Tips on hiring a technical person for a startup

Jeremy Stanford Founder of Ohjaye, the Auto Insurance for On Demand workers.

April 10th, 2018

What are some things that you did to determine if a technical person is right for your startup, if you're a non tech founder.

Avinash Rathi Technopreneur | Doer

April 10th, 2018

Thoughts and ideas can be different on hiring a resource. But here I'm putting my own. Let me know if I'm wrong anywhere.

Check the adaptability: Tech is changing day by day, so he should be a good learner. Assign some different task, it should be something little complex, which needs researching. Check his approach.

Check the vision: Don't go with the regular words, which generally people use in interviews. A bitter truth is better than a sweet lie. So frankly ask question, where you can relate to his/her vision.

Check the ideas: Imagination, improvements are the pillars for the next success. So ask their ideas, how can we improve the platform or business? This will bring you mainly 2 things: the creative approach of the candidate and you will also get to know how much serious is that person.

Analyse: Words are precious, so capture each word. Every word has the meaning. After interviewing, generally people forgot the exact words and conversations. I would recommend, capture or record the session and later re play it. You will find amazing results and reasons to hire or not hire.

I think these might be some points. I hope this might be useful for you.

Susan Rits Founder and CEO @Zazum (acquired) Product design, mentorship, advisor; ex-Googler, PayPal, Oracle

May 1st, 2018

I have done this. First and best is if you can find a friend who knows the technology to help you interview candidates. The MOST important thing is that your new hire really does have the hard skills you need. A lot of people lie about that.

If you can’t get a tech buddy to help with interviews (and maybe even if you can), hire a candidate for a small job that you can work on together. It should representative of the work you want them to do—best is if it’s really a part of your technology.

Don’t fall into the “take home test” mistake, since most good candidates won’t spend more than a few hours working on anything for free. And those don’t really give you any idea of what it’s like to work with that person.

Once you find a reliable freelancer who has the skill you need, you can extend an employment offer.

Anton Udov Solutions architect/consultant 10+ years of experience. AWS,Google Cloud,PCF.Java etc. Outsourcing

May 1st, 2018

You should set up an interview on which you need to focus only on non-technical skills and motivation of the candidate. In the long run, it’s much more important than specifics of the technical skills. During the interview I would recommend using the following plan: 1. Ask about his/her previous experience. Always ask clarifying questions when the answer gets too technical. 2. Ask what was the most challenging technical task (s)he has recently finished 3. Describe your project and it’s goals, try to motivate him/her. 4. Let him/her ask questions about your company, your project and it’s team 5*. Check candidates familiarity with the whole software development lifecycle: planning, analysis, design, implementation, testing, maintenance. All mature candidates will have a lot to say about all these phases. After the interview check these questions for yourself: 1. How well does the candidate fit into your team? 2. How do you feel about working closely with that candidate 8 hours every day? How patiently will (s)he be explaining technical details to you as a non-technical team member? 3. What is her/his motivation to work on your project? How motivated is (s)he to work on the project? Will (s)he still be with you at least after 6 months? 4. Did (s)he make an impression on you of an experienced technical person? Even as a non-technical person you should be able to make a good screening to find a good fit candidate for the team and a job at hand. If you do not have any technical team members to help you with interviewing than you will be able to assess the actual tech expertise in work after a couple of weeks. Thus I recommend having the official probation period for the candidates who pass the interview. If you have any questions or need a support with conducting such interview (both non-technical and technical), please feel free to send me a direct message.

Matt Mansour Technical CoFounder

Last updated on May 4th, 2018

There are usually one of three methods used for screening technical skills. Sometimes all three are used:

White Boarding: The interviewer gives a coding challenge and watches a candidate solve the problem on a white board (or live online). This approach can be good when you want to see a candidate's thought process under pressure, and how a candidate crafts an algorithm in the moment.

Pair Programming: Here the interviewer asks a candidate to build something small and the interviewer builds it with the candidate. This approach can give insight on how well a candidate works in a team setting with other developers.

The Homework Assignment: Here the interviewer asks a candidate to build something small at home. It is usually due in a couple days. This approach highlights a candidate's ability to complete a task. The candidate's code is then assessed by the interviewer.

In my opinion the homework assignment is not an opportunity for the interviewer to get work done for free. The interviewer should not ask the candidate to solve a problem that the company is currently struggling with.

Since you're a non-technical founder the homework assignment could be a good choice. However, make sure you come up with a reasonable task. You are still missing the ability to see if a candidate's coding style is going to bite you quickly down the road. However, you will at least be able to tell if the candidate can finish a task.

Of course all of the aforementioned approaches do not factor in cultural fit. I am sure you can assess that already.

I do a lot of technical interviews. If you need help feel free to shoot me a message.

Best of luck!

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

May 3rd, 2018

I got to know the person on a human level. Because technology is not your skill, doing a test will provide you nothing more than proof they can complete the task. At a human level, particularly if they are core leadership, is critical because things will go wrong and you need to know how you and the tech person will work together to solve the issues. In a start up, you need to know that every person is focused on the outcome and results. Everyone.

Michał Lisewski Researcher & Business Developer

May 7th, 2018

Well... it depends.

Of course, the most important aspect of successful hiring is the engineering acumen. Even as non-tech founder you can verify if the candidate is a match by taking a deeper look into his career story. Some of the candidates might be a great engineers, but they need to understand the branche/industry their working in.

In example, a valuable candidate for a edu-tech startup should possess at least a basic knowledge about the trends, tools and requirements of the educational products.

Besides providing tech-related tests I'd also ask about their hobbies and fields of interest beyond the professional life. Perhaps there able to provide an additional value to the product? A few months ago I wrote an article tackling the issue, it is available here.

I hope it will be helpful.


May 8th, 2018

Ask one of you technicians to take his technical to analyse if the person has skills/desire to work on other platforms except for the one he is being hired for. Ask him personality questions to analyse if he will fit the environment and will proof to be an asset when it comes to multi tasking because let's face it startups have a lot to work on and cannot offer a sitting in chair job.

Hope this helps you out.

Wally Barr Business Owner at Undrnu Management

May 3rd, 2018

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