Building a team · Distributed Teams

How do you hire remote long-term software developers?

Igor Tkach Managing Director at Daxx

July 10th, 2019

What questions or practices do you use to hire remote web developers to join your existing team?

How do you identify whether a candidate is interested in a project, oriented to having long-term cooperation and can be a good fit for your team?

Thank you in advance for sharing your insights.

Dmitri Toubelis

Last updated on July 12th, 2019

We do it all the time.In fact 70% of our team is remote. This is how we do it:

- find the right people on Upwork and alike and give then short time contracts at hourly rate to see how they perform. Our general rule is 3 month but for star performers we end this phase sooner.

- do not renew the contract with developers if something did not align with your expectations. It may not necessarily be the developer himself but their location or other factors. I personally had too many issues when dev team is in too many different time zones, so now I'm trying to hire people who is geographically closer. Also, you may run into issues with processing payments or IP protection for certain regions.

- renew the arrangement with your star players and bump their rate. Make sure you compensate fairly because they will know each other's rates (unless you are o enterprise plan with Upwork). Over time we developed sense of what is fair for different places in the world and have an internal rules for compensation.

- you can also take it one step further after they gained your trust, you can offer direct contract with them and offer stock option at this point. This may be tricky because now you will need to deal with rules of different jurisdictions and processing payments. This may be challenging for a smaller company, so I would postpone it till later.

Another very important thing is to have someone experienced in your local team, who can manage remote developers. Also, make sure you have adequate tools to have visibility of their progress. Tools like Jira, Confluence, Slack, gitlab/github/bitbucket and alike are indispensable.

Also, we generally avoid working with offshore development companies and agencies, especially on early stages. It may look appealing at first but it will hurt you in the long term, so choose wisely.

Hope this helps.

Johnathan Proffer Engineer, Innovator, Visionary, Entrepreneur

July 10th, 2019

Generally for long term commitment you need one of 2 things.

1. The dev has an obvious keen interest in the field or market your business is in. This would be shown by their previous work, or active participation in the field (through action or opensource or whatever).

2. You pay well above market with annual increases and performance bonuses, and excellent healthcare if applicable.

And sometimes even #1 is not enough if you pay peanuts. People want to work where they enjoy working. But they also want to feel appreciated, valued, and able to support their families and/or lifestyle. So I'd look for people in #1 and make sure they're paid competitively.

Adam Wachtel Technology leader and architect with over 10 years of experience in the group benefits space

July 10th, 2019

Managing remote resources adds a layer of difficulty from the perspective that you're not able to monitor what they're doing and when. Without knowing your current environment, you'll want to make sure you have infrastructure to manage work issued and progress. From a long-term perspective I think a commonly overlooked attribute (for tech resources in particular) is personality fit. You want someone who will work well with the rest of the team, be able to collaborate, etc. I've had a number of developers working both on-site and off-site, and of the small percentage that didn't work out, personality was the culprit nearly every time. Technical skills are fairly easy to be matched and can be polished, soft-skills not as much.