So you need to hire software engineers? 4 ways technical founders grow their teams.

The best option might be the one you’ve never heard of.

Your startup’s first engineering hire might have been your roommate or a friend from CS class. Your next few team members were probably from your network too.

What happens when you’ve exhausted your network, but you’re just getting ready to scale? Here are the three options you’ll probably try, and one you might not know about.

Job Boards

You’ve probably used a job board at some point in your life, and you probably have a LinkedIn account. If you’re looking for engineering talent, you’re probably on Angellist too.

Job boards can be a great resource, but they can also be a trap many technical founders fall into. You can end up sorting through hundreds of resumes, and then spend hours on the phone each week, just to find a single candidate.

Job boards might be sustainable for small companies with limited growth, but they’re not the right option when you need engineers, fast.

Staffing Agencies

After job boards, many startups turn to staffing agencies. You give them your job descriptions, and they do the leg work. You save time, and you might get better qualified candidates.

Staffing agencies can be a great turnkey solution, but they’re expensive and transactional. When you hire a candidate, you pay the agency a fee that is anywhere from 10% — 30% of the employee’s annual salary.

They’re also rarely software and startup specialists. Staffing agency recruiters usually won’t know your culture or take the time to understand your tech stack. They’ll often send plenty of unqualified candidates. And, since they’re only paid when candidates are hired, they sometimes pass up difficult-to-fill positions or give-up on a search if they’ve had little or no success.

Internal Recruiters

If you’re going to spend the money anyway, why not hire an internal recruiting team? They’ll know your culture, your tech stack, and they’ll be right down the hall.

Internal recruiting teams are important for large companies, but startups don’t usually have consistent hiring needs. If you hire and onboard internal recruiters too soon, you risk, you risk spending time and money on a resource you won’t need when your hiring needs stall.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) can be one of the best options for startups, but it’s not well known.

In an RPO model, you get a dedicated team of recruiters, just like hiring a staffing agency. Unlike a staffing agency, however, the recruiters partner with you on a longer timeline, sending you candidates as you need them. They get to know you, and take care of any aspects of the recruiting process you might not be ready to do yourself, from expert market compensation analysis to setting up an applicant tracking system.

RPOs also generally charge hourly or monthly consulting rates, rather than contingency fees. This creates sustainable, predictable costs that are perfect for startups. It’s like having an internal recruiting department at a fraction of the cost, that you can easily scale up, scale down, or cancel.

So what’s the best option for you?

It depends how big your company, and how fast you’re growing. But, if you’re between about 10–75 employees and growing fast, an RPO might be the secret you need to hire engineers quickly, without breaking the bank.

Are you scaling an engineering team? Let me know what resources you’ve tried, or check out Scale by hatch IT.

Originally published at


Related Articles

Discover the Future of Govtech: 5 Companies on the Rise in 2024

Discover the Future of Govtech: 5 Companies on the Rise in 2024

Looking to steer your career toward innovation in the federal sector? You’re in the right place. In the world of government technology, 2024 is shaping up to be a noteworthy year. We've scouted the terrain and found five incredible Govtech companies that are gearing...

15 Innovative Software Startups on the Hunt for Tech Talent

15 Innovative Software Startups on the Hunt for Tech Talent

Ready to level up your tech career? You’re in the right place. We've scoured the tech landscape to bring you the lowdown on 15 software startups that are ready to hire strong tech professionals.  We're talking groundbreaking projects, dynamic teams, and a chance to...