Hire Developers for Your Startup With These Effective Strategies
Hiring & recruiting developers

Strategies for Startups to Find and Hire Developers(2024)

Sharon Koifman
Founder and Remote CEO at DistantJob - - - 3 min. to read

Finding and hiring the right developers is a cornerstone for your startup’s success, especially given the precarious nature of startup longevity. Statistics reveal that 70% of startups stumble between their third and fifth years, with a solid 25% blaming bad hires for the fall. Your aim? Dodge this statistical bullet by bringing on board software developers that align with your vision from the get-go.

The success sagas of companies like Automattic, Slack, and WordPress underscore the importance of syncing with the right tech talent, sourced globally.

Knowing where to look for talented developers and how to hire them is where your journey begins.

A shining example of meticulous remote hiring is Automattic, where the CEO takes an active part in the hiring process, carefully going through resumes to pick individuals who fit their vision. This hands-on approach has built a culture of excellence and propelled this startup to the forefront, with WordPress now powering over 40% of the web—all managed remotely.

Their startup story showcases the significant impact of aligning with the right tech talent, showcasing how a blend of careful vetting and tapping into the global talent pool can elevate your startup’s success trajectory.

So, let’s delve into how you can find and hire the right developers to help your startup succeed.

How Can a Startup Find Developers? 7 Best Hiring Strategies

A crucial step in hiring the right developers is vetting their skills thoroughly. If your team has a technical lead or CTO, or if you have the technical know-how, you can lead this check to ensure the developers are up for the job. If not, partnering with an agency like DistantJob can simplify this step. We help find and onboard excellent developers who align with your vision, aiding your startup’s journey toward success.

These are the 7 main steps to hiring developers for your startup: 

seven steps to hire developers for startup

1. Define What You’re Building 

The first step you should take when finding developers for your startup is to be clear about what your project is about.

This isn’t just a question of the technical aspects, but also the mission and the values behind it. Millennials in particular are looking to join organizations with a company culture they can believe in.

These basic questions can help you as a guide:

  • What is my project about?
  • What users are my main target? Mobile? Web?
  • Why do I need a developer? 

2. Prioritize Finding Talent 

When you are starting up your business budgets can be tight, and the temptation to hire cheap rather than exceptional is strong.

But, in 2020, software the financial impact of poor software was estimated at over $2 trillion. You don’t want even a small part of that – hire well.

According to CareerBuilder, 3 out of 4 employers (74%) revealed that they’d hired the wrong person for a position. What does this mean in terms of money? The average cost of one bad hire is $15,000!

Prioritizing in finding developers for your startups means carefully looking at the best approaches and strategies that can lead you to hire a developer who is excited to work on your startup and has the necessary skills.

You should dedicate a big part of your time to sourcing and recruiting candidates, whether in online platforms or coding events.

3. Understand the Technicalities

There’s a lot of nuance in software development. 

Don’t be tempted to write an unreal, exciting job description; be honest. If this role involves long hours of solo coding, there will be developers who think they’ve just been offered a place in heaven. 

If it’s a multi-skilled role where they will be talking to clients, doing a little bit of tech support, and pitching in with product design, that will be someone’s idea of Nirvana, too.

The bottom line is, it does no one any favors if there aren’t clear expectations, The worst thing you can do is hire someone only to find out they’re not the right fit. That just delays projects and destroys morale.

Additionally, is key for you to understand the role itself. You could sit two developers next to each other with the same job title and skill set, but they do vastly different things. If you’re not technical yourself, call in support to get an exact specification for the developer you need.

If you don’t have a technical background, this part is especially important for you. Many different types of developers specialize in specific areas.

4. Prepare for the Interview

Traditionally, companies test a programmer’s skills with whiteboards. However, these are no longer your best option as it’s proven that they don’t help you successfully measure a developer’s knowledge

You could give it a try, but other types of activities can help you determine if the candidate is worth hiring. For example, if you’re looking for someone to build a website for you, you could give them a small project and see how well they perform.

Keep in mind that finding developers for your startup is not only about their skills and capabilities. It’s also about the passion and the value they will bring to your team. If you make good hires from the start, scaling your startup will be easier. 

If you want to get the best out of the process, you’ll need to develop a series of questions that help you understand personality, ambition, and past performance to see if this person will work well in your team.

5. Hire Remotely – Expand Your Talent Pool

If you live in one of the centers for technology like Silicon Valley, you might just have the best talent on your doorstep. If you don’t, you might have to consider going further afield.

You could get lucky and find a developer who’s willing to take a bet on your company and relocate. But you’re much more likely to attract great talent if you accept applications from all over the world.

Hiring remote developers makes sense in many other ways, too. It can take as little as two weeks to have your new developer on board, helping you respond to opportunities as they occur—and it saves you money.

With most startups ‘headquarters’ being someone’s home or garage, for cost and convenience, knowing that you don’t need to get bricks and mortar premises and all the costs they bring with you is a major bonus. Hiring developers for a startup doesn’t mean taking on more debt.

6. Avoid Freelance Marketplaces

One of the most demanding aspects of building a startup is managing everything initially. When looking for developers, you have many different options, from freelancing marketplaces to recruitment agencies. Your job is to find which place can help you find the developer you need at an affordable cost. 

There is a place for freelancers in the world of software development, but it isn’t as a full-time employee of a startup.

You might (might) find the right person on a marketplace, but boards are usually chaotic places. There’s often a race to the bottom in terms of price, which impacts quality. Freelancers can overpromise and underdeliver, leaving you worse off than you were before they started.

7. Find The Right Partners

Unless you have time and resources available, it’s probably going to be worth working with partners to get some of the job done. You can find people who will support you to:

  • Write job descriptions
  • Promote your advertisement
  • Find candidates
  • Provide technical tests
  • Handle the HR paperwork

Best 7 Places to Hire Remote Developers

Successful remote hiring will first require you to explore various recruitment methods to find developers for your startup in the right places. This should all be guided by your company’s needs and budget. It will put you in a better position to easily find and hire developers suited to your startup.


Here are the top 7 places to find and hire remote developers for your company, each and one of them with their pros and cons.

1. DistantJob – Ideal for Senior Full-Time Remote Developers

DistantJob is a remote IT recruitment agency dedicated to helping companies of all sizes find senior software engineers that align with your needs. 

We headhunt globally to find the best full-time remote developers that match your company’s core values and culture. Our comprehensive HR solution covers all legal, payroll, and administrative tasks, making it a hassle-free experience. Working with us for your next recruitment means achieving high-quality results at an affordable rate. 

Main cons of remote recruitment agencies? As the name says, they only specialize in remote talent. If you’re looking for people to attend the office, this isn’t the solution for you.

2. Toptal – Exclusive Network of Vetted Freelancers

If you have an upcoming important IT project that you want to be handled diligently, then look no further than Toptal freelancers. They boast a vast network of freelance software developers, designers, and product managers, among other professionals you need. 

At Toptal, the focus is on providing a competitive and transparent hiring process, enabling you to acquire the talent your company requires quickly. Their top freelance developers are all carefully assessed in line with industry experience, skills, and availability—you can rest assured you’ll get the right developer for the role you advertised for.

Main cons of freelancing platforms? Although there are a lot of offers, getting real talent is hard. You may see a freelancer offering cheap rates; that could be because they are trying to gather reviews to prove their worth, or they could not be great at what they do.

Freelancers can’t focus 100% on your project because a) they run their businesses and may be involved in or looking for other projects and b) they are not fully integrated into the culture of your company.

3. Arc – Best for Hiring Remote Developers Faster and Efficiently

Arc allows you to find and hire top developers globally that match your ideal specifications. This AI-powered platform excels at screening the available candidates and matching them to your business’s technical requirements. 

They manage all the technical assessments, ensuring you get the best from a global pool of more than 300,000 developers. If you’re looking to upgrade and scale your globally remote developer team while reducing costs and saving time, Arc provides the best solution.

Cons: Arc focuses on remote developers, which may limit your options if you’re seeking local talent or developers with specific on-site requirements.

4. Dice – Your Gateway to Project-based or Freelance Developers

Hiring the right developer for your startup can be tough, and Dice provides the ideal employer solutions to simplify the entire process.

With a large database of 5.1 million resources and a special focus on Tech experts, Dice steps up time-to-hire your next project-based developer, ensuring you get the best fit for your needs. 

Cons: Dice’s database may have a regional bias, so finding candidates from different locations might be more challenging.

5. Job Boards like LinkedIn

Organizations and even recruiters use job boards when they are looking for candidates, listing for your roles means you need to handle all the applications, though.

Main cons of job boards? Too many candidates give you a lot of admin and the job of creating a shortlist. Unfortunately, there is no vetting, meaning you will have to verify each candidate yourself.

6. Stack Overflow

Stack Overflow stands as a premier online hub for developers, renowned for its vibrant community where tech professionals and industry leaders converge to exchange knowledge and insights. Echoing the functionalities of platforms like LinkedIn, Stack Overflow also features a job board.

This platform enables employers to advertise positions and recruit skilled developers, fostering a dynamic space for both learning and professional opportunities in the tech world.

Cons: While Stack Overflow provides technical expertise, evaluating practical skills for a startup role may still require additional assessments and consideration of competition for popular contributors.

7. GhitHub

GitHub stands out as a prime destination for startups looking to hire developers due to its numerous advantages. As a platform with millions of users, GitHub hosts a diverse and vast community of developers, covering a wide array of fields and expertise levels. This makes it an ideal place for startups to scout for talent with the required skills and experience. The platform also serves as a showcase for developers to display their projects and contributions, providing a clear picture of their technical abilities and work history.

Remember, when reaching out try to be respectful and personalized, valuing the developer’s contributions and aligning with their interests.

Cons: GitHub profiles often lack comprehensive professional information, requiring additional validation of skills and experience. Popular developers may receive numerous recruitment inquiries, making it challenging to stand out.

Now You Know

And that’s a wrap. You have all the information you need to find the ideal software developer or software engineer for your startup business. It is just a matter of figuring out which one suits you best, based on the budget and resources you have.

If you need to hire remote developers, we’re here for you. We are a recruitment agency that specializes in headhunting the world’s top IT talent. We know how to recruit and source qualified remote IT experts at a fraction of the usual cost.

We can provide you with top remote developers who also have the skills and the personality to integrate successfully into your company. 

  • Do you want to find a talented developer? 
  • Do you want real talent in your company?
  • Do you want it fast?

If the answer is yes, hiring globally is the strategy you are looking for. And at DistantJob, we can help you! Get in touch today online or visit our Montreal offices!

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman, the founder and remote president at DistantJob, specializes in recruiting top remote developers and spearheading remote workforce strategies. Sharon's approach combines cutting-edge remote recruitment practices with a deep commitment to building effective, globally distributed teams.

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Let’s talk about scaling up your team at half the cost!

Discover the advantages of hassle-free global recruitment. Schedule a discovery call with our team today and experience first-hand how DistantJob can elevate your success with exceptional global talent, delivered fast.

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