April 7, 2020

How to Hire Great Developers Remotely – 8 Key Points

by Vladimir Shifrin in Remote Teams

During my 15+ years career as a technology lead on software projects, I’ve learned many valuable points – especially the one that is a common pain point for all IT executives: How to hire great software developers, especially now remotely. Let me share them with you:

1. Scope the Needs

Plan from scoping the actual software development needs – identify the product, its features you plan to develop in the next 3, 6, 12 months (see sample  project scope templates). Based on those needs, calculate engineering hours, months and actual hires needed (see sample resource planning templates). Don’t work this from the budget — that comes second. Your project manager and/or team lead can help you scope it more accurately.

2. Understand your Budget

There is no such thing as unlimited budget (like unlimited vacation). Understand your budget and its restraints from the start. For example, if you have 500K for a year and you need 6 senior developers, you may not be able to hire locally (at an average of $170K salary – you can barely hire 3 engineers), then try leverage between remote or even offshore engineers. 

3. Leverage Remote and/or Offshore Developers

To the point above, many companies nowadays hire remote or offshore developers to leverage the cost. For example, a senior engineer in NYC would be $170-200K/year whereas a similarly skilled developer in Austin, TX would be 140-160K/year. For offshore – it’s even 3 times less (a developer in Eastern Europe, Latin America or India, for example, would ask for 40-70k/year).  With the right Agile software development practices in place and modern collaboration tools, it’s possible to make this almost transparent to work with the remote workforce. 

4. Streamline your Hiring Process

The modern processes of hiring developers has to be QUICK: Limit your interviews to a maximum of 2 rounds:

  • 1st Round – Technical (with a code-challenge during the interview – not as “homework”). This will allow you to pre-screen candidates right away to be fit for the job — with an overwhelming popularity of the IT field, many candidates put nice resumes, just take computer courses, switch professions — be sure they can actually do programming! 
  • 2nd Round – With the Team (via video conference) – have the team ask questions and see they are compatible with the candidate. 
  • If there is a fit, don’t hesitate to make an offer right after the team briefing. Don’t wait for better if the candidate is right – don’t delay it. Good engineers get hired fast! 

5. Working with Recruiters

Note that it’ll add another 20-30% of the yearly developer’s salary to your budget (that’s how much most of the agencies charge). How to pick a recruiter? It’s simple (more or less). Whether recommended or found, provide them with 2-3 good JDs (job description) to find candidates – ask them to really pre-screen potential hires. Work with 2-3 agencies at the same time and see who’s delivering. It should take you no more than 2-4 weeks to see the right fit – but then you’ll have a good partner-agency to work with. 

6. Self-Sourcing Candidates

Scan LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster and similar sites. Pick engineers with Computer science or Engineering degrees (if possible). Based on your JD, look for developers who worked in a similar capacity or even related industry. See similar companies on LinkedIn and reach out to their developers with an attractive “proposition” (this is a growth-hacking kind of technique but many companies do that). 

7. Making an Offer

  • If there is a fit, don’t hesitate to make an offer right after the team briefing. Don’t wait for better if the candidate is right – don’t delay it. Good engineers get hired fast!
  • Offer flexible schedule. Beyond the most common incentives (stock options, vacation, medical coverage), offer flexible schedules – modern workforce demands the ability to work from home or remotely some days a week or all the time.

8. Retaining the Workforce

How do we retain good engineers? Provide them with challenges and growth opportunities. Challenging job means they learn new things, tools and technologies. Growth within a company is also an incentive not to be forgotten – draw a clear path for them from the start and make sure you align. 

Armix Group – we help set up and optimize remote teams!

Remote Teams Strategy, Agile Coaching & Tools.
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