Hiring a Programmer for a Startup: Job Offer No One Can Compete With

Bozhena Hryvnyak

Bozhena Hryvnyak

February 16, 2022

Hiring a programmer for a startup seems like a breeze. However, good programmers in the sense of experience, work ethic, and performance do not exist that much in our current times. Some are already committed and busy with their current work, and some are just out there waiting to receive an offer that they cannot refuse.

If you are wondering how to shape a job offer that people will never refuse, we have four fruitful methods we use that made our offer acceptance rate skyrocket over 70%.

Scroll down through this article as we will discuss why hiring for a startup is different from the process for an established company, how to make an UNBEATABLE job offer and additional tips for the wrap-up in hiring programmers for a startup.

Why hiring a programmer for a startup is different?

meme about the offer you can refuse

According to CBI Insights’ survey, 70% of the VC-backed enterprises it examined failed or became self-sustaining. While not putting enough focus on adapting to user and customer expectations accounts for 31% of failures. 

Financial problems account for 29% of losses, and having the wrong team makes up for 23% of failures. By starting the hiring process with the right mix of people with the right competencies and skills, startups may minimise the chance of failure.

However, by weighing these failures, do not forget that the main goal is to come across and take flight right after.

Hiring a programmer for a startup vs a company?

1. If you need to scale fast, make sure you have people who are ready to grow quickly together with a company.

The risks and benefits connected with launching a business are both enormous. The hazards of working in a startup are significantly greater than those of working in a more established company.

a meme about a day in startup life

2. It goes without saying - your teammates should be agile and quickly adapt.

As one golden rule states – fail fast, learn faster. 

Not all people are shaped to withstand this kind of environment, but if you are lucky enough to bump into someone like that – make sure to have them on your team. 

High levels of stress that occur in the workplace are nothing new, but at a startup, senior employees are subject to much more strain due to a combination of tight deadlines and managing expectations. 

a meme about agility

3. There is no bureaucracy, and no one will tell you what you want to do.

Every startup employee must take on high-impact duties and make critical decisions, in contrast to sharing responsibilities for a firm’s success with tens of thousands of employees. Startup software developers often are a decision-maker and make the final call.

4. Cultural fit beats technical skills most of the time.

At a rate considerably quicker than a typical corporation can respond to consumer data or expert advice, rapid growth startups routinely change their business structure and make minor to extensive alterations.

Not in all cases, but if you have a candidate that matches your values but needs a little more knowledge – go for making them an offer as employees can always acquire knowledge along the way.

How to make an unbeatable job offer?

Make it fast because time kills deals.

a meme about tick tok

Most probably, you are not the only one talking to the candidate. Let go of whatever doubts you may have had. Even in a down economy, excellent talent is hard to come by, making time your worst enemy when it comes to recruitment.

Contact the chosen candidate as soon as feasible after the final interview or within a few days at the most. 

You may not only alleviate the candidate’s anxiety during the post-interview waiting period, but you can also demonstrate how excited you are to have them join your team.

The longer you hesitate, the more time you give competitors to offer their company openings to the software developer.

When necessary, write up an email - add a personal note and customize it, and set a firm deadline.

If you are not able to announce a job offer over the online call, make sure to write a beautiful email with customized text. Also, if it’s an essential hire – ask founders or someone who has already been in contact with a candidate to add a private note or email.


Templates for offer letters might save you time in the preparation process. 

There are only a few things you or your hiring team need to do: fill in the blanks for each position. With the correct template, you’ll be able to cover all of the essential elements of your new position and greet all new recruits with the right tone.

Also, we recommend sending a separate pdf with an offer guide to make things more pretty and visually appealing. Last but not least – set a firm deadline when you need to get an answer.

If a person takes time to think about it - invite to internal/external events to get to know the people they will be working with

It may happen that people ask for some extra time to consider the offer. It doesn’t mean you have to stay still and wait. Any cool events you are hosting internally or externally? Invite prospects over. An internal event can showcase your culture and make a person more relatable to your team.

Learn from mistakes

In case your offer has been rejected – ask why. Maybe there is still a chance to make a counteroffer. If you finish on a good note, you can follow up with the candidate in some time.

If you get a no – it happens, don’t worry. Make sure you follow up with a person to understand why this is a no. So maybe you can fix it in the future, or if it’s about the money – if it’s within your budget – offer a counteroffer.

a meme about mistakes

Final thoughts

As you can see, hiring a programmer for a startup takes patience, creativity, and skills – especially if you want someone who would last, go to an Mt. Everest hike, and sooner on towards the cosmos with you, your team, and the company.

The whole process on how to hire developers for a startup is another challenge for most people. If you see someone worth the time, investment, and effort to build the business relationship, lock in that person as your goal. Don’t be afraid to go the extra mile for the candidates who elevate your business.

Then, if all goes well in hiring a programmer, your business will be taking off in no time.


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