Most SaaS startups already have a development team, but at some point, that team is going to change or grow. Software Developer is an essential startup role, and the right devs can truly make or break a young company. People in these positions can be so ingrained into the company’s fabric that replacing them – or adding to the team – can seem like an impossible task. If one of your devs takes a job somewhere else, who could possibly fill that seat as well as they did?
The reality is that it’s natural for the structure of a team to change over time. And finding the right people to add to such a critical team within your startup is paramount. So if you’re planning on adding new developers to the back-end of your product, here are some pointers about key traits to look for in your candidates:
Look for a specialist who’s a clear expert in what they do, since they’ll be on the frontlines of putting your vision into action. Someone who’s comfortable digging deep into specific tasks and problems can be a real lifesaver as you (or your Product Lead) manage the big-picture stuff.
Confidence with factual and logical decision-making is key. You need someone who bases decisions on data, so you know that product changes are designed to entice new customers and keep current ones happy. If it seems like your candidates make decisions on gut feel – even if their gut is right – consider continuing your search. For longtime readers of the blog, you'll know we've warned against going with gut feel before. In this position, you’ll probably prefer someone who can prove, before a decision is made, why it’s the right decision. That way, everyone’s on board with the direction of your product, which can help unify the team during celebrations of success or troubleshooting problems down the road.
Someone who exemplifies the two behaviours above will likely be calm and even-paced. They’ll need some time to plan ahead – so try not to throw too many last-minute projects their way – but they’re great at sticking to long-term plans. Look for candidates who can provide examples of major successes that come from detailed planning and sticking to a schedule. Those kinds of traits in this startup role can be a real help with staying the course as other projects come up.
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A natural desire to comply with industry standards or best-practices is important. It’s risky to hire someone who wants to change the essential framework of your product. Experimentation and testing is vital, but it should be done strategically, and with an understanding of how the industry operates. Finding someone who understands the value of working within current standards can help your product stay open to partnerships and other integrations in the future.
It’s natural to believe that the only people who can do a job effectively are the ones who are doing it right now. The risks are obviously high whenever the structure of your startup changes, since each employee makes a huge contribution to the company’s performance. But finding the right software developers can truly launch your company into the next tier of efficiency. So if you're wondering how to hire software developers, keep these traits in mind - you’ll have a higher chance of finding the right employees to fill this vital startup role.