Need a Developer? Strategies to Find Developers for Startups (2023) - DistantJob - Remote Recruitment Agency
Developer / How To Find and Hire Remote Developers / Offshore IT Staffing Advice

Need a Developer? Strategies to Find Developers for Startups (2023)

Sharon Koifman
- 3 min. to read

How do Startups Hire Silicon Valley Caliber Software Engineers?

If you’re looking to find developers for your startup, you need to know that 70% of startups fail between years three and five, and almost a quarter of these failures are attributed to bad hires and teamwork issues. Starting a startup is an exciting journey, but it can be a tricky one to navigate.

To make sure your venture is a success, you need to hire the right software engineers to join forces with. So where should you look? You need to find the right places to look for the perfect team.

At DistantJob, as an IT remote staffing agency, we have more than 10 years of experience helping entrepreneurs find developers for their startups. From online marketplaces to finding the right partners, this guide will take you through the process of finding and hiring skilled IT professionals.  Don’t just settle for anyone, take the time to find the perfect engineer to power your startup!

How Can a Startup Find Developers? 7 Best Hiring Strategies

Before starting to recruit developers for your startup, there are certain aspects you need to consider. You might already have your business idea, but telling a developer ’I’m building a billionaire business, want to be part of it?’’ won’t convince them to join your team. 

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 is going to be long hours of solo coding, there will be a developer who thinks 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 devs 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. There are many different types of developers that 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 a lot of other ways, too. It can take as little as two weeks to have your new developer on board, helping you to 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 that you will have to manage 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, where it’s often a race to the bottom in terms of price which has an impact on quality. Freelancers can overpromise and under-deliver, 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

Just a brief note here to say – we do all of that. Just check out our engineering staffing services.

Where to Find and Hire Developers for Your Startup

Different strategies can help you hire a developer for your startup. However, how to know which one is right for you?  Here are 8 strategies with their pros and cons: 

1. Remote Staffing Agency as DistantJob

Remote recruitment agencies like DistantJob specialize in finding remote tech talent for your company. Instead of looking into one area, they search worldwide to find the most highly qualified applicants. In addition to finding your high-quality talent, they will also look at the cultural fit to help you find talent that stays.

We have been operating in our field for years, with recruiters embedded in developer communities worldwide. We truly understand our client’s requirements, which is why 80% of our clients hire from one of the first three candidates we present them with.

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. Freelancing Platforms

Freelancing websites are one of the most common strategies for hiring software developers for startup businesses. They can be great to use for short-term projects or to boost your team to hit milestones. 

There are two kinds of freelancing platforms: general, where there are many categories for different types of projects. And niche, which is the platforms created for specific types of jobs.

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 own businesses, and may be involved in or looking for other projects and b) they are not fully integrated into the culture of your company.

Freelancing platforms: Toptal, Guru, Upwork, Freelancer, Fiverr, PeoplePerHour

3. Find a Developer in Students Competitions

Why competitions for software engineering students can work? These competitions provide students with a chance to demonstrate their skills and build a reputation. It could be a great way to find the perfect individual for the job.

Main cons of finding a developer in student competitions? Time. Attending these events is time-consuming and there are no guarantees that you will find the developer you were looking for.

When you’re hiring for a startup you need people that have the mindset of an entrepreneur, as every hire is crucial and needs to be on board with the mission. Students may not be best placed to achieve this.

4. Local Recruitment Agencies

If you look in your local listings you will find recruitment agencies who are ready to find you local hires. They know the area well and will have a pool of potential candidates for you to choose from.

Main cons of local recruitment agencies? As a local option they limit the available candidate pool. Unless they are specialized in hiring tech talent, most recruiters don’t have the necessary knowledge for hiring the right developer.

5. Look for Developers on Job Boards

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.

Examples: LinkedIn, Indeed, CareerBuilder, Monster, Glassdoor, Thinkremote.

6. Social Networking (Twitter, Facebook)

Both Twitter and Facebook give you a direct audience for recruiting. You can tweet saying you want to hire a developer (even add a hashtag #hiringdevelopers). Or you can look into the people’s tab and see who is a developer seeking a job opening.

Main cons of finding developers through social networking? Time and energy.

It is a lot of work to handle all the applications that come in, shortlisting, verifying, and following up on the whole process. If you have help with HR that’s great, but most start-ups don’t with the founders taking on multiple roles.

7. Developers on Reddit

Professionals use Reddit to share insights, promote their business, or show they know what they do. If you look at a subreddit dedicated to the programming language you are looking for, you may find a knowledgeable developer there offering help to others.

Main cons of hiring developers through social networking? Again, it’s a time-consuming process, and time is money. You have to search all by yourself. And talented techies in Reddit are already taken – usually working for big tech companies such as Google or Microsoft.

8. Hiring Marketplace to Find Developers

Almost like an Airbnb for jobs, you can categorize; see the employees who are available in a determined area, their area of expertise, among other aspects. Overall, the hiring process tends to be faster.

Main cons of hiring marketplaces to find developers? As with the other options, there is no pre-vetting meaning that you will have to do all the administrative work when the applications start to come in. 

Examples: Hired,, Product Hunt, The Muse.

To put it more in perspective, here are the pros and cons of each hiring strategy:

hire developers

Find Developers for Your Startup Now With DistantJob in Just Two Weeks

The key to finding developers for your startup is through DistantJob. 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 drop us a visit in our Montreal offices!

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.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get exclusive content and bloopers

or Share this post

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.

Reduce Development Workload And Time With The Right Developer

When you partner with DistantJob for your next hire, you get the highest quality developers who will deliver expert work on time. We headhunt developers globally; that means you can expect candidates within two weeks or less and at a great value.

Increase your development output within the next 30 days without sacrificing quality.

Book a Discovery Call

What are your looking for?

Want to meet your top matching candidate?

Find professionals who connect with your mission and company.


    Talk with a senior recruiter.

    Fill the empty positions in your org chart in under a month.