Startup Basics: How to Hire Rockstar Developers

Gimena Aguerreberry
April 19, 2021

Hiring software developers is the bread and butter of any startup — and a headache for hiring managers. Without talented developers with the right technical skills, you'll never have the great software you need for your startup to succeed.

The most talented developers aren't just about writing code, though.

Without high-quality communication skills and the ability to problem-solve, even qualified candidates that produce brilliant code samples can turn out to be the wrong ones for the job. Never underestimate the value of a soft skill.

Whether you're creating a mobile app or a sales interface, make sure you're putting out good software by hiring the best web development team.

Hiring Developers — How to Build a High-Quality Web Development Team

Your startup's hiring managers should approach the interview process for hiring software developers with an open mind but also keep these tips in mind to avoid hiring the wrong fit:

The Don'ts

There are a few DON'Ts right off the bat:

  • Don't only look for qualified candidates versed in writing code in a specific programming language. Talented developers can adapt to a new programming language quickly.

  • Don't consider a computer science degree a must. Many brilliant web development professionals don't have a computer science degree. These candidates can still possess strong technical skills, demonstrate excellent communication skills, and problem-solve without certificates.

  • Don't limit your hiring managers' scope to in-house. Web development is about expansion. Consider using a high-quality nearshore web development team to widen the pool of qualified candidates and find the right development team to build your mobile app or web service.

The Dos

  • Do hire developers you need rather than want. Some people go overboard hiring an entire team only to realize one person could have handled the entire project on a one-month contract.

  • Do ask hiring managers to consider whether your team may already include some good software engineers. Before starting the interview process for hiring software professionals, consider the computer science expertise you already have.

  • Do request your existing web development team for code samples that can highlight weaknesses in your project. It enables you to pinpoint the programming language areas that you need to address when hiring software professionals.

Right for the Job? Utilizing a High-Quality Nearshore Web Development Team

Broadening the talent pool by using nearshore development is an increasingly popular strategy. The model of business process outsourcing lets you hire companies in nearby countries. You get a range of benefits with hiring developers nearshore, include:

  • A wider talent pool means more qualified candidates with strong technical skills and computer science expertise.

  • Nearshore companies let you work closely with great software engineers without having to bulk out the in-house workforce.

  • When hiring developers for one project, it's easier to get the right fit than hiring developers on long-term contracts.

  • Outside input broadens the collective ability to problem-solve and create great software in any programming language.

Nearshore means that you can liaise with your web development team more quickly than more remote forms of staff augmentation. It is advantageous, but hiring managers need to bear in mind that proximity only increases the importance of soft skills when hiring software engineers.

Why a Soft Skill Matters as Much as Technical Skills When Hiring Software Engineers

Soft skill is a quality that isn't specific to a software engineering job (unlike writing code or understanding a programming language) but is essential to work as part of a successful team.

Soft Skill Qualities

Communication skills are an excellent example of a vital soft skill.

Some qualified candidates may boast good software knowledge, beautiful code samples, and experience working on a mobile app. However, hiring managers should assess whether their communication skills are sufficient.

Arrogance or a tunnel-vision approach to work can derail a project. People without soft skills can negatively impact a mobile app development team more so than less talented developers with better soft skills.

During the interview process, hiring managers should look out for qualified candidates who demonstrate a soft skill just as much as they keep their technical skills sharp. Hiring software professionals means a lot of working closely. You don't want to feel your stomach sink every time you have to talk to your developers.

Soft Skill, Hard Results

Better communication skills will also help your team to create great software. The ability to problem-solve improves with good communication skills, as more eyes can spot more problems. Computer science is a process of constant adjustment.

Qualified candidates well-versed in a particular programming language can help spot technical errors when writing code. Candidates with a solid ability to problem-solve can assist them with the macro side of developing a mobile app. Hiring developers with strong technical skills and communication skills is the only way forward.

5 Criteria for Hiring Developers

From requesting code samples to assessing communication skills, hiring managers have their work cut out for them when hiring developers. Here are five criteria when hiring software professionals to help you find the most qualified candidates and assemble a high-quality web development team.

1. Good Software Experience

A candidate with prior experience developing a mobile app will better understand the programming language and computer science behind a successful mobile app. It's common sense. Good software experience in a relevant area is essential when searching for a high-quality nearshore development team.

2. Ability to Problem-Solve

Some talented developers look like Mozart when writing code — but don't connect writing code with the mobile app's purpose. Hiring software engineers who understand the macro is essential. If they can't problem-solve, they may still produce good software — just not the great software you needed.

3. Trustworthy Recommendations

Hiring developers means you need to follow through on calling referrals. Code samples can only tell you so much. Hiring managers may find themselves convinced by software engineers with great resumes, but they need to follow through on the references to ensure the candidate is high-quality.

4. Strong Communication Skills

The importance of a soft skill lies in improving communication and cohesion within your team of talented developers. Use the interview process to assess whether qualified candidates understand why a soft skill is just as important as the code samples they submitted.

5. Technical Skills

We've stressed other points because it seems apparent that you need strong technical skills to produce great software. But yes: all qualified candidates must possess high-quality technical skills. The ability to adapt to a programming language, a strong understanding of computer science, and combining writing code with an ability to problem-solve are all hallmarks of talented developers.

Conclusion: Hiring Developers

It's not all about a computer science degree or writing code. Technical skills and dazzling code samples only go so far.

Hiring good software professionals means finding talented developers with the right soft skills. Cohesion and communication will improve your team's performance and enable you to produce great software for a world-beating mobile app or other web services.

If putting together a rockstar team is too time-consuming or costly for your startup, consider hiring a high-quality nearshore development team. At sophilabs, we have a team of talented developers experienced at creating great software for startups.

Contact us today!

"Startup Basics: How to Hire Rockstar Developers" by Gimena Aguerreberry is licensed under CC BY SA. Source code examples are licensed under MIT.

Photo by Luca Bravo.

Categorized under software development.

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