Candidates’ salary expectations.

At this point, the main idea is to check if candidates accomplish the technical requirements established for the role, but more important than that, you want to check if they align with the company's culture by validating their soft skills.

  • Choosing the right questions is a deal breaker for the screening call and it’ll help you gather relevant information about candidates’ experience. Some examples of types of questions you can adopt:
    • Behavioral: Use open-ended questions to encourage the candidate to provide specific examples of how they have demonstrated certain soft skills in their previous job or life experiences. For instance, ask questions such as "How do you prioritize your tasks?".
    • Situational: These are hypothetical questions similar to behavioral questions. Instead of focusing on past experiences, they present unique scenarios to test problem-solving abilities. For example, you could ask, "If your project's tech stack suddenly changed, how would you respond?
    • Competency-based: These questions assess candidates' skills, problem-solving, and past experiences. For example, ask, "Tell us about collaborating with a diverse team and how you handled it."
    • Fact-based: These questions are intended to checking the prospect’s knowledge on a particular topic. Be sure to ask fact-based questions. E.g.: Which are the main KPIs you’ve been using? Could you please describe how you implemented them?
    • Skill-based: They focus more on the candidate’s job performance rather than their behavior. These questions let you determine whether an applicant has the technical and problem-solving skills for the position. E.g.: How do you handle stress and pressure?
    • Technical: These questions focus on technical matters, assessing the candidate's hard skills for a better fit. Ask about languages, frameworks, databases, methodologies, etc., crucial for the role. For example, inquire how they would troubleshoot an issue in a real-time chat application causing a 30-second freeze when clicking on a specific user.
  • Evaluating the answers
    • Question: Could you please tell us about a time you made a mistake that impacted a project negatively? What was your action on that occasion?
    • Good answers: would bring up what happened, the kind of mistake they made, how they approached it, and then how came up with a solution to solve the problem.
    • Not ideal answers: would not be so specific about the kind of mistake they made and how they faced and solved it. Usually, when candidates don’t feel comfortable sharing their failures they tend to hide information or go around the bush and not reveal what really happened.

If you don't feel prepared to conduct technical interviews with developers because you're unsure of what questions to ask or how to evaluate their answers, you can try Trio's AI-powered interview question generator.

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Validating soft skills

As you need to hire a Developer who can perfectly unfold within your team and company taking into account just technical skills would not be enough, and this is when soft skills play a big role. So now let’s dive into some basic soft skills good developers should have.

  • Communication: Effective communication is vital in today's remote and asynchronous work settings. It's essential for describing ideas, discussing approaches, giving presentations, providing updates, giving feedback, asking questions, and expressing concerns. Clear communication and understanding are crucial for maintaining a well-aligned, agile team.
  • Team Work: Individuals should demonstrate adaptability to various projects and environments. However, it is extremely important for them to value working within a team that allows for easy navigation, knowledge sharing, idea contribution, and learning from other team members. They should also be able to provide and receive feedback, pass on information, ask questions, and offer help when needed.
  • Collaboration: Every project involves multiple people, and team members must be able to work with one another effectively. Collaboration is the combination of all of the above qualities in order to effect positive change and move the project and company forward.
  • Adaptability: The ability to adapt to new circumstances, situations, scenarios, and environments is vital for professionals to cope with changes, challenges, fast-paced environments, uncertainty, and lack of predictability. It enables them to be more creative and resilient, providing solutions and new strategies whenever any shifts occur.

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Validating technical skills

After making sure the developers align with the skillset the role requires, you will need to check their technical abilities to ensure it meets the project’s expectations. Knowing exactly what technical level the candidates should have can help you design the type of technical validation that best adapts to your needs. At this point, you might need help from a technical person to help you evaluate candidates' results.

Ways to validate technical knowledge:

  • Technical interviews: They are structured interviews with technical questions that can be more related to technologies or technical concepts and aspects.
  • Technical tests/assessments: They are specific questions related to technologies such as language, framework, library, database, programming logic, algorithm, etc.
  • Pair programming: It's a software development practice composed of a “driver” and a “navigator” in which two developers work together on a single workstation.
  • Project executions: It consists of sending candidates a project with a specific scenario and its requirements and deliverables.
  • Live coding: This is a method of writing and showcasing the code in real-time to the interviewers or reviewers.
  • Professional portfolio/GitHub reviews: This is the practice of evaluating existing projects the candidate has already developed
  • Team interviews: It's a robust interview conducted by some team members of the company with the goal of evaluating the ability of the prospect to navigate into different scenarios presented using mainly their technical and soft skills.

Measure candidates' results

Establish a consistent method to score candidates accordingly to their answers and performance. Good grades are closer to expected answers or the ones that super pass the expectations. Bad answers don’t approach points you’re expecting to be covered decreasing candidates' grades.

Attributing grades to candidates helps you to avoid bias in your process and makes it more thorough.

Extending an offer

After going through the whole hiring process and selecting the candidate that best aligns with the role and company's needs it's time to extend them an offer there are some points it should cover:

  • Job title;
  • Role description and activities/responsibilities;
  • Compensation and perks;
  • Work conditions (working time, hiring model, workplace, etc);
  • Ideal starting date;
  • Next steps (documentation and paperwork to be signed);
  • Signing fields.

Onboarding the new hiring

You've put a huge effort into the hiring process to assure you hired the talent that best fits the role and requirements, so you're probably expecting that person to be part of your team as long as possible and besides that, you're envisaging that person to have a great performance after adapting to the workflow. In order for you to accomplish it, nailing the onboarding process is key for great results. This is how you can organize your onboarding:

  • Provide useful information about the company, business, role, and internal processes;
  • Introduce the new hiring to the team and key people in the company;
  • Assign a Buddy to the new hiring;
  • Equip them with the needed tools;
  • Establish an agenda for follow-ups and feedback;
  • Give them time to adjust;
  • Create an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable to ask questions.

Bonus Tip

The hiring process is a long journey and it takes time not just from the company side but also from candidates. And at the end of it, just the pre-set number of candidates will convert into hiring. But the other ones, who failed it for any reason deserve your respect, so dedicate some time to provide them with useful feedback whenever they don't succeed at any stage of your recruitment process.

It can help you to enhance their interest in working with you in the future and strengthen the value perception of your employer branding.

We're here to help you

We know that executing a hiring process for your startup might not be so easy just by following the steps we've listed above and that it looks overwhelming and time-consuming. In that case, you can count on Trio to help you out by saving your time and efforts to hire only Senior Developers for your business.

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Author avatar

Camila Rodrigues

Professional focused on Talent Acquisition, mainly for IT field, with a MBA in Strategic People Management and another one in Psychology and Coaching. Former background in Talent Acquisition, Organizational Climate, Organizational Culture and Employer Branding.

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