Struggling to Hire a Developer? Here’s Our Guide to IT Remote Hiring

IT remote hiring

The pandemic shifted the way people worked. Currently, more and more companies are implementing hybrid work models where employees can work both remotely and from the office. And consequently, the recruitment industry is also changing.  

Recruiters are expanding their talent pool by looking to hire remote employees, especially in the IT industry. Programmers in different parts of the world can be equally talented as those who are in the U.S. and their salaries, much lower. However, as IT remote hiring keeps increasing there’s also a lot of competition.

Those who aren’t familiar with remote hiring can consider it daunting. How do you put someone through their paces when they’re on the other side of the world?

What’s the best way to test someone’s tech skills? How can you tell if they’re going to be a good fit for your company? How do you know if they are going to be able to work from home efficiently? That they will deliver what they’ve promised?

Here are our top tips on how to hire a developer who is going to be working remotely, whether that be in the same country or on a different continent.

Basic Tips for IT Remote Hiring 

1. Get Your Job Ad Right

Has it ever happened to you that you don’t want to try certain food because of how it looks? Maybe with seafood or certain ice cream flavor that has a suspicious color, that just by seeing it makes you disgusted.

Job ads work the same way. If you write a really long description, use weird words like ‘’guru’’ or ‘’rockstar’’ and add unnecessary information, no one would like to apply. Especially talented developers who might think the role isn’t as serious as they would like to.

When writing your job description make sure it covers all the information a candidate would like to know, be clear about the role, the requirements and the skills needed. 

2. Make Sure You’re Remote-Ready

What’s the point of having an IT remote hiring process if you don’t have the necessary tools and processes to succeed?  One of the first steps before starting to hire offshore developers is to ensure you have all you need. This means:

  • Communication tools: What tools will you be using to daily communicate with your dev? Set clear expectations regarding how they should use those tools and for what. For example, if they have a simple question, they can talk to you on Slack. Or, if they need to solve a coding problem with the team then they’ll know the best place for that is Zoom.  
  • Project management tools: when you’re not working with your dev at the office is harder to keep track of processes. However, there are many project management tools, such as Basecamp or Asana, that are great for setting due dates, keeping track of projects, documentation, etc.
  • Other tools: HR platform to handle payments, documentation tools, software tools, etc.

3. Prepare Your Interviews

If you’re hiring for an IT position, you need to keep in mind that the person interviewing the candidates is an IT expert. You can search for software development interview questions online, but if you don’t understand anything about tech, any candidate can sell themselves as your best option.

Having an IT recruitment team can simplify all this work for you. Preparing for your interviews is also about making sure that you ask questions beyond technicalities. The person you are hiring will become part of your team, so soft skills are crucial to determine their success in the company. 

4. Get Recommendations

Remote teams are well established enough now that there is knowledge to draw on. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. If you have contacts who have used remote developers, get in touch with them and find out how they did things. They might be able to signpost you to some resources or even the perfect hire.

It’s also worth scouting forums for the programming language you need or getting in touch with experts in that field. Remember that old adage. It’s not what you know. It’s who you know. Use your network; it will help you decide who to approach (and maybe even who to avoid).

5. Headhunt All over the World for the best programmers

Job ads are great to attract candidates and fill the job vacancy faster. However, they are not always so effective. This is why it’s important to also headhunt. First dedicate some time to searching which country has the best developers and then start to scroll over LinkedIn and do good research on possible candidates.

Some of these candidates might already have jobs, but if you offer them a remote position, they will feel like they won the jackpot. Most developers nowadays want to have flexible schedules, and headhunting is a great strategy to get talented candidates that would never postulate in your job ad because they were too busy doing their jobs. 

3-Step Guide to IT Remote Hiring

There’s some disagreement about how much communication is nonverbal. Still, if the only contact you’ve had with a candidate is via video conference, you may feel that you haven’t got the full picture. That’s why we’ve come up with a three-step process to get as complete a picture of candidates as possible. Here’s how we do it:

1. Technical Expertise

We’ve talked before about how we think the way technical skills are assessed in most interviews is wrong. In spite of our words of wisdom, employers are still using the whiteboard test. The truth of the matter is, you don’t work under exam conditions. Isn’t knowing when and how to find the answers to problems you come across a skill worth having?

We think it’s better to look at a developer’s body of work. Check out their CV, reach out to the people they’ve worked with before. Take some time to think about the projects they might work on for you, and what overlaps there might be. Discuss those things, specifically. You’ll soon discover whether you have a genuinely creative developer or someone who has just swallowed a manual.

More than that, by discussing projects in detail you will be assessing one of the most critical skills that a remote developer needs: communication. You’ll be touching base with this person regularly (ideally once a day, if you follow our advice and adopt the Agile development methodology). You need them to be able to explain where they are with a project and to trust they know where they are going next.

2. Cultural Fit

When you’re planning an interview, it’s tempting to fall back on the usual questions. You hear them all the time, so they must be the right ones, right? At DistantJob we have a different approach. Rather than think about the questions, think about the answers you want. What do you need to know about a person, to make sure they’ll be an excellent addition to the team.

This doesn’t mean hiring people who are just like you – in fact, diversity is one of the main benefits of remote teams. It does mean thinking about the core values of your company, and the goals of your team. Now ask questions that will help you vet a candidate for those.

This can mean tossing the interview script. Rather than asking, ‘Where’s your biggest weakness?’ (who is going to answer that honestly?) think about questions like, ‘Give me an example of where things have gone wrong for you, what did you do to overcome the problem?’

You can also think about more alternative questions, take a leaf out of these CEO’s books and ask some different questions. It’s okay to abandon the professional and sound your candidate out on their attitudes to other things. Of course, avoid divisive issues like religion, politics, and Jar Jar Binks.

3. Look for Remote Experience

This is a little different from technical skills. Particularly when you’re hiring someone for a remote position, it’s useful to know what their past experiences of working remotely have been. You’ll need to determine whether they’re going to work well according to your remote working policies.

One potential problem with remote working is that you can’t see if your developers are struggling. In the office, you’ll hear the swearing! Knowing how your potential telecommuter has handled problems in the past will tell you a lot. This is especially important if you will be working asynchronously. (At DistantJob, we recommend that everyone works the same hours, regardless of timezones.) You don’t want an employee losing a day’s work because they didn’t ask a vital question.

Payment & Contracts for Remote Hiring

If you haven’t hired remotely before, you will need to give some thought and do some research on salaries and contracts. There are questions that you’ll need to answer. For example, you may know the going rate for a developer in the USA but how much will you pay if your developer will work from Eastern Europe, Singapore, or India?

Your regular contract of employment probably won’t be up to the job. Make sure you tell HR your plans to hire before you start interviewing to prevent delays while they rustle up a contract that will do the job.

Currency is an issue, too. Will you pay in your currency, or in theirs? If you pay in your currency, your new employee may get hit with extra bank charges for currency conversion.

It’s also worth thinking about giving them a budget work working expenses. Companies save about $10,000 a year on costs by having employees work remotely. Some of that is passed to the remote worker as a cost. Having something in place should they need to replace their laptop, office chair or install faster internet is worth considering.

Sounds Complicated?  DistantJob Can Help You 

Like anything new, hiring distant workers can seem daunting the first time you do it. Even if this isn’t the first time, there are more and different things to think about. Hopefully, this article will help you get started, but there is an alternative.

At DistantJob we specialize in headhunting the very best remote programmers around the world. Then we match them with great opportunities like yours. We have our systems for checking candidates out in place, so you know that anyone we send to you is at the top of their game. If you’ve got a vacancy you’d like us to fill, get in touch today. We’d love to help.

Share this post

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

or... Subscribe to our newsletter and get exclusive content and bloopers

Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon

Sarah Dixon is a remote work advocate and thought leader and a specialist in persuasive writing. She has an MA in Creative Fiction, is a children's author, and a writer of award-winning short stories.