September 19, 2020

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8 Tips for hiring a freelance software developer

4 min read

Hiring can be tricky and anxiety-inducing especially when it’s for remote work. At Gaper, there is a very strict set of guidelines for hiring freelancers in order to be able to maintain the quality of deliverables.  Here are 8 of the top tips for people who are looking to hire freelancers or hire for remote work.

1. Choose smarter brains than you!

There is an unsaid rule about hiring talent in the startup and business world; to hire smarter. When hiring for any role including a remote position, look for people smarter than you. 

Just like building any team, your software development team needs to attract the best talent in the long run if the company has to grow. The best way to achieve this sustainably is to hire smarter people to begin with; Talent attracts talent and it is very rewarding to be able to see someone take profitable decisions and grow.

2. Let go of generic tests and make your own!

The biggest mistake you can make when hiring for a remote developer is testing based off of generic coding tests. The best way to go about it is to utilize your current project database to formulate tests relevant to your company and business. 

Real-life technology problem-solving will allow you to evaluate the candidate better. Code tests can also be done in pairs. Pair them up with another developer and have them solve a problem. This will give you insight into the candidate’s communication, teamwork, and also their ability to de-bug.

3. Be Flexible With Programming Languages and Tools

Languages are changing and evolving rapidly. Asking questions extremely particular to a said language is not ideal when interviewing a software developer.  Instead, the focus should be on how the candidate approaches a problem, do they focus on optimization or not, how good of an understanding do they have of algorithms, etc. It’s way easier for developers to learn a new language via training programs but to have a great problem solver on board will be a lasting investment. 

4. Have at Least One More Person Interview the Candidate

Multiple interviews prove beneficial when assessing candidates for remote work. You can align follow up interviews or you can have interviews in groups as well. Have your business partners interview the candidate, or have another employee interview them as well. This will allow you to have a fair idea of how the candidate communicates as well. 

Although most people are of the belief that software developers just code, they overlook the fact that at the end of the developers to work in and with teams, and if there is a lack of communication it certainly won’t end well.

5. Make Sure They Can Produce Well-Written Code

It is usually one of the understated skills when it comes to hiring, but anybody who has worked with someone who writes messy code can tell you that pretty much nobody wants to collaborate with messy code writers or even touch badly written code, no matter how good the functionality/algorithm is.

6. Don’t Get Too Hung Up on Lack of Experience 

Making your new employee do repetitive work can increase their experience, hence, increasing productivity. However, in the world of startups, your employee will be faced with dynamic problems each time. In fact, you could argue that people with more experience are often more opinionated and stubborn when it comes to honing a process or method, due to the fact they already know one way to write code for it. 

That being said, it is important to not be too focused if a potential candidate does not have enough experience. A fresh graduate might possess the zeal and passion that an experienced candidate does not. 

7. Set Expectations Before Finalizing a Hiring

You and your candidate need to be on the same page, in regards to expectations from one another, or else it can lead to a messy break-up. It’s important to be upfront about the basics. Workflow flexibility needs to be addressed first hand. For example, if you need your employee to be available 24/7, you need to establish that before extending an offer.

8. Ask About Their Favorite Project/Subject

In companies like Gaper, it is often emphasized that a passion for programming is one of the key characteristics that is looked for in a candidate. One way to gauge is to talk about the subject with the potential candidate and see how they react. If they don’t exercise enthusiasm while talking about software development, you are interviewing the wrong person. 

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