How to hire remote developers and do well
In my world, people that pay for quality services should get quality results, and any commercial services should be upscale. That’s why with the business that I run, I take every step possible to ensure that our clients receive a high-end service. That's especially relevant to hiring remote developers in order to succeed with software projects.
I've seen people try to save pennies on services only to realize that, in the end, they wasted their time and money by receiving an uninspiring product. On the other hand, I've also seen people pay top dollar for a service or product that provided no tangible value to the buyer. There are many examples when companies hire remote software developers but the main goal of those developers is to just check enough boxes to get paid.
That’s why I want to offer my insights on how to help you find a quality service. You'll also get a better understanding of when to cut a service provider if they fail to deliver.
The success of an entire business can depend on the relationship with your software development team. If you have a truly good business plan and strategy, your goals are still at risk if, for example, your in-house or remote team is not involved enough or lacks analytical or communication skills.
Below, I will describe 5 common issues business managers encounter when hiring remote or in-house developers, and then tips on how to avoid such issues. If you see something similar throughout your collaboration, you need to take action to prevent further risks.
Potential issues when hiring remote developers
1. Insufficient skills
The remote developer or team can have poor technical skills, limited understanding of development processes, and make faulty decisions which harm the development process and lead to the overall low quality of the delivery. Usually, this situation creates a need for a customer to spend significant time testing and reporting obvious bugs. Meanwhile, the development process is better organized when a customer only suggests improvements (such as UI tweaks, new use cases, etc.) but does not perform QA testing work which is what a remote development team is responsible for. In order to hire developers, the candidates should not only pass the technical interview but also complete a coding challenge of decent difficulty.
2. Bad communication
Ideally, when a team of software developers works on a particular project there is a productive environment, high motivation, professional communication. But exceptions happen, and here are the precise examples:
- Lack of interest. Reluctance to productively discuss an actual problem during remote working. Instead, the developer is doing some lower-prioritized tasks and postponing the problem discussion for later.
- Logically incorrect sentences, language, and communication barriers of remote employees. It causes difficulties when trying to understand the pressing issues or explain them.
- Aptitude to criticize teammates/customers instead of resolving mistakes. It is rather a personal characteristic, not a communication problem. Btw, the experienced hiring manager would spot this in the screening process.
- Delayed responses. It belongs to the issues with culture fit and dependability. During the hiring process, this can be determined with specific questions in the interview process.
There also exist etiquette problems, such as interruptions during voice calls, personal criticism, lack of respect, raising the voice while communicating. Etiquette problems of both in-house and remote teams are the most critical and should be avoided at the very beginning when hiring remote workers. Ensure there are no such issues before you hire remote developers. I'll tell you more about that below.
3. Insufficient understanding of the requirements
Small interest in understanding the requirements, reluctance to think and analyze out of the boundaries, reluctance to think like a customer or see particular cases from the end-user perspective.
Apart from motivation problems mentioned above, software engineers can also lack soft skills or technical expertise which makes it difficult to understand project requirements in detail.
4. Attempts to make poor deliveries
It is a common and well-known issue when a developer either knowingly or mistakenly delivers an unfinished or wrongly done job and hopes it to be enough to get approved. If you are going to hire developers consider giving them a complex test, and see I they will try to deliver a poor result instead of researching a task deeper.
5. No respect for customer's business
It happens when remote developers work on particular tasks but have very little interest in what the final plan or business objectives are. It is fine if your developers deliver tasks based on your precise specifications. But your engineers should be team players who care about common success, for maximum efficiency.
How to avoid the above listed problems when hiring remote software developers
Hiring remote developers, or in-house teams is a highly responsible activity because you either move forward growing your startup or keep struggling with the technical or other issues. I will describe how we at EcDev Studio hire engineers and build talented teams.
The first thing we do when we hire software developers is review their resumes, where we check how responsible the candidate is when searching for a job (resume accuracy, informativeness of the details, overall openness, etc), and also check actual skills with the experience in the resume.
The next step is soft skills and language proficiency check. During the first interview round, we check the developer candidate for the culture fit, dependability, emotional intelligence, communication skills, problem-solving attitude, perseverance, leadership qualities, English language. Many companies either skip this step or do it unprofessionally, but to hire remote developers and do well, a soft skills assessment is necessary. The short but great guide to checking soft skills is by this authoritative article.
Next comes the hard skills check, which is a pretty straightforward step in hiring remote developers.
Finally, a 2-month evaluation period starts where the newcomer gets a deep drive into work ethics, and the company-established rules and gets a chance to prove themself as a credible team player. The goal is to give a higher complexity task in this period to either identify the talented developer with high technical skills or drop the underperforming developer in the early stage. A probationary period is a good and proven practice in software development, especially when hiring remote talents.
Tech companies usually spend some time in order to hire remote developers successfully, sometimes it can take weeks to close particular positions. If to do things right it's definitely possible to hire a developer or team and avoid the problems listed in this article.
The biggest trap in hiring remote developers
What do you think is the biggest trap? To hire a low-performing developer with poor hard skills? Or maybe to hire a developer who communicates badly? But what if you hired somebody who delivers and communicates, and you even see the results constantly (e.g. new web flows delivered), but you feel something is still wrong you don't know what. You see new flows getting developed but their page speed is average, the developer is telling you there are no technical capabilities to make it higher, you trust them and say "Okay, I understand". Read further.
Later after 6 months of a relationship, you decided to give him a more complex task e.g. 5 out of 10 complexity, while in the past he did only easy tasks (e.g. 3/10 complexity). You see developer fails and you fire him away. Let's say later you were lucky to hire somebody truly proficient.
Upon seeing how a skilled developer got your complex tasks done, optimized speed to the utmost, you became amazed at how it could be done. Finally, the new developer makes a code review of your previous engineer and concludes there is a ton of poor code that needs refactoring.
So what is the biggest trap? That's when you hire remote developers guessing you evaluated them well but in fact, the developer is burnt out, they have a junior level with low growing capabilities and poor motivation. Finally, it results in wasted months of time and corresponding expenses, which were possible to prevent in the beginning.
What is the difference between professional hiring managers and amateurish ones? It is the ability to professionally evaluate soft and hard skills, and give the complex (10 out of 10) test at the beginning to properly identify the real capabilities of the developer candidate.
Here in the EcDev Studio team are only such talented developers who passed the evaluation, and we proudly call them vetted experts.