How to Hire Programmers

So you want to start a business or create a new app, but you can’t write a lick of code. No problem – just hire a great programmer and then let them work their magic.

But how can you tell what makes someone a great programmer?

Anyone who has attempted to hire a programmer will tell you it’s no easy task. They’ll also tell you that this decision can make or break your business. Here are some steps you can take to find – and hire – the right programmer for your business:

Turn to Trusted Sources

Reach out to friends or colleagues who have successfully hired a programmer. Ask them the following three questions: How did you conduct the hiring process? What questions did you ask? Who would you recommend?

Hire for Experience and Expertise

Programming is so critical to the success of a business that you can’t afford to hire someone who doesn’t have the technical skills and experience to handle your project. If your business will have ongoing programming needs after the initial startup, make sure to look for someone with the leadership skills to hire and manage other programmers.

Clearly Define Your Goals

Even a great programmer will struggle when faced with vaguely defined outcomes and responsibilities. Before conducting any interviews, you should have a very clear idea of the scope of the project, the specific responsibilities of the programmer, your desired outcomes, and the completion date.

Prep for the Interview

Never go into an interview unprepared. Learn as much as you can about the basics of programming, especially as it relates to your business idea. Then create a list of questions that focus on the programmer’s background, experience, and capabilities.

Use an Online Programming Test

If a candidate doesn’t come recommended by someone you know, have them take a basic online programming test at sites like and This will ensure the candidate has, at the very least, basic programming skills, and will allow you to see their problem solving and thought processes in a test situation.

Ask to See Their Portfolio

An experienced programmer will have a professional portfolio documenting the successful projects they have completed. This can include everything from an open-source repository of their coding to applications and websites they have worked on. In particular, ask for examples of projects similar to what you need the programmer to do.

Once you’ve got the technical side covered, check for a cultural fit – especially if you’re looking to hire a programmer long-term. Does the person listen and communicate well? Will you feel comfortable working with them? Is this someone who could grow with your company as it grows?

And remember – you can always turn to Ideator for help. Our Discussions page offers a great way to make connections and ask for input on various startup topics. So what are you waiting for – you may be one conversation away from finding the programmer to bring your idea to life!

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