Hiring Developers: Things to Consider If You Don’t Have a Technical Background


Hiring a developer for a non-tech start-up can be challenging if you don’t have an engineering background. How do you understand whom to choose if you cannot assess the technical skills of candidates? But you can find an ideal programmer even if you are not an expert in information technology. Follow the steps below to hire the right specialist. 

Step 1. Define product requirements

To carry out this task, you must understand what kind of software you are going to build. You should clearly see what functionality your product needs, what problems your solution will solve, and who may find it useful. Thus, you’ll know what specialists you should look for.

Based on business research, you can determine the functionality of the future application and the platform on which the product will run. You need different types of developers to build a mobile application, a cloud-based content management system or a website.

Keep in mind that your product must have a market need. If the idea does not appeal to potential customers, even a well-implemented project may fail. According to CBInsights, this is one of the twenty reasons why startups fail.

Furthermore, it is illogical to hire a web developer and then have them write an application for Android. A platform usually determines the required programming languages, frameworks, libraries, technologies, and programming skills.


Step 2. Understand what kind of specialist you need

If you know the characteristics of your product and the technology stack it requires, this will help you narrow your search. Now, it’s clear that you need an “Angular developer working on healthcare projects” or a “full-stack programmer working on a recruitment project” and so on.

To compile a list of required skills, consult technical specialists or temporarily hire a technical director. You should clearly realize what skills you are looking for and what responsibilities your new employee will have. The clearer your vacancy is, the faster specialists will respond to it.


Step 3. Post a job vacancy

Once you have gathered the necessary information, you can post vacancies on specialized resources, contact companies such as Andersen that provide IT services, or look for freelance programmers.

This step may take a lot of time. Not only skilled programmers who have mastered the necessary languages and technologies may respond to your vacancy. You may receive applications from those whose CVs don’t meet your needs. Depending on your requirements, you may need help from an HR manager or arrange a more intensive recruitment campaign. international PEO professionals

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One thing is clear: the more resources you engage to find a developer, the higher the chance to find them faster. Therefore, post your vacancy not only on specialized websites but also on social networks (LinkedIn, GitHub, Reddit, and others).

Therefore, try not to limit yourself to the content of your candidate’s CV and ask as many meaningful and informative questions as possible. So, use online  CV maker to create more attractive resumes.


Step 4. Conduct an interview

You should also create a list of questions that will help you determine if an applicant is suitable for the open position. An interview may go like this:

  • Ask a candidate about the project they find the most interesting or, on the contrary, boring. Find out what difficulties they encountered when working on it. Constructive criticism of completed projects, based on facts and examples, can guide you when hiring a specialist. By analyzing previous projects, they will show you their knowledge and expertise.
  • Ask the programmer how they solve problems that emerge on projects. A story of finding the causes of a problem, identifying bottlenecks, and prioritizing issues at the stage of fixing may tell you if the candidate is suitable for the position.
  • You should also find out what career expectations the specialist has. If they coincide with what your company can offer, you’ll be able to build a long-term cooperation.
  • Find out how the developer conducts estimation and plans their work. This question will help you understand how proactive and independent the specialist is when solving project tasks. They must be aware of the degree of their responsibility and not violate project deadlines. 
  • Clarify what the specialist likes and dislikes about a particular technology (for example, the one they will work with). If they have difficulty using it, this can affect the productivity and success of the project.
  • Find out if the specialist has mastered the latest versions of the programming language necessary for the implementation of your project. The answer to this question will tell you if they keep up with the latest updates and whether they can provide the appropriate security level and performance for your business.
  • Try to assess the soft skills of the candidate. Consider what exactly is important for you. For example, you need a specialist who can quickly solve extremely complex tasks or work under strict control. Or it may be an employee who can explain complex things in simple terms, or a programmer with well-developed communication skills. The main thing to understand is that personal traits should not negatively influence the successful implementation of the project.

Don’t be afraid to go beyond the CV during the interview. Researchers confirm the fact that 85% of jobseekers embellish their achievements to look more competitive and attractive to employers. Therefore, try not to limit yourself to the content of your candidate’s CV and ask as many meaningful and informative questions as possible. 


Step 5. Examine the candidate’s portfolio

Even though you don’t have technical skills, you don’t need to know programming to assess the applications built by the candidate. Navigate through the tabs, evaluate the software architecture, user interface, and features. You don’t have to be an engineer to see the difference between a good and a bad digital solution.

Choose programmers who have already worked on products in your industry. By reviewing someone’s portfolio, you will see if this specialist has the skills to fulfill your product requirements.

Researchers say that 88% of executives question the competency of candidates and typically seek to test the skills of developers. Of course, you can give a test task to an applicant, which is totally reasonable. But without a technical background, you won’t be able to assess the correctness of its results.

You will have to ask developers to evaluate the test task or use commercial solutions. Some companies (HackerEarth or Codility, etc.) offer programs for code evaluation. By using them, non-technical directors can test developers with automated code reviews. So, you can easily solve this problem. 

Step 6. Select the right candidate

After you have interviewed many candidates, you will find several developers who could join your team. You have approved their technical skills, but there is one more important thing to consider — their salary expectations. When hiring an employee, try to stick to your budget, especially if it is strictly limited.

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Should you learn programming languages or hire a technical advisor?

Being a manager, you need to dedicate yourself to business aspects of your project. In this case, you may find a technical advisor or director who will be responsible for technology-related tasks. An experienced part-time programmer can advise you on all important issues, suggesting the best solutions. They can also help you find and hire an experienced developer. In six months or a year, you will learn how to manage the team of technical experts on your own. At the same time, you will keep a watchful eye on the business issues.  

The CTO acts as a manager and determines the tech strategy of your organization. They should have a good understanding of your business, be aware of the company’s vision, and recommend innovative technologies to realize the project goals. A manager hiring a CTO is laying the foundation for a promising future project. Sooner or later, any product will need to scale. And stable development and growth requires a solid technology foundation. And the CTO can lay such a foundation and ensure success. 



A Project Manager may not have a technical background, but this does not mean that their startup is doomed to fail. There are plenty of successful programs created by people without substantial technical knowledge: Airbnb, Tinder, Alibaba, or Dell. Their founders are designers (Brian Chesky), financiers, MAs in English (Jack Ma), or businessmen who don’t know programming languages, frameworks, databases, and other specific issues. The main secret of their success is a professional technical partner who helps projects with engineering issues.

So, you may seek help from a technical director or experienced teams from IT companies. They understand what problems a software product can face without technical support and assistance. For a project of any size, technical skills of the employees are indispensable. They are an engine that drives the entire process and ensures its success. 

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