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What strategies an early Startup should use to hire good software engineers?

arthurmde profile image Arthur Del Esposte ・1 min read

Hiring experienced software engineers is a hard task for any company as the demand for such professionals is high. For early startups, this task becomes even harder since they usually cannot offer the high salaries and benefits provided by big companies, even after raising funds from angels investor and seed-phase funds.

  • If you own or work at a small startup: could you please share your strategies and thoughts on this theme?
  • If you are a software engineer:
    • And have chosen to work a small startup: could you please tell us what motivates you most?
    • And don't work at a small startup: what do you look for in a company that is more important than high salaries and benefits?

Any other comments/ideas are very welcome. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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What I've seen is that the hiring process is exhausting and frustrating as hell for both companies and candidates.

Companies are typically afraid of making mistakes and cargo culting what worked for $FAMOUS_COMPANY. Google for example. Well Google has done some internal research and found out that their famous whole interview process was almost no better than nothing. Brain teasers only helped interviewer to feel smarter. There was no correlation between the performance on the job and the performance during the job interview.

Hiring is broken and isn't worth fixing

If I was in charge, I would

  • make the hiring process simpler than my concurrents. Ideally contract-to-hire. But in any case, take care of not wasting people's time.
  • invest in training much more than my concurrents

"Experienced" isn't always the best. Can you rephrase it as "engineers with best potential"?
Tom Tunguz has some interesting thoughts on this subject. It is based on the idea of hiring on the potential instead of a "track record" or "experience".



Stop looking to hire for experienced developers as they are harder to find and it's super expensive. I remember listening to the Starting Greatness podcast in the interview of Keith Rabois" .

You should look for those that are undiscovered talent in being scrappy, ambitious, resourceful, relentless, tenacious, enterprising with a focus to get things done though your own network to assess and find these talents. Despite the obstacles that is there especially in the early stage startup to build a team.