How to Hire Remote Developers in 2020: Pros, Cons, and Pitfalls

The first half of 2020 has shown that having a huge team in the brick-and-mortar office is already a relic of history. Considering the pandemic, this practice can be even dangerous. Fortunately, the world has been up to freelance and remote work since it became possible thanks to the internet and this trend is still growing. 

The hiring process of remote specialists differs from searching for office workers and the recruiters around the globe are ready to face the new challenge. They are constantly looking for better online methods to hire remote software developers and the successful cases of employers who search for new talents all over the world show that this is not in vain. Before we dive into the details of hiring freelancers, let us highlight the pros and cons of working with remote programmers.

Why Do You Actually Need Remote Developers?

If you are a small startup with an office in your garage, or if you live in a city with a shortage of technical specialists, the decision to hire remote developers for your project will be the perfect answer. 

The pandemic has also shown why it’s important to be able to move your team to remote work fast and without losing its efficiency. But, are there only good sides to having all your workers coding from home?

Remote Developers Hiring Advantages and Disadvantages

software developers hiring process

Feel free to add to these lists. Remember that these pros and cons will vary if you are a small startup for whom hiring remote devs is the only way out and if you are an international enterprise that can afford relocation of its best specialists.

Benefits of hiring remote developers

  1. You can choose from a wider selection of specialists. The whole world of whatever-language-you-need-speaking coders can be reached with the help of a freelance marketplace or a reliable outstaffing partner. 
  2. You save money as you don’t pay the rent for the office. Add here all the expenditures for the office furniture, electricity, central heating, water, coffee, etc.
  3. You can optimize your staff: the administrative team is less important if there is no physical office to manage.
  4. Salaries in large technical hubs around the world are quite high whether remote specialists have lower salary expectations.
  5. You can never be sure that the developers from tech hubs with a unique set of skills you were searching for so long won’t swap you to another enterprise that offers a better check when it comes to hiring office workers. On the contrary, you can have more confidence in a freelancer from a small city that will more certainly stay with you until the project ends to have your case in his or her portfolio.

Difficulties you might encounter when hiring a freelancer

  1. Controlling a remote team is not an easy task. Although there are many time-tracking applications and programs, most candidates will decline the job offer that states that the enterprise uses tracking software as they refuse to work under this type of control.
  2. Managing a remote team is hard. Most PMs and HRMs need to face the workers to build strong relations with them. Maintaining loyalty of people who have never been to your office can also be challenging.
  3. Different time zones will push you into planning online meet-ups only when it is acceptable for all the team, which can be early in the morning or late at night. This can also lead to the slowing down of the decision-making processes.  
  4. Language proficiency can be an issue. Don’t expect that if you are the USA-based business that decided to hire a remote developer you will get a technical specialist from India, Asia, or Europe with Oxford-level English. In most cases, when it comes to freelancers, finding those with good English becomes a challenge and you might spend extra days trying to hire a person you can easily communicate with. 

MWDN will help you to avoid these difficulties. Outstaffing a team of experts for your project, including a manager who sets up your communication is much easier than hiring, controlling, and managing freelancers on your own. With us, you can be sure that your instructions will be followed, your deadlines considered, and your resources saved.

Two Main Ways to Find Remote Software Developers

hire remote software developers

As with anything in business, you always have two options: do it yourself or delegate it to people or companies with more expertise in the field. The decision will always depend on your budget and deadlines. See other advantages and pitfalls of outsourcing and finding the right candidate by yourself.

Search for them by yourself

Pros Cons
This is much cheaper than hiring a headhunter to find you the right specialist.  Searching and interviewing candidates can take a lot of time.
You can start your search without knowing the exact stack of skills you wish your dev had. In this case, it will take you even more time.
You know your project better than any recruiter and hence, can be sure that your candidate understands your expectations correctly. You can also find out if you will be comfortable working with this person in the long run. On the other hand, if you’re not skilled enough in recruitment, you can frighten up a good match. 

Give it to Professionals

Recruitment is a special skill and chances that you will be offered the right person are higher when you delegate the search to professionals with vast experience in headhunting.

You will save much of your time. Professional recruiters know how to look for experts using social media and other job-searching platforms. This means they will find you the right person faster than you would by yourself.

The main counterargument to giving the hiring and managing of your remote team to professionals is that there are various outstaffing and headhunting websites out there and not all of them are equally good. Make sure that you hire a reliable company with vast experience and good feedback from previous customers.

What Do You Need to Know Before The Searching Start?

Most companies wonder how to hire remote developers because this is not an easy process. The situation is the same worldwide: the developers who are skilled and experienced enough demand for more money than most companies can afford and juniors who know nothing think that the employer has to teach him or her everything. 

There are pop-divas and rock-stars of coding who want to create amazing applications from scratch, but what most enterprises need are middle specialists for the tasks which can sometimes be boring. Finding coders with good technical and communication skills, who can work in a team and show good performance is not easy. This is the bitter truth you have to understand first things first before you start the search.

How to Manage a Remote Software Development Team?

how to manage remote developers

There must be no problems in managing the team that you already know. The practice of pandemic shows that if you have a committed team it’s easy and beneficial to work with it both offline and online. Moreover, some PMs and POs state that their team capacity has increased when they started working remotely.

“It all depends on the developer. Those, who needed communication in the first place, will call you on every occasion. Those who needed micromanagement in the office will still need it in their apartments. Those, who used to work on individual schedules, coming to the office by 1 p.m. and leaving by night, will release their tasks at 5 a.m. and that’s fine. There must be no problems in working remotely if you have hired the right people willing to commit themselves to the project.” Iurii, PM in a product IT company, Kyiv

But what if we talk about managing a team that has never been in your office, lives in different time zones, is paid by the hour, and is less engaged in the project? The organization of the working processes remains almost the same in this case. You as a manager have to establish working methods and procedures for the team and keep tasks’ descriptions as precise as possible. Being a link between software developers, designers, webmasters, sales, and other departments in the company, you have to make sure that expectations of all members of the team are met and that everyone is happy and thus, ready to perform on the highest level.

If you have a team of professionals able to estimate and track their work by themselves, there is no need for micromanagement, though it is crucial at the very beginning during the trial period for the newcomers. You can easily control your team remotely with the help of Jira, Zoom, GitHub, Slack, and other well-known tools. 

On the other hand, when working with the remote team, there is an increased need for one-on-one meetings and scheduled “coffee-breaks” and other team building activities. They are crucial to make sure that every member of your team keeps up with his or her OKRs, and that your people are still a team and not just a bunch of professionals who happened to work on the same project.

How Much Remote Developers Cost?

remote software developers salary

The main reason for hiring remote software developers is that the large pool of online specialists increases the competition among them and decreases the average dollars per hour rate. To prove this point, have a look at rates and salaries in different states. Some platforms provide vast statistics on the rates on job offers in crucial tech hubs in the USA:

City, state Hourly rate
New York, NY $72.72-91.92
Sacramento, CA $79.87-88.05
Boulder, CO $66.77-79.98
San Jose, CA $79.87-88.05
Washington, DC $65.17-79.98
San Francisco, CA $87.10-94.28

However, high prices are not the only reason why USA-based companies seek for software developers online and elsewhere. First of all, according to CompTIA, in spring 2019, there were more than 900 thousand unfilled vacancies in the IT-sphere and in 2020 the situation hasn’t gotten much better. Fortunately, HackerRank states that there are plenty of specialists in China, Russia, Poland, Ukraine, and other countries eager to help you with your project.

If the question of price is the major for your business, the platforms like UpWork or Freelancer where you can hire a top-rated dev for $38 per hour. There you have high chances to find affordable developers with the stack of skills you need, but the risks to get into the wrong person who won’t commit to your project enough are also high.

“I hired two developers at the freelance marketplace and I worked with them for almost six months before a friend of mine opened my eyes on tricks these guys used to prolong our cooperation. This made me understand that when you hire a remote team, you have to get a supervisor for them as well (or to be extremely technically skilled) to control their job.” Julia, startup owner, Prague

Fortunately, MWDN can get you covered here too. Our expert developers are ready to assist you in your project for $35-$45 per hour. What is more, with us, you don’t have to worry about the pitfalls of hiring and managing freelancers on your own and as a result, you save not only your money, but your time as well.

Some Hiring Tips

First things first, define the business goals you want to cover with the help of a new specialist. This will allow you to figure out your expectations and to evaluate the budget for the new position.

The second rule which is sometimes neglected is to set the deadline. If you’re prone to perfectionism, note that you might never find the perfect match for the vacancy. In this case, knowing the due date might help you to choose the best candidate among the good (though, not perfect) ones.

Thirdly, tell everyone that you need a software developer. It’s amazing how good the five-handshakes rule works. Sometimes, you will find your perfect candidate among people you know and there will be no need to put the job ad on all the platforms.

How to Hire Remote Developers by Yourself?

  1. Define Your Goals. This might be the hardest part of any hiring process. Define the technical skills which are a must for the candidate, mention those which you would highly appreciate in the applicant, and write down frameworks that will be a benefit when other skills are equal.
  2. Initial Interview. Make sure that you can trust the candidate as this issue is crucial when you work with someone remotely.
  3. Technical Interview. The test assignment is not enough. Ask a tech lead to participate in the interview.
  4. Final Interview and Job Offer. Try to give as many details on the position and the working process to the candidate as possible. If you know that something in the job can be difficult for a newcomer, tell them about it right away to make sure that they know how to deal with your complex issues.

How to Give the Process of Hiring Developers to Professionals?

  1. Define Your Goals. Along with the technical demands, indicate your expectations towards the soft skills of the person. They are important if you’re searching for a remote developer who will have to communicate with you directly. If you’re about to ask the outstaffing company to get you the whole team and the person who will be the link between you and your devs, state to the recruiters what business objectives the new team will cover.
  2. Find Professional Outstaffing Company. Reliable outstaffing companies will not only make the hiring for you, but they will also manage your team of software engineers and cover all the accounting and legal questions.


Hiring remote software developers hasn’t become easier in 2020 especially when it comes to searching for people with unique sets of skills. Fortunately, today your search should not be restricted to one country or city. Moreover, there are multiple outstaffing companies who will hire and manage the team of technical specialists for you. The only thing you have to do is to find a reliable partner and define your expectations towards the team in-demand as precisely as possible.

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