How to Hire Developers for a Startup

    How to Hire a Developer for a Startup: A Summary

    Possible hiring models

    In-house employment, team augmentation, dedicated team.


    Depending on the hiring model.

    Key steps of the hiring process

    Defining requirements for candidates, screening & interviewing, hiring, onboarding, team building, scaling a team.

    Talents usually required for a startup

    Software architect, UX/UI designer, front-end developer, back-end developer, and QA engineer.

    Hiring Models:

    Companies may face plentiful ITSM-related challenges. They can be general or specific. But regardless of that, we can help you tackle any of them, for instance:

    In-house employment

    You hire a group of developers on a long-term basis, take care of their onboarding and training, and ensure that they have the essential hardware and software to do their jobs (either in your office or remotely).

    Caution: You can build a cohesive and devoted team with this hiring option, but the process may be too costly and time-consuming and cause serious delays in project time-to-market, which is critical for a startup.


    You partner up with either freelancing programmers or an IT company that lends you its resources under a team augmentation or a dedicated team arrangement.

    Caution: Cooperation with freelancers can’t ensure risk mitigation in data confidentiality, adherence to schedule, and software quality. Hence, this type of outsourcing can’t be considered startup-friendly.

    Caution: You can build a cohesive and devoted team with this hiring option, but the process may be too costly and time-consuming and cause serious delays in project time-to-market, which is critical for a startup.

    Among startup-friendly outsourcing options, you can choose between team augmentation and a dedicated team

    Team augmentation

    You’ve hired one or more developers from a staffing firm with a vast pool of IT specialists to supplement your current in-house team on a temporary basis.

    Best for : Established startup teams that prioritize fast time to market and face a tight deadline; startups that experience skill gaps or enter a software evolution stage and need to scale up their team.

    Dedicated team

    You’ve enlisted the help of a self-managed development team from a staffing organization to work on your project (or a piece of it) while adhering to all of your technical, business, and management requirements.

    Best for : Idea-driven startup initiatives with no in-house development team yet; startups who have a number of products in development and whose in-house team’s efforts have to be focused on a top-priority product.

    Talents Your Startup Needs to Develop Software

    Your team’s composition is usually defined by the scale and type of software your startup creates – a web app, a mobile app, SaaS/XaaS, etc. Below, we give a list of common developer roles for a startup with a mid-scale software project of any type.

    Software architect

    UX/UI designer

    Front-end developer

    Back-end developer

    PM/Team Lead

    QA engineer

    How to Hire Developers for a Startup: Tips for Each Process Step

    1. Defining requirements for candidates

    The first recommendation from Livyoung Realtech for finding developers for a company is to make sure you know who you’re searching for. From a software requirements specification, your requirements to prospective candidates should specify both the work approach you expect (proactivity, leadership, time management, etc.) and technical competencies based on your program’s technical stack (SRS).

    2. Screening and interviewing

    The table below shows the scope of your screening and interviewing responsibilities for both in-house and outsourcing hiring models.

    3. Hiring

    If you opt to hire developers in-house, you’ll need to devote a large amount of HR and legal resources to enrolling each one. The vendor-client relationship is founded on a Service Level Agreement, which states that the vendor is the legal employer of all developers while you use their expertise on your project. In other words, regardless of how many talents you’ll need to join your team in the long term, SLA is the only major paper you’ll need to worry about.

    4. Onboarding

    In-house onboarding for startups entails establishing business values and explaining the motives behind the software concept with new hires. It entails extensive newcomer training efforts, which might come at a hefty cost in terms of your in-house resources’ productivity. Cooperation with a vendor, even an offshore one, is a definite way to speed up onboarding because a vendor’s developer pool is made up of professionals who are used to quickly adapting to new needs and onboarding in 1-2 weeks. Regular contact between your startup and the engineers of a vendor will streamline your partnership from the start and speed up the ramp-up process even more.

    5. Building a team

    To create a true team, you must train developers to respect each other’s abilities and responsibilities, communicate in a cordial manner in all situations, and be ready to request and provide assistance at any time. It is normally accomplished in-house with the support of long-term HR training or a small, carefully controlled test project. However, for most businesses, devoting so much time and effort on training is a luxury. A dedicated team cooperation model may be a viable alternative because it allows you to get the benefits of tight teamwork without having to spend in team building and instead outsourcing it entirely to a vendor.

    6. Scaling a team for software evolution

    After releasing an MVP to the market, you may encounter new challenges as your programme evolves: advanced feature implementation (e.g., AI, blockchain, AR), CI/CD setup, continuous software maintenance and support, and so on. For an in-house team, this means a number of new roles and a months-long wait for recruiters to fill the positions with qualified applicants, which can stifle software development. After signing a ‘team scale up’ amendment to the SLA, your needs can be met in a matter of days with outsourced cooperation. You gain access to the vendor’s pool of professionals in cutting-edge tech, DevOps, L1-L3 support, and other domains after sharing a list of resources required for your software evolution, and you can welcome new necessary talents into your team.

    Costs of Hiring Software Developers for a Startup

    Hiring costs depend on multiple factors:




    Cost structure

    Job advertising, HR efforts, legal efforts, workplace setup, employee training.

    Efforts for finding a vendor and interviewing shortlisted candidates.

    Efforts for finding a vendor and interviewing shortlisted candidates.


    You invest in the hiring process until you find a hire.

    You pay only upon completion of hiring.

    You pay only upon completion of hiring.


    Full onboarding may take up to several months

    Onboarding is estimated to take ~1 week.

    Full team onboarding is estimated to take ~1-2 weeks.

    Service reimbursement

    The payment depends on the developers’ seniority level and location of your company and requires additional payroll taxes (Social Security, Medicare, etc., depending on the state).

    Your payment to a vendor is usually based on the T&M model (according to developers’ hourly rates, which depend on a vendor’s location and developers’ seniority level).

    Your payment to a vendor is usually based on the T&M model (according to developers’ hourly rates, which depend on a vendor’s location and developers’ seniority level).

    Consider Livyoung Realtech as Your Outsourcing Partner

    Team augmentation

    Hire experienced talent to speed up time to market, get rid of skill deficiency, or scale your team after MVP launch. We offer:

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