How to Hire a Freelance Software Developer (In 2022)
Hiring a freelance software developer? This hiring guide offers a set of insightful tips to help you hire a top freelance software developer in 2022.
Why should you hire a freelance software developer?
The popularity of freelance development has skyrocketed in the last ten years. With the growing number of websites featuring freelancers, it's becoming increasingly difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. This article will serve as a guide to those looking for a freelance software developer.
It is obvious that freelancers can save you a bunch of cash. As a matter of fact, they can save you even more if you do not have to pay for a company’s overhead costs.
If you are curious what the profile of a good freelance software developer looks like, you can check the developers from the EliteBrains network:
However, the use of the term “freelance” is not as free and easy as it may sound. It also does not mean that the developer will work with you for peanuts.
Hiring them can be risky as well. They might not hit the deadlines since your project’s priority level is low on their list. Or they might end up doing shoddy work as they do many such projects at a time. It thus becomes prudent to hire only those freelancers who know what you want and won't botch up your job.
This means that you should know what is out there, what types of developers are available, and what you should expect to pay for their services.
So this guide is all about that; how you can find the top developers for your projects.
In this post, you'll discover why you should engage a freelancer software developer, what sort of specialist you might need, what to keep in mind when looking for the best fit, where to find the best prospects, and so on.
Aren't all developers freelancers?
Absolutely not. Freelance developers and full-time employees are two very different things. The first group is there for as long as their clients need them. They are hired to complete a project and, once it is done, they return back to the workforce at large.
Usually, these individuals work from home and do not have to report for a fixed number of hours. They can take as much time as they need to finish a project.
This means that you are not tied down with one freelancer for the rest of your life. Moreover, they will have the freedom to work on your project at their own pace.
On the flip side, they are not as accountable as full-time employees.
So, why should you entrust your project to a freelancer?
There are a couple of reasons; here are the 4 most compelling ones.
The first reason is that freelancers are cheaper than full-time employees. They normally have to pay for their own overhead costs like office, equipment, and other such expenses.
They are thus more cost-effective than full-time developers who have to be paid a salary along with other benefits. And, if you need a specific specialist for your project and do not want them to be on the payroll forever, freelancing is a good bet.
The cost incentive is one of the major reasons why companies go for freelancers. They will hire them only for the duration of a project, which means that they do not have to pay their salaries and benefits for the entire year.
Once a project is over, they are no longer part of that company’s payroll and can thus be hired again.
Access to top talents from around the world
Freelancers come from all over the globe. They are not restricted to a particular geographical location and can work for you if they like your project.
This means that you can hire a freelancer from any country and not worry about their location or how they will be able to communicate with your team.
Many of these freelancers are skilled professionals who have gone through rigorous training to become the best in their fields. They can thus offer you the best possible assistance.
This is a great advantage as top talent from around the world can be accessed without even having to go through the hassles of relocation and visa issues.
The flexibility of work hours
Another reason why hiring freelancers is smart is that you can hire them for a project and not worry about their work hours.
Since freelancers are usually independent workers, they do not have a fixed work schedule. They can complete a project as per your deadline and they will not have to take leave or report for a holiday.
Hiring them can thus save you the headache of having to approve their leave requests.
In the time past, hiring managers and business owners were concerned about the productivity levels of freelancers. They feared that a freelancer would not be as productive as an in-house staff they can "keep an eye on."
However, this is no longer the case. Freelancers are just as productive as an employee who works in-house and can produce the same results. In fact, higher productivity rates can be expected because freelancers are dedicated to their projects and will not be distracted by an office environment.
Plus, working in a relaxed environment like home or by their favorite coffee shop is more conducive to a freelancer’s productivity. Many freelancers have reported that working from anywhere gives them an increased level of job satisfaction- this translates to more productivity.
Hiring freelancers can thus be a profitable move for any business owner who is looking to increase their revenue volumes while keeping costs and overheads to a minimum.
Determine the Type of Developer You Need
Figuring out what sort of developer you need is crucial to aligning your search for a developer to the project you have in mind.
Each of these kinds has its own specialty in the field which is why it is important to know exactly what you need.
Front-end freelance developer:
They are also responsible for the website’s user interface, which is one of the most important aspects that users will see when they visit your website.
So, if your project needs a website that is visually appealing and user-friendly, you will need the services of front-end developers.
Back-end freelance developers:
The back end of a website is where all the data and information are stored. It is usually made up of the server, databases, and other methods used to store data on a website.
Back-end developers are responsible for the security, speed, and data of a website. They make sure that all aspects are taken care of so as to ensure smooth operation right from the start.
Full-stack freelance developer:
A full-stack freelancer is a developer that has the skills and knowledge to work with the front and back end of a website.
They can thus take care of all aspects of development, from planning out the project to coding the website and putting it all together to ensure smooth operation.
This is an excellent option if you do not know what aspects of development are most important to you.
Mobile App developers (iOS developers and Android developers):
If you need a mobile app for your business or product, you will most likely be looking to hire app developers.
Also, you can hire freelance developers based on their tech stacks. For example, if you need Node.js developers, PHP developers, Python developers or Ruby on Rails developers, etc.
Hiring a freelance developer who is specialized in the field of your project ensures that you get exactly what you want.
Qualities of a great developer
Once you have decided on the type of freelance developer that will be best suited for your project, there are certain things to keep in mind when looking for the best one.
An important quality that you should look for in a developer, as they need to have the necessary skills and capability to take on your project.
Ideally, the candidate should:
- Demonstrate strong proficiency in a programming language that is relevant to your project. For example, if your project requires the development of an iOS mobile app, they should be able to show proficiency in Swift.
- Be comfortable using version control software. Version control like Git is extremely important for collaborative projects, as it allows multiple developers to work on the project without overwriting each other's code.
- Ability to use collaborative software like Slack.
For example, you should make sure that they have an in-depth understanding of your project and industry. This will ensure that they can develop a website or app according to your industry’s norms and requirements.
You should also make sure that the freelance developer that you hire has a track record of working on similar projects, in order to ensure that they are capable enough for your project.
You should also ensure that the developer’s previous clients are happy with their work, which can be done by checking out any reviews or testimonials that they might have posted online.
You should also make sure to check out their portfolio, as this will give you an indication of the type of work that they do and whether or not it will be a good fit for your project.
Communication and responsiveness
Communication and responsiveness are also important qualities that you should look for in a developer. You will need to be able to get in touch with them and receive updates from them on a regular basis.
Soft Skills to look out for
The freelancer should be not only technically sound but also skilled in communication and problem-solving.
Especially when working remotely, it’s important to look for candidates who are experts in understanding and solving problems.
If you’re hiring a team, look out for members who are not only skilled in their roles but also able to work and contribute as a team.
Where to find the best developer?
These are the steps you can follow to find the best freelance software developer for your project.
Identify your needs
Remember, you should always hire a freelance developer that is the best fit for your project.
As such, you need to make sure that they have all of the necessary technical skills, experience, and expertise that your project requires.
However, it’s also important to keep in mind the location of where you would like the freelancer to work from. Though most freelance developers work remotely, consider the effect of timezones and working hours before finalizing a candidate.
It is only when you are able to correctly identify your own needs, that you will be able to effectively hire a freelance developer.
Create a detailed job description
A job description is like a detailed specification of the skills and requirements that you expect from a candidate. You need to list out all of the technical skills that you require, along with any other requirements like required programming languages and frameworks.
If you want to hire an iOS developer, for example, your description should include the level of proficiency that you expect in Swift, experience with Xcode, and knowledge of iOS SDK.
You can even include any specific technical skills or tools that you’re looking for.
In the end, your job description should be detailed enough to give a clear idea of what kind of candidate you’re looking for.
The job description would help:
- Guide your search. The job description would keep you from considering candidates who are not suitable for the job.
- Provide clear expectations to your freelancer, so they know exactly what you expect from them
- Encourage the right candidates to apply and discourage others, thus saving your time and maximizing your chances of finding the ideal candidate.
- Provide a standard to measure your candidates against thus preventing partiality in your hiring process.
- Give you a rough idea of the freelancer's experience and expertise before inviting them for an interview.
Create a post on the right Job Platforms
There are certain job sites that cater specifically to freelance workers and provide access to thousands of skilled remote professionals.
You need to create a post that clearly states the job description and includes all of your requirements for applicants.
The best platforms go a step further to vet all of the applicants, filtering out those who do not qualify or can back up their claims.
At EliteBrains we carefully vet all of the applicants using 5 essential criteria, to ensure that only the best freelance developers get access to your projects.
- Language and communication skills: A lot of trouble can be avoided if your candidate can speak and write in a language that you understand.
- Static code analysis (SCA): SCA allows us to review a candidate’s coding style and quality. We check for both the logical structure of their code as well as how easy it is to follow their work.
- Test of technology skills: Technology skills testing allows us to determine a candidate’s ability in the languages and frameworks they claim expertise in. We verify their claims and ensure that they can deliver to your expectations.
- Testing project: A real-life test project is meant to assess a candidate’s overall technical ability. We will provide them with a set of instructions and deadlines, which they can follow through to complete the project.
- Personality and reliability evaluation: Hiring the wrong person can be a very costly mistake. This test is designed to assess a candidate’s personality and work ethic, to ensure that they are the right fit for your company culture.
Some other benefits of using EliteBrains:
- You can hire the best freelancers at affordable rates starting from as low as $65/hour.
- The proprietary matching process helps you connect with the right candidate in no time (0-3 days). Factors like previous experience, familiarity with the required technology, and even timezone are taken into account.
- A risk-free 8-hours free trial allows you to try out the services of a freelance software developer for free and see how it all works before making any commitment. If you're unsatisfied with the candidate, you simply cancel and move on.
- Posting a job takes less than two minutes and our dedicated account support is available to help you with anything - from creating the perfect job description to ensuring that you get the best candidates for your project.
What are your other hiring options?
Hiring through an agency - this is one of the most popular ways to hire freelance developers. Agencies are generally businesses that have a team of several developers that they can call upon to take on projects.
The advantage of hiring through an agency is that you are assured of quality work, as the agency will only assign you projects that their developers are experienced and skilled enough to take on.
Hiring through a freelance website - there are several freelance websites online that are dedicated to helping companies find freelancers.
These sites generally have search filters that allow you to look for developers with specific skills or those that live in a certain location.
Hiring through an ad on social media - several companies advertise their projects and seek freelancers via social media.
This is a good way to get in touch with developers that you might not have otherwise been able to find and hire for your project.
Hiring through a headhunter - you can hire freelance developers by reaching out to headhunters as well. Head hunters are individuals who are knowledgeable about the industry and have a large network of contacts that they can reach out to for you.
Hiring through a referral - if you know someone who has previously worked with a freelance developer that they can recommend, you might want to go ahead and hire them.
Interview the candidates
When you hire freelance developers from EliteBrains, you do not need to worry about interviews in the traditional sense of the word.
However, for the sake of completeness, here are some interview questions that you can use to hire freelance developers.
- What are your preferred tools/programs for development?
- What are your preferred methods for communication?
- How do you handle deadlines, tasks, and changes to the project scope during development?
- Is there anything else I should know about your working style?
- What is your favorite project that you have worked on and why?
- Do you have any existing commitments?
- Do you have any questions for me?
Mistakes to avoid when hiring a freelance software developer
Skimping project details:
A lot of times, people assume that the only thing they need to do is get a freelancer on board, let them explore and work independently while getting things done.
However, this is a mistake that can lead to mistakes in the development process.
You should always provide details about your project in advance and clearly define what you need the freelancer to do.
Endeavor to discuss the following with the developer:
- The general objective of the project
- Main milestones and their priority in relation to each other
- Assumptions about time, resources, and tools that you are assuming for completing the project
- Requirements and specifications for all phases of development, from concept to completion
- If it is a team effort, all team members and their roles.
Picking cheap developers over quality
People hire freelancers to save money, but it is important for you not to skimp on quality. You can try and negotiate with the developer, but in the end, you need to base your decision on quality.
You also need to understand that experience is an important factor when it comes to quality.
There are a lot of beginner freelance developers who have low hourly rates, but they might not be the right fit for your project.
So, make sure that you pick a developer who has enough experience and is also reasonably priced.
In the end, it is better to hire a more expensive developer who has quality work and provides value for money than hiring an inexperienced cheap developer.
Not signing a Non-disclosure agreement:
There is no harm in getting an NDA signed by the developer, even if it does not contain sensitive information.
However, it is not compulsory and you do not need to worry about this unless your project contains sensitive information.
Most developers will sign them anyway and it will put your mind at ease. What next?
Hire Top Developers on EliteBrains!
Sign up for free here and find the most suitable freelance developer for your project today. Intelligent matching will pick the best-suited developers for your project in as few as 0-3 days. Once the match is made, you can invite them to your project and start working on it rightway! And for the first 8-hours of work, you don't even have to pay a cent!