How to Hire Remote Developers [Frequently Asked Questions]
Over the past 10 years or more, global economy has been changing. The term “gig economy” was born. It means that companies around the world are hiring less full-time, in-house employees, and instead relying on freelancers and remote workers.
This has created new challenges for employers. Since employees are no longer in one place, managers had to learn new ways to plan, manage, and coordinate projects with remote workers from all around the world.
In this article, we want to tackle the challenges of hiring remote software developers, as it is the most sought-after professional group in the market today.
Let’s get right into it!
1. Where to look for remote developers?
First thing you want to do is to consult your network.
This means asking your entrepreneur colleagues, coworkers, and friends who might know great remote developers, or know where to find them. It also means going on LinkedIn, posting about the open job, and messaging your connections.
The second step is to go online, and search the web for sites where you can find remote developers to hire. At this point, things already start to get tricky.
That’s because there are different services online:
- Freelancer marketplaces – like UpWork.com, Freelancer.com, or Guru.com. These services allow you to find great remote workers, and choose the right ones based on their skills and reviews.
- Outsourcing companies – like Onix-Systems.com These companies offer packaged services for different software needs, like mobile app development or website development. They are often named “software house” or “software studio”.
- Outstaffing companies – like Talmatic.com. Companies like this offer a mix of freelance work (but with more control) and full-time hiring (with less costs). You pick the developers you need out of the company’s network, they join your team, and you manage their work just as any other employee.
What’s the difference between these options? With freelancers, you have the least control, because freelance work usually doesn’t even require a contract, and it allows the freelancer complete control over how he or she does the project.
Hiring freelancers is best for situations where you need something done – API integration, building a landing page, adding a new feature – and doing so doesn’t require the worker to cooperate with your team over a longer period of time.
As for outsourcing companies, there is a lot of them out there as it’s the fastest growing market today. Working with an outsourcing company, your control virtually ends when you sign a contract. The outsourcing company takes over the whole development process, which means that you don’t have to manage the project, because you’re completely entrusting it into their hands.
Finally, outstaffing companies are a mix of the above options and full-time hiring. Outstaffing companies take care of the hiring aspects that are most unnerving, like finding good candidates and screening their skills.
Essentially they allow you to hire remote developers who will join your team, but do it without the costs and troubles of full-time hiring, and in a flexible way, meaning that if you don’t need additional developers any more, you can easily let them go and re-hire later on if needed.
2. How to screen remote developers?
If you use outstaffing, this won’t be a problem for you, as the outstaffing company will deal with it for you. In any other case, you have to be prepared to test developers extensively before you hire them.
First of all, remote developers should have experience working remotely with companies like yours. It’s ill-advised to hire inexperienced developers to take their first steps in remote work during your project, because it might lead to unforeseen development problems.
When you hire in-house junior developers, it makes sense as long as you have more experienced developers that will teach the juniors what they need to know. But that doesn’t work in case of remote workers, which is why experience is much more important here.
Second, they should have great communication skills. It may seem that everyone can do it, everybody uses social media, right? It’s true, but communicating with a team of developers working on the same project from different parts of the world is a much greater challenge. There is much more at stake in this situation, and remote developers need to understand that they simply can’t be unresponsive for longer periods of time.
Another sign of a great remote developer is that he or she contributes to open-source projects on sites like GitHub. Experience contributors will be used to remote work, understand perfectly how to communicate with other developers in different time-zones, and how to write high-quality code with a team of developers spread around the whole world.
Depending on what your project is, it will require different technologies and different sets of skills. If you have a technical lead or senior developer on your team, they will know these things. But if you have to determine all of this yourself, then hiring can become much harder.
In any case, you should discuss these technologies with potential candidates – ask them how they would build your project, how they would approach choosing the right technology, and what they think is the right tech approach. Even if you don’t fully understand the answers, it’s ok, because in this step you’re looking to remove the candidates that are completely unable to explain these things.
Another important thing is a test project. Outstaffing companies, like Talmatic, have this as part of their process for a reason – nothing gives you a better idea of how developers will cooperate with your existing team, than simply giving them a bit of code to write. This will show you whether they are professional, timely, and let you examine the quality of their code.
3. Managing and coordinating work with remote developers
Now this is probably the trickiest part – that’s unless you use outstaffing, where the service provider will help you coordinate the project between your team and remote developers.
Some would even say that managing remote developers effectively is impossible, however that is short-sighted.
An important part of managing remote developers is to keep in touch. Simple, right? Even though it is almost banal, it is the most challenging part of working with remote developers.
Here’s what can help you:
- Time management apps – like Hubstaff, which makes it easy to track how much time your remote developers are really spending on your project.
- Project management apps – like Trello, which is an online project-board which gives you a clear outline of how the project is progressing.
- Messaging apps – like Slack, which is a sleek, useful chat beloved and used by a huge part of the software development community.
But don’t believe for a second that additional software or project management “methods” will save your project when bad things happen. The only way to properly manage the coordination between remote developers and your team is to stay on top of everything.
Hiring remote developers forces managers to become more professional, more communicative, and more efficient. After all, it’s a two-way street, and it’s not always the remote developers who mess things up, but very often it’s the managers who aren’t experienced in controlling projects that involve remote workers.
It would be hard to squeeze every bit of knowledge about hiring remote developers into one article. But the outline is here. You need to:
- Find the right place – either freelancers, outsourcing companies, or an outstaffing service.
- Screen remote developers – test their skills, discuss development issues with them, give a test project (not necessary in case of outstaffing, where it’s done for you)
- Manage remote developers – ensure good communication, and timely deliveries between your team and remote workers
Remote work is the new standard. Given geographically limited talent pools, especially in the software development market, companies that want to stay ahead of competition need to take advantage of the various available remote hiring options.