A brief guide for startup founders


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Developing a startup team has always been difficult. Startup founders need to consider many factors before onboarding new people to their team at an early stage. This situation is only aggravated by pressure from investors who expect quick results.

The current situation only makes hiring even more difficult.

The pandemic and the shortage of immigrant workers in many sectors, including IT, have violated the established rules of the market.

Now, in addition to the usual difficulties associated with startups, founders must transform their business and move to the virtual world, in particular by hiring remotely.

Here’s how traditional hiring methods have changed and what the new options are.

The talent shortage myth

Recently, recruiters in my community said that their market was literally boiling – too many new offers and not enough professionals to respond to them. On my platform, I get hundreds of new apps from developers every week.

What I see is a skills shortage. Maybe the shutdowns have kept people from going to classes, working out, or they’ve just gotten used to the perpetual vacation. Everyone expects to earn more than $200,000, but their experience and skills rarely match their expectations.

I suggest non-technical founders get an advisor who is a senior developer who can interview candidates. They will give the right tasks, check performance, and determine candidates’ actual knowledge of infrastructure and coding languages. This is necessary for two reasons: founders will prepare the right offer and have appropriate expectations about the work of coders.

Related: The first virtual job fair for programmers is coming to Mexico

job description

If you don’t want to get lost in this recruiting melting pot, make sure your job description really describes what you’re looking for. It should not be too general, nor combine 2-3 positions into one, unless otherwise specified as a temporarily 2-in-1 role.

If you need a visionary leader, as opposed to a worker who will only follow set tasks, distinguish between the two roles.

Hire a professional recruiter to advise you on writing a comprehensive job description. Otherwise, delegate it to recruitment agencies who will handle the end-to-end hiring for you.

Skill levels

Now that you know what you can offer and what to expect from the candidate, place the job description on different platforms. Divide them into two segments – first junior developer profiles, then more senior software engineers.

Junior programmers are good for startups led by full-stack developers, where the CTO can teach, correct, and coach new hires until they become mature coders. However, experience shows that juniors often learn everything they need and move on to another company within 8-9 months.

Intermediate to senior developers are harder to find. Holding them back is an even harder game. They will bring a wealth of experience and can be good advisors for your product development, but at the same time they will bring the biases and culture of previous jobs.

You might seek advice from staffing agencies or serial entrepreneurs on how to set up company culture, especially for remote or hybrid teams with a dozen new hires.

Related: After 17 years, I quit my job as a computer programmer to follow my passion. It paid off.

Where to find programmers

Sourcing developers is a combination of art and science.

Buy recruitment software to manage applications. Check if it also contains a feature that would help you coordinate job postings across all your chosen platforms.

If you don’t set up the optimal hiring process from the start, it will become very time-consuming. Along with that, take one wrong step and your employer brand reputation will suffer, scaring all the cool programmers away from your startup.

You are probably already familiar with traditional job posting platforms. So here are some new platforms I’d like to highlight:

  • Startup job sites like f6s, angel.co, GitHub, etc.
  • Subcontracting companies: These companies cover everything from a legal and financial point of view. You only interview pre-selected developers and sign an agreement with the company that controls all deliverables.
  • Online schools offer young but very talented coders who have graduated from boot camps.
  • Organize a meeting for developers which are free and engaging. Conferences, hackathons and marathons will work well. In my opinion, the best hiring event ever was a Neuralink Demo organized in August 2020.

Look for specialists who are already accustomed to the remote lifestyle. Digital nomads and engineers who have worked in standalone environments are your primary target.

How to keep good programmers

Think about what they need or wish they had, for example:

  • work with interesting projects
  • a clear vision of their career development
  • a flexible schedule
  • high quality equipment
  • a development infrastructure in place, linked to a product manager, a designer, customer support, commercial and legal support.

Forget team building and group retreats. Listen to the real needs of your employees, offer them choices and flexibility.

Sharing a mission, the same culture and the same work attitudes should be the key to finding your developers. Employee benefits, flexible hours and engaging tasks will keep them happy.

If you see that you cannot cover all of these aspects at your current stage, feel free to delegate it to HR and outsourcing companies, or hire professional recruiters.

Related: Hiring the Modern Programmer: Is This New Software Smart


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