A Guide to Hiring Trustworthy Remote Developers

By Otti Hart


Photo by Airstream Inc. on Unsplash

In a world that is driving further towards remote work and recruitment procedures are shifting accordingly, it is as crucial as ever that you’re hiring stars that will drive your team to success. According to DigitalOcean’s latest survey from July 2019, 86% of respondents currently work from home in some capacity 1/3 working remotely full time. Moreover with COVID19 pushing more and more companies to put procedures in place so that employees are working efficiently from home, remote work is only becoming increasingly commonplace.


There is a plethora of benefits of hiring a remote team, some of these include:

  • Access to a greater talent pool of highly qualified developers in whatever niche you require
  • Remote developers’ productivity per hour is also increased when you encourage employees to work when they’re most productive such as those night-owls who prefer to work from 10pm-2am
  • If you’re paying your employees per hour you will undoubtedly get the most out of the hours invested in
  • No visa costs
  • Increased employee retention rate
  • Lower employment costs

....and the list goes on.


However, not all these developers are as prepared to devote their time as wholeheartedly as their application might appear, and one of the primordial concerns of employers when it comes to shifting to remote teams is trusting in their employees. There will always exist those horror stories where remote developers do minimal work and momentum eventually grinds to a halt whilst the money keeps draining away. On the other side of the coin, there are many highly successful companies that do thrive with predominantly remote teams such as Indiez, GitLab, Automattic and zillions more out there.

Aside from ensuring the usual communication is upheld, checking in with your developers and keeping them engaged and motivated, starting off with driven developers is a must. If you are hiring the wrong guy no amount of motivational meetings, top-tier leadership or well considered incentives are going to score your organization a loyal developer. 

Here’s a guide on how to sift through the meek and recruit developers that are driven to putting their all into your company’s values and mission.


The process

  • Job posting: Ensure you provide enough details in the job posting. Your Employer Branding needs to come through here strongly representing how influential and significant your brand is so that it's clear you’re a serious organization that isn’t going to take any slackers. For advice on Employer Branding and how to market yourself get in touch with us here.
  • Test the motivation of candidates by asking them to include a cover letter. Making this cover letter optional is another way of checking for motivated candidates- if they aren’t providing this you can already discern who is willing to put the extra effort into applying for the role.
  • Add additional technical questions that developers have the option to answer. It is worth discussing the content of these questions with your technical team to aim to gain the most valuable information about your candidates technical skills and drive.
  • Once you've made a selection of candidates, email them with further questions including thorough descriptions of previous projects, difficulties they have worked on, and solutions they have come across. It is really worth taking the time to read through these carefully as this is a big indicator of their potential for working for your organization.
  • Further technical tests and small projects chosen by your head of tech.
  • It is really worth doing your research on candidates' previous work and life experience to gauge the type of person this applicant is. Find out if this is their first remote role and request references from previous companies.



When you can't interview in person it is essential that you conduct video interviews. In fact when it comes to remote developers we recommend doing at least 2 rounds of the video interview to get a better understanding of the applicant who is going to join your team to check they fit into the culture well.

According to the remote company Indiez, who have hired 400+ remote developers, interviewed 4000+ and fired 10, made mistakes and learnt along the way, here’s some critical qualities to look out for when hiring the best talent.


1. Self Starters

Remote work is all about independent working and so the necessity for someone who can take full responsibility for their projects is high. Ask questions that relate to details on projects they have been responsible for and how they handled them.

2. Communicators

Communication is absolutely essential when working remotely. Colleagues won’t be able to casually ask each other questions across theirs desks anymore so the ability to communicate effectively is very important so employees are getting all the information they need to move forward with projects.

3. Growth Mindset

This is the mindset that candidates will be moving your organization forward with. Ask them questions that show they understand the need to grow and how to push this, such as questions that reflect their understanding of their growth both career-wise and personally.

 4. People Who Can Get Results

This is a no brainer. Ask questions that show they have worked towards KPIs before and whether they were successful/unsuccessful at hitting these as well as their own processes for these. Asking when they have found tasks easy/difficult as well as areas they messed up in are useful ways to learn more about whether they are results-driven or not.

Photo by CoWomen on Unsplash


Once you’ve hired your developers ensure you’ve got great software in place to drive communication and connection amongst your community. Remember issues of isolation affect mental health and motivation of your employees so get the right software and processes in place so your employees are forming a tight community where they’re communicating effectively and moving forward as one. Great ways to do this are using business collaboration software, instant messaging such as slack, company-wide meetings and events, remote on-the-job training, mentorship programes and career advancement resources. 

We’d love to hear about your experiences of hiring remotely and what has worked well for you and what hasn’t so feel free to get in touch with us here!