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Finding the Right Programmers: A Guideline for Startups

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Everyone knows that people are a company’s most important asset. Yet somehow, many startup founders seem to underestimate the importance of recruitment, and prefer to go with the flow. There are many hidden dangers in the hiring process, so we compiled a list of recommendations to help you avoid common mistakes when looking for the kind of top-level talent that will fit seamlessly into your workplace.

How to find developers and programmers: 5 tips 

If you are not sure how to find the right web developer (or any developer, for that matter), then these tips are for you! Follow the five recommendations below to score the best candidates for your startup.  

#1 Master the job description game 

The most important tip: be specific. Lots of job descriptions are so vague, generalised, and unclear that they push good candidates away. 

Next, keep it short and SEO optimised. Potential employees are busy people, and many of them scan through job postings in between their other tasks. Avoiding lengthy descriptions will also aid your search engine optimisation. Don’t copy-paste cliches or over-explain things: use good keywords and be concise.

When writing about the company, use feedback from your current employees. What do they like about working for you? How would they describe the company to their friends? Also, add a personal touch. Mention your mission or what inspired the company’s launch. You want candidates to relate to you and see themselves working in your startup. Traditional boring company descriptions won’t do the trick.  

#2 Focus on the critical skills when looking for developers

Take the list of desired skills and divide them into must-haves and nice-to-haves. Try not to overload the must-have section. If you can work and function without a skill, then it is not essential.

This exercise is vital because otherwise, you will be filtering out great candidates for no good reason. After all, skills can be learned and improved.

#3 Choose between hiring internally or using consultant’s help

Hiring a consultant to help fill the positions can be tricky and expensive. Yet, it pays off when you have no idea how to find a coder.

Here are the signs that you might need to outsource:

1.You’ve never hired someone before.

2. Your network is narrow or is related to a completely different field.

3. You don’t know how to look for passive candidates. 

4. Your schedule is already fully booked.

Things to keep in mind when working with external recruiters:

1. Make sure your recruiter has hired for SMBs and startups before. 

2. Consider paying the recruiter more than their rate to ensure they send the best candidates your way. 

#4 Conduct a thorough interview

Don’t be that person who doesn’t prepare for the interview. Before it begins:

- Make sure you read the CV. It is respectful to the candidate and allows skipping the “Tell me about yourself” questions. 

- Have a plan. Create a list of questions and topics you want to cover. It makes an interview more dynamic and ensures you cover all necessary points. 

- Remember that interviews are a two-way street. Be prepared to pitch the company and make a good impression. 

During the interviews, remember to look beyond just the resume. Read between the lines: what does the candidate say about their previous experiences? How is their attitude? Do they seem like a good cultural fit for your team? Those aspects might seem secondary, but they are critical.

Also, look for traits you can’t learn in a 1-month Java course. Things like work ethics or enthusiasm are something people acquire as they grow. If you don’t see the traits you need in an interview, it is a mistake to assume you can change someone’s personality later. 

#5 Test their coding skills and technical knowledge

One of the top tips on how to find the right web developer is to assess their skills and knowledge through a test task.

To save everyone’s time, ask candidates to do a little test assignment before you invite them for a personal interview. That way, you’ll know whether their real skills match what they have in the CV.

Make sure the task does not take too long for the candidate to complete. Too complex and time-consuming assessments come across as disrespectful and unprofessional. They will scare off the best candidates.

Where and how can startups hire?

Finding a programmer for your startup is a combination of perseverance and luck.

Startups usually do not have the luxury of a well-known corporate brand that attracts candidates. So if you don’t know how to find a developer for your startup, begin by building a personal brand. These days, almost everyone has some kind of online presence which affects how we are perceived by others.

Start by being more active on social media. Experiment with posting, writing expert articles, and analysing case studies. The more you are out there, the more likely potential employees will discover your startup.

The next piece of advice is to do a little good old networking. And the sooner you start, the better. Look for sector-specific communities to join, sign up for a mentoring program, or attend events.

An alternative route is to look for successful companies in your industry and approach their employees directly. But you need to be careful as this tactic can backfire and affect your reputation in the community. Be respectful and selective.  

How to keep good programmers

Figuring out how to hire a programmer for a startup is half the problem. Once they’re on your team, you need to keep them there.

Here are a few ideas on how to do that:

- Build a sense of community within your company. Online quizzes on Fridays, team lunches paid by the company, volunteering together - all these kinds of things help employees feel like they belong. 

- Cover the basics. Provide high-quality equipment, decent working space, drinks and snacks. Decent pay and healthcare benefits go without saying. 

- Offer flexible schedules. It seems obvious in the world of IT, but many companies cling to the idea of a 9-5 schedule. Then they are surprised when their best talent leaves. 

- Think about their future in the company. Discuss career plans and goals. Lots of people leave when they think the company has nothing more to offer to them.

Why it’s important to hire a programmer for a startup

Startups hire people to build a product and a company, not fill a job. It takes the right foundation to become successful. A talented and experienced programmer can give invaluable advice even before the programming starts. They can participate in project planning and help avoid mistakes and miscalculations that often come up in projects and cause issues.

We hope this article helped you understand how to find a web developer for your startup. Stay tuned for more posts about all projects, hiring, and all things technical.