How to best recruit and interview remote developers.

Posted on September 10, 2015

Working with remote developers can be incredibly beneficial to a business. It’s an opportunity to employ highly skilled staff and to create working conditions that are suitable for both parties. However, for remote recruitment to work, it is crucial to find employees who are trustworthy, hard working and committed.

What are the options?

There are two main options for recruiting developers remotely. The first is sourcing them via global online platforms like Freelancer and ODesk. These sites provide access to freelance employees from all over the world. They are usually operated via a bidding system – the prospective employer posts a detailed outline of the job that needs doing and aspiring freelancers submit a proposal, including a timeline and a fee. Such platforms can be useful when an employer is seeking workers on a casual, short-term or ad-hoc basis, as they offer choice and flexibility.

The second option is to source workers through a dedicated recruitment company, such as Virtual Coworker. Specialised companies offer greater reliability and peace of mind to the employer because they usually vet and interview their freelancers, conducting thorough checks of work samples and job histories. This means that employers can begin the recruitment process with a high degree of confidence. Furthermore, this option also allows an employer to develop a long-term relationship with remote freelancers. So if a business is looking for trustworthy remote programmers, who can be employed over a long period and even on a daily basis, going with a recruitment company is the best way to go.

Regardless of which option you decide on, you’ll need to undertake a three-step process to make sure you employ an outstanding offshore developer.

Step one: Create an in-depth job description

Many employers don’t realise just how important it is to create a thoroughly detailed job description. If your criteria are vague or you’re not clear about exactly what the task involves, you run the risk of attracting a freelancer who isn’t sufficiently qualified or experienced to complete the job.

So, begin by being very certain about what you’re after. Include any necessary qualifications and experience. Mention what level of developer you’re looking for. Explain thoroughly what the job involves, including how many hours per week and the nature of the work routine (be it daily or bi-weekly). Given that you’re advertising to freelancers from all over the planet, don’t forget to mention the time zone, if it’s relevant. Remember that, if you need someone live, you might be asking them to work through their nights.

Step two: Conduct an interview

This is your opportunity to find out just what your potential employee is made of. So don’t waste it, and don’t risk under-doing it. Before getting started, prepare a list of questions, covering every single thing you need to know. Remember that it’s not only skills and experience that are relevant, but also attitude, work ethic, communication habits and commitment. Question the interviewee on all of these aspects and don’t be afraid to be a little bit challenging. After all, it’s vital that you employ someone you can trust one hundred per cent. Finding out half way through the job that they’re not reliable might be disastrous or, at the very least, expensive and stressful. Be thorough and determined during the interview process and you’re highly likely to save a lot of time and hassle.

Step three: Testing

Even after interviewing someone and being impressed with their CV, you can’t be sure of their skill level until you see them in action. The easiest way to guarantee that someone can do what they say they can do is by testing them out. So set your potential employee a real world test. Write it carefully, making sure that it covers at least eighty per cent of the skills, problem solving and fast thinking that’s necessary to get your proposed job done. Be sure to include at least one or two hours worth of coding. Test results can be surprising sometimes – the best-qualified candidates aren’t always the most skilful. Some individuals learn more in the real world than they do in educational institutions.

Ready to go!

You’re now ready to prepare for your next recruitment process. If you’re careful about completing all three steps thoroughly – from writing a job description to conducting a smart interview to setting a test – you’ll be sure to land yourself a talented, efficient, reliable employee, with whom you can develop an enjoyable and productive long-term working relationship.