Hiring a remote developer is not as easy as it sounds. Hiring the right candidate is arguably the most critical ingredient for successfully growing a business. This can be a costly and time-consuming process, especially with the global shift toward remote work; you must become even more laser-focused on finding the right candidate

So, the questions you might be facing as a CEO or as a manager adjusting to the global shift to remote work are:

  • How do I hire a remote developer?
  • How to create a job description?
  • What are the most important skills they should have?
  • Where do I find dedicated remote developers?
  • What are some of the best places to hire remote software developers?

These questions are common for those who want to make the right decisions when it comes to hiring remotely.

Hire the best remote developer for your team

Why Hire a Remote Developer

Remote work has been increasing for the last decade significantly. However, there’s no doubt that 2020 accelerated that growth. Companies are shifting to a remote environment, and as time passes by, they are hiring more and more virtual employees.

In the IT industry, companies have been hiring remote developers for a long time now. It was common to hear the term ‘outsourcing,’ especially for those companies who wanted to pay cheap salaries and chose to hire developers from countries such as India. Yet, it’s an entirely different thing than hiring remote employees, and outsourcing can negatively affect your business.

When you hire a remote developer, not only do they benefit from having a flexible schedule and the possibility to work at the comfort of their homes (or any café, coworking space, etc.), but you as the employer also experience a lot of significant benefits.

Benefits of Hiring a Remote Developer

1. Fewer costs

Hiring a remote developer means you save a lot of costs. You don’t need to pay for their physical office space, neither for electricity, water, or coffee, among other costs. Companies that encourage their employees to work from home reduce expenses up to $11,000 per employee annually. 

2. Wider pool of talent

The biggest myth that remote work has debunked was that the world’s best developers are in Silicon Valley. Yes, IT talent overshines in those big fancy IT companies, but there are other countries where you can find equally (or even greater) developers. When you hire remotely, you have the entire world to choose from, and this only means that you have a vast quantity of developers with excellent skills ready to start working at your company.

3. Employee retention

Remote work means happy employees, and happy employees are likely to stick to your company for a long time. When people have the option to manage their time and their schedules, they can have a better work-life balance. According to a survey conducted by Owl Labs in 2019, full-time remote workers said that they are 22% happier in their current job than people who never work remotely.

4. Help the planet

When you decide to either build a remote company or hire remote employees, you help the planet. By definition, remote workers work outside the office. Most likely they work from home or in a coworking space near their houses. They don’t spend hours on a commute to go to the office, and just this small action helps to save millions of greenhouse gasses that are the product of transportation.

5. Productive developers

Probably you’ve heard this one before a thousand times this year. But seriously, remote workers are more productive. They get less distracted, and because they manage their schedules, they know at what time they are more productive and at what times it’s better to leave the computer for a while. FlexJobs surveyed 3,100 professionals on this subject. They found out that 65% were more productive working from home than at a regular office.

How Can you Hire a Remote Developer Effectively

Finding remote developers is easier said than done. Millions of developers are looking for a job, so the problem will never be that there’s a developer shortage or that there are no options. The problem will be around finding the right talent that suits your company’s needs.

Here are 5 key steps to hire a talented remote developer:

1. Define your Ideal Candidate

Before writing a job ad and post it everywhere you can think of, the number one thing you need to do is define your ideal candidate. What does your dream developer look like? Which traits do you need this person to have?

Defining the job position is about knowing what this person will be doing and analyzing the person beyond their technical tasks. When you hire someone to work for your company, you expect them to understand your culture because it reflects on their job, and therefore, on results.

2. Have a Hiring Process

When you have figured out what kind of employee you would like for your team, you need to set up a hiring process. This is especially useful for startups or companies that just started hiring remotely because they create a general guideline for future hires.

A hiring process contains relevant aspects such as writing down a job description that encourages talented developers to apply and the tools you’ll use during the hiring process. For example, if interviews will occur by Zoom, or where would they take place. 

3. Places to Find and Hire the Best Remote Developer

Now, this is important. As stated above, the problem isn’t in finding developers. There are millions of them all over the world, some of them busy others looking for job opportunities. The real problem is in finding talented developers. This is why writing a good job description and looking for them in the right places matters. 

You can post a job ad on popular job boards or freelancing platforms, or you can headhunt talented IT candidates and find the best ones.

These are some of the best places to look for remote developers:

  • LinkedIn – This platform is one of the tools that has helped our recruiters connect with great IT talent making our clients happy. 

  • Job boards – For this one, you need patience and energy, but you can have great results. Job boards are great to post your job ad and wait for talented applicants to see the offer and apply. However, it doesn’t guarantee that those who apply will be the type of developer you are looking for.

  • Remote recruitment agency – One of the reasons I changed the IT recruitment game was because I knew how hard it was for companies to get the talent they needed. Outsourcing is not the solution, remote hiring is. We explained in detail the main difference between remote recruiting and local recruiting on this article. Remote recruitment agencies, like DistantJob, help you hire the exact candidate you want because we work hand in hand with you. We not only help you hire the developer with all the skills you need but also someone who understands how you work and operate.

4. Make Great Interviews

One of the hardest positions to fill in teams, generally speaking, is regarding IT talent. When it comes to hiring a remote developer, it’s hard to know what the best ways are to test their skills or to make sure they do what they preach. 

Any remote developer can talk a good game. But how will he fare under pressure when he needs to deliver quality work on a tight deadline?

Rather than guessing how a remote developer job candidate might fare under those conditions, put him to work. Give him one project to start. See how he fares in real-time. 

The project you assign may take a few hours or a few days. But seeing tangible results instead of predicting how the developer candidate might deliver can be a valuable and illuminating part of the remote hiring process.

How to do great interviews? I’ve learned this with many years of experience. When it comes to hiring developers, it’s crucial that you have defined a process for it. You can’t pretend to interview someone and then hire them right away, hoping they will be what you need.

Sometimes candidates dazzle us during remote interviews, but it’s still better to make sure that person is the right one. During interviews, always keep in mind that you are not only looking for the technical abilities and the hard skills, but you also need to look for soft skills. 

Tip: Make team interviews. Especially if you are looking for a dev that will be working in a team with other developers. Having team interviews will help you make an objective decision regarding if a candidate will be a great employee or if the team is looking for something different.

5. Onboarding

The final step is onboarding. Did you know that great employee onboarding can improve employee retention by 82%? 

Onboarding a remote programmer is a process that contains different aspects. It’s not only about giving them a huge boring manual about what your company is about or what your mission and vision is. 

When you make your new developer understand your beliefs, why your company rocks, and how excited you are for them to be on the team, it changes everything! 

To make a successful onboarding make sure to:

  • Have the paperwork ready: This is the boring part, but it’s necessary, have everything up to date, the contract, your new employee’s information, etc. all the essential things that either in a remote environment or not need to be taken care of. 
  • Set clear expectations from the beginning: What are you expecting from them? What are they expecting from the company? It’s also helpful for them to understand how communication works and how they are expected to communicate in the team. All the basic things that seem obvious for us are not for the new employees, so it’s better to make it clear from the beginning.
  • Encourage socialization: It’s easy to talk about how awesome your company is or how everyone is friendly but keep in mind that you are not in a physical office. This means your new dev won’t get to speak with people in the hallway; you need to encourage them and your team to gather in a zoom meeting and get to know the new employee or make a fun virtual activity to strengthen your culture. 

In my book, Surviving Remote Work, I wrote a section dedicated to remote onboarding with the main lessons I’ve learned through my 15+ working remotely and leading remote teams. 

Hiring Full-time Remote Developers vs Freelancers

Isn’t it easier to hire a freelancer who does the job? What’s the buzz with hiring a full-time remote developer anyway? One word: Results.

Freelancers are perfect for those companies who need someone for just one project, and that’s it. But if you need someone to take care of several aspects or work side-by-side with your team, hiring freelancers is the wrong call.

On the other hand, full-time remote developers are regular employees, except that they are not working in an office. They have the same responsibilities, and you can demand the same things you do with regular employees.

This matters because the quality of the results is entirely different. To understand this, more in-depth, look at the infographic below:

Full time remote developer versus freelancer

Ready to Hire the Best Remote Developer – DistantJob is the solution

One of the reasons why hiring IT talent is so difficult, its because people look in the wrong places. Don’t limit yourself to one location! You have the entire world filled with countries that have excellent IT talent to choose from. We listed some strategies to help you hire remote software developers, but if you tried it all and nothing seems to work, it’s time for you to get the big guns out: Us.

At DistantJob, we’ve been making the perfect match with companies and developers for more than a decade. Our expertise is not only because we are amazing at headhunting software developers but also because we help you hire candidates that also understand your culture. Those types of candidates you are happy to see on Zoom because they tell killer jokes. Or those who are quieter but do an outstanding job. Whichever you prefer, leave it to us to find you the top 2% of top developers from all over the world.

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Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman

Sharon Koifman believes every company, from the biggest enterprise to the newly-launched garage startup, should have access to world’s top talent. That’s why he used over 10 years of experience in tech industry recruitment & HR to create DistantJob. His unique recruitment model allows DistantJob’s clients to get high quality IT experts working remotely at a fraction of the usual cost - with no red tape and within two weeks.