How Not to Hire a Developer

As an entrepreneur, one of the most critical things you’ll find you need to do for your startup is hire a developer. If your startup idea involves code to create your MVP and you aren't savvy in the ways of navigating through APIs and the growing list of programming languages that seem to come out almost daily, hiring a developer is paramount.. Because of this, developers are highly sought after and on average, a dev with one to two or more years of experience will receive three to five unsolicited interview requests a week. Many of these requests will be ignored because of the way they are presented. Before you start drafting a copy and paste template message that will be spammed to as many developers you can find on LinkedIn, consider the following 5 steps on what NOT to do when hiring a developer.

#1 - Do NOT Ask A Developer To Interview For A Job In A Language They Don't Know

You wouldn't ask someone who is a Spanish linguist to interview for a job as a French translator would you? A developer may have some background in multiple languages, but they eventually specialize in a technology stack to be competitive. Good, clean code requires fluency in the language written. So though you may be tempted to engage someone with Mobile dev experience in iOS when you really need a person who is Android savvy, resist the urge and save yourself some time and frustration for both you and the developer. Familiarize yourself with the difference between front-end and back-end languages and libraries such as Javascript, AngularJS, Ruby, Python, and PHP.

#2 - Do NOT Send Long, Buzz-Wordy Emails

Do you remember the last time you loved seeing an email that took you over 10 minutes to read and got no value from? How about one soliciting you for a job you don't qualify for and was sent to your work email? Chances are you don't. Keep this feeling in mind when you are reaching out to developers and avoid writing a short essay stuffed with dev keywords. You are not optimizing a resume for recruiters, you are looking for someone who plays a substantial role in your startup. Take some time to research their experience and make sure they are a fit for the job. Tailor your message to their experience as it shows them you took the time to understand their background. Keep the communication short and sweet, between one to two sentences at most.

#3 - Do NOT Be A LinkedIn Leech

Akin to a professional Facebook, there are rules of engagement on LinkedIn. Writing to someone you have yet to connect with and drafting long monotonous messages will not net you the results you want. Even though it is tempting to copy and paste your message to as many developers as you can find based on a keyword search, the odds will not be in your favor. Individualize your messages and develop a rapport that will engage the dev. It's a social network so take some time to be social with your potential developer if you want to stand out amidst the daily spam they receive.

#4 - Do NOT Talk About Basic Company Info--Talk About Culture

Pitch the personality of your startup instead of the square footage of your space or the accolades of your co-founders. Developers will be spending a serious amount of time on your team building, testing, and debugging so make sure you highlight the incentives your opportunity provides. Coding for long hours and working through short sprints if you're in an Agile setting can lead to fatigue. If you value work-life balance such as options to work remotely or substantial vacation time, bring this up. Innovation is also crucial. Consider boasting conferences they can attend, books and resources you provide, and experimental projects they can take can part in aside from the main project they're working on daily.

#5 - Do NOT Be Boring

You want developers to feel like they're joining a robust ecosystem that is thriving instead of one where they are being siloed away to code by themselves until it is time for code review or stand up meetings. This starts from the first interaction they have with your startup so consider how you're presenting yourself. If you have a job opportunity, will a text description, video, or perhaps an interactive game or infographic be a compelling way to showcase what your startup's culture is all about? It may seem like the free snacks, monthly team building events, and occasions like ‘Bring Your Pet to Work Day’ are common company culture perks, but these are still important to bring up! The fact that you are all active on the Game of Thrones fan-fiction thread, geek out on Cryptocurrency, or play Overwatch on lunch breaks, may just be the deciding factor for a new developer to join your team.