5, May 2021

How to Find And Hire Developers for a Startup

Are you struggling to find and hire developers for your startup? In this article, you will learn expert tips and advice on where to search for top talent, how to assess their fit for the company, and how to build a team.

How to hire developers


Dmitry Boyko, Android Team Lead

Serhii Stavichenko,

Serhii Stavichenko, CTO

Serhii knows everything about project architecture, data science, and machine learning. His superpower is translating clients' business needs into top-notch technical solutions.

The problem of finding developers is extremely relevant for startups, to the point where it can sometimes dampen the enthusiasm from launching your cherished project. Both new and experienced companies strive to obtain only the best specialists as it can become a crucial factor in the success of their business.

Even though there are a plethora of people offering their developing skills, a lack of true professionals, no hiring experience, misalignment of interests, and high prices can turn something you believe to be a piece of cake into quite a burdensome endeavor.

Well, not anymore. Keep reading to find out where and how to hire developers for a startup, based on the experience of our experts at Requestum.

Common Mistakes Made by Startups When Looking for Developers

There are three common mistakes startups are prone to make when looking for developers that can simply come down to a lack of proper analysis of the market or your requirements beforehand.


1. Unawareness of what specialists you need

When hiring programmers, the first thing you need to determine is the skills, values, level of overall proficiency, and technical background you’re looking for in developers. If you don’t clarify what kind of specialists you need, and how many, you risk hiring a bunch of mismatched individuals with conflicting beliefs and skills you have no use for.

2. Misunderstanding where to search for developers

Analyze the current market of software development specialists and break down each source to know where to look for your particular startup. Problems may occur when, for example, you scavenge for professionals in places only containing novices with lower rates, etc. Stay tuned, we’ll discuss where to search for different needs later in the article.

3. Lack of knowledge on how to hire developers

If you haven’t done thorough research and don’t know how to hire, perhaps you may find yourself skipping important stages in your interviews, forgetting to do the skills testing, asking the wrong questions, or ignoring a clear lack of cultural or ethical fit. How to hire is just as important as where to look for talents.

How to Know if Your Startup Needs a Single Developer or a Development Team

It is essential to decide what is necessary for your startup - to hire a developer or a whole team. Your choice will vary depending on your project's scale and requirements. Let’s go through the advantages and disadvantages of each decision.

Pros and cons of hiring a single developer

You definitely can do with just one (preferably full-stack) or, in some cases, two developers if:

  • Your startup project is small and doesn’t require a lot of workforces;
  • You plan on having either a website or a mobile app.

The advantages include more affordable development since you won’t have to pay a whole team, a faster onboarding process, more dedication, and clearer communication. The cons of managing with only one or two programmers are:

  • Slower development process;
  • A shortage of different opinions on any matter;
  • The need for hiring extra specialists if you plan to expand the project.

Pros and cons of hiring a development team


A development team is necessary for bigger-scale and/or multiplatform projects. According to our experts at Requestum, the pros of this decision can include:

  • A wider variety of skill sets and a much faster development;
  • The ability to handle multifaceted projects;
  • It’s possible to apply different methodologies;
  • The means to get a second opinion if needed.

The disadvantages contain the necessity for a much bigger budget and dependency on other team members.

Ways of Finding Developers for Startup

There are five popular directions you can go to find developers.

1. Freelance websites

It is an excellent way of fishing for talents but it also may seem chaotic and overwhelming. There is a broad array of different specialists, and the numbers are growing. Freelance websites are great for temporary projects or quick fix-ups, however, they are not a great fit for most startups or if you’re looking for a dedicated full-time developer.

Independent:freelance developers

2. Referrals

Make use of the vast network of software developers by utilizing referrals or even referral programs. Offer incentives for people to recommend you capable specialists in the industry. You may even find someone who’s already employed, but looking for a new project and haven’t yet found the courage to actively post on platforms or marketplaces.

3. Social media

You can also find programmers on social media - there are multiple software development communities on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, even Reddit. Use hashtags for a quicker search. But be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort, plus handle all hiring stages and contracts yourself.

4. Recruitment agencies

Recruitment agencies do all the work for you and have the advantage of being aware of the market better than you. They focus on your requirements and company culture. The downside of such agencies is that they may also have little to no specialized technical knowledge to properly test the coding skills.

5. Specialized it companies

Specialized outsourcing or outstaffing companies are a great choice if you’re looking for international talents and don’t want to take on hiring burdens and the entire administrative (or bureaucratic) process. The recruitment is much faster and you can find a couple of developers that way or even a whole team.

specialized IT companies

Where to find in-house developers

You can trust local recruiters to hire developers, also local groups on social media, or meetups in your city or nearby. Visit Hackathons for raw talent. Job boards are also helpful, for example, Crunchboard, Honeypot.io,TechCrunch, Jobbatical, Authentic Jobs, Mashable, or head over to StackOverflow.

Where to find freelance developers

Examples of popular freelance platforms: Upstack, Fiverr,Gun.io, Upwork, Toptal,Hired. There are also various IT marketplaces - similar to job boards, but with more filters: The Muse, Product Hunt,Underdog.io.

Where to find software development companies

And last, but not least question is how to find developers that are a part of an established development company. You can turn to special IT agencies, local or online tech conferences, or the web development category on Clutch.co.

Skills to Focus on When Hiring Programmers

Here are the relevant skills you should focus on to make sure you’ve made the right choice.


The importance of having good communication skills for a developer sometimes gets underrated due to the technical nature of the job. However, for a startup, this skill is crucial. High-level communication skills can help convey diplomacy and professionalism among coworkers.

Cultural fit

It is truly important to find a programmer that shares your vision and matches your cultural values and work ethic. But don’t hire based solely on culture as it can get you nowhere if you don’t focus on a person’s accountability and technical skills.


The ability to focus and understand basic user needs is much more necessary than the knowledge of the myriad of programming languages. The developer should concentrate on making a product or a solution user-friendly instead of following trends or personal preferences.


Look into the previous relevant work experience. Contact former employers. But don’t get too obsessed - with startups, there are usually lots of unique challenges to tackle, and if a person is stuck with their old ways due to having too much experience in one industry, it may leave no room for creativity.

Capacity management

You should also aspire to find a software developer who values efficiency, organization, and good time management as much as you do. A person must value their own and others’ time by knowing how to prioritize tasks. They should also be capable of taking responsibility for their actions and mistakes.

Technical skills

Look for proven technical skills and not those written in the resume without any confirmation. Check for a degree, a certificate, successful projects, written recommendations from teachers and previous companies, language proficiency, proof of coding camp completion, etc.

Interview Questions to Ask When Finding a Computer Programmer

interview questions

Based on the skills we’ve mentioned above, here’s a list of questions you can ask potential candidates to work out whether they will be a perfect match for your project:

  • How would you describe your previous job?
  • How will you communicate with our team?
  • What do you love about programming?
  • What was the hardest task you’ve ever had and how have you dealt with it?
  • What is your ideal workplace culture?
  • What qualities make you a great developer in general and specifically for our startup?
  • How do you handle stressful moments?

Find a Software Developer for a Startup in 5 Simple Steps

Considering all the advice we had previously provided in this article, follow these five simple steps to make sure you hire the right developer for your startup.

  1. Write description - clearly formulate and write down what kind of specialists are required for your project, their amount, background, experience, and qualifications.
  2. Choose sources of candidates - analyze all available resources and try to find among them the best, safest, or the most economical way to recruit those you defined in the first step.
  3. Screen candidates - review all suggested candidates and their submitted resumes, if available. Assess if they are a good fit based on your gathered criteria.
  4. Hold interviews - interview the most suitable candidates. Check their working culture and their attitude, evaluate their skills by asking the questions we previously mentioned. You may even do a live coding test.
  5. Onboard newcomers - start bringing up to speed everyone who has passed all the hiring stages. Help newcomers adapt in every possible way.

Essential Tips for Expanding Your Startup's Development Team

We are sharing ten essential tips to ensure you secure the ideal startup developers necessary for your growth.

Harmonize your existing team with your vision

The initial step in understanding how to find a developer for your startup involves ensuring your current team's goals and values are in sync with your startup's overarching mission. This alignment fosters an inviting environment for potential new hires, showcasing your startup as a place where they can thrive.

Explicitly define your startup culture

When describing your startup's culture, specificity is key. If your team is characterized as "open," detail what that means in practice. This clarity helps in attracting startup programmers who are a good cultural fit.

Prioritize core hiring practices

Avoid the common pitfall of adopting numerous development initiatives that may dilute your core value proposition. Focus on perfecting fundamental aspects such as employee referral programs, onboarding procedures, and a robust feedback mechanism. These are critical for attracting and retaining adept developers for startups.

Cultivate opportunities for growth

To retain and attract top talent, it's crucial to promote a culture of advancement and learning within your team. Demonstrating a commitment to each team member's growth makes your startup a magnet for ambitious talent.

Showcase your unique advantages

In the competitive landscape of finding programmers for a startup, remember that standout candidates often weigh multiple options. Make your startup appealing by highlighting unique aspects, such as innovative projects, market potential, or exceptional team dynamics.

Ensure candidates feel appreciated

In your quest on how to find a developer for your startup, making candidates feel genuinely valued is crucial. A personalized approach in the recruitment process can significantly influence their decision to join your team.

Regularly review your strategy

It's vital to continuously evaluate and refine your hiring strategy to remove any barriers that might deter the best talent. A streamlined, purposeful recruitment process enhances the candidate experience and attracts higher-quality applicants.

Streamline your hiring process

As your startup grows, maintaining an organized and efficient hiring process becomes increasingly important. Leveraging management tools can help keep your efforts orderly and effective.

Embrace diversity as a core goal

Achieving a diverse team should be an active goal, not just a passive aspiration. Setting explicit diversity objectives and creating an inclusive environment can broaden your talent pool and enrich your startup's culture.

Choose partners wisely

If external assistance is part of your strategy, selecting a recruitment partner that aligns with your startup's ethos is essential. The right partner can accurately convey your vision and values to potential startup developers and programmers, ensuring a better match for your needs.


Finding a computer programmer for a startup is not an easy task whatsoever since it requires you to consider and pay close attention to a large number of different factors at hand. We’ve covered lots of diverse resources and places you can find potential candidates.

According to our years of experience, we believe the safest choice is to turn to an outstaffing company that will manage the recruitment process and will support each of your decisions. We hope our guide on how to find a developer was helpful, and you will be able to make a fitting choice for your startup.

If you have any ideas or potential projects you wish to be developed by professionals, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team.



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