Hiring a remote developer can feel like looking for needles in a haystack, given the vast pool of talent that exists internationally. Yet, in this ever-expanding digital universe, hiring developers from all over the world offers a tremendous amount of freedom and versatility when meeting your company’s specific needs. Remote hiring and managing a virtual team, however, is an art in and of itself. Following a few tips can make the process a little smoother.
Remember you’ll have no face-to-face contact and while technology has facilitated mimicking these all too important aspects of office interaction —vis-a-vis Skype and other video conferencing options—some employers don’t take full advantage. The absence of this face-to-face contact means that you need to look beyond the resume and carefully consider other essential traits.
Getting to know the candidate on a personal level will give you a sense for whether they have essential character traits needed to work remotely. Utilize video interviews, look at social media profiles to assess professionalism and personality. There are many qualified developers out there that might not be up to the task of working from home where there are no water cooler conversations or office lunches. A person looking to work as a remote developer should possess characteristics like discipline, organizational skills, self-motivation, self-reliance, and an ability for problem-solving.
The more time spent in the hiring and interview process the less time you’ll waste in the long term. Have a set of predetermined criteria that you can effectively assess either through skill assessments, video interviews, questionnaires, and trial periods. Harvard Business Review writes that process, both in hiring and in project management is the key to a thriving remote work environment.
Have some skill assessments during the interview process, so that candidates know exactly the kind of work they’ll be doing on a day to day basis. This allows you to gauge their skill level, productivity, and the ability to receive feedback and take responsibility. Bringing two or more finalized candidates on a trial basis will give you some time to get a feel for how the person works outside of their stated experience, how they fit into the company culture, adapt to your process, and how they handle tasks.
Establish meaningful communication and trust between you and your new employees. This is key. You want to avoid miscommunications, employees feeling isolated, or having too much freedom to goof off. Establishing a company culture is important. Set up an effective communication structure that allows you for regular conferences or conversations so that they remain engaged in the team. As Entrepreneur magazine suggests, you want to optimize the communication tools out there. This includes Google Hangouts, digital whiteboards, chat rooms, video conferencing, etc.
While flexibility is part of the enticement of remote work for developers, you don’t want to offer them too much freedom and no structure. It is important to set milestones and specific objectives on a weekly or monthly basis so that there are clear marks of progress and accountability.
Hiring a remote employee is not the same as bringing someone into your office that you will see and mentor on a daily basis. It requires identifying a candidate that possesses the skill level, but also the grit and personality that it takes to operate and communicate from across the globe.