No company is immune to making mistakes in technical hiring, but finding the right developers can be especially challenging for an early-stage startup company. When a less-established company needs to scale, the need to add developers to the team as quickly as possible can lead to some costly hiring mistakes that a startup with limited resources simply cannot afford to absorb. Avoiding the most common pitfalls of startup hiring can be as simple as making yourself aware of them, so here are three developer hiring mistakes that even the smartest startup founders tend to make when they’re not careful.
It’s easy to meet a developer who clearly is capable of writing quality code and think your search is over. However, that alone is not a good indicator of a good technical hire, especially if you haven’t done enough thinking around what kind of help your company needs. While you should be open to adjusting job descriptions for the right candidates, it’s important to understand your startup’s current and future developer hiring needs. Whether your company’s goals revolve around building a new mobile app or maintaining your database, make sure your hiring strategy revolves around those initiatives, even if that means you have to wait a little longer for the right developers to come across your desk.
With the amount of pressure you’re under to quickly grow your business, it makes sense that you’d try and hire developers as soon as you’re sure they can write quality code. The only problem is that even when you have a solid tech hiring strategy in place, it can be tempting to skip essential elements of it just to make sure you don’t lose a developer to another company. Even worse, you might settle on candidates who don’t have the level of aptitude you’re looking for. No matter the case, our CEO Joel Spolsky suggests that if you’re not completely thrilled with someone, you’re better off waiting for someone better.
As difficult as it can be to pass on a developer who is good enough on paper, it can be equally challenging for a startup founder to pull the trigger on a great candidate, even after multiple people have met with the person. While the costs of a bad technical hire are high, especially for a startup with limited resources and funding, there’s still no reason to wait when you’ve identified a developer who has made it clear they can write quality code and take your business to the next level. Of course, asking a developer to wait as you make a final decision can lead to a bad candidate experience. Even worse, you also run the risk of losing that person to a company willing to move faster.