How to Hire a Front-End Developer at a Startup: A Complete Guide
If you’re a startup founder or a leader of an engineering team, hiring a front-end developer is one of the most important things you’ll do. But where do you start and how to hire a front-end developer for the job?
This complete guide will walk you through the process of finding and hiring a front-end developer at a startup or high growth company. We’ll cover everything from writing a job posting to conducting interviews. By the end, you’ll have all the tools you need to hire the best front-end developer for your team–voila!
List of Content
- What is Front-End Software Development?
- The Main Reasons to Hire a Front-End Developer
- What are the Different Types of Front-End Developers?
- Critical Skills of a High Performing Front-End Developer
- Where to Search for and Find a Front-End Software Developer?
- Best Regions to Hire Offshore Front-End Software Developers
- What is the Optimal Way to Hire a Front-End Developer?
- How Can TurnKey Help You Hire Your Dream Front-End Development Team?
What is Front-End Software Development?
When it comes to web or application development, it all starts with the front-end. If you want the customer-facing part of your product – literally, the “front end” – to look good and be usable for the masses, hiring front-end developers is the way to go.
From gorgeous visuals to smooth interactions, there’s no limit to what you can do when you have a skilled front-end developer at your service. So if you’re on the hunt for an amazing front end experience, keep reading to learn how to optimize your search.
The Main Reasons to Hire a Front-End Developer
Hiring a front-end developer can be the key to unlocking success for any startup or high growth company. Not only does having a talented and knowledgeable front-end developer on board mean you have someone thinking about user experience, but it also means your web or mobile interface is going to look top-notch.
With a front-end dev on staff, you can create stunning visuals that aid in user retention. They’ll help make sure your company’s product or mobile app looks great and runs fast, giving users an optimal experience no matter their device or location. And really, isn’t that the mission of any startup or company worth its salt?
But to get more granular, here are the Top 8 reasons to hire a front-end developer:
#1. Faster time to market for your product or app
Hiring a front-end developer is the secret weapon to quickly take a product from idea to real-world proof of concept. Why? Because design and front end development go hand in hand and with a front-end developer on the team, you can combine quality product designs with technical expertise to cook up something that’s quick, reliable and looks fantastic.
What’s more? A skilled front-end developer will know how to optimize the user experience and make sure your product can become an overnight success. So if you want a fast time to market for your product but don’t want any compromises, consider giving your team the secret ingredient: get skilled front-end developers.
#2. Custom and improved user experience (UX)
Having a front-end developer in the mix is one of the most invaluable investments a startup can make. A front-end developer will help create an enjoyable user experience, as they know how to work with technology and design tools to improve your site’s functionality and ergonomics.
Moreover, user interface (UI) developers are excellent at taking the vision of UX designers and bringing it to life with code. Simply put, hiring a front-end developer is essential for startups aspiring to improve or provide a custom UX for their product – after all, this is how users will interact with your service.
#3. Increased conversion rates
Startups need creative, out-of-the-box applications to set them apart from their competition and maximize results. Hiring a front-end developer is the first step in this journey.
Thus, hiring a front-end developer leads to better product experiences which leads to increased conversion rates. A front-end developer’s contribution to the overall process plays an instrumental role in any tech company’s success.
#4. Effortless software maintenance and updates
Front-end developers are invaluable assets when it comes to making sure your product stays up and running smoothly. By bringing in professionals dedicated to software maintenance and updates, website and/or product upgrades will become effortless. By having a front-end developer on your team, you can receive timely bug fixes and enhancements to user experience, as well as quick resolution to any issues that arise.
#5. Harness the power of component-driven development
Startups and high growth companies often look for ways to develop applications that are up-to-date and cost-effective. Hiring a front end developer can help these startups reach their goals by creating new releases faster and more efficiently.
Not only do front end developers give you access to the latest technologies, but they allow you to achieve component-driven development which helps design, build and maintain apps as company needs evolve over time.
Component-driven development (CDD) is an architectural approach for software development that organizes the codebase into reusable, isolated components. It emphasizes loose coupling of components to ensure program scalability and maintainability over time. By taking this approach, developers have access to a library of predefined, often domain-specific components they can use in their projects while maintaining high quality standards with minimal effort. CDD also provides flexibility as components can be easily swapped out or upgraded without having to restructure the entire program.
#6. Start building progressive web apps (PWA)
Having someone knowledgeable about a software trend known as PWA will mean that your startup can quickly create applications that are secure, reliable and fast-performing.
PWAs are a type of web application that is designed to deliver a user experience similar to that of a native mobile application. They combine the benefits of a website, such as speed and responsiveness, with the look and feel of an app by using modern web technologies such as caching capabilities and service workers. As PWAs are built using existing web technology, they offer improved accessibility and cost-efficiencies compared to traditional web or mobile applications. PWA’s popularity is rapidly growing among businesses, offering users key features such as state-preservation, low development effort and reengagement opportunities.
#7. Utilize micro front-end architecture
Skilled front-end developers (such as the ones that TurnKey hires on your behalf) have the knowledge and skills needed to utilize micro front-end architecture, a design that makes web pages more responsive and easier to navigate.
Micro front-end architecture is a software design method used to create user interfaces with independently developable and deployable components. These components communicate with each other through API calls, in order to avoid re-architecture when scaling the application.
Micro front-ends can isolate parts of the page with independent code bases, data sources, and style sheets. This flexibility allows startups to redesign individual sections of the site quickly and constantly adapt to user preferences. Micro front-ends can also be combined into larger projects, like frameworks or portals, while still retaining their individual functionality.
This architecture pattern is becoming increasingly popular due to its effective scalability and reusability of code, making rapid application development simpler and more efficient.
#8. Lower maintenance costs for the website
Investing in an awesome front-end developer pays off massively in the long run. Not only does this hire come equipped with deep knowledge on web and product development and design, but they likely also have extensive experience when it comes to anticipating potential technical issues and fixing things proactively. This creates lower costs since there isn’t the need for a separate development team dedicated to just repairs.
What are the Different Types of Front-End Developers?
When running a startup or high growth company, how you hire developers can make or break your success. Knowing the different types of front-end developers is key, as they are responsible for how your product or mobile app looks and how well it functions.
#1. By Qualification
When it comes to how to hire developers for a startup or high growth company, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. It really depends on the project – how complex it is and how many people to bring onboard.
Typically, you might look at three qualifications of front-end developers. Junior level developers have up to 3 years of experience, while middle level developers have 3-5 years of experience, and senior developers come with 5+ years of knowledge. Each type is suited for specific projects and tasks requiring different levels of complexity and expertise.
When you’re bootstrapping a startup team, it can be tempting to go with a Junior since they cost less. However, they may lack experience in certain areas. They can also bring fresh ideas and an enthusiasm that Middle and Senior developers may no longer possess. If a project requires tailored expertise and quick execution times however, then Senior level devs should be your go-to option instead.
Ultimately, the choice comes down to budget, project complexity and how quickly you need the work completed – so make sure to combine all three before making a decision!
#2. By Employment Type
For startups and high growth companies looking to hire developers, the three main employment types – freelance, in-house and offshore development teams – each come with their own pros and cons.
- Freelance developers usually have a wealth of experience but may require higher hourly rates than other developer types and you can’t control their schedule.
- With an in-house team, it’s more typical to build out a product over time as opposed to taking on a larger product right away.
- An offshore development team can be cost effective and highly productive (by the way, TurnKey can help you with that – let’s discuss how!)
When considering how best to hire developers for a startup or high growth company, it’s important to weigh all these options before deciding which type is ultimately the best fit.
#3. By Software Framework
When it comes to hiring good front-end developers, the software framework they use is a key factor.
React and Angular are both great options but they’re not equal: typically, React is a go-to pick by startups due to its flexible integration with other development tools. If you’re building a bigger project that requires a rigid structure and a neat hierarchy, Angular is your best option.
And if you want your project to be an efficient one-page application packed with modern techy stuff (that’s an official term!), then hire Vue-savvy front-end developers – these guys really know how to get the job done!
Critical Skills of a High Performing Front-End Developer
When you’re heading down the software development path, finding the right front-end developer is key to ensuring your website or product looks and feels professional. This is why understanding which competencies are essential when searching for your experienced front-end developer is critical. Key areas to probe:
- Do they understand how to make an app or product that’s both intuitive and visually appealing?
- Are they experienced with user interfaces?
- How comfortable are they working with debugging tools?
- Are there any areas of web and product design and development that they are especially passionate about?
Soft skills-based non-technical interview questions can also help gauge their approach to a challenge. These types of inquiries can provide valuable insight into how the candidate approaches problem solving, works under stress, and collaborates with others. Ask questions like:
- How do you prioritize tasks when juggling multiple projects?
- Describe a work challenge you overcame recently.
With these questions answered, you can set a benchmark when it comes to how you hire developers for your startup or high growth company – whether it be through an offshore agency like TurnKey or by building out your team internally yourself.
Here are the top skills you should be looking for:
Here are the top skills you should be looking for:
#2. Experience in developing functional platforms with an adaptive design
Hiring the perfect front-end developer who is proficient in developing functional platforms with an adaptive design is a crucial step. Having such a developer on board helps create readability and usability on any platform.
This person should be able to ensure that regardless of what device a user accesses content from, they have faultless experience that guides them through the entire website/app/product flawlessly. A savvy front-end developer can do all this while playing around with color schemes, fonts and photos — making the UX incredibly appealing while also being user friendly at all times.
#3. Expertise with application development and testing tools
If you’re looking to hire a front-end developer for your startup or high growth company, then don’t overlook application development and testing tools as a crucial competency.
Having the ability to use these tools gives your developers the capacity to rapidly prototype ideas and test them easily on various platforms — which is invaluable when it comes to a tech startup.
What’s more, having someone who understands how to develop applications not only streamlines the process of creating something powerful but also makes sure there are no technical missteps in how the product gets developed. Don’t pass up this chance to enhance how you create and launch!
#4. Extensive testing and debugging skills
When it comes to hiring the perfect front-end developer for your startup, testing and debugging skills should be a priority. After all, bug-free code is the best way to ensure a smooth user experience on your website, app or product.
Knowing how to identify errors, spot performance issues and create accurate and efficient tests is essential. Additionally, a track record of successful projects with minimal bugs can be an indicator that the developer may be able to bring such performance tracking expertise to their new role.
Don’t let any bug stand in the way of how you want your users to interact with your software – make sure your developers have extensive testing and debugging skills built in!
#5. Ability to use CSS preprocessors
Another key skill is the ability to effectively use CSS preprocessors. Preprocessors can automate a range of tasks and simplify how you manage code stylesheets. They also offer scalability and consistency for your applications and user interfaces.
With these tools, front end developers can save time that might have been spent on manually writing CSS codes, freeing themselves up to work on complex projects and other aspects within your startup with precision and accuracy.
#6. Deep understanding of user behavior
Knowing how to properly read user behavior is one of the most important competencies a prospective hire should possess in order to contribute to your company’s success.
When users navigate a website or use a product, they are leaving behind subtle clues about how they are interacting with the product – understanding how those interactions come together is the key to developing products that truly speak to and engage your user base. Those who have harnessed this knowledge have seen huge returns and have learnt how best to serve their audiences; getting it wrong can result in time, money, and resources all being poured down the drain.
A great front-end developer will be able to read user behavior like an open book, adapting their skillset for maximum success.
Bonus : 'Nice to have' skills
Being a front-end developer is not just about the technical skills you need to know and how well you can code. It’s also about how personable, creative and collaborative you can be. When it comes to how to hire developers for a startup or high growth company, take a moment to consider how important it is that your developers have UX design skills, customer-facing experience, and an understanding of how to work as part of a team.
Having these skills in your arsenal will give your startup a competitive edge – not only can they quickly build innovative solutions and features but they’ll also be able to work with cross-functional teams, understand how their solutions fit into the overall product vision, and communicate with ease.
Where to Search for and Find a Front-End Software Developer?
As software development continues to evolve exponentially, so does the need to hire front-end developers. With open source technologies and the growing number of software recruiting agencies, finding those skilled in front-end development has become easier.
With TurnKey, you can skip this part since we’ll do the whole thing for you. But if you want to build your front-end development team yourself, here is where you can start your search:
When looking to hire front end developers, leveraging a freelance marketplace is a popular option.
Pros. On the one hand, these marketplaces offer an unparalleled selection of professionals with different skill levels, backgrounds and experiences–giving employers greater flexibility in finding the right fit for their project. Additionally, many marketplaces strive to provide employers with security features like payment protection and streamlined feedback systems that help ensure their working relationship goes as smoothly as possible.
Cons. Due to the size of some of these marketplaces it can be difficult to accurately gauge the reliability or professionalism of particular talent. Consequently, employers often have to turn to other means such as references and reputation-building platforms when evaluating potential candidates.
While not perfect, freelance marketplaces can serve as an effective way for employers to secure in-demand developers quickly and securely.
These days, job boards have become a go-to resource when you need to hire front end developers.
Pros. They offer convenient one stop shops for employers and job seekers to meet up online – something that was an expensive task prior to the internet. Job boards create an effortless process of browsing through resumes and postings with its vast collection of talented candidates in virtually any industry.
Cons. On the other hand, employers can find their applicant pool extremely narrow on a job board as applicants funnel through certain keywords used during search results. This often leads to employers missing out on qualified developers willing and able to do the job well.
Ultimately, job boards should be explored when hiring a front end developer – but carefully researched beforehand for best results.
Today you can hire front end developers from anywhere in the world.
Pros. Outsourcing allows you to hire the talent at favorable rates, and teams can usually be spun up relatively quickly since pre-built development teams are already in place.
Cons. There are potential risks associated with a lack of transparency, cultural understanding and communication differences. Quality control may also be problematic.
Hiring front end developers may be easiest with an offshore software agency. Offshoring can help you hire talented engineers for a fraction of the cost, and gives you much more flexibility and control than outsourcing.
And even better: TurnKey has an upgraded version of offshoring that we affectionately call YOURShoring.
YOURShoring offers the best of both worlds by custom recruiting expert front end developers from other countries to your project or development team. This ensures that you hire the right talent while avoiding some of the associated problems that come with traditional offshoring solutions (like lack of transparency). With YOURShoring, you can hire developers quickly and easily – and all while still staying within budget.
Best Regions to Hire Offshore Front-End Software Developers
Finding the right fit for your needs makes all the difference when recruiting top talent from other countries, since there is always a degree of uncertainty involved with geographically distant hires.
Hiring in-house developers in the US and UK can be a real game changer for any startup or high growth company. Having access to the talent and skill from both countries allows firms to select the best individuals for specific roles who’ll join forces to help design, develop, test, and support any enterprise application.
Both countries are tech hubs, with leading universities that hold world-renowned credentials – so you know you’re investing in some of the world’s greatest talent. So what’s the downside? Developers in these countries are hard to find and recruit–and they are usually roughly twice as expensive (in terms of salary) as their counterparts in other countries.
Whether in Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile or other countries, there’s a robust and growing market of innovative talent available to hire in this region.
Developers residing in Latin American countries possess an informed sense of the customer experience, which is particularly valuable for driving the user interface and design elements that too often miss the mark for customer needs.
With their creative thinking and dynamic approaches to tricky problems, Latin American front-end developers are becoming a sought-after asset for many organizations. And with unique cultural insights from people around the globe—not to mention their affordable rates of hire—it’s easy to realize why hiring such individuals can be beneficial for any team tackling the challenging world of software development.
Front-end software developers in Eastern Europe have long been popular hirers for tech companies around the world. With strong technical skills and relatively low costs, Eastern Europeans can provide a lot of bang for your buck.
Most of these countries are in the same timezone as Central Europe, making collaboration with European counterparts much easier and more efficient – saving startups and companies crucial time. Also worth noting is that sections of these countries are quite well developed, so you can expect super fast internet speeds too!
With Asian countries like India and the Philippines boasting some of the most inexpensive developers in the world, it makes perfect sense to hire front-end developers in these regions if you are building on a budget. The main downsides of this region are difficult time zone alignment with America and Western Europe and occasional productivity and quality issues.
What is the Optimal Way to Hire a Front-End Developer?
Taking the optimal hire route and doing your research will ensure the perfect front end developer hire. Here are the key steps to follow:
Step 1. Formulate the goals of your project and define the requirements
Sit down with your team and sketch out exactly what it is you hope will be accomplished by this position. What kind of skills are needed? Are there any problems that need to be solved right away? Nailing down this piece of the puzzle is key before continuing on your search for a rockstar front-end developer.
Step 2. Choose a cooperation model that is convenient for you
Are you looking for a freelancer to do a small one-off project or are you setting up something more long-term and wanting to embed a developer into your team? Whichever route appeals to you more, try to negotiate an agreement that suits your timeline and resources and give the front-end developer a clear definition of their role.
Step 3. Partner with an offshoring company like TurnKey
Step three is the most exciting: when you decide it’s time to partner with an offshoring company like TurnKey, you know your project is ready to rock! Partnering with an offshore development agency offers unique advantages compared to building an in-house team. By handing hiring hassles to us, you can access a larger variety of skills and technologies, fill specific niche technical needs, increase quality and productivity, and bring specialized experience and knowledge to bear far faster than doing it on your own.
Plus, when you pick TurnKey as your partner – you’ll realize more savings than if building the same team in-house. With all these benefits and TurnKey’s guaranteed results, it’s no wonder we are a top choice for tech companies looking for front-end developers!
Step 4. Review the selected options and approve the best team
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to take your time to truly understand who stands out from the talent pool. When evaluating each junior, middle, or senior front-end developer, assess their compatibility with the project, their technical expertise, and how their unique skillset could benefit overall development. But no matter who you select in the end, remember that making the right hire is always worth your due diligence.
Step 5. Sign a contract and start development
This step requires both parties to sign on the dotted line and start development. This is where the front-end developer starts writing code and designing a visual interface that users can interact with, making sure it is tailored to your specific roadmap goals.
A good contract should also clearly outline who owns what when the development process is over, preventing any misunderstandings or arguments over ownership down the road. In other words, don’t start development until you are 100% positive that you own all the intellectual property that is created–this in non-negotiable.
Congratulations, you are now ready to start building something amazing!
How Can TurnKey Help You Hire Your Dream Front-End Development Team?
If you have a vision for a world-class UI but lack the resources to make it happen, TurnKey’s offshore front-end development team can be your saving grace. We put in the hard work to ensure you get the perfect fit for your specific needs. In other words, we provide you with experienced developers with a wide range of skills that are handpicked and embedded within your company culture.
And, because we understand the importance of an easy onboarding experience, you don’t even have to worry about hiccups with this part either; we’ll coordinate every step along the way with you. Get ready for a smooth integration process and amazing talent retention rates!
Think of TurnKey as an upgraded version of traditional offshoring, where we get you the very top tech talent across Eastern Europe and Latin America and give you complete control over the team. This is your team that is fully dedicated to your roadmap and working within your rules and infrastructure.
Or put another way, TurnKey is the only offshoring firm built entirely around you!
First and foremost, you'll want to make sure that the front-end developer has an impressive portfolio of work. Then you'll want to know what kind of programming languages and tools they have experience in. Beyond that, it's important to know how quickly they can pick up new skills or technologies if needed. And finally, interview them! Even if someone looks great on paper, hearing them discuss their experiences and motivations will help provide insights into how successful they'd be on your team.
At TurnKey Labs, we make it easy to hire a great front-end developer. Not only do we get you the Top 3% of developers in Latin America and Eastern Europe, but our team also provides white glove customer service (being based in Silicon Valley means you always have someone local to call.) We are the experts in getting you front end developers that meet your budget and timeline quickly and efficiently.
Asking the right questions can help you find a front-end developer that is perfect for your startup or high growth company. Key questions to ask include:
- What is your experience building applications, and what technologies do you primarily use?
- How do you manage tasks, specifically if there is more than one?
- Do you prefer to work with existing code or start from scratch?
- What challenges have you faced in the past and what are examples where you had to problem-solve quickly?
Asking these types of questions will give you an idea of the type of front-end developer you'll be getting and perhaps even allow some room for negotiation in regard to compensation and salary requirements.
Front-end developers primarily code, program, debug and design user interfaces that range from websites and mobile apps to detailed software applications, and troubleshoot any technical issues that may arise.