How to Hire Remote Developers - Everything You Need to Know
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The job market of today is far from perfect. Any recruiter will tell you they use a whole bunch of creative thinking to bridge the gap between supply and demand. However, this gap is nowhere as big as in the IT industry. Even when the whole world is your oyster, hiring a good remote developer is one of the biggest challenges of any startup or even a well-established company. Development teams are struggling with the increasing work requests, demands for quality output, and many compromises have to be made so the client won’t suffer. But does it really have to be like that?
We believe that the answer is no. It is possible to attract, hire and retain quality developers to grow your remote teams, reach your revenue goals, and have satisfied customers. Below you can find a thorough step-by-step guide that will lead you to your desired outcome of hiring remote developers. Let’s begin.
Start with "the why"
Hiring remote developers is more difficult than other recruiting assignments you might have because there aren’t that many you can choose from. Or better said, a lot of developers can be found on the market, but the market needs so much more. For a while now it can be said that IT is the fastest growing industry in the world. When you add the rise in remote work, you understand why remote works in the software industry are such a high commodity.
That just means you will have to work that much harder to have perspective programmers consider you as their future employee. How can you do this? Well, by knowing your company inside and out, fine-tuning the remote benefits package, and giving them all the info they might need. Let’s break that down.
Know your worth, just like your candidates do
When there are way more jobs than there are software engineers, the balance of the market shifts to favor the candidates. This is why you can often hear that developers are "spoiled" - they know that they bring a lot of value and that they are a necessity, so they get to dictate the terms. However, just like when the situations are reversed, that doesn’t mean that the other party, in this case, the company, loses their worth. To attract the very best talent, every HR employee needs to know the company’s why and communicate it loudly and clearly on every touchpoint with the candidates.
Your potential employees should learn every important company trait during the hiring process. What the company is all about, what is the value you bring, how you impact the community, how you dictate the market trends, how happy your employees are etc. Remote employees that you want to hire should fall in love with your story - and they can only do that if you know how to tell it. Dazzle them and they will forget that the market favored them in the first place.
Shower them with benefits - the ones they care about
When you make an offer to a freelancer, it has to be more than good. And when you are making an offer to someone who is considered the best developer… It has to be great! But what is a great job offer anyway? A good salary? A company car? The best parking spot? Corner office? All of those are perks of the past, we are now all part of the remote work era, and the game has changed, significantly.
Hiring someone to work in-house vs outsourcing means that the world of comp&ben has been changed completely. You are still able to win over the very best candidates the world’s talent pool has to offer, you just have to offer them different benefits. Which ones? The ones they care about!
In addition to a great salary, your remote software developers should be equipped with the right tools for the job - software, and hardware. There is nothing worse than giving a tech talent a subpar technology to work with. But that’s just one part of their workday.
They should also be able to enjoy perks that allow them to do their job well and with the least frustration possible - the very best working methods such as agile, talented, and qualified project managers that oversee their work and guide them, a solid working atmosphere in their remote team. A competitive salary is a must in the IT industry, so the rest of the offer should be top-notch. Any good developer can find a company that can pay him well. However, it isn’t that easy to find the one where they feel comfortable, respected, where the perks offered to them help them privately as well professionally, and where they can enjoy spending time with their remote development team - even after working hours.
In the IT industry, the value is in the information
Do you know what is the most common question any developer asks in a job interview? This is the same for remote developers and in-house teams. It is, almost always, a variation of - What kind of technology do you use? Developers want to know every little piece of information you can give them - methods of working, programing languages, tools, software, size of teams, project management methodology, ways of communication, project goals, and deadlines… To be able to provide the most accurate information you need to know the ins and outs of every position you are offering. This is especially important for recruiters that don’t come from technical backgrounds - make sure that your hiring managers have provided you with enough information that you can share with the candidates and use it to entice them to continue with the selection process.
How to hire remote developers
Hiring top talent can sometimes be just a stroke of luck. However, you can’t base your entire business model on it. What you can do is invest time and energy into a recruiting and screening process for remote developers that enables you to assemble a software development team that works well together, understands their role and importance, and contributes daily to the company goals. What you should start from is the job description.
Job description - the cornerstone of every good hiring process
To make sure you attract the right talent you need to have a job description that will highlight what every remote developer is looking for. There are several building blocks of a good job description. Most commonly, job seekers first look at the tasks they will be performing.
The Software Developer's position requires to use of software development languages and tools to research, design, implement, manage, test, and evaluate software programs.
These are some of the possible duties and responsibilities that your remote developer should perform:
- Researching, designing, managing software programs
- Testing and evaluating new programs
- Modifying software to fix the error, improve its performance
- Deploying software tools, processes, and metrics
- Directing software programming and documentation development
- Writing and implementing code
- Preparing reports on programming project specifications, activities, or status
- Consulting with engineering staff to evaluate software-hardware interfaces and develop specifications and performance requirements.
In addition to the task list, the job ad should list all the possible perks. Work from home is an obvious one, but make sure you are clearly stating everything else that you can offer - for example, flexible working hours. A lot of up-and-coming new developers come from Ukraine, India, and several other countries with different time zones than the US. Being able to offer them flexibility will be of the utmost importance.
If you choose to include in your workforce employees whose English isn’t native, providing them with language classes can be a win-win for both parties. Language barriers can sometimes cause a lot of issues inside teams, and communication skills are very important assets of every developer. Offering them benefits that contribute to better teamwork and performance is always a good option.
Where you place your job postings can make a big difference
When you choose to work with remote workers, the whole world becomes your talent pool. However, what many fail to grasp is that that means your position should be visible across that same world - anywhere and everywhere and by anyone. That means that you should post your open position on job boards that remote workers and freelancers frequently visit such as UpWork and TopTal.
In addition, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of LinkedIn as a business network. It doesn’t matter if you are looking for independent contractors or full-time employees, this social media network can help you reach promising candidates and build your employer brand in the process.
Remote software developers selection process
The hiring process for remote employees that you want to outsource isn’t that different from the typical recruiting process - you still need to find someone that seems like a good match for you and your company. However, when you are looking for remote developers, you can’t really have a simple 2-step process - you need to be innovative and creative.
Hiring remote developers means that you need to test their hard skills, how their personality matches their team members and your development company, their level of commitment and dedication, and their ability to be flexible and adaptable. There is no interview process that can achieve all that, so you need to include a step or two while selecting them.
Our advice is to include personality and technical knowledge tests in the selection process and to have your final picks complete a special assignment created by the team they will be joining. You shouldn’t have too many complicated steps, in order not to discourage potential candidates, but it's better to make sure that you have hired someone who will be a good fit for your company in the long run.
What to look for when recruiting your remote development team
There is no perfect candidate, nor a perfect company. There are only good, great, or terrible fits. Your job as a recruiter is to attract, recruit and select the best possible match you can - your company’s values, mission, and goals with an individual that is most likely to understand them. However, when it comes to remote developers, there are certain traits that you should definitely look for.
How important are the hard skills?
Look at technical skills as something that is necessary, but it doesn’t stand well alone. Like the bearing wall of a house - you can’t have a house without it, but just that empty wall standing alone… It’s not such a pretty sight. Your candidates should pass the test you give them, in terms of their knowledge and skill in regards to the technology, as well as methodology, they will be using. But if you are choosing from several candidates whose hard skills are almost equal, always choose the one that has the most developed soft skills. And here’s why.
Soft skills: what makes or breaks a good employee
A solid soft skill set is what makes someone a great employee. If we are specifically talking about remote developers here is what you should be looking for: work-life balance, communication skills, flexibility, patience, and especially time management and self-motivation.
Development processes can be long, straining, it can require a lot of attention to detail, cross-developmental cooperation, and a lot of back and forth with clients. Not everyone is cut out for that kind of work, no matter how well they can code. HR’s role is to map out the necessary skills, target candidates that may possess them, and find ways to put that assumption to the test. Although learning a new coding language is hard, developing your soft skills is a lot harder, and sometimes it takes years. This is why the best option is to hire someone who already has them, at least the ones you care about.
Thinking outside of the box: don’t forget about talent retention
Now, why would you go through all that trouble of recruiting someone you consider a catch on the job market, invest all that time and energy into getting them to accept your offer, only to completely forget about them when they say yes and move on to the next position? That just means you will have to recruit for that position again, and soon. This is why onboarding is a necessary last step in every hiring process. Or at least it should be.
When it comes to a good onboarding process it doesn’t matter if someone’s had years of experience behind them, if they’ve worked in fancy companies like Google and Amazon, if they are a freelancer or if they’ve spent their entire career in a corporate environment. Everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued once they start working as much, or more, as they felt so during the selection process. That means that the motivation, commitment, and promises made need to stay on the same level and to slowly rise in the years to come. When hiring new talent the goal is always the same - to never have to replace them.