How to find a dedicated developer for an app? If you are planning or doing full-time outsourcing staff and from time to time your software development outsourcing vendor augments your team, then this article is worth reading to learn what actions to take for improvement team speed enlargement, the personnel quality, and reduction of effort and time.
I’ve been working in an outsourcing software development business from a vendor side for many years and on some projects, I have to be involved in the process of creating remote dedicated software development teams as an account and overall control manager. Usually, this new staff (mostly software programmers) is going to be a part of existing dedicated teams or we plan such programmers to be the core of new teams.
My experience is connected with creating/augmentation small/medium sized teams (from 2 to 25 people) where direct project management and technical leads (employees of clients) are sometimes situated overseas. This peculiarity (remote and overseas manager who approves the last candidate in the team), requires a specific approach for the exact hiring process and this article is aimed at providing some tips and tricks on how to organize it effectively.
If our internal personnel resources are not enough to satisfy customer’s needs, we usually hire programmers from our job market. To optimize the recruiting process and improve the result, I have divided it into three key parts: Pre-screening and Preparation, Interviewing, and Hiring.
Preparation and screening
The primary motivation behind the groundwork is to ensure that your outsourcing vendor comprehends the job vacancy clearly, as well as having the capacity to envisage the most qualified individual for the role (under skills and salary package requirements) - this will aid in finding the ideal candidate.
In order to increase the number of quality candidates and decrease the number of irrelevant ones, vendor recruiters should prepare the most detailed, attractive (but, of course, honest) description of the vacancy and working conditions. At least the following information should be provided in a clear and obvious way:
- Information about the vendor, its location; optionally about you as a client.
- Project details — every project has its own history, perspectives, and advantages. It is important to mention its duration, age, and give some links if possible. Even if it is only supporting the current system (some individuals are content with this kind of work — providing aid and not being interested in more taxing endeavors).
- Potential candidate’s role and charge at a project – vendors should pay attention to this point. It is crucial to provide true info about the position. It's better to mention if the project assumes any career growth in perspective, business trips or other benefits.
- Project team – who are they? Great if a newcomer will consider them as a talented team!
- Benefits and Perks of vendor’s social package.
- Ideal and must have skills, education, level of English and required years of working experience, etc.
- Planned budget.
If you provide detailed information on each point, you will get a lot of CVs. If you receive a little of CVs, it means that either your recruiting team is not performing well enough or there is required to be fixed in vacancy description (like in the picture below) to attract more candidates:
Anyway, with the low or high number of CVs, the next step will be - SCREENING.
The major goal of screening is to make sure that your outsourcing vendor doesn’t miss any potentially suitable candidates.
Screening a lot of CVs looks like a very simple process, but actually, many people are making mistakes at this most important initial stage. The common mistake is in conclusion for the definition of an “ideal” and “non-perfect” CV of a candidate.
"Ideal" CV means the candidate has a lot of required experience, references, text in CV is divided into logical blocks and everything looks perfect. When getting such a CV, you want to hire this person immediately. Please, keep calm, because sometimes it means that either:
- Candidate used someone who helped him with a fulfilling CV (real programmers care little about formatting text in CV).
- Or candidate has already visited many companies and is trying to create a better CV to improve his chances at the next interview.
Better to double check all skills, experience and career steps mentioned in such CVs. I had an unpleasant experience with candidates with “ideal” CVs, so please pay serious attention to this point.
“Non-perfect" CV means the candidate does not provide a lot of details. It is a maximum-page list with a very laconic description of their working career, skills, and experience. Sometimes these CVs do not pass the first recruiter’s filter. Not all talented programmers are good at describing their skills how recruiters like. That’s why you have to pay additional attention to such CVs and if you see the candidate is supposed to be appropriate for your project, do not hesitate to review such CVs more accurately and get more info from this candidate. Believe me, sometimes people with "non-perfect CV" surprise you with their performance. Though some CVs still should be passed on.
After your outsourcing vendor has fulfilled Preparation and Screening stages, he definitely has to ask his recruiters to speak with selected candidates over phone/Skype to check:
- candidate’s communication skills – if required English, as well
- candidate’s adequateness, personal qualities and motivation
- candidate’s opinion on the experience of some key technologies used in the project
- terms of start
- introductory level of requested salary
That is a completing process for two previous steps. All the received info will help your outsourcing vendor to create the initial profile (at least in their mind for each potential candidate and compare how it matches their expectations. According to my practice, if at this stage a candidate complements at least 50% to the "ideal" profile, he (she) can move to the next stage. You can ask "why only 50% of similarity", the answer is simple - the candidate has passed, but the screening process, and you never know how a real person will perform at the following stages and if you find better candidates. The accurate Preparation and Screening processes will definitely increase the chances of getting a lot of quality candidates.
The principal goal is to make sure that the candidate is fully suitable for your requirements for the project or at least he (she) has the good potentiality to improve required skills in the shortest period.
To make the process more effective and less time consuming for our client we use 2 steps of technical interview scenario:
- First step - all the actions being fulfilled on the outsource Executor side (on our side), such as seeking for people, screening them, preliminary and technical interviewing.
- Second and final step is done by our client, who receives just A FEW best candidates from tens screened and who can carry out full technical (based on results of the first step) or just general interview (checking some critical things like a degree of matching with the team on client’s side, communication abilities, level of English etc.).
Usually, I start the first step after I’ve completed building a candidate’s profile and got all the needed clarifications from recruiters and clients. Time is really important and your vendor shouldn’t wait for CV’s of different candidates. They should work with CVs one by one as they come from recruiters. Before I arrange a technical interview, I call each candidate via Skype or phone to have an “overall discussion”. The main goal of this action is to communicate with a particular candidate, present a company and project to him (her), arouse additional interest and check his (her) adequateness, personal qualities etc. In any case, it is really a friendly gesture when someone from team management (but not recruiters) takes an initiative to talk directly with a candidate informally and candidates appreciate it certainly.
‘It takes some time, but it’s just 15-20 minutes via Skype or phone and the eventual result has a huge effect - it intrigues the candidate much more than from conversations with recruiters and awaits the following steps.’
Next step is the technical interview. Mostly, I prefer to do that in live mode - we invite a candidate to our office, meet and greet him/her with our technical interviewers (they could work together in the future) and examine him/her technically. This approach works perfectly but has an issue negative moment – it takes a lot of time since tens of candidates can be interviewed before we will find one rock star.
‘In order to save time of valuable tech specialists it might be a good idea to arrange a preliminary technical interview (10-15 min) via Skype/phone when we determine if this candidate is worthy of being invited to the office and spend 1 - 2 hours of tech-related talk. If this concern is explained properly, candidates will fully agree with it, because this procedure saves their time also and technical interviewer’s time is really expensive nowadays.’
Keep in mind we hire programmers into your team (as a part of your dedicated team) and a friendly gesture from your outsourcing vendor is to inform you on time about updates on the results achieved. I email to my client presenting only 3 CVs of candidates interviewed and selected by our tech team + brief comments on each candidate. If there are over 3 CVs I prepare an Excel list with pros and cons of the candidates. This informative and clear email will make the choice of who your team interviews, eventually. This meeting will be conducted using Skype, Google Hangout or any other service for voice conferences.
‘It will be a good idea if your overseas technical team will be informed by your vendor what questions (in one page list) the vendor has already asked the candidate and what were the answers (pass or no pass). That will really help you not to check additionally.’
The main goal here is to make sure that all of the previous efforts lead to the positive final result and you will not lose your “ideal” candidates, otherwise it will take time/effort to find new ones.
In case you see that one or a few candidates are suitable for the project, you can ask your vendor to prepare a personal Job Offer. The most important thing is describing calendar terms of Job Offer acceptance (usually it is about 2-3 business days). This moment will discipline candidates on fast responding to Job Offer acceptance or decline. You can ask why the terms of accepting or disclaiming are so short? I insist that in case the candidate you’ve chosen has passed so many steps and he/she is still available, it will be easy for him/her to make the final decision.
Also, making a Job offer is significant. It can be a final personal meeting in a relaxing and friendly atmosphere in the vendor’s office where a person who is in charge of this exact position will present the Offer accompanying it with some inspiring message. We send the Offer via email, but you or your vendor should inform your candidate via phone and explain to him/her that he/she was chosen as the best candidate and so on and so forth. Sometimes you like a candidate but you feel that for some reasons he/she will not accept your offer (for example a project is not so suitable for him/her, or proposed salary package is not fully suitable to the candidate’s expectations). Here, you can make a Job offer to several candidates simultaneously and just wait to see who will accept it first - in this case, you need to clarify to the candidates that the offer was made to several people and the best candidate will be selected from those who agree.
I can mention that you/your vendor can combine the approaches described according to your wishes. The most important thing here is to have a fast and effective process to hire proper and qualified programmers. And hope your vendor won’t forget to inform the candidates who will not have passed your selection steps. Who knows, probably a couple of weeks/months later, you will interview them for a different project and they will fully suit it.
As last words, I wish you all the best when working with outsourcing vendors as like in any business. It is a partnership of 2 companies where both depend on one another in order to achieve their business results goals.