How to Hire a Remote Software Developer

Hiring a remote developer can be a time-consuming and demanding process. If not done efficiently, it can cost both you and your organization time and money. The process involves creating a job listing, screening candidates, making phone calls, learning more about each candidate, and testing them. Even after hiring a developer, it may not be clear if they are the right fit until they begin working. If you are a manager tasked with assembling a team of talented developers and want to ensure success, it is important to carefully consider the hiring process.

Why Hire Remote Engineers? Key Benefits

So, if you have no idea how to find and hire remote developers, our updated article is for you!! Now let’s get started!

There are several benefits businesses get hiring remote developers:

  • Cost savings: Hiring remote developers can save businesses money on overhead costs such as office space, utilities, and equipment.
  • Access to a wider pool of talent: By hiring remote developers, businesses have access to a wider pool of talent, as they are not limited to hiring locally.
  • Increased productivity: Remote work has been shown to increase productivity, as it allows developers to work in an environment that is comfortable and conducive to their needs.
  • Flexibility: Remote work allows businesses to be more flexible and adaptable, as they are not constrained by location.
  • Improved retention: Remote work has been linked to increased job satisfaction and improved retention, as it allows employees to have a better work-life balance.
  • Enhanced collaboration: With the right tools and processes in place, remote teams can be just as collaborative as in-person teams.

What Does a Perfect Developer Look Like? 5 Skills To Look For

While there are many skilled and dedicated software developers available for remote work, finding the right fit is crucial for establishing a productive and long-term working relationship. 

When looking for a good developer to hire, it is important to consider not only traditional qualities and professional experience but also soft skills that are specific to remote work. Some key qualities to look for include:

  1. Self-discipline: A developer who can work independently, stay organized, and be productive without constant supervision is ideal for remote work.
  2. Strong communication: A developer should have excellent verbal and written communication skills and be fluent in the primary language of business. This is crucial for effective collaboration with the team.
  3. Initiative: Developers who take initiative when working on projects are highly valuable. These are typically senior-level developers with a wealth of experience.
  4. Work-life balance: Remote work allows developers to balance their personal and professional lives, which can increase productivity. It’s often better to hire remote developers who have interests and hobbies outside of work to prevent burnout.
  5. Maturity: A good developer should be able to provide realistic timelines for tasks and projects, taking into account potential delays or bugs. A developer who is reliable and delivers their work early is more valuable than one who is overly optimistic and delivers late.

While technical skills are important, soft skills are also crucial for a developer’s long-term value. Developers with poor soft skills tend not to last long on a team, as collaboration is essential for success in a remote setting.

When reviewing resumes and cover letters, it is important to consider the candidate’s skills, years of experience, and education. A cover letter can provide insight into a candidate’s personality and should be written in an earnest, well-written manner.

Ultimately, a good developer will meet most of the required technical skills on paper and demonstrate those skills during technical tests. A great developer will also have strong communication skills and showcase their soft skills through their past work and throughout the interviewing process. It is also beneficial to look for candidates who are team players and have a track record of strong collaboration skills.

Hard Skills

When it comes to hiring a remote software developer, you don’t want to settle for just anyone. You want a rockstar developer who brings a wealth of technical skills and knowledge to the table. And that’s where hard skills come in!

Hard skills refer to the specific technical abilities and knowledge required to perform the job. These are often acquired through formal education or training, and they’re what allows a developer to understand the problem, design and implement a solution, and maintain and improve the software.

So, what should you look for in a remote software developer’s hard skills?

  • Strong programming experience in the language or technologies relevant to your project. You want a developer who knows their stuff and can write clean, efficient, and maintainable code.
  • Experience with version control systems such as Git. A software developer who can manage the source code, collaborate with others, and keep a clean codebase is a must-have.
  • Familiarity with agile development methodologies. Agile is all the rage, so you want a developer who knows how to work in an agile environment and can adapt to changes.
  • Experience with testing and debugging tools. A developer who can write and run automated tests and troubleshoot and fix bugs is a lifesaver.

So, don’t settle for just anyone. Hire remote software developers who bring a wealth of hard skills to the table. Because when it comes to building top-notch software, you want the best of the best!

Soft Skills

Hiring a remote software developer is not just about their technical abilities, it’s also about their personal qualities, attitudes, and behaviors. That’s where soft skills come in!

Soft skills are essential for success in any job, they are the personal qualities, attitudes, and behaviors that make a developer a great team player and an asset to your company. They are often acquired through life experiences and are not necessarily tied to formal education.

So, what should you look for in a remote software developer’s soft skills?

  • Strong communication skills to effectively collaborate with remote team members. You want a developer who can communicate clearly and effectively and use different communication tools to stay connected and aligned.
  • Self-motivation and ability to work independently. You want a developer who is self-motivated and able to take ownership of tasks and deliver them on time.
  • Strong problem-solving skills to troubleshoot and debug issues. You want a developer who can think critically, analyze problems and come up with solutions.
  • Flexibility and adaptability to work in a remote and dynamic environment. You want a developer who can work in a remote and dynamic environment, where priorities and requirements may change frequently.
  • Strong time management skills to prioritize and meet deadlines. You want a developer who can manage their time effectively and is able to prioritize and meet deadlines.

It’s important to keep in mind that the perfect developer may not have all these skills and qualities, but it’s important to look for a candidate who has a good balance of hard and soft skills that align with the requirements of the job and the culture of the company. So, don’t just focus on the technical skills, focus on the whole package, and make sure to hire remote developers who will be a great asset to your company.

An Outsource Team OR A Freelancer?

In the process of hiring software engineers, organizations have two main options to consider: outsourcing to a team or hiring a freelancer. Both options come with distinct advantages and disadvantages and the decision should be based on the specific needs and resources of the organization.

An Outsource Team:

Outsourcing to a team can provide you with a dedicated group of experienced software engineers who can work on your project full-time. This option can also provide you with a more stable workforce, as team members are typically committed to the project for a longer period of time. Outsource teams often have a wide range of skills and experience, which can be beneficial for complex projects that require a variety of expertise.

Pros: Outsourcing to a team can provide you with a dedicated team that’s fully focused on your project and committed to delivering high-quality software. They will be responsible for all aspects of the software development process, from requirements gathering and design to development, testing, and deployment. Additionally, outsourcing teams usually have well-established processes and tools in place, which can help to ensure the quality and efficiency of the software development process.

Pros: Outsourcing to a team is that you can leverage their expertise to help you stay ahead of the curve in terms of technology, which can be especially beneficial for startups and small businesses. Outsourcing teams often have a wealth of knowledge and experience in a wide range of technologies and platforms, which can help to ensure that your software is built using the latest and most effective tools and frameworks.

Cons: Outsourcing to a team can be more expensive than hiring a freelancer, as you will be paying for the entire team’s salaries and benefits. Additionally, outsourcing teams are often based in different time zones, which can make communication and coordination more difficult.

Hiring a Freelancer:

Freelancers are self-employed individuals who work on a project-by-project basis, rather than being employed by a single company. They can provide a wide range of services, including writing, graphic design, web development, and more. When hiring a freelancer, it is important to clearly communicate your project requirements and expectations. This can include the scope of the project, the desired outcome, and any specific skills or qualifications that are required. It can also be helpful to establish a timeline and milestones for the project, as well as a payment schedule.

Pros: You can hire a highly skilled and experienced software engineer at a fraction of the cost of hiring a full-time employee or outsourcing to a team. This can be especially beneficial for small businesses and startups that have limited resources. Freelancers often have a lot of flexibility in terms of their schedule, which can be beneficial if you need someone to work on your project on a part-time or project basis.

Pros: When hiring a freelancer, you can often find someone who is highly skilled and experienced in a specific technology or platform, which can help to ensure that your software is built using the latest and most effective tools and frameworks.

Cons: Freelancers may not have as much experience or a wide range of skills as an outsourcing team. Additionally, freelancers may not be as committed to your project in the long term, and may not be able to provide the same level of support and expertise as a dedicated team. Communication and coordination may also be more difficult as freelancers may not be available on a regular schedule or may not be as responsive as a dedicated team.

How To Hire Remote Developers: Top Do's and Don'ts of Conducting Virtual Interviews

The post below originally appeared on Forbes.

Growing the technical resources at your company through outsourcing? You’re not alone. Outsourcing and IT staff augmentation continue to offer companies a fast and easy route to building their software development muscle. Beyond a cost-effective outlet for saving money and improving performance, however, “disruptive outsourcing” has transformed into an instrument for innovation and competitive advantage, according to Deloitte’s U.S. 2018 Global Outsourcing Survey.

In the world of software development staff augmentation, nearshoring is fast becoming the most popular and most liked outsourcing model. There are many nearshoring advantages, so businesses, corporations, and startups can greatly profit from this model.

Online interview

As a co-founder of an outsourcing software development company, I recommend keeping these key do’s and don’ts in mind when conducting your next interview for a remote software developer:

Do ask about the initiative.

Remote employees need to be self-starters. They won’t have someone looking over their shoulder each moment and keeping them on task or delegating every detail. Make sure that you inquire about how the candidate organizes their work, manages their time, communicates, takes initiative, and deals with roadblocks (or challenging clients) when they encounter them. Ask them to give you a real-life example of where they have done this, or role-play a scenario where they are on your engineering team and dealing with someone who disagrees with a decision they made.

Don’t ‘lead the witness.’

Try not to give your interviewee the answer you are looking for within your question. For example, you may be inclined to describe what your team needs before you ask a question (i.e., “We’re looking for a self-starter who can tackle new tasks without much direction. Does that sound like you?”). Instead, ask your interviewee about experiences where they have led the charge and exemplified independent work.

Do conduct skills-based tests and code reviews.

In addition to covering the languages, frameworks, and tools your interviewee already knows, be prepared to put their knowledge to the test. Share a specific scenario related to writing code, and ask your interviewee to pseudo-code an approach to solving the problem.

Initiate a dialogue with questions like, “How would you handle this challenge?” and “What questions would you have in a review of this code?” Since you cannot “whiteboard” a problem easily when your candidate is in a different location, make use of online tools like a shared text editor that both parties can view on their screens. This type of skills challenge lets you see how your potential candidate deconstructs a problem, understands code, and communicates their ideas.

Pro tip: If your hiring budget allows, give your top candidate a small, paid project to complete — think 8-16 hours at a maximum. Ask for their hourly rate, and agree upon a total price. Clearly define the requirements, and lay out what your expectations are for a final product. Ask them to illustrate for you along the way (either via email, screen capture video, or project management/ticketing apps) the approach and process they implement to find a solution — from their selection of framework to their workflows and so on.

Don’t stick to a script.

As the hiring party, you’ll have a relatively good idea of your candidate’s level of expertise based on their resume and previous job experience. Avoid putting a candidate on the spot by requiring them to precisely recall language style and syntax when coding during a skills test. If they have difficulty understanding the problem, be prepared to reframe or move on. You may ask things in a way that did not compute for them at first, or they may be nervous about messing up. When in doubt, have backup questions and programming exercises of varying lengths of time and difficulty levels prepared.

Do think about the ‘team’ fit.

Do you have more individuals on your team or a group that embraces frequent collaboration? Do you feel your candidate will fit in with your remote team, or will they need help to adjust? For example, if your interviewee says that they like working in silence and prefer scheduled meetings, they might not do as well with frequent interruptions from other team members who like to call out of the blue to collaborate.

Don’t overlook diversity.

Remember, just because someone has a different style of working doesn’t mean they can’t add value and perspective to your team. Ultimately, you want to set expectations for team members and help them work together toward common project milestones (without getting bogged down in personal disputes or frequent complaints to management).

Do check in with their references.

If the proof is in the pudding, consider a good reference for a gourmet souffle. Confirming a candidate’s capabilities and experience and achievements goes beyond what’s on paper and what happens in an interview. Remember, however, almost all of the references they give you are going to be from people that the candidate would love for you to call.

Pro tip: Ask your candidate to give you a reference from the job they had before their current job, no matter what it was. For freelancers, ask for their second most recent client. This way, there is no issue with their current workplace knowing they are interviewing elsewhere, and you can gauge their comfort by whether they answer your request or come up with an excuse.

Don’t assume one poor client experience is reflective of all their work.

While multiple poor client experiences can certainly be a red flag, occasionally a company and an employee don’t mesh. That doesn’t necessarily mean they won’t be a fit as a remote member of your own team. If you have a one-off bad report amid a sea of glowing recommendations, ask your candidate about their experience with a client who did not agree with their approach. How did they navigate the situation, and what lessons did they learn?

A final rule of thumb you might find helpful is to ask your interviewee what they have learned about your company so far and what questions they may have for you. If they bring up specific projects or ask more about your company’s story and beginnings, you know they have done their research and have a vested interest in working for you.

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