How to Hire Remote Developers in 2024: A Complete Guide

Hire Remote Developers
Regina Welle
Regina Welle
Global Staffing Manager

Table of Contents

Remote developers can elevate a team's efficiency and innovation while diversifying the talent pool and lowering a company's cost of hire. Yet for all those advantages, challenges such as remote workforce management and talent acquisition remain. This article details how companies can best hire remote developers.
Published on
September 17, 2021
Updated on
June 25, 2024

Since the pandemic, remote work has been on the rise — especially in the tech world. The computer and IT sectors are the number one industry for offering remote work, as developers can complete many development tasks with just a computer and a reliable internet connection. Remote work also makes sense from an employer's standpoint, as it helps companies address their developer shortage by tapping into the global talent pool.

Hiring remote developers can elevate a team's efficiency and innovation while improving diversity and offering significant cost savings. This article will examine the main benefits and challenges of hiring remote developers and how to hire the best remote developers.

Why Should You Hire Remote Developers?

Hiring remote developers can add value to your operations in many ways, but it's not always the best solution. Hiring managers and HR/recruiters should consider the following factors before they decide on going remote:

  • Alignment with organizational goals: Does hiring remote developers fit your company's large-scale mission and vision? Small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs) may have different needs and resources, and some may find that on-site teams can better meet their goals.
  • Current and future projects: A rapidly growing team may be looking to add a full-time remote developer, while others may face intensive one-off projects that only require short-term involvement.
  • Operational workflows: Some teams may use asynchronous workflows to allow remote workers to contribute to projects at different times of the day, while others require a set schedule. Development methods such as Agile or Scrum may dictate when the developer needs to be online, so companies should consider their current workflow processes before starting recruitment.

There are two other factors to consider when assessing whether a remote developer would be a good fit. One is the type of remote developer companies plan to hire, and the other is whether hiring at home or abroad is a better option.

Nearshoring vs. Onshoring vs. Offshoring

When deciding how to hire remote developers, companies must consider which talent pools they'd like to access and how. They have three main options to choose from:

  • Offshoring refers to companies moving jobs that were once US-based overseas. Possible reasons include cheaper labor, better-equipped personnel, or friendlier legislation.
  • Onshoring refers to companies hiring domestic talent from a city different than where the headquarters are. Possible reasons include avoiding offshoring penalties, changes in taxation, or economic incentives for hiring domestic employees.
  • Nearshoring refers to hiring talent — that is, outsourcing talent —  from a nearby country. Possible reasons include avoiding global policy complications, closer time-zone alignment, and preventing language barriers.

Onshoring, offshoring, and nearshoring all offer unique advantages and disadvantages. For instance, offshoring or nearshoring your remote developer role may bring substantial labor savings, but hiring from a non-English-speaking nation could introduce language and time-zone barriers. Fortunately, there's a way to circumvent these issues, as we'll explain later.

Freelance vs. Contract vs. Full-time Remote Developers

Companies must also evaluate the type of remote developer they'll need. There are three types of remote developers to choose from:

  • Freelancers: Typically hired for individual projects, freelancers have become especially common within the gig economy. Since freelancers are self-employed, you don't need to offer them benefits, but hiring them only for one-offs can disrupt the team dynamics. They can add value for short-term builds but usually don't offer a sustainable way to scale your engineering team.
  • Contractors: Independent contractors overlap with freelancers. Both are self-employed and may be suitable for individual projects, so similar advantages and disadvantages arise. However, some companies may wish to offer contractors remote developer contracts, bringing them on as long-term employees if their work excels over time.
  • Full-time employees: Unlike freelancers and contractors, full-time employees immediately become a part of a company's team and provide long-term work. That means employers must offer them the same benefits as their current developers.

A team's current and future workload will partly determine whether companies need freelance, contract, or full-time remote developers. Hiring a freelancer may be the most cost-effective solution if the team is facing a high workload for a short period. On the other hand, offering a contract-to-hire agreement is an excellent option to bring quality contractors on board even after the project completion.

Full-time employees prove the most efficient route to building a complete development team.

Benefits of Hiring Remote Developers

Implementing a remote workflow can benefit both employers and employees. From an employer standpoint, hiring remote developers can enhance diversity, equity, and inclusiveness (DEI) efforts, facilitating efficiency and speeding innovation. It can also ease the difficulties of talent acquisition by giving employers access to global talent and empowering them to offer more attractive benefits to prospective candidates—all while introducing cost savings.

From an employee standpoint, remote work can provide access to jobs that would otherwise be off-limits. The lack of commuting can create valuable savings in transportation and available time, ensure a healthier work-life balance, and even improve mental health.

Greater diversity and productivity for employers and better mental health and job access for employees can make remote hiring a win-win.

Access to a Wider Talent Pool

The shortage of tech talent reaches worldwide. Developers with the skill sets companies need are scarce enough across the globe, let alone in specific areas. Hiring remote workers expands talent pools so that you can find the one that fits your operations the best.

Greater Diversity

A remote workforce can improve one team's diversity. People from different societal and cultural settings can bring unique ideas and perspectives to the table, fostering elevated creativity and communication. This can highly benefit the entire team's productivity and overall company performance.

A more diverse engineering team also means more opportunities for underrepresented groups. For example, developers with disabilities may gain access to jobs they can't reach via commute. Remote work makes for a more accessible workplace for all.

Cost Savings

Candidates from diverse locations are likely to have a different cost of living and currency exchange rate than US-based developers. That makes them a more cost-effective hire than US talent, allowing companies to build a remote development team at a fraction of the cost of their in-office counterparts.

Another way that a remote workforce can save on expenses is by reducing the overhead associated with office-based teams. Virtual workplaces don't require a building or any other expense of a physical location, making your remote software development team even more cost-effective.

Better Work-Life Balance

The tech sector can be one of the most stressful industries. Software developers and engineers often display burnout and emotional exhaustion, which can hinder productivity and increase attrition rates, impeding acquisition efforts and further dampening company and engineering team culture.

Remote work can prevent burnout by offering developers a healthier work-life balance. Working from home removes the stress of commuting and helps workers save time they can spend with loved ones or on recreation.

Challenges of Hiring Remote Development Teams

Despite the many benefits, hiring remote teams also involves the following challenges:

  • Language barriers: Developers from other locations may not speak English as a first language. That can result in communication breakdowns or language barriers and hinder your team's operations.
  • Time-zone alignment: Hiring across the globe may also mean that remote developers aren't online at the same time as the rest of the team. That may not be a problem for an asynchronous development process, but it is for synchronous work.
  • Compliance: Companies must abide by different countries' labor laws if they hire remote developers from that nation. Failure to do so could result in violations and subsequent fines.

While these challenges may seem daunting, companies can overcome them by taking a strategic approach to remote hiring and partnering with a remote hiring professional. A talent marketplace like Revelo can help companies hire remote software engineers at a fraction of the cost and time they would otherwise spend on the process.

Revelo matches US companies with remote developers for hire from Latin America, pre-tested for English proficiency and soft and technical skills. We also ensure they are time-aligned with the company and assist employers in onboarding, payroll, and benefits.

What Skills Should a Remote Developer Possess?

Remote work demands developers to possess the same technical skills as their in-office counterparts—if not more. If companies want to hire remote software developers, they should check candidates' resumes for the following soft and technical skills.

Soft Skills

Soft skills are essential to performing well in jobs across various industries. They can mean the difference between a team member who shines and one who doesn't fit a company's operations, so hiring managers should check for these traits during the screening process:

  • Excellent time and project management: Without a supervisor over their shoulder, remote developers must safeguard their time so they can stay focused on being productive. Some developer productivity tools exist to help them make the most of their time, but the responsibility for staying efficient ultimately lies with each employee.
  • Effective communication: Developers focus primarily on code but must still document it, give and receive feedback, and participate in team meetings. That means there are numerous instances where excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential, so HR leaders should check for them early in the hiring process.
  • Good organization: If employees aren't careful in managing their time and surroundings, working at home can lead to a disorganized work environment. Some projects may require developers to protect confidentiality and maintain sharp focus. Without solid organizational skills and problem-solving, your remote developer's productivity may suffer.
  • A high sense of accountability: Remote developers must be self-starters, especially in the freelance world. Neither their employers nor their team members are physically present, which can reduce a sense of accountability. That means remote developers must have an exceptionally high sense of initiative and possess the ability to hold themselves accountable.
  • Exceptional collaboration: Software development is a highly collaborative venture. Your remote software developers must work well in a team and efficiently interact with their colleagues through online chats, phone calls, or video calls.

Soft skills are often easy to identify early in the interview process. Alternatively, companies can hire remote developers from talent marketplaces that will pre-screen candidates for soft skills for them.

Technical Skills

Technical skills are aptitudes specific to the development world. They often (though not always) come with some educational background and pertain to programming, engineering, or data.

The exact technical skills a remote developer must possess will vary depending on the position a company is hiring for, but some common ones include:

  • Coding proficiency: From Python and Ruby to JavaScript and Java proficiency, coding skills are fundamental to programmers' jobs. One company's project requirements may involve proficiency in one or more programming languages.
  • Web development: Some projects need a front-end developer to handle their software's UI/UX, others need a back-end developer to form the backbone of the product, and still others need full-stack developers to work on development from end to end. Whichever development role a company seeks to fill, hiring managers should review candidates' portfolios for web design skills.
  • Tool proficiency: From knowledge of operating systems such as iOS or Android to experience with .NET or other frameworks, developers must be proficient with a wide range of tools required for the company's operations. That includes meeting tools such as Zoom, Teams, or productivity trackers for remote workers.
  • Data literacy: It may apply more to data analysts and scientists than strictly developers, but an understanding of data is essential for many tech positions. Some data literacy skills to look for could be proficiency with mathematical principles for more logical programming, data visualization to convey findings to non-technical stakeholders, and a working knowledge of AI/ML concepts so that they can wield more efficient technology.
  • Business intelligence (BI): When collaborating with executives and managers, developers must understand the business goals their software should achieve. A grasp of business intelligence can help developers align their code with business objectives to build high-quality products.

Because the shortage of developer talent is so severe, companies should consider hiring non-traditional applicants with the needed technical skills, even if they lack a conventional degree. Those pivoting from other STEM fields may have the skill sets required to succeed in a role, and less experienced developers whose portfolios demonstrate the necessary skills could be viable candidates.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire Remote Developers?

Many variables determine the cost of hiring remote developers. Programming language, years of experience, and job requirements can all impact hiring costs when companies hire domestically or abroad. Some parameters HR managers should consider as they budget for global tech roles are:

  • Standards of living: Remote developers from nations with lower living costs require less pay.
  • Currency exchange rates: The US dollar goes farther in some nations than others, further impacting pay rates.
  • Labor laws: Some nations have unique benefits requirements that employers must provide.
  • Foreign policy: Global relations can impact tax considerations and labor availability, which is why nearshoring can often be a better option.
  • Tax considerations: Employees are taxed differently in different nations.
  • Availability: Some nations, such as Brazil, have become hubs in the development world, so companies should survey the landscape to see where the greatest abundance of tech talent lies.

Our tech team budget calculator can help you determine the cost of assembling your remote software development team; check it out to see how much you can save by looking abroad.

Steps for Hiring Skilled Remote Developers

The hiring process for on-site employees can be lengthy enough, but when you hire remote team members, there can be even more moving pieces to manage. You'll first need to consult your executives to identify your company's business goals, then speak with technical personnel, such as engineering managers, to assess what hard skills you need in your next developer. Afterward, you can craft a job description to attract the top talent and begin the hunt. Here's what the process entails.

Identify Organizational Goals

Is your business a startup or SMB seeking first developers for hire, or are you an enterprise looking to tap into new talent pools? Do you need short-term employees such as freelancers or contractors to help you meet pressing deadlines, or do you want to add a full-time remote developer to scale your long-term team?

The priority when you hire a remote developer is to identify your company's overarching mission and goals so that you can find a fit that helps you achieve them. Other organizational goals to consider might include scalability, budget, and future product design, to name a few, so speak with all necessary stakeholders to align your search with their objectives as you begin the hiring process.

Triage Operational Needs

Whether assembling your development team from scratch or scaling it to match your growing operations, you must prioritize roles. As you prioritize tech roles to scale your development team, triage it to find any glaring holes you must fill first. Typically, a good order to follow is:

  1. Leadership, like CIOs and directors
  2. Management, including engineering and project managers
  3. Engineers and cybersecurity experts
  4. Analysts and developers

Depending on your organization's goals, you may prioritize cybersecurity experts before engineering managers. Other operational needs to consider are specific programming languages and experience with front-end or back-end development. Identify what roles and skills are most important so you can address the most pressing needs first.

Consult Technical Personnel

Once you identify which roles to fill, determine what skills you want to look for. HR or recruiting professionals are non-technical personnel, so they may not know which hard skills to evaluate in prospective candidates. Failure to consult with engineering managers or other technical personnel can create a communication breakdown, and you may end up hiring the wrong candidate for the job.

To avoid this, seek the input of technical personnel throughout the hiring process. This means consulting tech leads on which roles are most pressing, asking which technical skills are must-haves, including them in peer interviews, and having them evaluate job descriptions to see if any requirements are missing.

Craft a Job Description

Once you gain input from more technical team members, you can craft a job description to help you hire remote software developers. In addition to any technical, educational, or experience requirements, your job description should showcase the traits that make your company stand out from competitors, like:

  • Compensation and benefits
  • Company culture
  • Exciting challenges
  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Social impact
  • Corporate values

Promoting a healthy work-life balance is especially important when you write a job description to hire remote developers, as this is often the main reason employees prefer to work from home. Emphasize that your position allows for remote work and that your company prioritizes its employees' mental health, and you'll be more likely to attract the top remote development talent.

Begin Recruiting

Armed with an appealing job description and the knowledge of required skills and qualifications, recruiters can cast out their acquisitional net. They shouldn't abandon conventional routes such as job fairs or presentations on campus, but today's digital age requires that they look further.

Where to Find Remote Talent

A company's talent acquisition efforts will soon fail without a digital presence, so recruiters should use online recruiting methods such as job boards, professional networking, and online developer communities to engage potential applicants.

Another emerging resource for acquiring remote development talent is a talent marketplace. These platforms help companies hire dedicated remote developers by matching them with global tech talent pre-vetted for hard and soft skills companies need.

Some talent marketplaces such as Revelo can even assist with HR-related tasks, like benefits administration and payroll, providing companies with much-needed help across the employment journey. When companies avail themselves of all that talent marketplaces can offer, they can eliminate many challenges of hiring and maintaining a remote software development team and double-down on the benefits.

Hire Remote Developers With Revelo

Along with other positions in the tech industry, skilled developers are in high demand. One key solution to finding the top tech talent amidst such a shortage is to expand your horizons by hiring remotely. Greater diversity, enhanced efficiency and innovation, and significant cost savings are a few gains your company can realize via remote work implementation.

At Revelo, we help companies hire dedicated remote development team members. Our platform matches businesses with developers who come pre-equipped with the skills required to succeed in a remote work environment. They're time-zone-aligned and rigorously vetted for technical skills, soft skills, and English proficiency, so you can be confident your developer will succeed with your team and organization.

Revelo can help those concerned about the administrative challenges of remotely hiring abroad, too. We offer HR management assistance in onboarding, payroll, benefits administration, taxes, and local compliance, as well as services to ensure your developers stay engaged throughout their employment journey.

If you'd like to leverage Revelo's talent-matching platform to take advantage of the many benefits of hiring remote developers, contact us today.

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