What Are the Best Techniques for Screening and Selecting Remote Developers?
The process of hiring a remote developer is relatively new for recruiters. While companies have employed home-based for years, the pandemic changed the landscape entirely.
Screening and selecting the best off-site developers requires various recruitment tools — including assessments and coding challenges — to uncover critical skills and traits. Companies grappling with remote work should consider its benefits and strategize a new approach to hiring.
Benefits of Hiring Remote Developers
The debate over remote work has blown over as employers relent to workers' desire for flexibility and autonomy.
Remote work trends are holding steady worldwide, although rates are lower than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Creative professionals and tech-savvy developers have found they can conduct business at home and produce the same, if not better, results.
Employers once claimed remote work led to a drop in productivity and creativity. However, a global study shows eliminating commutes gives 72 minutes back to the employee for leisure and home life, improving job satisfaction and performance.
U.K. companies failing to offer remote work opportunities have faced dire consequences, including struggling to hire and retain a productive workforce. Over the last couple of years, businesses with a hybrid or fully remote culture have experienced the following benefits:
- The ability to hire from a broader talent pool
- Ample cost savings
- A more engaged and productive workforce
- Lower turnover rates
- Ability to meet sustainability targets with fewer commutes and office occupancy
What most deemed impossible — a successful transition to remote work — proved otherwise with stay-at-home orders. Now companies must get on board to build their teams with the best talent.
6 Screening Techniques for Remote Developers
Many companies are just learning how to screen and select remote workers. It is crucial for hiring managers to choose developers with adequate experience and skills.
The perfect candidate must be an excellent culture fit, have remote work capabilities, and bring a unique and advanced skill set to the team. Here are six screening techniques for hiring remote developers.
1. Issue Personality Quizzes
It can prove challenging to get to know someone through a webcam call. Therefore, personality quizzes have become a popular recruitment tool for screening candidates across all fields.
Personality quizzes are typically issued along with the developer application. Prospective employees enjoy learning about themselves and their innate strengths for a given role. Meanwhile, managers gain insight into whether someone is a good cultural fit for the development team and the company.
Hiring managers may discover a candidate is an excellent communicator and collaborator — essential traits for teamwork and leadership. For instance, after Lego let 8% of its workforce go, it sought to build more communicative, focused and curious teams to boost revenue.
Many also deem personality quizzes fairer than other hiring factors, such as a candidate's educational background. Historically, where someone went to school may have indicated their race or economic status, taking focus away from their experience.
2. Schedule a Phone Screening
A phone screening means a recruiter likes what they have read in an application and wants to learn more. Hiring managers also use them to weed out candidates with glaring red flags and narrow the candidate pool.
A phone screening is an ideal opportunity to ask candidates why they applied for the developer position, what they find interesting about the job or company, and what they can contribute.
Recruiters may also ask candidates to answer specific questions from their resume, such as why there are employment gaps or to flesh out a particular skill or job task they listed.
3. Deliver Coding Challenges
Finding a remote developer with the right personality to join the team is hard enough — so how can a recruiter tell if their skills hold up? Coding challenges test candidates' knowledge and allow them to demonstrate their expertise.
Recruiters may email the candidate a programming test with a completion deadline. They may also give a pair-programming challenge in which they work on a project with another person. The best assignments use real problems — perhaps even one the company is trying to solve. There should also be a standard baseline for grading.
Testing candidates on artificial intelligence is also essential. There are 26.9 million developers globally — companies should look for individuals capable of using advanced AI tools for coding.
4. Post a Job Advertisement
Screening and selecting the best remote developer candidates depends on how clear the job advertisement is. To achieve this, recruiters should first craft a candidate profile to fully understand the developer's specifications to target the right people.
The job advertisement should briefly introduce the candidate to the company, including its mission and values. Additionally, the template should be well-organized, with separate sections for various requirements.
The posting should include enough information to answer the most essential questions. Avoiding corporate speech and using inclusive language is equally important to attract talent.
Some companies might consider disclosing salaries, too. The U.K. government organized a salary transparency pilot program in 2022 as it found it increased candidate interest and lessened the gender pay gap.
5. Give a Remote Work Assessment
Some people are better equipped for remote work than others. It takes a unique skill set to achieve results from the comforts of home. Home-based employees must display excellent independence, self-discipline and organization to stay productive during the day.
Remote developers spend much time working autonomously, so managers must be able to trust their abilities. Giving candidates a work assessment is an ideal way to discover their learning capacities, accountability, teamwork, adaptability, self-motivation and communication skills.
For instance, developers should be willing to learn various communication software to connect with managers and co-workers throughout the day. They should also be self-starters and take responsibility for completing their work on time.
6. Check References
Recruiters can select the perfect remote developer by contacting their references. During a reference check, hiring managers may ask about the candidate's software engineering skills and whether they would hire them again.
Other questions may pertain to the candidate's ability to communicate complex technical terms to teams, their ability to collaborate, whether they are adept in the latest programming trends and how they overcome workplace changes.
Although some recruiters save check references at the end of the hiring process, recruiters may want to make some calls at the beginning. It would be a waste of time to go through several rounds of interviews only to find resume inconsistencies and negative feedback from a former employer.
Hire the Best Remote Developer With Proper Screening Strategies
Companies should get excited about the chance to hire remote developers from far and wide. Without the constraints of hiring local candidates only, businesses land a broader talent pool to reach their goals. These screening strategies will help recruiters sift through applicants to find the next best developer to join the team.
Eleanor is the founder and managing editor of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy