There is a lot of advice on how to hire great developers, which I don't think is quite relevant as far as startups are concerned.
The reason why I am saying this is because we--as a startup in the field of a very specialized niche (CAD applications)--have had significant difficulty in attracting the best talent. Candidates rejected us after learning that:
- We are just a small startup with 3 programmers and a sales team, not some big established company with tens or hundreds of developers. This means that we aren't as stable as big companies, and people here (Asia) are generally risk averse so they would prefer a stable job.
- As per everyone's advice, we try to give as much freedom as we can to the developers when it comes to controlling their work space, and we also provide free snacks, flextime and all the goodies you can think of. But, as weird as it sounds, the candidates didn't seem to care about that.
- If you were wondering, we do offer competitive salary. But still...
- Even though we are a startup, we are already profitable (we bootstrapped). We have a team of salespeople whose purpose is to convince customers to buy the software they don't want. :) So even though we do offer equity, the amount that we can offer is not much unless we can grow into a behemoth like Google.
How can you hire great developers for startups?