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How To Hire Developers For Startups - A Definitive Guide

How To Hire Developers For Startups - A Definitive Guide

  • Last Updated on July 28, 2023
  • 6 min read

Finding and hiring talented dedicated developers is one of the most crucial tasks for any technology startup. After all, your developers will be the ones bringing your innovative product ideas to life and turning them into a reality.

But with the global shortage of software engineers and competition from big tech companies, hiring dedicated developers with the right technical skills and cultural fit can seem downright daunting for resource-constrained startups.

How do you go about recruiting and selecting developers who will become key members of your early team? How do you assess their skills beyond just looking at a resume? And how do you make sure they are excited about your vision and not just there for a paycheck?

This definitive guide will walk you step-by-step through the process of hiring dedicated programmers for your startup. We'll cover where to find talented tech candidates, how to screen them effectively, techniques for evaluating their skills, and tips on closing candidates with competitive offers.

Here is a guide on how to recruit and build a software development team that will drive your startup's success. Let's get started!

Definitive guide on how to hire developers for startups

Before starting your hiring process, clearly define what type of developers you need (front-end, back-end, full-stack, mobile etc.), their experience level (junior, mid-level, senior) and the tech stack they need to have expertise in. Outline the roles and responsibilities they would take on. This will help you screen candidates effectively.

Where to find developers?

Tap into your personal network and get referrals from other startup founders and technical people. Post on relevant job boards like AngelList, StackOverflow Jobs, LinkedIn, and GitHub jobs.


Attend local tech meetups and events to network and meet developers in person. Leverage your social media presence to spread the word.


Once you start receiving applications for a job opening, you need to perform a Pre-screening - quick pre-screening to efficiently filter out unqualified candidates. This step involves reviewing the resumes and cover letters submitted by the applicants. By carefully analyzing the resumes, you can assess the candidates' educational background, work experience, and any relevant accomplishments.

Look for keywords and phrases that indicate the applicants possess the necessary technical skills and experience required for the role. By conducting this pre-screening process, you can shortlist those applicants who best match your tech stack requirements, ensuring that only qualified individuals proceed to the next stage of the hiring process.

Read more: Here are some tips to help you hire the right dedicated developers

Technical screening

Next, do a technical screening via phone interviews. Give them a small coding test project or technical questions relevant to the role. This will help assess their skills. Exclude those that don't meet the bar. The main objective of the technical screening is to exclude candidates who do not meet the necessary technical proficiency and competence required for the position.

By doing so, you ensure that only the most qualified candidates proceed to the next stages of the hiring process, saving both the company's and the candidates' time and effort. A successful technical screening process will help you identify individuals who have the potential to thrive in the role and contribute significantly to your organization.

Code review

For the remaining candidates, review code samples from their GitHub repositories or portfolio projects. This will give you a sense of their coding skills and style. Once you have shortlisted the candidates after the pre-screening and technical screening phases, the next step is to conduct a thorough review of their code samples. This allows you to gain deeper insights into their coding skills, problem-solving abilities, and coding style.

Take-home assignment

Provide a small take-home assignment that resembles actual work they'd do on the job. Review their work quality and how they approach the problem. A well-designed take-home assignment should present a reasonable level of challenge while remaining manageable within a given timeframe.

This approach allows candidates to showcase their abilities without feeling overwhelmed by the task. Whether it involves coding challenges, algorithm design, or building small applications, the assignment should reflect the practical skills required for the position.

In-person interviews

After reviewing the take-home assignments and narrowing down the list to top choices, it is essential to invite these candidates for 1-2 rounds of in-depth, in-person interviews. Invite your top choices for 1-2 rounds of in-depth, in-person interviews and ask relevant questions.


Include tech-focused interviews that probe their hard skills as well as culture-add interviews to assess their soft skills to assess the candidates' hard skills and technical expertise.

Reference checks

Reference checks are a vital part of the hiring process that allows employers to gather valuable feedback about the candidates from individuals who have worked directly with them in the past. Once the in-person interviews are completed and you have a strong candidate in mind, it is essential to conduct reference checks to validate the information provided by the candidate and gain additional insights into their strengths and weaknesses.

Typically, candidates are asked to provide 1-2 references, usually former supervisors, colleagues, or mentors who can offer a well-rounded perspective on the candidate's work ethic, skills, and interpersonal qualities. It is important to ensure that the references provided are genuine and not biased.

Make an offer

Making an offer to the selected candidate is the final and critical step in the hiring process. After carefully evaluating all candidates, identifying the best fit for the role, and considering their compatibility with the company culture, it is essential to extend a competitive offer that reflects their value and contributions.

A well-prepared offer package is crucial to ensure transparency and clarity. It should encompass all relevant details, such as the job title, salary, benefits, vacation time, stock options (if applicable), and any other perks or incentives offered by the company. The salary and benefits should be competitive, aligned with industry standards and the candidate's experience.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, hiring developers for startups is a critical endeavor that demands a strategic and well-structured approach. This definitive guide serves as a valuable resource for startup founders and hiring managers, offering a comprehensive roadmap to successfully navigate the recruitment process.

Beginning with a clear understanding of the job role and its technical requirements, the guide emphasizes the significance of defining the essential skills and qualities needed in potential candidates. By honing in on the right talent pool and leveraging various sourcing channels, such as job boards and networking events, startups can attract top-notch developers to join their team.

The guide underscores the importance of conducting a thorough pre-screening process, allowing startups to filter out unsuitable candidates early on and focus on the most promising ones. Technical screenings, including coding tests and interviews, enable an in-depth evaluation of candidates' abilities and problem-solving skills, ensuring that only the most qualified individuals advance to the next stages. Hire experienced developers from ThinkODC and gain complete control over your project.


Ubaid Pisuwala

Co-founder of ThinkODC and Entrepreneurship, Formulation of Business Strategies, Creation and Management of high-performance teams, Management of key corporate relationships.

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