What to Look for When Hiring Developers for a Startup: 7 Must-Have Qualities

Qualities to look for while you hire developers for startup

A startup's hiring scenario differs from that of a larger organization. It takes a robust hiring process that includes a lot of effort, time, and resources to get the right candidate to help you make your startup a success. This is even more complicated when you want to hire developers for a startup. A small mishap in the hiring process can be fatal to your fledgling business. In this blog post, we will discuss the top 7 qualities that you must look for while hiring developers for startups.

Larger enterprises usually have a steady hiring process and defined operations, while startups wade through a constant stream of unknown changes and pivots. It is imperative that startups are equipped with a great team of software developers, and they can only do so when they hire candidates with the right skill and experience.

Hiring managers need to differentiate a great developer from a bad one. Understand that a great developer's productivity is three times that of an average developer and ten times that of a wrong developer. That's why the key to hiring developers for a startup is to look beyond the developer's resume and cover letter and examine the applicant's skills. Understand that as a startup, you only have enough revenue to hire a few developers, and you can't afford to make any mistakes.

How to hire a software developer for a startup?

Finding a software developer for a startup can be a daunting task. You want to recruit developers who can help you build a high-performance product with excellent tech and problem-solving skills. They must have a clear understanding of the market trends and a lot of enthusiasm to complete their tasks and meet deadlines.

So, it only makes sense to hire a software developer who matches all your requirement criteria only makes sense. Here are a few tips for hiring the best software developer to be a part of your development team-

Select the best way to hire software developers

Today there’s no set frame for hiring a software developer. Remote work and digitalization have opened up all the borders for you to select the right match for your startup. When you have a planetary pool of talented developers to choose from, your chances of onboarding a competent candidate skyrocket to an all-time high.

You have multiple platforms/services to choose from that can aid you in hiring a good software developer.

For instance -

  • You can ask your internal team members to refer candidates.
  • Use a recruitment and staffing agency to help you find a good software developer.
  • Make use of freelance platforms if you want to hire freelance developers
  • Outsourcing your project to a development company is another option that you can benefit from

However, make sure to use trial periods before making the final decision. A trial period in place gives ample time and opportunity to both you and the candidate to evaluate compatibility and cultural fitness. If not, both of you have sufficient time to get out of the deal without any significant ramifications or loss of valuable time and money.

Clarify your values and goals regarding the hiring process

Hiring a software developer who can effortlessly fit within your startup’s values and culture is extremely important. However, finding a candidate with such a personality is a task, to say the least. It is crucial to ensure that your goals and the developer’s interests correlate. You need to understand that not all developers want to work in all types of business, especially if your goal is to build a long-term relationship.

You should always ask the right questions if you want to assess and compare the candidate’s ambitious levels with what you can give them.

For example-

  • Ask them to imagine their ideal workplace.
  • What are the characteristics they like or dislike in a manager/boss?
  • What kind of work environment would make them highly unproductive/unhappy?

Take a look at their portfolio and previous experiences

When you hire a software developer, it only makes sense to onboard a professional who clearly understands the code or how it comes together to build a highly-functional application. One of the ways you can do so is by going through their portfolio and previous work experience.

This gives you an idea of the developer’s skills and abilities and a list of previous projects they have worked on. Make sure to thoroughly assess their finished projects to get a detailed look at their application development skills.

After all, this compilation of work samples and professional documentation will enable you to hire a software developer with experience within a similar sector or with a similar product to yours. You should consider it a red flag when candidates hesitate to showcase their portfolio, and the previous project works.

Always get value for money

As a startup, it is always alluring to go for the most budget-friendly software developer for your team. But it may also backfire as the candidate with the least demanding salary may lack the required experience and apt tech stack for the task.

Similarly, throwing away a major chunk of your budget for hiring with significantly high salary demands doesn't necessarily correlate to the developer's skill set and competence. This is why it is of the utmost importance that you strike a balance between the money you're spending and the key skills you require for your project.

In simple terms, you do not want to lose heavy sums of money just to onboard a good software developer with dazzling and loaded CVs. If your project doesn't have the demand of such a workforce, then you must calculate and assess your goals and objectives and hire with relevant experience and skill set to maintain a smooth equilibrium. Only then can your project deliver the demanded and fruitful outcome.

Seven qualities to look for while hiring software developers for your startup

The talent crunch is brutal; thousands of companies are hiring from a limited pool of skilled developers. And this ferocious battle over talent is daunting when you're a startup. It takes a lot to hire the right developer where even one small mishap can slow down or even kill your startup.

When you want to build great products and turn them into successful business models, you need great developers who can efficiently provide a roadmap to achieving your goals.

That's why as a startup, the following are the traits to look for when hiring candidates-

1. Ability to overcome failures

As a startup, taking chances and risks is unavoidable. There's a high chance that you or your team members will make mistakes along the way. The basis for a startup on a path to success is the ability to be fearless through failures.

In simpler terms, if you want to drive success, you should be prepared to cope with the challenges that come with it. That's why when you hire programmers; you must ensure that the candidate tends to accept the failures while intending to learn through them.

2. Have collaborative tendencies in their arsenal

For many startups investing in the latest technologies and tools may seem like the most obvious solution for a successful business model. However, you must understand that tools can only be powerful if a powerful collaboration strategy backs them.

The basics of effective teamwork and successful business are the collective strength of team members pushing each other to do and be better. Working individually can lead to constraints in ideas and delayed outcomes, increasing workload and stress.

When you have a team that leverages each other's strengths to find the best possible solution, you drive more innovation, establish efficient processes, increase success, and improve communication.

3. Proactive attitude and confidence to move forward

One of the biggest differences between an already established company and a startup is their need to take more risks while moving faster. It is essential for startups, especially if you don't want to play catch up with your competitors. That's why you need a workforce who can constantly innovate, identify, analyze and execute to make the business more attractive to the target audience.

Therefore, while hiring developers for your team, make sure they can leverage opportunities as they come, even daily or weekly.

4. Capable of working in an unstructured environment or system

Big corporations already have tested structures and processes that are integral to operations. However, startups mostly thrive in a significantly less structured environment. That's because what works for a team of 5 people working on two projects cannot work for a team of 20-30 people working together on 40+ projects.

That's why assessing if the candidate can thrive in a fluid environment is crucial. It's better not to hire professionals who prefer the stability of predictable and fixed structures like annual performance reviews and budget approval systems.

5. Cultivate intrapreneurship

Futuristic ideas shaped by modern and original thinking have gained popularity in the field of computer science. And the most common epicenter of these innovations is startups. The rising term to coin this phenomenon is intrapreneurship. As the name suggests, it refers to someone in a company who holds the potential to propose innovative new ideas by looking through previously unknown territories and putting in the effort to get those ideas to life. Understand that as a startup, it is vital for you to empower those intrapreneurs by allowing them time to be creative and recognizing their accomplishments.

Therefore, by implementing professional development practices, you should hire someone who can take chances and suggest brilliant additions to your respective business landscapes.

You can evaluate the developers by asking them the right questions. For example - What measures will you take to improve the company?

6. Self-starter

When you have a business to run, you cannot micromanage and supervise every little task your employees are working on. Instead, you can lay out your business goals and objectives at the beginning and allow them to come up with new and unique ideas to move the business closer toward those goals.

You can evaluate the applicants by asking questions such as - Given the option, what would you like to add to our company's mission statement? or What would be your first step towards achieving the company's goals and objectives?

That's why whenever you hire software engineers for your startup, make sure they are apt to work in a fluid environment while taking the initiative, working without the supervision of a project manager, handling the role of senior software engineers, and commencing projects independently.

7. Equipped with adequate technical skills

Technical knowledge is necessary to assess and choose the right technologies and programming languages to build, manage, and validate products. A capable software engineer with the same interest as hiring managers can invest significantly in the startup's growth and business vision.

They can efficiently handle development processes, decide on the right technology, and even address the complete set-up of IT infrastructure for product development.

That's why you must ensure that the applicant has adequate technical knowledge and experience in building, launching, monitoring, and scaling software solutions. Also, ensure to evaluate the soft skills of candidates as remote teams require collaboration, efficient communication, and time management skills.


Hiring the right developers for your startup isn’t easy. It requires a significant amount of your effort, resources, and time. That's why you need to prioritize setting up effective, streamlined, and efficient hiring strategies that can assist you in finding that perfect fit.

You must be willing to vet multiple candidates before settling on one who can tick off all the qualities mentioned above. You cannot afford to make hasty decisions and create stress, increased workloads, and opportunity costs by bringing on the wrong person. is a one-of-a-kind platform that can help you garner the benefits of remote software engineers/developers. Hence, when you decide to hire developers, just share your requirements with Turing, and our AI-driven Intelligent Talent Cloud will help source, vet, match, and manage the world's best software developers remotely.

Join 300+ companies that trust Turing to hire remote software developers and start with a 2-week, risk-free trial now!

Frequently Asked Questions

The three most important skills of a great developer are: Ability to work with right tech stack and tools, effective collaboration and willingness to adapt.

Logical thinking, endless patience, desire to learn and high degree of creativity are some of the primary strengths of developers.

You can hire the best WordPress developer through Turing. Turing’s Intelligent Talent Cloud that uses AI to source, vet, match, and manage 1.5 million+ developers worldwide helps you are the most skilled software developers in just 3-5 days. We are trusted by companies ranging from Fortune 500 companies to fast-growing startups.

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