How to Find and Hire a Developer

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At Silicon Beach Fest Hollywood 2012 Kevin Winston organized a panel called “How to Find and Hire a Developer”. Below are some take away tips… and the video of the of the panel.

  • Always have a developer do a test project before hiring them to make sure they deliver quality work.
  • One method to negotiate a lower rate or no cost to have a developerwork with you >  Pre sell your product. This means selling at least 5-10 customers in advance, before it is even built. This will prove your product is worth building to you and to the developer. You can do this by really understanding your target market and creating them a PDF outlining the solution you will be creating for them.  Offer the customers a discount for buying in advance. Then when hiring a developer to build the project, show the developer you already have sales and offer them a percentage of passive income if they work at a lower or no charge rate.
  • Understand that people are motivated to be a part of a larger vision and to work with someone they believe in.  So, when hiring, focus more on being that leader, rather than the project itself.
  • Ask for code samples. Not just URLs that the developer created, but snippets of their source code that show how they write (comments, formatting, etc).

○      Even if you can’t read the code, if it looks organized, and you see a mix of English words (comments) around code that looks like it has structure, then you can get an idea of how they organize things

  • Try to identify developers that are flexible in their design. If all their sites look the same, or without even hearing your full project requirements they say things like, “Your website has to be created in Ruby on Rails (or any language) or it won’t be viable”, then they will not be that flexible in how they address your needs.
  • A developer should be asking you questions trying to identify how users interact with a site or application. If they’re not asking you lots of questions, maybe they are not trying to dig into the project enough to understand it

web & mobile development resources to find and hire a developer – outsourced web & mobile app development based in the Ukraine, Ask for Pavlo – mobile app development & code review based in Canada, Ask for Josh – web & interactive mobile web development based in Los Angeles, Ask for Adam – web & sortware development with dynamic design based in San Francisco, Ask for Tyler – easy mobile app creation for businesses – resource to test code, recommended by Janine at Fetch Recruiting – automated tool to test code, recommended by Janine at Fetch Recruiting

Here’s Adam Bell on building a mobile friendly website…


Here’s the video of the “How to Find and Hire a Developer Panel”

moderator, Espree Devora of SaveBusinessTime – panelists include Janine Davis, founder of Fetch Recruiting, Matthew Pierce VP of Product innovation for Originate, Scott Lee, founder of Smilu and John Shiple, founder of Freelance CTO – in background Start Up Attorney Damion Robinson

Espree Devora

*the Girl who Gets it Done* Espree created WeAreLATech which unites LA Tech founders, investors, engineers and creatives via incredible offline activities, the 1st LA Tech podcast "WeAreLATech" featuring LA Startups fueling this city to become a top destination for tech and innovation and a calendar of all the Los Angeles tech events (updated weekly) which can be found both via WeAreLATech mobile app. Additionally she produces and hosts the #womenintech Podcast and "Hello Customer" podcast. In addition to being a contributing journalist and panel moderator for TechZulu she has provided seminars in entrepreneurship and technology to many corporations and universities including CBS, SXSW, Disney and USC Executive MBA. On her blog,, she enjoys curating and reviewing the best Productivity Tools for Startups

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  • Nice content. The second point “Pre sell your product. This means selling at least 5-10 customers in advance, before it is even built”. Won’t that be risky?

  • Here you can also find some great people to hire virtual web developer.

  • Sheila

    Regarding the first bullet, yes this certainly would be ideal but I see a lot of problems with this. For example how much time investment will this require, some developers just cannot or will not invest enough time for this when they are uncertain if they will even get the job.
    I mean after all isn’t that a bit presumptuous to give a test projects when only one of them will get a job and the rest of them just wasted all their invested time for nothing.
    Also isn’t the whole point of probation period to see if he can deliver the quality work that you expected from him?
    Nevertheless some sort of threshold testing should certainly be presented, to weed out the candidates that are not a good fit, but you should consider the participants time as well. So I would suggest to take a look at some programming aptitude tests for software developers.

    Regarding the second bullet, I agree with Olivia, this sure does sound very risky approach…
    Also there are much safer alternatives, for example the lean startup approach. There are ways for you to collect the information about your product’s interest in the target market without even having the product and you can use that information instead.
    Not only that is it safer, but also I feel it is more professional.

    Now regarding the code samples, if you do not have technical knowledge then there is really no point in reviewing ones code base. I don’t understand how can someone expect this even with that little tip “if it looks organized”, it doesn’t make sense.
    You need to picture yourself in a non-tech person’s shoes and see if that bullet has any sense to you. That person can review the ones previous work, live demo, but the code is just hieroglyphics to him and he cannot differ a good from a bad written code nor can he get a sense of ones organization skills.
    Somewhat lame analogy (sorry but non better comes to my mind…) would be reviewing the chefs, you can judge them by sampling their food but what is the point of inspecting their kitchen when you know nothing about that.
    However I do believe reviewing ones code base is mandatory, but it should be conducted by someone appropriate (for example a technically educated acquaintance).

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