The 5 questions every employer ask before hiring a remote developer

26 Nov 2018

Gone are the days when employers had to look for candidates who live close to the office. Technology has changed the workforce, enabling remote work to take over many office-based jobs. Software development is among the top professions that embrace remote work. In a survey conducted by Stack Overflow, 53% of developers chose remote work as one of their five most valued benefits, more than health care, working hours, or professional development. It appears that, remote work is becoming increasingly popular among developers, especially those who have professional experience and proven track record of successful projects. Remote developers also report being more productive than their office counterparts. Productivity and flexible working schedules are always among the top reasons developers choose the remote lifestyle.

In Europe, there’s a growing need for remote tech talents for a number of reasons; experienced talents are expensive, in addition, many of them aren’t willing to relocate. Hence, many startups and even multinationals are slowly transitioning to the remote work culture to eliminate expenses and embrace the future of work.

Making this transition usually triggers some concerns and questions. In the following guide, we answered most of the employers’ questions about the challenges they may face during the process of hiring remote software developers:

1- How to make sure the remote developer is well-experienced?

Hiring a remote developer is just as tough as hiring office-based ones. To make sure your potential candidate is well-experienced, dig deeply during the interview into their personality and professional experience. Consider conducting multiple interviews to get to know your potential candidate better.

  • During the first interview, ask general questions about their previous experiences, education and future plans.

  • The second interview should include specific questions about their previous jobs and the projects they worked on.

  • Test their technical proficiency by giving a task or a trial project which they should complete in order to move forward. This pre-hiring assessment gives you an overview of the candidate’s experience and knowledge.

During the interview, there are plenty of questions that you can ask to evaluate your candidates. For example,

  • Ask about the tools they use to keep track of their assignments and projects.

  • Inquire about their preferred working hours (especially if they live in a different time zone). You will want to know whether their preferred working hours fit your schedule.

If your potential candidate has had a remote working experience, this would be an added advantage. However, during the interview make sure you understand how they managed to communicate effectively with their managers and collaborate with their remote colleagues.

At InternsValley, we help you with the first screening process, we schedule interviews with potential candidates and then we forward the shortlisted ones to you.

2- How to maintain an effective communication and collaboration between remote developers and on-site ones?  

This is an important point to consider, especially if you have a hybrid team of developers. Your on-site developers are probably communicating with each other more often. So, regular virtual meetings with both remote and on-site teams will help them communicate more and prevent remote developer from being left out. But first, create an onboarding process that makes your remote developers familiar with your company’s work culture. Use video conference to introduce them to their on-site colleagues and walk them through their daily tasks and responsibilities.              

Project management tools such as Trello, Freedcamp, Asana, and Pivotal tracker will help your remote and on-site teams collaborate effectively on shared projects. Also, make use of online calendars like Every Time Zone to check your remote developers’ availability during the day.

  • Ask your remote developer about how you they’re going to communicate with you during the process of developing a certain project. It’s important to that they stay up-to date with their on-site colleagues.

  • Discuss how they’re going to report any issues or problems they may encounter. Remote developers should be able to solve problems but also reach out for assistance if they need it.

Effective communication is an ongoing process, communicate with your remote developers at least once a day. If your remote developer is in need of assistance or advice, support them and offer your solutions. Be open minded and listen to new ideas and suggestions as they may be of real value. In sum, build a relationship that is based on trust and encourage transparency.                                                                                               

3- How to overcome the challenges of cultural and language differences?

This is a big concern if you hire remote developers from different parts of the world. First, the ability to communicate clearly is an essential thing to look for in your remote talent. Especially in remote environments where most of the communications are done in writing. Therefore, look for candidates who can communicate effectively in English. This can be easily figured out during the interview.

Second, cultural difference is a great challenge, however, it has many advantages only if you know how to harness it well. Embracing diversity and cultural differences often bring benefits to the workplace when you:

  • Understand that each member of the team has their own unique traits, skills and personality.

  • Accept the unique traits and attributes of each member.

  • Adjust and adapt to the cultural differences and give room for your employees to express themselves.

Diversity in the workplace can increase creativity and encourage employees to come up with diverse solutions to problems. Researches have shown that diverse teams are more creative. Employees exposed to different cultures and viewpoints often come with a diverse set of skills and knowledge, allowing your company to address problems more efficiently and innovatively.

4- How to manage a productive remote team of developers?

Remote work doesn’t jeopardize productivity. According to “Global State of Remote Work 2018” report by Owl Labs, the first reason that people chose to work remotely is increased productivity. Productivity increases by 13.5% among remote workers. To establish a productive remote working environment, make sure you:

  • Communicate constantly.

  • Set expectations.

  • Measure performance.

  • Be flexible and allow regular breaks.

The problem with hiring remote developers isn’t about productivity fail. In fact, many researchers have found that remote workers tend to overwork and often suffer from burnouts. In their book, “REMOTE: office not required” Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson suggest that employers should be able to recognize when a remote employee is overworking and be flexible to allow breaks from time to time.                                                                                                                           

You can also find more useful tips on how to manage a productive remote team from here.

5- How to ensure that my data is secured?

Probably one of the main concerns you have is ensuring that your data is secured. Therefore, one of the first steps employers take before hiring a remote developer is to use “Fire Transfer Protocol (FTP)” to transfer data between two remote systems. This helps developers pull the site’s file and push it back again when their tests are done. An ‘FTP’ is also useful if you want to terminate their access after completing a project. You may also sign an online NDA to make sure your confidential information is protected.

Quality software developers can be found everywhere, they don’t have to work from an office and they aren’t tied to one location. Widen your search and start looking for real talents across the world. This won’t just lower your costs but will also revitalize your business by adding a new blood to your team and bringing fresh and energetic ideas to the table. A number of remote developers were hired at European startups through InternsValley. Take a look at the stories they shared with us about their experience. And, of course if you have any further questions, reach out to us via or tweet us @InternsValley

By: Menna Shalaby
Content Manager

Strategic Partners