How to Hire Remote Software Developers: a Step-by-Step Guide

In a modern world, it is hard to imagine leading a business without a website, application, or software. That is why very often business owners find themselves in the need of a programmer or even a whole team of developers. In such a case, outstaffing or outsourcing is the answer to this problem.

You may choose outsourcing if you do not have your own IT in-house team so you need to develop your project from scratch. It also helps you to focus on other business tasks as the hired remote development team or developer will dedicate all their time to your project. Outstaffing is a good idea if your project is relatively small and you already have an in-house IT department. Adding a few remote programmers to the existing team is cost-efficient as well. Especially if you hire developers from Eastern Europe.

However, if you have never hired freelance or remote employees before, you may be confused.

  • Should I hire remote developers?
  • Which model of cooperation to choose?
  • Which information should be listed in the vacancy description for a recruiter?
  • What are the stages of the hiring process?
  • Should I hire freelance programmers?

This brief guide will help you to answer those questions and begin the recruitment process.

Where to Begin?

So you evaluated your project and made a decision to hire a remote IT expert or a development team. There are a few things you should decide at the beginning before you start looking for companies and send out your vacancies.

First of all, think about which model of cooperation you would prefer. Outsourcing is the practice of hiring a remote team that is led by the Project Manager. In this case, you communicate primarily with the aforementioned Project Manager, which usually saves a lot of time so you can focus on other parts business. Moreover, such teams can have Business Analysts as a part of it. And professional HRs, office managers, accountants, and tax specialists take care of your team’s needs.

Outstaffing, on the other hand, is the practice of hiring a single developer or a team of programmers that will complete your in-house team. In this case, you usually spend more time on managing and distributing tasks and duties. Some companies offer the services of account managers that help you during the time of your cooperation with the said company. However, if you are on a budget or you need a specialist in a very narrow field, outstaffing would be just right for you as it lets you not to hire additional in-house experts.

The last option is hiring a freelance programmer. But keep in mind all the pros and cons of hiring freelancers. The process of recruitment may be very time-consuming, and the developer you’ve hired may appear unreliable. Nevertheless, working with a freelancer is a good idea if you are looking for a programmer for a short small project and are looking for a cost-efficient option.

Second of all, set deadlines for yourself. The main thing to decide is the date you want the work on your project to begin. You should remember that the search for an IT expert may last from three weeks to three months. It, of course, depends on the level and fields of expertise of the said developer. You should also be ready to pay a lot of attention and devote a lot of time to this process if you expect to hire the best and get excellent results in the end.

The next thing to decide on is the budget and payment methods. Do you want to pay a monthly salary or pay each programmer per hour? How much are you willing to pay? Do you have a budget for unexpected expenses? It is necessary to answer these and other questions before you begin contacting the companies regarding possible cooperation.

The last but not the least important thing to clarify for yourself is the qualifications and expertise of the remote programmers you need or probably the specialization of the company. Make the list of the programming languages and technologies you are interested in. Look for the companies that have experience in the fields similar to yours. If you are planning to create a medical app it is quite logical to take a look at companies that developed such applications rather than, for instance, companies that mostly work in the gaming industry.

Having specific and precise ideas about each of these points will help you to begin the recruitment process with a clear vision. The better you understand your own needs, the easier the communication is with the recruiter and the more efficient hiring is.

Stages of the Hiring Process

Like any other process, hiring a remote developer or team has its advantages and disadvantages. Among the main advantages are budget-friendliness, ability to look for a developer in a big pool of candidates, and the ability to focus on your business while experts create a product for you. Possible security issues, possible communication problems, and possible cost escalations may be listed as the drawbacks of hiring remote developers as opposed to an in-house team. But it should be mentioned that hiring an account manager for your remote team may eliminate communication issues as usually these managers are always ready to help you.

The recruitment process obviously differs from company to company. But the main stages of this process are as follows:

  • Step 1 ‒ choose companies. Carefully read the reviews, ask for colleagues’ advice, check the companies’ previous clients and projects, research if their employees have the necessary skills and experience. List your own top-10 companies you would like to work with. Try to limit yourself to ten companies otherwise, it would be hard for you to make a choice on the final stage of hiring. You can make a table that contains all the necessary
  • Step 2 ‒ on this stage you send out your requests to the chosen companies. You review and write down all of the requirements. The description you prepared with the help of the “Where to Begin?” part will be very useful here.
  • Step 3 ‒ discuss and agree on the selection process. Each company may have its own peculiarities and special details in hiring. Good communication with the account manager is the key to success in this situation. As namely the account manager will work with a recruiter to find the best programmers for you. It is important to clearly convey your thoughts and needs so the recruiting specialist can find you the candidates that match your description and fulfill your expectations.
  • Step 4 ‒ schedule and conduct the interviews. With the help of account manager create a scheduled timetable. Also, prepare the technical tasks to check the skills of the candidates. Phone or Skype interviews often last no more than 30 minutes, but this time is usually enough to evaluate soft skills. The technical task may take longer time. Try not to schedule too many interviews on the same day. On the other hand, stretching out the interviews in time is also not the best idea.
  • Step 5 ‒ evaluate the results. Read and reread all the notes you made during the interviews. Check the technical tasks. After that, give each candidate marks both for an interview and technical task. If you screened out some candidates but still not sure whom to choose, feel free to ask for another interview or extended technical task.
  • Step 6 ‒ choose an expert. When the time comes to make a final decision, do not forget to pay attention to both soft and hard skills of the candidates. No matter how good one’s programming skills may be, if the person has some issues with communication or does not have the same work values as you do, your cooperation most likely will not be as successful and productive as you wish.
  • Step 7 ‒ respond to all the other companies. It is very important to send out letters to all the other companies telling them that you found the specialist you needed. This will help you to maintain the reputation of a responsible and reliable employer in case you will work with these companies in the future. After that, the recruitment teams of each company will notify each candidate about the rejection. Try not to make a person wait for more than a week for your response. It may also help rejected candidates to work on their weaker sides and perfect their skills.

Conclusion

A lot of companies hesitate if they should work with freelancers of remote programmers because it seems to be a very labor-intensive, time-consuming, and stressful process. Although the hiring of a remote programmer or a remote development team may seem complicated, it actually is relatively simple. These seven easy steps may help you to plan and begin this process:

  1. Listing your needs and priorities. First of all, think hard about what kind of remote developer (or developers) you need and list them. For instance, which product do you want to create, which programming languages are the best choice in your situation, how many people do you need. You should as well clarify other important details such as deadlines, budget, etc. Try to be as clear and specific as possible.
  2. Create the vacancy description. After you get a clear vision of the developer or the team you need, it is time to create a vacancy. List all your preferences and requirements so recruiter knows whom do you need exactly. Try to be specific but brief. Also ‒ do not forget to add a few sentences with the information about your company.
  3. Create the list of top-10 companies. Decide if you would prefer nearshoring, offshoring, or onshoring. If you are interested in outstaffing, look for the companies that offer the staff augmentation and add a developer to your existing in-house team. If you are interested in outsourcing, look for leading companies that offer software development services. Pay attention to the reviews you can find and ask for the advice from the colleagues. After you choose the companies you can see yourself working with, send them your request.
  4. Collect all the answers. Gather all the offers and CVs of the candidates you got and evaluate them. Pay more attention to experience, past projects, and background of each developer. Sometimes programmers also add samples of the code so you have a better understanding of one’s skills and expertise. Mind that this process takes time, so plan your work accordingly. You can screen out some candidates at this stage.
  5. Schedule the interviews. Too many interviews on the same day can make it harder for you to make a decision. It also can be quite tiring. The main rule you should remember ‒ do not leave the person to wait after the interview for more than 10 days with no answer.
  6. Interview the candidates. Interviews help you to evaluate the soft skills of each candidate. You may screen out some of them on this stage if you feel that certain personality traits of a candidate do not align with your vision, ideas, and corporate culture. The technical task, on the other hand, shows the hard skills, competency, and experience of the candidate.
  7. Evaluate the results. Take a look at all the CVs and the notes you made during the interviews. Pay equal attention to soft skills and hard skills.

After you have read all the information above, you have sufficient knowledge to hire remote developers or even the whole remote development team. Choosing outsourcing may be the right choice for you, and this experience will exceed your expectations.

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I am currently the founder of Echo and a couple of the marketing automation startups in the past. I like sharing my experience and useful insights on the company blog.
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Lou Reverchuk

Entrepreneur, Marketer, Writer

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