remote worker with laptop sitting on top of mountain
PHOTO: Marco Verch

Identifying potential candidates and hiring the right person for any job can be a challenging task. Hiring a software developer can be even more difficult due to the competitive market, as businesses across industries go through a period of digital transformation.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, software developer job vacancies is expected to grow by 17 percent between 2014 and 2024. This spells fierce competition for the available positions. At the same time, enterprises are embracing new working models which allow for greater flexibility and remote working. While remote working was once plagued by misconceptions, remote workers have proven to be a vital asset that help enterprises meet their business goals.

Remote developers will give businesses a larger pool of talent to target, but you'll still see your fair share of competition in your search for top tech talent. So what can businesses do to gain an edge over the competition?

How to Attract and Hire Remote Developers

1. Know Where to Target Remote Software Developers

Remote workers from across the globe are all over the internet, so you'll want to place your ad on the obvious leading job boards and career websites like Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed and LinkedIn.

However, you shouldn’t ignore some smaller job boards that specifically cater to remote workers (including software developers). These sites can be a better resource to identify the type of remote developers who boast the desired skills and experience you’re looking for in a potential hire.

Some of these remote specific job boards are as follows:

Related Article: Want to Attract Top Talent? Remember the Golden Rule

2. Develop a Target Profile for Your Ideal Candidate

Before you list any of your current vacancies, you have to first understand the types of candidates that are out there. By doing your homework first, you’ll stand a better chance of getting them to work on your next project.

Developers have different motivations for seeking out remote positions. For example, they might be young parents who demand flexibility, they might live in rural areas, or they may not have enough opportunities in their home countries.

While their specific personal reasons for looking for remote work won’t influence who you hire, understanding these motivations can help you create a post that grabs their attention. For example, if you can allow them to work at different times according to their preference, let them know right from the start.

Some businesses may demand remote workers keep the same business hours as their in-house development team, but this can become challenging when you consider significant time differences.

Related Article: Identifying the Missing Link in Remote Working Strategies

3. Describe the Work in Detail

In the software engineering space, enterprises often post two types of jobs. One for long-term contract roles and the other for project-based short-term roles.

If you’re looking to hire remote developers for short-term roles, it’s critical to provide as much information as you can about the project, related tasks and the expected deliverables. This is also an excellent time to add some screening questions for them to answer. These can be highly technical in nature, related to their experience, or even simple questions about their availability.

However, don’t forget to provide some compelling reasons for remote developers to work with you. As the competition grows within this space, flexible schedules alone may not be enough to entice top talent, one thing you can do is highlight the perks of working for your company. These can be anything from the organization’s vibrant culture, its dedication to charitable causes, or even the overall mission of the business. People like authenticity, so be as authentic as possible when listing a job vacancy.

4. Develop a Robust Screening Process

When the applications start coming in, you’ll have to take steps to accelerate the hiring process. One way to do this is to formulate an email that introduces your company by providing more detailed information along with more screening questions. If you have already asked a couple of screening questions in your vacancy post, you can build on that with questions that focus on specific technical tasks that will be common to the job.

You can even ask them to do a test project to gain a better understanding of their skills, experience and the quality of their work. However, to get them to do this, you’ll have to pay for their time.

At this juncture, those who really want to work for you will be willing to go through the process while those who are unmotivated will drop off. This is a good way to weed folks out right away.

Related Article: Lure Top Talent With Workplace Flexibility

5. Look for Soft Skills

When you find yourself with two or three candidates who appear impeccable on paper, seeking out their soft skills can help you choose who might be the best fit for the position.

Furthermore, education and experience won’t really tell you if they will make good remote workers, so focusing on soft skills like time management, communication skills and their ability to work in distributed teams will provide valuable insights that can help you during the selection process.

If they don’t have these skills, you will increase your exposure to risk. Platforms like Upwork are review-based, so you can see what past employers have to say about your candidates' skillsets. This information can also help during the interview phase of the hiring cycle.

Once you have hired some remote developers, set clear goals right from the start. This will help nurture a healthy working relationship and is a critical component of working in highly distributed teams.

Sharing your long-term and short-term goals right from the beginning will also ensure that new hires are on the same page. Whenever there are misunderstandings or miscommunications, they can revisit this information and get back on track.

Gain the Competitive Edge

As the skills gap widens, digitally transformed companies have had to get creative and adapt their working culture to accommodate remote developers. However, in a fiercely competitive job market, it can also be a challenge to attract and hire remote tech talent.

To attract the best in the business, enterprises have to employ a variety of tactics. These include targeting remote developers where they congregate, creating vacancy listings that resonate with them, providing detailed information about the company (and the project), and by highlighting the perks of working for their business.