October 11, 2007

Secrets for Finding Top Developers

Superstar developers are critical to the success of a software startup. They not only help create the company vision, but they will build the products that will make or break your business. One really awesome developer can not only replace scores of less talented people, but can approach problems and solve them in a manner that others simply can not do. Many initial stage companies that are self-funded or angel-funded have one or two top-talent developers working hard on that critical demo or first version of the product. Once things get rolling, it becomes critical for you to continue to build out the team with the same top talent. However, it’s a real challenge to continue to find the same amazing people for new positions as the ones you initially started the company with.

You probably know some of the tried and true methods for finding great people. Here’s what most people will tell you:

  • Start with your current developers. Who are their friends, classmates, former work colleagues? Etc., etc.
  • Advertise on Craigslist or a job site.
  • Sponsor a contest.
  • Scour the best universities in the U.S.

But what you’ve already figured out is that you may have to do more to reach out to the people you want to recruit. Potential superstars may not even be located in your area and you may have to go beyond the borders of the U.S. It’s a global economy, and that includes the global search for talent. Here are some of the secrets we’ve learned along the way to finding great international talent:
Go to countries that have great educational systems and great universities and recruit the most talented people by teaching classes and talking to professors.

  • Find places with an excellent cultural fit, such as Eastern Europe.
  • Work with developers and management who have already proven they can deliver and want to continue to impress.
  • Find people who are excited about what they do and who are working on cutting edge projects.
  • Look for those who want to change the world and do something different, something revolutionary.

Having a great plan in place for expanding your team is critical. Think about it now and be prepared for your success.