Finding great talent is pivotal for a startup that is building a new project. At last week’s MaRS Best Practices event, Khurram Virani and Jake Hirsch-Allen, partners at Functional Imperative, a Toronto-based boutique web design and development agency, discussed ways to find and retain the right software development team.

Building and hiring a software development team

Toronto has a strong software development community (see Startup Genome’s “Startup Ecosystem Report”), but that developer talent is also being driven to Silicon Valley, says Khurram and Jake.

So how do startups attract great development talent? It’s definitely a difficult feat, as most high-quality developers already have jobs, but Khurram suggests to “go where they hang out—finding people online is not the way to find great talent.”

The partners also offered the following tips.

1. Seek well-rounded and experienced developers.

2. Give your founding team vesting equity.

3. Consider remote talent.

To learn more of their tips on how to build a great development team, check out this five-minute “Hot Tips for Startups” video.

Hiring for cultural fit

Another integral aspect of building a software development team is hiring developers who are a good cultural fit for your organization, as the communal aspect of an organization is imperative to attracting talent. Developer hours are not generally nine to five. In terms of validating talented developers, there are several tests that you can do in order to measure their skill sets (for example, framework developers versus application developers, and generalists versus specialists).

To learn more about these tests and about how to hire a great development team, check out Khurram and Jake’s full presentation here.

Jennifer Marron

Jennifer Marron was the Manager, Marketing and Channel Development for MaRS. See more…