Do you post a job listing? What do you look for? How many developers should you hire? These are all thorny questions that stumped us the first few times we tried to acquire some outside tech talent. After being around the block a couple of times, though, we’ve figured out a few tried-and-true tips for making sure we get the best freelancers possible.
|Image Courtesy: whitehouse|
1. Know what you want
This seems like a pretty obvious one, but you have no idea how many times we talk to people that say that they want a freelance developer but aren’t quite sure what they want them to do. Us non-developers often fall into the trap of thinking that, because developing is something we can’t do, developers must be able to do anything related to development.
That’s not true, though: all developers have a particular set of skills and area of expertise, and if you don’t know what you want from the get-go, you’re not going to hire the right developer.
Another reason that you need to know what you want is that, otherwise, the project might end up being a lot more costly than you budgeted for. You can’t really agree on a contract unless you know whether you’re asking your developer to help you adapt an iOS app for Android or build a new app from the ground up.
2. Get help
This is the step most people miss; they figure that hiring a freelancer can’t be that hard, so they might as well do it alone. Guess what: there are dozens of companies whose sole industry is matching freelance developers with people looking for freelancers.
Why are there so many? Because most people who do it on their own are really, really bad at it. If you’re not a developer, it’s going to be pretty tough to evaluate the skills of potential freelancers, and you’re almost definitely going to end up with the wrong fit.
The only downside of using a company to set you up with the right person is that they charge a small commission, but it’s almost definitely worth it when compared with the potential costs of having a bad developer screw up your project. Our current favorite is Toptal, which has a pretty extensive selection process and only takes about 3% of developers who apply.
3. Take your time
We’ve been there. You have deadlines to meet, you want to get your product to market, and your investors are making a fuss. There’s tremendous pressure to get a developer as soon as possible so that you can finish up your project and start making some money instead of working out of your grandma’s garage.
It’s a rookie mistake, though, to rush right here — if it takes you an extra few days, or even a week, to find the right developer, you’ll save yourself a tremendous amount of time in the long run, since you won’t have to fix any issues an inferior developer might not be able to address.
4. Short-term skills, long-term talent
That’s kind of wordy, so we’ll explain. Coding skills are updated or outmoded every few years, if not more often, so if you’re hiring someone for a few months or a year, it’s probably better to prioritize talent over the exact skill set you need.
This doesn’t mean that you should take someone who has no idea how to do what you want them to do, just that if you’re deciding between two similar candidates, one of whom has skills slightly more aligned with the ones you’re looking for and another who has a lot more talent, definitely go with the latter.
If you’re only hiring someone for a few days or weeks, though, you don’t want them to have to waste any time learning a new skill (especially if they’re paid by the hour!), so make sure to hire someone with exactly what you need.
5. One (or two) at a time
If you’re looking to hire a team of freelancers, do not hire them all at once. As we said above, we know how stressful it can be when you need developers and you’re working on a deadline.
Still, the only thing worse than not having any developers is having bad developers that you have to replace in the middle of a project. If you hire developers one or two at a time, you can judge them individually and see how they fit into your team; you can also make sure that future freelancers’ skills complement the ones your team members already have so that you don’t end up with a huge overlap.
6. Money first
No, this doesn’t mean that you need to pay your developers upfront (in fact, you almost definitely shouldn’t). What it does mean, though, is that you should be setting out a contract before your developer types a single line of code.
You definitely, definitely, definitely do not want a situation in which you still don’t have a contract but your developer has finished half your project and is now demanding an unreasonable amount of money. Do yourself a big favor and figure it out ahead of time.
He is a passionate Blogger, Entrepreneur, Writer, and Thinker. He has been blogging for the last couple of years and loves everything about it. He covers almost everything related to technology on his Blog, Cyberockk.com.