How to Hire Developers for a Startup

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MARYNA DEMCHENKO

Published: 06 Feb 2023

Developers for startups

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When hiring developers, startups are often looking at a disappointing picture. Besides the sparse tech talent market, many fledgling companies struggle in an uneven field with more established companies that tend to snatch skilled engineers. From a developers’ standpoint, it’s more beneficial to join larger companies, as they offer solid employee bonus packages, career opportunities, and a strong company culture, which younger organizations are yet to build. 

With that in mind, many startups have to scramble to source tech talent locally. This often leaves them no other recourse than hiring a development team in a remote location. 

According to the Accelerance report, 60% of companies delegate at least part of their development activities (2021-2022 data). This allows them to save up to 70% of overall costs according to the same report. This means you are not alone in your aspirations to trim costs when you hire developers for your startup. 

As a company that builds development teams for startups, we know for sure that sourcing tech talent in the USA, the UK, and Western Europe is challenging. At nCube, our mission is to help startups grow by accessing skilled developers from Eastern Europe and Latin America. Within our strategic approach to hiring developers for startups, we help tech leaders build remote units that will be a seamless extension of their core teams. In this article, we’ll review common challenges startups face when hiring developers and ways to overcome them. We’ll also go over the steps for hiring developers for a startup. Let’s begin! 

Hiring a software development team: How to overcome challenges

To better understand the steps you should go through when you hire developers for your startup, let’s take a look at the typical challenges awaiting you.

Scarcity of tech talent. This is one of the key challenges when hiring a development team for startups. As we mentioned before, small businesses often have to scrape the bottom of the barrel looking for skilled IT professionals in their location. With a limited talent pool, it can be time-consuming and expensive to attract skilled developers, especially considering the competition for tech talent that is currently going on in the world. Hiring developers for a startup remotely is a more simple and more affordable way to build a team. Doing so allows you to tap into a large pool of skilled developers with the technical expertise and industry knowledge needed to help your startup grow and thrive. 

Team retention. If you manage to attract the best tech talent, it’s crucial to keep them around, at least until the product is finalized. That means you need to be competitive enough as an employer to lock in team members for the long run, which means providing solid employee bonuses, social guarantees, and career opportunities. This can strain the budget of a small venture like a startup. Remote team providers like nCube help startups hire a stable software development team and establish long-term cooperation for as long as they need it. 

Recruitment. Hiring developers for a startup requires a well-rounded recruitment process based on a series of interviews (HR interview, culture fit interview, professional competence interview, tests for technical abilities, etc) with multiple candidates. A thorough, multi-step screening process is the best way to avoid hit-and-miss hires and waste no time interviewing the wrong kind of candidates.

The problem is that setting up a recruitment process often requires a full-blown HR unit, but many startups aren’t ready for such an expansion. Thus, it’s best to delegate the team formation process to an external company that builds remote teams and spare time that you can invest in developing your brand and boosting your customer satisfaction. 

In-depth involvement. As a stakeholder, your role in hiring a software development team is strategic, as the people you hire to develop your product will define the success of the entire venture. With a vendor like nCube, you can share your vision of what an ideal candidate should be – and expect that we live up to that requirement. Moreover, our approach allows tech leaders to be involved in the crucial aspects of hiring developers for a startup personally – from team creation to working with and communicating directly with your new team members. All of this ensures the end product will meet your expectations to the fullest.

Financial commitments. When building internal teams, startups are prone to significant financial expenses. Not only do employers have to cover the payroll but also pay for employees’ insurance, annual leaves, overhead, IT infrastructure, and more. With that in mind, the expenses of hiring full-time developers can be exorbitant. By handing off it to remote team vendors like nCube, you can trim such costly aspects of in-house units, such as recruitment, salaries, leaves, IT infrastructure, and retention services, as they typically rest on the provider’s shoulders. 

How to hire developers for a startup: Steps to follow 

What are the steps to take when you hire developers for your startup on a remote model? Below is the plan to help you hire developers within a remote team formation process. 

Step 1. Outline your needs, goals, and priorities

It’s best to start by defining the kind of project you have. What kind of tech talent do you need to implement it: back-end, front-end, full-stack, web, mobile, or other? Answering this question is an excellent stepping stone to start building a software development team that will suit you in terms of your goals, vision, and what's more important, your tech requirements.  

Step 2. Define the role of your hired developers

Startups can go with several approaches to hiring a development team.

A stand-alone delivery center. This approach assumes building an autonomous center specialized in developing software tailored to your specific business needs, including MVP and full-cycle development. If you aim to hand off an entire project to a remote team (as opposed to a certain set of tasks like Quality Assurance), a delivery center is the best option. 

The approach also perfectly suits projects where the requirements are defined beforehand. In this scenario, a vendor will create a dedicated team based on your project specs to execute your project from the ground. The provided team will work autonomously and report directly to you when it comes to the milestones they achieved. 

Staff augmentation. Thanks to staff augmentation, you can get access to skilled engineers to fill the skill gap in your team. For example, if you need to add 1-2 remote team members to your core team, this model will help you get them fast. The remote developers will take the responsibility for the tasks you delegate to them working as part of your team.

When it comes to the integration of your new hires, staff augmentation will ensure the engineers will be baked into your company's processes, working under your leadership, following your company practices, and more. 

READ ALSO: Outsourcing vs Outstaffing: Which one is Best for you?

Step 3. Select a region to build your team

When choosing a location to hire a development team, many factors are at play. Some regions may be richer when it comes to tech talent, but they are often watered down with unskilled developers. Other factors are time zone, language proficiency, and cultural compatibility. As a company that builds software development teams for 15 years, we believe that Eastern Europe and LATAM are the best regions to hire developers for a startup. They boast a vast pool of skilled software developers, with confident English and flexibility in terms of addressing time zone differences and cultural differences. 

Let’s take a look at the common ways to add developers based in Eastern Europe or LATAM. 

Nearshoring. This approach will help you build a team in a similar time zone or in one with a minimum time difference. For example, we at nCube help companies source web development talent from LATAM for North American companies and Eastern Europe for UK and Western European businesses. 

READ ALSO: Nearshore Product Development: Eastern Europe and Latin America Overview

Offshoring. Its a way to build a team on another continent, with the benefit of significant cost savings. nCube sees Eastern Europe as the optimum offshore destination for US-based companies thanks to reasonable business hours overlap, a vast pool of tech talent (over 1 million experts adept at multiple fields), and the confident English of local developers. 

READ ALSO: Advantages and Disadvantages of Offshore Software Development Services

Step 4. Select a vendor 

When hiring developers for your startup, the best way is to partner with a vendor who will build your external unit, for example, nCube As you search for a suitable partner, you will dive into a pool of companies providing remote teams to create a list of potentially suitable vendors. Some signs will let you tell what companies are worth your attention:

  • Case studies and success stories are available on the website;
  • A proven experience in hiring developers for startups;
  • Newly posted vacancies mean the company is active on the market as an employer;
  • Valid contact information is available;
  • The company boasts professionally-made corporate photos or videos.

That said, when selecting a vendor to help you hire a software development team, don't rush to judge the company by its online appearance. After all, it all boils down to the quality of service and communication they provide, so it's best to make a final decision to partner based on personal interaction. 

At the stage of initial calls, it’s best to pay attention to other aspects. 

  • Cultural compatibility. Be sure to check if a provider and the candidates they provide share your vision, as this may affect your remote collaboration greatly. Developing a product for a startup can be a long-term journey, so your remote team provider should share your ethics, and communications, which are must-have ingredients of fruitful cooperation. 
  • English proficiency. Besides tech expertise, English proficiency should be a part of your team formation process. Your potential vendor should screen candidates to ensure they will be productive within a distributed environment.
  • Communication issues. During the initial steps with your potential provider, try to notice the potential barriers that may impede the process of team creation and further cooperation. For example, figuring out how they handle the matters of knowledge transfer, IP protection, team disbanding, and employee replacement should be on your agenda. 

READ ALSO: Your Guide to Project Transition Plan from one Vendor to Another

 Step 5. Interview candidates

At this step, the provider will offer you to conduct interviews with developers they have pre-approved for you after their internal screening. There typically are several rounds of interviews with a bunch of candidates for the same role so you can choose the best-suiting one for your criteria. When you hire a developer for a startup with a vendor, the process for you will be as follows:

  • Initial screening. After you receive the CVs of pre-selected potential developers from the vendor, you will schedule a video interview with the candidates. At this step, you will learn about their background, general experience, soft skills, and the value they can add to your team. 
  • Tech interview. If you move forward with a candidate(s) from the previous step, you'll invite them for the next interview where you will check their hard skills, including theoretical knowledge and problem-solving skills using practical tasks like programming challenges. As a result of this step, you will understand if a candidate is a good match for your project's requirements. 
  • Final interview. After passing the first two rounds, you will conduct a final interview with your chosen candidate. At this step, you can focus more on your expectations and requirements as well as the agreement terms with the vendor when it comes to officially hiring developers.

Step 6. Hire developers for your startup officially

Now is the time to launch cooperation with your hired developers. This includes signing Service Level Agreements, Non-Disclosure Agreements, and contracts with your hired development team. It's also important to sit down with the vendor and hash out such aspects as the terms of expanding/reducing your team, employee replacement conditions, knowledge transition, and more. A vendor like nCube will provide you with a personal manager to guide you throughout your cooperation. 

Hire a software development team with nCube

There are many pros to hiring remote developers for a startup on a remote basis. Let's recap:

  • It suits startups with limited budgets. Hiring developers remotely allows you to add skilled engineers without the financial commitments of in-house staff, including payroll, employee bonuses, team administration, overhead, and more.
  • Access to broader pools of qualified tech talent. By hiring developers for your startup remotely, you will expand your search to include the world's most skilled tech hubs, for example, Eastern Europe and LATAM which boast over 2 million software developers.
  • Faster team launch. Hiring a software development team remotely takes less time than backfilling in-house vacancies thanks to a broader pool of tech talent. 
  • Versatility. Chances are your team requires multiple skill sets to build a full-fledged product. A remote model gives you more chances to bring in the right kind of talent due to a wider choice.

If you’re facing a tech talent crunch at the stage of startup scaling, contact us. We will work with you to understand your organization’s needs so that the candidates we provide meet your requirements, are fully integrated into your operations, and will deliver top-quality results as a part of your team. Let’s connect. 

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