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How to hire the development team for your startup

November 02, 2021

11 minutes read

To hire developers for a startup, especially an early-stage one, is tough. Developers prefer to work in established organizations for more stable conditions, benefits, and more room for growth. A startup can not compete with established companies in terms of salary and other perks. 

Many early-stage startups opt for outsourcing as an alternative form of recruitment, which has become a norm in the industry. Almost 40% of startups outsource their business processes, and the figure is expected to rise. 

In this article, we’ll describe some helpful and proven strategies for finding the right developers for the new startup and leveraging the outsourcing development model for your benefit. This article will help even the non-tech startup founders find proper startups developers and understand what they can expect from candidates.

Define what you want to build

To hire developers for a startup, you need an evident vision about recruits’ value to your startup. Be careful because a startup couldn’t afford the wrong hires, outsource or not. 

The most important question you have to answer is – what kind of project will I build? 

Remember that software development is not a one-person job. Mostly you will need a team, not just one very qualified person. There are different types of developers: backend, front-end, middle tier, full-stack, desktop, web, mobile, and the list goes on. You have to figure out who exactly you need and clearly define the job description, profile, and requirements of your task beforehand. 

Analyze the products of competitors

As a next step after deciding the platform, you should look at the existing similar solutions and study what your competitors do.

Here are some points you have to take into consideration while looking at the existing solutions:

  • The main features 
  • Problems that have to be solved
  • The potential customers and the way to approach them

Hiring programmers will be significantly easier if you know the vital application requirements and look for particular skills.

Define the values that indicate the corporate culture

To build a compelling value proposition for your solution, you have to understand the following:

  • Importance
  • Benefits for the end-users
  • Differentiation

If you share your values, mission, and vision with the potential developers, they can better resonate with your perspective. Each team needs to have and maintain their corporate culture, including rules for the dress code and fixed working hours and a friendly atmosphere, positive communication, readiness to help, adherence to moral and ethical principles, etc. Employees without specific interpersonal skills will not be involved in the corporate culture and will unlikely receive positive team experience. 

Define how your application will work

The next step for finding the right programmers for your startup is creating a how-to plan for the future software.

Write down all essential details and create a draft for operational sequences of the solution that contains a UX and UI mockup of the application to show your employees what they can expect by working with you.

You have to think about the experience and engagement of your potential users.

If you are looking for funding for your startup, you’ll need to show it to the investors. And that means building an MVP. 

First, describe the features you want to include in the MVP, which will be helpful while interviewing the developers.

Some features are crucial for every application:

  • How to sign-up or register
  • How to create a profile 
  • How to receive notifications
  • How to contact you

There are also numerous other critical solution-specific features. Your ideal candidate should know which technology and framework are needed and understand the time requirements for integrating all the features listed in the application. You can ask feature-related questions while conducting the job interview to know how they approach the development process.

You have to create a roadmap of the future solution to move on with each milestone.

Don’t forget to define a budget for the whole project and an exact timeline before you start to call candidates for job interviews.

Focusing on creating a comprehensive application plan is crucial for non-tech startup founders to find the right startup software developers.

Allow your team to grow

When hiring programmers for a startup, think about offering them space and resources to grow and gather knowledge, achieve higher professional levels with the appropriate rewards. Remember that an opportunity for professional development is not enough. Everybody needs personal growth, which means soft skills development and is crucial for achievements and individual employee satisfaction. Developers who feel put into a cage will strive to get out of it and meet personal growth plans somewhere else.

Define the model of employment 

After setting up your business needs, you have to decide which type of employment model for the outsource developers you will choose. Good to know that more than one option is available here.

The best suitable option for a small project is the project-based model. In this case, you will work with previously defined requirements paying a fixed price for development. There are also downsides of this model, especially for projects with evolving needs. One of the most critical minuses is a lack of flexibility. 

If your vision of the software you want to develop is not clear enough, it will be better for you to work with the dedicated team model. As you can understand from the title, it means a team of developers will be assigned to your project to work exclusively with you for a specific period. The developers’ team will be contracted to your startup for this time. 

Working with a dedicated team brings different advantages such as:

  • better flexibility
  • a possibility to communicate your ideas directly to the team 
  • a chance for receiving prompt feedback 

Of course, you can make changes during development when considering this model, but there are also certain limitations. 

The third available option is the extended team model, which allows you to work with the in-house team and fill gaps with the outsourced IT specialists team. Your in-house team is responsible for the coordination of the development, while the outsourced developer takes on specific tasks.

Find trusted experts

While hiring freelancers or an IT dev team, check the background to ensure that you can trust their expertise and that hired developers can create the software you need.

While hiring a programmer for a startup through different platforms, look through the reviews of other clients for the freelancers, and analyze a list of previous projects accomplished. It can be beneficial for filtering out candidates that don’t have vital skills needed for your startup.

The same approach will help you to choose an IT outsourcing company. Read all the feedback from past customers, talk to them directly, if possible. You can see a lot about the reputation of an outsourcing team by browsing through the company’s profile on LinkedIn. 

The expertise of the hired team is essential. Still, you have to be sure that the developers have specific soft skills for positive communication, successful teamwork, and anticipating. Effective communication between you and the developer is crucial for success. The most important thing is the common language on some high level to exchange opinions without difficulties. 

When hiring a dedicated team, you expect it to be self-organized and capable of tackling issues independently, which is necessary for good teamwork. The candidates have to be proactive, capable of making suggestions and reporting issues without being prompted. 

How to conduct interviews and start the job

The best approach to ensure that the candidates have all the hard and soft skills is to conduct an interview. Talk with the candidates about their previous working experience to know if they are experienced and passionate about their work. 

Create a survey to evaluate the responses of different candidates, especially those who will take responsibility for the delivery of the product.

Speak with each candidate and compare the responses to your questions from the list to choose the best people who perform well under pressure. 

After interviewing all of the candidates:

  • Create a shortlist.
  • Make job offers to the shortlisted candidates if their answers satisfy you.
  • Make sure that everybody understands properly and agrees to the requirements and terms described in the contract.
  • Before the development team starts working, provide precise requirements on what needs to be done.

The most common mistakes while hiring for a startup

Before you hire your freelance software developer for a startup or the outsourcing company, make sure you don’t make the most often mistakes made by others:

Your vision about what kind of specialists you need is not clear enough. 

Before searching for freelance developers or software development shops, define your project requirements first. To do it, you will need more than just good language knowledge. You have to describe every phase of your project to avoid ending up with colossal time and money waste.

You have no idea where to look for the right people.

The most important thing while looking for developers is to avoid trusting an inexperienced software company with developers who may only have fundamental development knowledge. It may cause a significant financial loss for you. 

You don’t know how to hire a programmer for a startup.

You have to find a trustworthy source for hiring to avoid trouble. If the hiring process goes in the wrong direction, it can be more time-consuming and increase the risk of missing requirements.

To avoid such problems, follow the recommendations given below to determine who you need for your startup.

How to choose the right people

To determine the exact needs of your startup, you have to check at least two essential factors. Such as:

  • What to build at the beginning
  • What to build at the end

Defining these two factors helps to create the complete roadmap. After you have described your required output, you need to make your product’s blueprint. After you have finalized the detailed description of your product, you will know whether the necessary product can be realized by a single developer or a dedicated team. If you can work with one developer only, you have to choose the right person because each developer knows different languages and domains. 

The development company is a more advanced option because the team has an entirely required expertise. Still, to decide if your startup needs a dedicated team, you have to create an exact plan for each milestone and ensure a good financial start.

Hiring a startup development company brings several advantages for you. For example, you don’t need to test the modules and gradually check the progress continually. The dedicated team will deliver your product with the required functionality.

Here are some essential tips on how to find developers for your startup:

  • If your startup is small and has definite requirements, you can hire a single developer. If you have expert knowledge of development, you will undoubtedly benefit from it. To have a little investment in a startup is a huge advantage.
  • If you are not keen on the development process or have zero development knowledge, work with an experienced development company to have less trouble tracking the whole process.
  • Before hiring a development company, make sure you have a reasonable budget for the project. 

You will need expertise in different areas to build a functional application. So, after you have chosen your developers and are ready to start working, consult the development process with your team.

You can always find developers with the skills needed to get the job done with remote outsourcing. Long-term financial commitment will not be a problem because you have the contract only for a single project. You have even more benefits, while you can bring in more developers when there’s an increase in the workload.

Hiring of the software development company

If you want to hire a software development company, it is not easy to choose the one with all the required expertise. All companies may have developers with different levels of experience. Take a short trial session to assure the credibility of your chosen company.

Once you have a list of companies meeting your requirements, start the hiring process. You also need to compare the services of different companies and choose the one with the best chances before you organize a meeting. 

You have to consider the following:

  • Read the company’s portfolio to see the experience and previous achievements.
  • Compare the services from different development companies.
  • Determine the working potential, dedication, and ability for teamwork. You can check the work performance by assigning a small task and analyzing the result. 

After you have tested all the information, sign up for a contract and start working.  

Build a strong team staying within your budget

Cash is everything for all early-stage startups. Even if you have the initial capital for your startup, be careful spending money, especially when hiring software developers. 

Be stringent in your selection process. Pick the suitable candidates who will get the app to the market successfully. Choose developers with high experience in building apps related to your needs. You can find the right people and stay within your budget. Just follow the instructions described above.

Even if you’re a good multitasker, you can not operate with a skeleton structure for long. You need to delegate issues to your team members, especially tasks related to the development of software. 

To do it, look for candidates that share your startup goals and values to build a dedicated team of developers from the start instead of bringing them into the project at a later stage.


Hiring for a startup is really difficult. It may take months of trial before you find it out, but how you deal with it is entirely up to you. We can assist you, which is great news! 

VITech helps SMEs and innovative startups to leverage and create technologies and make a meaningful impact on the quality of everyday life. 

Do not hesitate to contact us if you’d want to learn more about working with VITech.

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