Recruitment of core teams for startups

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Recruitment of core teams for startups

What is a core team in an IT company, and what kind of people are needed in startups?

A core team is typically the initial group of key people who work on an IT project. Usually, these are more experienced specialists who can rapidly build a project from the ground up.

Recruiting a core team for IT companies is more challenging than hiring for an established team. Several important factors need to be taken into account, and specialists must possess special skills and traits, such as:

  • Wider-ranging expertise in order to perform various tasks. Startups that are in their initial stages may require their employees to combine several roles. For example, a team lead may take on some of the responsibilities of a tech lead and a product owner.
  • Willingness to share knowledge and become a leader in the future.  For a startup, it is important to consider scaling well beforehand. A core team consists of those people who will then lead the team as well as participate in hiring, mentoring, training, and onboarding newcomers.
  • Special attitude to work and product. Usually, when recruiting a core team, it is best to look for people who are interested in the product itself—professionals who believe in it and are ready for some limitations now for the sake of comfortable work in the future. Working for a startup can be accompanied by strict deadlines and overtimes, and not everyone will agree to this.

Nick Kliestov photo
Mykola Kliestov
CTO at ITExpert

In the early stages of startups, people can combine several roles. For instance, developers can perform DevOps tasks, and a team lead can also act as a PO. There is no point in hiring a lot of personnel when a product is at the MVP stage because there is no full-time workload for some specialists, such as a DevOps engineer.

Of course, this is atypical for Ukraine, as our developers are often focused on a narrower pool of tasks within one position. Broader functions create difficulties in recruiting, as we need to put more effort into filtering candidates based on their hard and soft skills.”

Structure and composition of a core team depending on the field/domain

The minimum composition of the development team may look like this: 

  • A software engineer/developer who can also do DevOps and QA tasks following XP principles. 
  • A manager who performs the functions of a team lead, architect, and product owner.

While expanding the team and scaling up, more specialists are usually hired, such as QA engineers (manual and automation), DevOps engineers, business analysts, and others.

The structure of an IT team depends on the selected niche/project domain. For example, Data Science products may require individuals with expertise in Machine Learning, Big Data, or related fields. This can help build the product using the correct models and mechanics. Another example would be startups that work with hardware (e.g., Embedded, IoT), where specialists with expertise in circuit board design and engineering are often needed.

Most often, decisions on the structure, roles in the team, and the chosen technology stack are made by the architect. This is why it is essential to find an effective manager who will play the most crucial role in a core team.

How do you assemble a team for an IT project?

Here are some expert tips on how to assemble a team for a project and make recruiting more efficient.

Identify who you need

Once you have decided who your product development team will consist of, create a candidate profile for each position. In order to do this, answer the following questions.

Think through the recruitment strategy

You should identify the stages of recruitment, your strengths, and important working conditions. Then think about how and where you will advertise your vacancy to attract more relevant candidates, e. g. on selected on-line platforms, by organizing career events, or by using other methods.

Evaluate your resources and use external experts

Identify who will analyze job openings, screen resumes, and schedule interviews. Discuss in advance which technical specialists will be involved in conducting interviews or reviewing test assignments.

Selecting an IT project team requires a lot of resources. Therefore, it is advisable to use the services of external experts to perform recruitment smoothly and ensure that recruitment does not interfere with other tasks. An IT recruitment agency will help you increase the pipeline of candidates and advise you on how to quickly assemble an IT project team.

Experience and advantages of ITExpert in searching for development teams for various projects 

Our team has helped hire highly qualified professionals for core teams and projects operating in a variety of domains. We provide expert advice to companies on how to set up recruitment to fill a position on time and release the product according to the deadline.


Technical expertise: Our CTO identifies key requirements of a position and consults on stack technologies and the candidate market volume. This ensures that you will receive only relevant CVs. 

Large in-house recruiting team: Over 40 recruiters are ready to work on your vacancies, screening candidates based on your specific requirements. By working with us, you will only communicate with the best candidates and will be able to allocate more time for high priority business tasks. 

Efficient hiring: On average, it takes 6 resumes from our agency to fill a vacancy. We are quality-oriented and use effective sources for searching for candidates to ensure timely hiring.

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