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9 Challenges of Hiring Remote Developers

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9 Challenges of Hiring Remote Developers

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Hiring remote developers is a great idea for many startups; however, there are challenges in doing so. You've done the research. You know how much it costs to do development work remotely. You know the benefits it can bring to your organization and are ready to hire a team you can manage remotely.

But there are obstacles ahead. As pointed out by micro1 experts, hiring remotely presents at least 9 challenges outlined below. So if you are looking to hire remote developers, it's time to get down to brass tacks, identify real challenges and find solutions. 

1. Finding Great Talent At The Right Time

Finding talented and reliable remote developers is complex. This is something that most companies face, no matter where they're based. There are so many qualified developers that it can be challenging to find the top talent. If you hire locally, most people will have to commute, but you can at least meet up in person and get a feel for whether they're qualified. With remote workers, you have to rely on video chats or phone calls, which can be awkward. 

As with all hires, timing is crucial. The biggest challenge of hiring remote developers is finding great people at the right time. Many companies have a hard time finding enough local talent, and when you expand your search to include the rest of the world, that challenge grows exponentially. 

Hiring too early means the role will likely be underutilized; too late, the company might feel the pain of having no one in that role while you search for someone. And while it's important to have a sense of urgency with every hire, it's even more so when hiring remote developers. Your team needs someone who can hit the ground running and make an immediate impact since they won't be able to rely on face-to-face communication compared to those in the office.

2. Legal Complications

Another challenge of hiring a remote developer are legal related issues for hiring managers. These are only some of the legal headaches ahead: intellectual property protection, taxes, insurance, employment contracts, differing legal systems, and so on.

You also have to consider whether your business is suitable for remote work and if remote work is permitted by law in the countries of your contractors.

If you're hiring from country with lower labour costs, developers may be willing to work for less than their counterparts in your country. First, however, you should make sure that their salaries meet local standards and that an agency or contractor is not exploiting them.

3. Preparing a Precise J.D. and J.S.

One cause of remote worker underperformance is an unclear job description. In fact, according to a Gallup report, 50% of remote workers feel that they are unclear about what is expected of them. 

Comparing job descriptions and job specifications can help you find developers to hire. The job description should clearly explain the job, why it exists, what will be expected of them as an employee and their duties. On the other hand, the job specification describes a person who can perform that particular role.

When looking to hire remote developers, you need a clear J.D. and J.S. The difficulty with this is that your hiring manager or H.R. staff may not be experienced with software development, especially in the case of remote hiring.

When done right, writing a good job description and job specification can significantly improve your chances of getting a great candidate for your team. When writing an advertisement for a position, be as specific as possible about its duties and responsibilities.

One way to fix this problem is to prepare a detailed job description and share it with your remote team. This strategy accounts for all parties' perspectives.

4. Interview Process & Test project 

The main challenge of hiring remote developers is that you cannot use the same interview process as you would use for on-site developers. If you want to hire the best employee, you need to set up a rigorous hiring process since you cannot come and meet the candidate personally or work with them in your office. You need to ensure that your interview panel is well prepared for the meetings and can ask all the relevant questions based on their technical skills and personality traits, which are essential to check before hiring any developer remotely.

Instead of hiring a developer based on an interview, doing a test project with a candidate can be the right approach. This way, you'll have an idea of what to expect from this person and will have an easier time deciding if the candidate will be a good fit for your company.

5. Background verification

In-person interviews have certain advantages over remote ones. In person, it is more difficult to mislead and embellish one’s abilities. While you can always closely analyze the candidate's CV, prior experience, and educational certificates, verified by contacting their previous employer or college, this becomes more difficult with remote interviews. In the case of remote developers, it is more difficult to know if they are telling you the truth about their background. There are even cases of fake degrees!

A background check is not only about verifying a candidate’s education and past work experience, but also about verifying their identity and legal status in their country. Potential lawsuits may arise if proper steps are not taken. In addition, third-party background checks can protect your company from hiring someone with a criminal history, if that is a requirement for your industry or company.

6. Cost

The cost of hiring remote developers is higher than you might expect.

The most obvious cost is the salary — you need to pay your employees what they're worth, whether they work in your office or are from a different country. But salary alone doesn't include all the costs of hiring remote employees.

Hiring & onboarding remote workers requires considerable effort. For example, it's harder for senior-level employees to find great junior-level developers because they can't "look over their shoulder" during their daily tasks. As a result, remote teams often have a higher turnover rate as they churn through new hires that aren't working out. In addition to the monetary cost of hiring, it takes time for new hires to get up to speed and become productive members of your team.

Employee benefits are another cost that many companies overlook when hiring remote workers. You'll want to provide a comprehensive benefits package to help offset some of their sacrifices by not working in an office environment. Without these, you won't be able to get high-quality candidates.

7. Building a Strong Employer Brand

Creating a compelling employer brand can attract the best talent to your company. However, you must first establish yourself as a desirable place to work for the best developers.

The main challenge is that people are generally more skeptical of remote companies than office-based ones, especially if they don't know much about your team or product. So, for example, if you're launching a new product, potential candidates might wonder if it will be sustainable, how many customers will use it and why they should trust you with their careers.

This also means that you have to put extra effort into making your company stand out among competitors as an employer. You need to build a strong employer brand that will attract potential candidates and make them want to work for you instead of your competitors.

8. Ensuring a Good on-boarding & Candidate Experience

Onboarding is also more complicated with remote hiring because you can't rely on traditional methods like casual conversations around the water cooler or an afternoon spent learning the ropes in someone else's department.

When hiring remote workers, many companies have difficulty ensuring a good candidate experience. This is because they often handle the process differently, in a more complicated manner than they would with an on-site employee. This can cause problems during the interview phase and make it harder to judge if candidates are genuinely qualified.

Another challenge of hiring remote developers is to ensure that they stay motivated and work consistently over time. It requires trust and dedication from both parties—the employee and the employer—to keep everything running smoothly and successfully.

9. Payroll

With a global talent pool, you can hire resources not only in other cities and states but also in other countries. One of the biggest issues with hiring remote developers is payroll. In most countries, it's not as simple as paying them every month.

In some cases, they'll need to be set up with a local payroll solution if they will act as an employee of your company. This can get expensive very quickly, especially when you consider that you may need to do this for dozens of people across multiple countries.

Alternatively, you can opt to hire the developer on a consulting basis and pay them into their personal bank account. While this is simpler from a logistical point of view, it comes with its own set of problems. For example, many banks will send out W-8BEN forms, which must be filled out by the developer stating that they're not an American resident. If these forms aren't filled out and returned (and many won't), then you may have to withhold 30%.

You might have to do payroll differently depending on where you hire your developer from. Please make sure you understand how U.S. payroll works and what you need to do to get everything right.


Ultimately, finding remote developers is a challenge that is often easier said than done. The recruiting process can be as much art as science, and it takes time to find suitable candidates. But despite these challenges, the results are often quite worth it. It can companies build products faster, more affordably, and with much less stress and hassle. That’s something every company wants!

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