Hiring Hacks for Non-tech Entrepreneurs to Hire Techies


Hiring the right fit, is an art!

You might practice this art but it is insanely painful when you are a non-tech entrepreneur and you have to hire techies. As you can hire for attitude or personal skills but not for technical skills.

Before we even jump into reading about how to hire a techie for your business, hope you have read these 5 must-read books to hire a right fit for your organization –

(The first one is my favorite 😛 )

  1. The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber
    The “E” of the title stands for “entrepreneur”, and Gerber describes the central idea behind the book like so: “[B]usiness owners – typically brimming with good but distracting ideas – make poor entrepreneurs.
  2. Moneyball– The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis
  3. 96 Great Interview Questions to Ask Before You Hire– by Paul Falcone
  4. How to Spot a Liar– by Gregory Hartley & Maryann Karinch
  5. Who: The A Method for Hiring– by Geoff Smart and Randy Street

So, let’s jump on how you can hire a techie when you aren’t one yourself –

Stop learning how to code

Remember! You don’t need to be a programmer to hire a programmer. Wonder if Steve Jobs wouldn’t had taken care of promoting the product but been in the place of Steve Woznick building Mac, you might not even know about Apple. You will get into this trap and will never be able to focus on growing your business. Learning the code from educational online platforms will eat up most of your time. STOP CODING!

If you want to learn from a real-life example, read this-

Kevin Stanton, the founder of Farehelper, when catching up with Kevin he told:

“I gave up on Farehelper in January after finally accepting that the team just wasn’t up to the task. I’ve learned the hard way that engineering prowess alone does not make a successful startup. The key ingredient we lacked—and I see in all the successful startups I’ve watched bloom in the past year along side us—is a strong, relentless non-technical co-founder with a vision for a product that they’re passionate about and able to make quick decisions on. We definitely didn’t have that, so us engineers fought constantly over what we were building. Once we finally released our MVP and got solid user feedback, things had become so strained because only two-thirds of the team was doing all the work and we were spread way too thin.”

Source of the blog- http://technori.com/2013/01/2934-non-technical-founders-stop-trying-to-learn-how-to-code/

Don’t compromise on attitude

This is a mantra you need to recite every time you hire someone and you might be well aware of this if you have been hiring for a longer time. Compromising on attitude can lead to nothing but clashes. Mark Murphy, the author Hiring for Attitude, as well as the bestsellers Hundred Percenters and HARD Goals, research shows that out of 20,000 hires done 46% of hires fail in first 18 months, out of which only 11% failed due to lack in skills. 89% attitudinal problem! Huh!

Try taking help of a techie friend or a hire a techie recruiter

Explore your social network, try contacting a suitable friend or maybe even a skilled family member to help hire a techie for you.

Remember this hiring way is more based on trust factor!  Take help from a person whom you can trust with putting required amount of effort.  So it assures that you aren’t releasing an arrow in dark, you can see the target.

You may look forward to hire a technical recruiter! A technical recruiter will have a professional commitment to you and also experience to properly gauge your need. His perspective/advice may help through out the process. And even if you end up hiring a wrong person, you can get back to them to hire for you for free!

Don’t be a cheap seller

A techie will find his place himself, don’t sell your company to them. If they find themselves comfortable it will not be difficult to hire them. “I want our candidates to shop around so they realize how great our company is,” said Stuart Wall, founder of SignPost, (a CRM with 5,000 customers)and feel they’d be fools to turn us down—not feel like they were railroaded into a major decision. You might lose one now and then, but you’ll make up for it in retention.

Check with their previous employer

When you are checking their LinkedIn profiles there is no harm in checking with their previous employers while they are with you on probation period. If not that try to check with their peers on LinkedIn. But be sure you are not burning bridges of the candidate with the previous employer.

Give them a live problem to solve

Ultimately, whatever they code will be for a user! And, who could a better user than you. Tell them a flow and give them the idea of what you want. Once you are done with it, test the code as a user. You would definitely know about user testing. You don’t have to go in depths of reading code but if the same can accomplish the scenario given by you without a break, then he is the one you need to hire.

With no doubt you’ll make mistakes but it depends on how soon you correct it. Remember the quote – “Hire slow, fire fast”. People all over the web are constraining from this ideology but remember, hiring slow doesn’t mean you are going to take ages to recruit. It means to take decision with all aspects in your mind or it will bog you in future!