What to Look For When Hiring Remote Developers

Hiring Remote

When hiring remote developers for your team, there are five green flags you’ll need to uncover during the interview process to separate the best from the rest.

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Hiring remote developers for your team should be easy, right?

After all, the number of programmers and developers working from home has never been higher. And with no formal education required, you’ll probably have tons of applications from all over the world flood in from a single job ad.

But that’s when the hiring process can get overwhelming. 

Rather than considering the finer points each candidate brings to the table, you may only look at portfolios and resumes with big tech experience.

And if these become your only way to gauge a candidate’s viability, you’ll miss a huge chunk of the puzzle.

That’s why we’re sharing the best green flags you should look for when hiring a remote developer. Once you uncover these, you’ll know whether that dream candidate will fit your needs and work well with your team.

5 Things to Look for When Hiring Remote Developers

When you’re assessing a resume or holding a virtual interview, make sure to look for:

1. The Specific Programming Skills You Need

Your job ad should specifically list the type of programmer your team needs. 

Are you looking for a front-end or back-end developer? Should they have experience with a specific programming language, such as Python or Java? Will their daily tasks keep them in the software world, security, or quality assurance?

All these need to be outlined ahead of time so you can compare resumes and select candidates who match these requirements.

Then, you’ll need to make sure your candidate’s skills and experience fit this role. A senior developer position will require more expertise than one below this rank, for example. But what kind of experience and training makes the cut?

Here’s where you’ll need to take into consideration each candidate’s portfolio. This will give you an inside peek at the code they’ve written and the projects they’ve worked on.

So take out your fine-toothed digital comb to assess each candidate's coding skills and attention to detail. Does it look like every line has its t’s crossed and i’s dotted, so to speak? 

Spend some time with your team checking this out. A portfolio goes beyond the basics of a resume and provides a crystal clear overview of a candidate’s personality, passions, and technical skills.

2. Remote Work Experience or Experience Using Remote Project Management Tools

Developers with remote work experience will have a solid understanding of remote project management tools like Trello, Basecamp, Asana, etc., which means you’ll spend less time training them.

But the picture gets fuzzy for candidates who’ve never worked remotely before.

For them, you’ll need to see whether these potential hires will be able to manage their own workloads and stay on track for project deadlines without a manager virtually hovering over their shoulder.

So make it a point to ask about whether they’ve used project management tools in the past, and if not, how they currently manage their workload. 

You may want to send candidates a task in your team’s preferred project management client to see if they’ll be comfortable using these tools. Then you can discuss their experience during your virtual interview.

3. Stellar Communication Skills

If a candidate can articulate their thoughts and write well in their cover letter and resume, chances are they’ll have solid communication skills, which is a must-have when working remotely.

But on top of excellent written communication skills, you’ll also want to scope out their verbal skills. These are just as critical to your team dynamics and will be used day in and day out to convey important project details and updates.

So when you interview remote developers, see how well they practice active listening. Do they ever interrupt? Follow-up conversation topics with thoughtful responses or questions? Maintain eye contact?
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Remember, your team will need to stay in touch via email, messaging apps, and virtual video chats. If a candidate’s communication skills aren’t up to speed, you’ll have miscommunications that lead to wasted time, costly hiccups, and lower team morale.

So it pays to assess this skill early on.

4. Work Habits and Schedule

While some remote developers like to code through the night, others like to keep standard business hours during the workweek.

If you don’t have a specific window of time you’ll need them to “clock in,” you should ask candidates about their preferred work hours. And don’t forget to adjust these hours for different time zones.

Along with their preferred work schedule, you’ll also want to uncover each candidate’s individual work habits and tendencies. These may not be evident on their resume or cover letter, so you may need to ask targeted questions during your virtual interviews.

You may want to start with:
  1. Describe your daily work routine.
  2. Where do you like to work? Do you have a home office space?
  3. Do you work well independently?
  4. How about within a team?
  5. How willing are you to learn new things?
  6. Are you quick to pick up new skills?
  7. How do you stay current with technical updates?
  8. How adaptable are you?
  9. How do you deal with failures and setbacks?
  10. How comfortable are you receiving feedback?
When candidates respond, you can ask them to give you examples of their answers. For example: Tell me about a time when you had to adapt to a shift in the project or a time when things didn’t go as planned. How did you feel, and what did you do as a result?

These questions will help you uncover personality traits and work habits that will either mesh well with or clash against those of your current team.

5. Interpersonal Skills that Fit With Your Team

Interpersonal skills are a bit harder to uncover but not impossible. And they may be the make-or-break element to hiring and retaining the right fit for your team.

Essentially, you can share more about your company culture and what your team likes during your interview to see if your candidates share anything in common.

Try to learn more about their personality as if you were meeting a potential new friend or network connection. This can be as simple as finding common TV shows, sports teams, hobbies, favorite memes, etc.

Or you can take the personality assessment a bit further by sending out a questionnaire or survey ahead of time. You can ask questions that prompt responses about their values, causes they believe in, or unique personality traits.

The answers to these questions will not only give you a better idea of how candidates differ, but whether they’ll fit in with and get along with your team.

While it will require some deeper digging, it’s an ideal way to gauge personal fit.

Final Thoughts on What to Look For When Hiring Remote Developers

After reading those tips, you can see there are far more things to look for when hiring remote developers than just their coding skills.

Sure, you need someone experienced in this department, but it also pays to have your other bases covered. This ensures your new hires stay on board long-term, so you don’t have to find another candidate in a few weeks. 

If they’re really happy, your new employee may even refer their equally awesome friends for open positions down the line.

By using this guide as a checklist, you’ll have no problem sorting through a stack of resumes to find the perfect remote developers to fit your needs.

Speaking of that, it’s also a good idea to source your remote developers from a pool of top candidates. You’ll find exactly that in our remote job board. Millions of talented remote candidates check our site every day, and that includes the best developers from around the world.

Post your job ad today to find your next remote developer tomorrow!

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