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Hiring Remote Developers with Outsourced Vendors: Do’s and Don'tsby@reintech
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Hiring Remote Developers with Outsourced Vendors: Do’s and Don'ts

by ReintechJune 15th, 2021
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In 2021 there are more freelance and contract software developers than ever before. Tech talent vendors are companies who connect remote developers to employers. If your company is ever in need of remote tech talent, you will need to know what to look for and ask for to avoid an unfortunate situation. There are many different ways to leverage the power and flexibility of a remote tech team. The author, Sasha Bondar, is the founder of Reintech, a remote developer-sourcing company in Eastern Europe.

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In 2021 there are more freelance and contract software developers than ever before (nearly 30,000 in the U.S. alone!). Tech companies want more options in hiring; they may need a single specialist for a project, a new team for a feature, or an entire new development department. These two situations complement each other perfectly!

However, it can be time-consuming and expensive for tech companies to hire temporary contract workers. This is where tech talent vendors come in. Tech talent vendors are companies who connect remote developers to employers. If your company is ever in need of remote tech talent, you will need to know what to look for and ask for to avoid an unfortunate situation, like the one detailed later in this article.

Disclosure of vested interest: The author, Sasha Bondar, is the founder of Reintech, a remote tech talent sourcer. This article serves to educate, not advertise, but a link to Reintech's website will be provided at the end of this article for any interested readers.


3 Different Remote Talent Team Models

Employing remote developers is not a one-size-fits-all process. There are many different ways to leverage the power and flexibility of a remote tech team. Let's take a look at couple of the more common models.

1. Staff supplementation

The staff supplementation model consists of an organization temporarily supplementing their in-house team with a couple or few additional specialists. 

Staff supplementation works well if your existing development team lacks a particular niche area of expertise that is needed for a couple features or a single project. For example, if your organization only builds mobile apps for Android devices, but a new client requests an iOS version as well, it makes sense to bring in an iOS developer or two just for that project. Another advantage is that the control and oversight over the remote worker remains with your company. Finally, if your company is located in an area where local developers are hard to come by, bringing in a remote worker saves time and effort in the hiring process.

2. Dedicated team

In the dedicated team model, an entire team of remote developers is hired to work together on a specific type of work. Whereas in the staff supplementation model remote developers are brought in to work with an existing tech team, the team in the dedicated team model is entirely remote, with the likely exception of the project or engineering manager. 

The dedicated team model is a sort of middle ground between staff supplementation and going fully remote. Having a dedicated remote tech team is a good idea if, for example, your company wants to add brand new functionality consisting of several features to existing software products. In this situation, you may want to consider using your in-house developers to continue building new products and hiring a dedicated remote development team to handle the new functionality on existing tech.

3. Complete project

In the complete project model, a remote tech team is hired to handle all aspects of a provided project. In contrast to the previous models, in which the remote developers either work with or in addition to an in-house tech team, in the complete project model the remote developers do everything; there is no in-house tech team.

The complete project model requires the least amount of work and oversight of all the models. Essentially, instead of adding a remote developer to your team, or hiring a small remote team to work on an aspect of a product, you leave all the technical work and day-to-day management to the remote technical talent sourcer you choose. It's a great choice if all you want to do is sit down with a project manager, explain in detail what you are seeking, work out targeted timelines, and write a check (metaphorically, of course).

For more information on the different models of hiring remote developers, check out published articles by CleverRoad


Sample Use Case: Meet Maria

Let's illustrate an interaction with a tech talent vendor with a story. Maria, the main character of our story, was the engineering manager at ExampleTech, a small company of about 50 employees.

As Engineering Manager, Maria was responsible for ensuring new products and new features for existing products are built. ExampleTech was growing quickly, and Maria found herself in need of 10 new developers (a huge expansion for a small company).

This presented an issue for Maria; ExampleTech was located in a region with few local developers, and the lead time of hiring new developers was very long. Following the advice of some colleagues in similar positions at other companies, Maria decided to hire a remote development team to meet ExampleTech's growing needs.

After making her needs known to her network and community, Maria was contacted by Shady Software Sourcing, a remote technical talent vendor. On her first phone call with them, she spoke with a manager and a developer. Maria was very impressed by the developer; he had great English skills, sounded very competent when responding to her questions, and generally said all the right things.

There was just one thing that gave her pause – the manager from Shady Software Sourcing said that they could provide a full team of 10 developers ready to start work in just 3 months. This sounded too good to be true, and so she checked with other agencies to compare. She was shocked to discover similar estimates; 3 months, 2 months, even 2 WEEKS! After acquiring this information, she decided to sign a contract with Shady Software Sourcing. 

Fast forward 10 months...

Maria is not happy. Despite promising 10 developers in a 3-month timeline, Shady Software Sourcing only had one developer ready for work at the 3-month mark, and 10 months after signing the contract she only has six developers.

The competent developer with good English skills that she spoke to on that phone call before she signed the contract never appeared; she later learned that he was under contract with another company, and Shady Software Sourcing often uses him in sales calls to help land clients. She was just informed that her two senior developers are resigning in two weeks, leaving her with only four developers left.

All of ExampleTech's timelines are overdue, they are over budget, and the CTO is upset with Maria. How did things get this bad, and how could they have been avoided?


Behind the scenes

It is important to learn as much as you can about a remote tech talent vendor before you hire them. Had Maria looked into Shady Software Sourcing a little more closely, she may have discovered that they only had three engineers available to start work at the time she signed the contract, and none of them had experience compatible with the needs of ExampleTech. As soon as Maria signed the contract, Shady Software Sourcing began looking for engineers to fulfill the contract. In fact, they even sub-contracted out to another company, Terrible Technology Sourcing, to help find any available engineers that could be hired for ExampleTech's contract. 

This scenario explains two of the issues Maria experienced, the insufficient number of developers she was promised and the departure of the two senior developers. In this scenario, Shady Software Sourcing subcontracted some of the work out to Terrible Technology Sourcing. This is problematic for two reasons:

  1. The client (Maria) had no idea about the involvement of Terrible Technology Sourcing, and was even further removed from control over the developers being hired than she thought. Terrible Technology Sourcing is appropriately named; they do a poor job of recruiting and retaining engineers, and were unable to hire the appropriate number for the ExampleTech contract.
  2. Another middleman that makes profit means the money is coming from somewhere. This accounts for some of the cost overruns that Maria experienced, as well as why the two senior developers left. Competition for top remote tech talent can be fierce, and there needs to be confirmed control over the salary of the developers to ensure that they are compenstated well enough to complete the job, rather than leave at the first offer of more money.

Do's and Don'ts

Tech talent vendors can be a boon to your tech company. Working with a high quality sourcer can help you achieve all your goals and give you the sense of control and transparency you need. Beware the poor quality or fraudulent sourcing companies! Let's summarize:

Do's

  • DO: Ensure your remote technical talent sourcer has a proven track record of successfully getting companies the developers and results they are looking for.
  • DO: Insist on transparency – A good sourcer will be clear on salary needs to recruit and retain quality developers, and leave it to you to make the right judgement call.
  • DO: Arrange a schedule to communicate regularly with the project manager of the team or someone at the remote technical talent sourcing company, to check progress and make adjustments.
  • DO: Ask the tech talent vendor the following questions:

    What is your hiring potential?

    How large is your recruiting team?

    Can you explain your hiring/recruiting process for developers?

    How do you attract and hire candidates?

    What advantages do you offer compared to your competition?

    What is the hiring landscape like right now?

Don'ts

  • DON'T: Believe everything every remote tech talent vendor tells you. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • DON'T: Trust that everything is proceeding as expected without verifying for yourself.
  • DON'T: Accept budget overruns for vague, unspecified reasons as normal business. Transparency is everything!

Now that you know how to work with tech talent vendors, contact Reintech to get your remote development team started with a company that places transparency and honesty at the center of their business.