Complete Guide to Hire Developers for Startups [8 Steps & Tips]

August 23, 2023

Startups have become the catalysts of innovation. 

Skilled developers who transform ideas into functional, cutting-edge digital solutions are at the heart of these innovative ventures.

However, hiring developers who possess the technical prowess and align with the startup's vision and culture is often difficult. The task is further complicated by startups' unique hurdles, ranging from limited resources and fierce competition to the ever-evolving technological landscape.

Navigating through these issues requires a strategic approach – and this is where our article steps in as your comprehensive guide. 

Whether you're a startup looking to make your tech team stronger or an entrepreneur starting a new project, this guide will help you overcome the challenges and find the ideal developers to elevate your startup.

Hiring Developers for Startups - An Overview

Hiring the right developers is a significant challenge for startups for various reasons. 

Firstly, there's an ever-increasing IT skills gap. A 2021 survey by McKinsey & Company states that 87% of the respondents feel they either have a skills gap or expect to have it within a few years. This exact skills gap makes finding the right developers for startups a complicated process.

Secondly, startups have to face fierce competition from established players. Even if any deserving developers are looking for jobs, they usually prefer reputed brands. The reason is simple—these established organizations have the budget to offer good salaries and perks to developers.

But despite all the challenges, entrepreneurs put a lot of effort into hiring developers for their startups. Why is that?

What Motivates Startups to Hire Developers?

Startups need developers for various reasons that align with their goals and operational requirements. 

Here are some key points that highlight why startups often prioritize hiring developers:

  • Setting up the Startup's Tech Stack: Building a successful startup requires a robust and appropriate technological foundation. For instance, if you plan to build a SaaS mobile app for your business, you need to select the proper SaaS development framework, technologies, and tools that align with your product vision and long-term goals. 
  • Building a Solid Team: Developers play a critical role in forming a startup’s core team. Their expertise contributes not only to the product’s development but also to shaping the startup's culture, work ethic, and problem-solving approach. As your startup grows, the initial team's skills and dedication lay the foundation for your company's future success.
  • Enabling Fast Growth: Startups often operate in highly competitive and dynamic environments where speed and innovation are crucial. For example, data from Statista shows that around 90 thousand mobile apps were released through the Google Play Store in June 2023. In such a competitive and fast-paced environment, developers can help you build MVP mobile apps to accelerate the time to market. This can help you collect user feedback quickly and incorporate it into later versions of your software.
  • Staying Within Budget: While startups have ambitious goals, they typically operate with limited financial resources. Hiring developers who understand the importance of resource efficiency can help you reduce custom software development costs by building applications quickly and with limited resources. 
  • Creating Scalable Products: Your product's user base can change drastically. As you aim to scale your operations and user base, you should ensure your products can handle the increased demand. Skilled developers can architect scalable and flexible systems, ensuring your technology infrastructure can grow seamlessly as the business expands.

8 Steps to Hiring Developers for a Startup

Startups usually have limited financial, human, or time-related resources. Hence, a strategic approach becomes vital for hiring developers for startups. With a strategic approach, you can avoid wasting these resources on hiring developers who might not fit the company's needs well.

So here are the steps you can follow for hiring developers for a startup like yours:

#1. Set Your Bussiness Needs

The first step in hiring developers for startups is setting your business needs. 

By clearly defining your business needs, you'll be able to identify the skills, expertise, and roles required to achieve your startup's goals. In turn, they will act as a target you need to accomplish by hiring the right developers.

For instance, suppose you want to build an application that connects patients with doctors for virtual consultations. In such a case, you want to first identify if you can afford an in-house team or would like to outsource app development.

Likewise, determining your needs, such as whether you want a mobile, desktop, or cross-platform app, will help you hire the right developers. Look for a mobile app development firm if you want a smartphone application. On the other hand, if you want a desktop app, you should choose a web development company.

#2. Decide on the Employment Process

The next step is to decide on the employment process, especially if you plan to outsource app development. When outsourcing, choosing a suitable employment model is crucial for your project’s success. 

Your employment model will determine how you work with the developers, manage the project, and control costs. Here are some standard employment models for outsourcing app development:

  • Project-Based Outsourcing: In this model, you engage with a development company or a team to complete a specific project. The company handles project management, development, testing, and delivery. This model offers higher expertise and a more structured approach than freelancers. However, it might be less flexible if you need to change the project scope.
  • Dedicated Development Team: A dedicated development team model involves hiring developers who work exclusively on your project. This offers more control over the development process and allows for better collaboration. It's suitable for long-term projects with changing requirements. 
  • Extended Team Model: The extended team model is a comprehensive approach to outsourcing that bridges the gap between having an in-house development team and relying solely on external contractors. In this model, you expand your startup's team by integrating remote developers, designers, and other professionals from an outsourcing partner. 
  • Freelancers: Hiring individual freelancers can be cost-effective for startups with limited budgets. Freelancers are independent contractors who work on a project basis. This model provides flexibility in terms of hiring and scaling resources. However, managing multiple freelancers can be challenging, and quality and consistency might vary.
  • Offshore Development Centers (ODC): An ODC is an extended team that functions as a remote branch of your startup. This model offers a higher level of control, as the ODC works exclusively for you and follows your processes and culture. It's suitable for startups with complex projects requiring continuous development and maintenance.

#3. Craft the Perfect Job Description

Writing a good job description is vital to hiring the right startup developers. 

A well-written job description will have all the details a potential job seeker would need to decide whether to join your team. Thus, it would lay the foundation for bringing in talented individuals who will contribute to the growth and innovation of your company.

Once you establish your needs, you can craft a comprehensive job description based on them. Begin with an engaging overview of your startup. Try to highlight its mission, values, and the exciting challenges developers will be working on. 

This can create an immediate sense of purpose and attract candidates who are passionate about your startup's vision.

Next, you should clearly define the roles and responsibilities you are hiring for. Be specific and prioritize the most critical tasks. Highlight any opportunities for ownership, innovation, and collaboration with the role.

You must also list the qualifications and skills a candidate needs to succeed. 

Lastly, highlight any unique perks, benefits, or opportunities for professional growth that your startup offers. This could include flexible work hours, remote work options, stock options, training programs, etc. 

These extras can make your job posting stand out.

#4. Pick a Country to Hire From

The next step is selecting a country where you want to hire your custom software developers. You may certainly find talented developers in your country, but going offshoring offers huge advantages too.

Imagine this—you are a startup company in the US. If you hire local software developers, you will have to pay around $1,05,959 per annum, which is the average  US salary. If you hire developers from a developing country like India, on the other hand, you have to pay only around ₹8,03,000 (less than $10,000)

This means the cost of hiring developers can be significantly lower than in your home country. This can be especially appealing if you operate in expensive tech hubs like Silicon Valley.

Outsourcing development work to countries with lower labor costs can help you stay within your budget. In fact, you can use your money in some other areas of business, such as marketing, research, expanding product or service range, etc.

Offshore hiring comes with other benefits too. 

For instance, you can get global market insights. Hiring developers from target markets can provide valuable insights into local user preferences, cultural nuances, and regulatory requirements. This understanding can be crucial when developing products or services tailored to specific regions.

When deciding which country to hire developers from, startups should consider the following factors:

  • Skills Match: Evaluate whether developers' skills from a specific country align with the startup's technical requirements.
  • Cost and Budget: Compare the cost of hiring developers in different countries and weigh it against the startup's budget constraints.
  • Time Zone Compatibility: Consider how the time zone differences between the startup's headquarters and the developers' location will impact collaboration and project timelines.
  • Cultural Alignment: Assess whether potential hires' cultural values, work habits, and communication styles align with the startup's culture.
  • Communication Infrastructure: Evaluate the country's availability of reliable internet connections and communication tools.
  • Language Proficiency: Determine if language barriers could hinder effective communication and collaboration.

#5. Find the Right Specialists

Once you have received applications from job seekers, it's time to thoroughly review their resumes and portfolios. 

Look for relevant experience, projects, and technologies they have worked with. This initial screening helps you create a shortlist of candidates who seem promising based on their documented background.

Additionally, determine whether a candidate will be a natural fit for your culture and existing team. Team dynamics play a pivotal role in a startup's success. Hence, you should evaluate how well a candidate would fit within your existing team structure. 

Look for candidates with good communication skills, collaborative abilities, and a willingness to share knowledge with colleagues.

#6. Verify Their Experience

The sixth step in hiring developers for startups is verifying the experience of the shortlisted candidates. Since hiring someone is a critical decision, you can't always rely on candidates' words and believe everything you see on their resumes.

One key aspect of assessing developers' qualifications is conducting thorough technical assessments. This step involves evaluating their proficiency in relevant programming languages, frameworks, and tools.

Technical assessments can take various forms, such as coding challenges, whiteboard sessions, or practical projects. These assessments help you gauge candidates’ problem-solving skills, coding practices, and ability to implement solutions effectively.

You can also ask them to answer simple questions like the difference between native apps vs. web apps during the assessments.

In addition to technical expertise, evaluating soft skills is equally important. Developers in a startup environment need to collaborate, communicate, and adapt rapidly to changing requirements.

Moreover, reference checks are crucial in verifying a developer's experience. Speaking with their former colleagues, supervisors, or mentors can offer a more holistic view of a candidate’s work ethic, reliability, and overall performance. In a nutshell, references can prove their ability to work in teams, meet deadlines, and handle challenges professionally.

#7. Plan Interviews

The interview-planning stage is a pivotal step in the comprehensive process of hiring startup developers. 

In this step, you should attempt to design an interview structure that goes beyond mere technical evaluation. Specifically, you should aim for a holistic understanding of each candidate's abilities, problem-solving aptitude, teamwork orientation, and alignment with the company's mission. 

This involves mapping out a series of interview rounds and asking relevant questions like discussing past experiences and projects, individual missions, behavioral skills, etc.

#8. Onboard the New Developers

The last step is to onboard your newly hired developers. 

This is where you introduce your team’s new members to your existing workflows and culture. Additionally, this step determines how well your existing team and new hires will bond with each other. 

Hence, the onboarding process holds immense importance in shaping the overall success of your team.

Effective onboarding sets the tone for a developer's journey within your startup. It goes beyond simply providing a workspace and access to tools. Instead, it encompasses the orientation, training, and immersion into your company's ethos.

Moreover, onboarding is the time when developers start to establish vital connections within your startup. They build relationships with colleagues, mentors, and supervisors, fostering an environment of collaboration and open communication. These connections are crucial for sharing knowledge, seeking guidance, and ultimately accelerating the learning curve for new developers.

6 Benefits of Hiring Remote Developers for Startups

Building an in-house team of developers can give you long-term benefits, like complete dedication, direct communication, complete control over the projects, etc. 

But as a startup, you must quickly get your app out in the market. This means hiring remote developers can offer a range of benefits that can contribute to your startup’s overall success and growth.

Here are some more benefits of hiring remote developers for startups:

  1. Global Talent Pool: When you hire remote developers, you have access to a global talent pool. This allows you to find experts and specialists in various fields and technologies, regardless of their geographical location. You're not limited to hiring from your local area, giving you a more comprehensive range of options.
  2. Diverse Perspectives: Remote developers can bring diverse perspectives and experiences to your team. Different cultures and backgrounds can lead to innovative ideas and creative problem-solving, which can be invaluable for startups looking to differentiate themselves in the market.
  3. 24/7 Productivity: With a distributed team across different time zones, your development process can continue around the clock. This can lead to faster project completion and response to urgent issues.
  4. Reduced Overhead Costs: Hiring remote developers can significantly reduce overhead costs associated with office space, utilities, equipment, and other on-site expenses. These cost savings can be particularly beneficial for startups operating on tight budgets.
  5. Scalability: Remote teams are generally easier to scale up or down based on your project requirements. Whether you need to quickly expand your team for a new project or downsize during slower periods, remote developers offer the flexibility to adapt to changing needs.
  6. Lower Attrition Rates: Remote developers often have a stronger sense of autonomy and control over their work, leading to higher job satisfaction and lower attrition rates. This stability can be significant for startups that rely on a consistent team to drive growth.

5 Challenges of Hiring Developers for Startups

Hiring developers for startups can be challenging due to various factors that are unique to the startup environment. 

Here are some of the key challenges you might face:

  1. Limited Budget: Startups often have limited financial resources, making it challenging to attract top-tier developers who may demand higher salaries. Balancing competitive compensation with budget constraints can be tricky.
  2. Competition with Established Companies: Established tech companies often have more resources and brand recognition, making it difficult for startups to compete for top developer talent. Startups need to find creative ways to stand out and attract candidates.
  3. Risk Perception: Working for a startup can be riskier than working for a stable, established company. Some developers may be hesitant to join a startup due to concerns about job security and potential failure.
  4. Uncertain Future: Startups are inherently volatile and their future success is uncertain. Developers may be concerned about the stability and longevity of the startup, especially if they're looking for a long-term career path.
  5. Lack of Structure: Startups often lack well-defined roles, processes, and career paths compared to larger companies. For instance, a front-end developer might have to handle the back-end, too, due to a lack of resources in a startup. Some developers may prefer a more structured environment, which could make recruiting them for a startup role challenging.

11 Places to Look for Startup Developers

You can look for a developer or a team of developers to hire them or outsource app development in many places. Here's a list of common areas where you can look for startup developers:

  1. Job Boards: Websites like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Stack Overflow are popular platforms where developers actively look for job opportunities, making them a great way to attract qualified candidates.
  2. Social Networking: Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn can be used to connect with developers, share your startup's vision, and potentially find interested candidates. LinkedIn, in particular, is a great network for connecting with professionals.
  3. Reddit: Subreddits like r/forhire or industry-specific subreddits can be an excellent place to find developers open to freelance or full-time opportunities.
  4. Remote Staffing Agencies: There are numerous agencies that specialize in remote staffing. They can help you find developers worldwide who can work remotely for your startup.
  5. Freelancing Platforms: Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Toptal are platforms where you can find freelance developers. These platforms often have developers with a range of skills and experience levels.
  6. Student Competitions: Participating in or sponsoring hackathons, coding competitions, or other tech-related events at universities can help you identify talented students who might be interested in joining your startup.
  7. Local Recruitment Agencies: For in-person hiring, local recruitment agencies can help you find skilled developers within your city or region.
  8. Networking Events: Attending tech conferences, meetups, workshops, and other industry events can provide opportunities to connect with developers and build relationships.
  9. University Career Centers: Partnering with university career centers can give you access to recent graduates or students looking for job opportunities.
  10. Tech Blogs and Forums: Engaging with developer communities on platforms like GitHub, Stack Overflow, and other tech forums can help you identify skilled individuals.
  11. Your Startup's Website: Make sure your website has a dedicated careers section where you can showcase your startup's culture and job openings.

Here's How Make IT Simple Can Help Your Startup's Development Process

Make IT Simple has established itself as a trusted partner for startups seeking to fulfill their development needs. Our time-tested approach will take your project from conceptualization to reality effectively and professionally. 

We start by interacting with our clients to identify their requirements. 

At Make IT Simple, we believe in the power of understanding the unique essence of your startup and its project. Hence, we lay the foundation for a successful collaboration by thoroughly grasping your requirements. Once we understand your vision, our adept team of experts transforms these aspirations into actionable tasks, ensuring a comprehensive yet achievable project outline.

Consider our successful collaboration with Recruit Payroll, now renowned as Octopaye. Similarly, we partnered with them to revolutionize their payroll processing. Formerly reliant on third-party software and manual Excel spreadsheets for their back-office services, Recruit Payroll faced inefficiencies that hindered its growth. MakeITSimple stepped in to create a streamlined system, reducing payroll timesheet processing times significantly.

Furthermore, our collaboration with NLG RPO resulted in the inception of Infinitemp, a transformative back-office software solution. NLG RPO was grappling with time and cost constraints, and MakeITSimple provided the tailored solution they needed. By leveraging our expertise, NLG RPO was able to optimize its operations, translating into substantial time and cost savings. This case underscores our commitment to propelling startups toward efficiency and success.


Embarking on hiring developers for your startup might appear overwhelming initially, but by deconstructing the process into manageable phases, you can streamline and simplify the entire process.

Gaining a firm grasp of the steps involved in hiring developers and systematically progressing through them will allow you to assemble a proficient and dynamic development team that aligns seamlessly with your startup's goals.

Are you seeking expert guidance to navigate the intricate path of hiring developers for your budding venture? Look no further than MakeITSimple. With a wealth of experience facilitating startup growth through strategic app design and development, we can be your partner in growth. 

Contact us now to unlock the potential of your startup's tech team and drive it toward unparalleled success.

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