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How to Hire Developers in Eastern Europe for a Startup [2021 Cheatsheet]

Margo Ovsiienko
10 min read

If you want to hire developers and avoid competition with giants like Google and Facebook, outsourcing development abroad is a no-brainer.

Offshore and nearshoring development teams help start-ups scale while operating in markets with a high talent shortage.

Outsourcing also helps decrease the costs of development while offering an opportunity to work with the best talent.

However, IT outsourcing can turn sour if approached without preparation.

So how can you reduce the risk of hiring the wrong developers in Eastern Europe?

In this article, I will walk you through the process of hiring outsourced developers smartly.

I will also share an actionable plan and a checklist for sourcing top developers and entire tech teams, verifying their capabilities, evaluating proposals, and signing contracts.

Once finished with your reading, I encourage you to dive deeper into the topic of outsourcing:

Let’s get started by learning about the shortlisting process for the best development teams and developers in Eastern Europe!

 

How to hire developers?

Online freelance marketplaces

There are a plethora of talent marketplaces where you can find a web developer for hire or full-stack tech teams: Toptal, Upwork, Outsourcely, Fever, and more.

An advantage of these marketplaces is the huge choice of freelance developers and tech agencies. These portals usually harbour real tech talent gems but they are flooded with mediocre talent; the best developers are hard to find.

Due to a low entry barrier to such marketplaces and no vetting, you face the risk of running into an unreliable developer or team.

Remember that due to the contract conditions with the platforms such as Upwork you won’t be able to move your cooperation with your team of developers outside of the platform.

Fun fact: you normally pay between five and 20 per cent of the commission to Upwork when cooperating with talent on their marketplace.

Need the certainty of choosing a trusted team of web developers who have been tested in the real world, and want to sign a contract directly?

 

Pre-vetted developers for hire

Tech matchmakers like Trustshoring offer companies access to an elite talent pool of tried-and-tested tech development teams and freelance developers that have performed successful projects in the past.

You won’t normally find these developers on job boards, marketplaces or even Google.

When choosing to cooperate with such companies you work with a consultant who assesses your project requirements.

You will then be matched with several freelance developers or full-stack teams of developers that have worked on and completed projects similar to yours.

Consider matchmakers like YouTeam, Digital Knights or Trustshoring, especially if you want to hire software development teams, not just a couple of freelance developers.

Here are some of the benefits Trustshoring offers:

  • Matching to the talent with an extensive track record of successful projects
  • Developers and development teams specialising in your product’s tech stack
  • Developers and development teams with knowledge of your industry
  • Access to user- and business-oriented developers, not technocrats
  • Completely free matching
  • 72-hour process
  • Shortlisting two to five solid teams and software developers that are the best fit
  • No life-long commission or binding contracts
  • Expert advice on negotiation, contracts and project management
  • Support at every stage of your project
  • Help with conflict resolution and mediation

Clutch.co

This is a B2B review site where clients review different companies they have worked with.

Many start-ups usually start with sourcing tech teams on this portal. However, as with any review on the internet, there is a risk you will run into a review that doesn’t reflect reality. You have to be careful and read between the lines of each review.

Remember that not all reviews, especially negative ones, will be located on the review page of a software development company.

I know a couple of great software development companies that are not on Clutch or are not very active there. They are pre-booked for months in advance, focus on quality and keep their team small.

Having no need for exposing themselves on portals and with top-notch marketing, they grow their business through recommendations and recurring sales.

So now you know the best place to source developers and dev shops in Ukraine.

Let’s check the boxes for the best software development company in Ukraine and assess their skills.

How to assess outsourced developers?

Communication

Check for soft skills

Proficiency in your tech stack should not be your only key criteria when choosing developers. Soft skills start playing an important role when a misunderstanding occurs. Go for easy-going, friendly, and communicative developers who will dedicate time to explaining things.

English skills

Make sure your team can handle spoken and written communication in English on the level necessary to keep it clear for everyone.

Responsiveness

Choose to work with a team that doesn’t keep you waiting or simply disappears. Check how fast they will usually respond to your emails. Don’t demand responses on the weekend, though.

Remote communication

Start by asking what tools they are using and how often they are in touch with their clients. They should be accessible on Slack, Twist, or another application for instant communication.

Tech knowledge

Tech skills

Depending on the tech stack you want to build your product in, choose the team that has the most experience in your technology. Test products they have built in the past – are they easy to use, bug-free and intuitive?

Business expertise in your industry

Great tech skills mean nothing if your team doesn’t understand the goals you want to achieve with your product and the industry you are operating in. Previous experience with building products similar to yours should be one of the requirements on your list.

Check their portfolio

Verify the authenticity of case studies by reaching out to their clients. There are probably aspects that were not mentioned in the case studies as they were not favourable for the company’s image. Dig deeper with your due diligence.

Remote work

Independence and critical thinking

You don’t want to babysit your team and monitor their every step. Working with a team that takes project ownership is always more beneficial. It means they will find solutions to problems on their own and resolve issues faster without engaging you in the process.

Conflict management

Ask situational questions to find out how your team usually resolves conflicts. Remember that conflicts occur much more frequently when you don’t see your team every day. You have to work with people who can easily find a way out of difficult situations.

Performance expectations

Find out if they set milestones when working on projects, and how they define and track project success. Make your expectations clear in terms of day-to-day work and the result you want to achieve. Be as detailed as possible. Observe if the team stays open to your suggestions.

Remote work tool stack

Ask questions about tools they are using and what goals they help them achieve. Find out if you are using the same tools and define the tools you will be using regularly when working together.

Organization

Check their capacity

Depending on your current needs you will be looking to start working with the development team right away or set a starting date for your project. Make sure they can guarantee a sufficient number of developers by the project kickoff.

Security standards

Check how they keep your data secure. You can look for international certificates stating the company complies with international standards. Ask how the team guarantees your data is safe.

Company culture

Check for transparency

Time-tracking ensures accountability. Ask how the development team reports on progress and when you can have access to their timesheets. They should not be against regular or on-demand reporting.

Agility

Being agile is no longer a competitive advantage. Every team working with international clients should follow agile principles to stay competitive. Even though there are still companies working according to the waterfall framework, agile is on the rise.

Culture fit

You will always have some cultural differences unless your team worked in the US for a long time. Eastern European countries have their peculiarities. When interviewing, look for a team that has a similar mindset to yours.

How to test skills?

If you’re wondering how to get started with interviews, don’t worry! You can use interview plans and assessments that have been designed to interview developers.

Check out the following services that will help you in structuring your interview questions.

  • Hackerrank

This screening platform has been designed for hiring developers. They make it easier to carry out technical skills assessments.

  • Tesdome

Use ready made assessments and tests that will help you assess the skills of developers in different tech stacks. You will easily identify top developers, starting with the best Node.js developers and finishing with data scientists.

  • Vervoe

This software focuses on assessing performance. Candidates are ranked on how well they perform job-related tasks.

Once you shortlist the best developers and software development companies in Ukraine, this is the time to ask for quotes, evaluate proposals, and sign contracts.

Let’s dive deeper into the final stage for finding the best developers abroad!

Signing a contract

How to ask for quotes

If you have provided the teams that ended up on the final stage with well-documented designs and project requirements, ask for precise assessments.

Aim to get as precise ballpark estimates as possible. You need to provide as much information about your project as possible and stay available to answer questions.

Fixed price vs. time-and-material

Working according to time-and-material means you don’t receive a fixed price for the project but are billed according to the number of hours your developers spend on the project.

Choose time-and-material when you don’t have perfectly defined technical and design documentation, you have someone in your company who can verify the work of developers on an ongoing basis, and want to minimise the cost of the project.

How to evaluate proposals

Don’t go for the cheapest option unless they just meet all the criteria. Find a good balance between price and quality. Hire a development team if you say “yes” to the following statements:

  • I feel comfortable communicating with them (language skills, responsiveness, quality of video transmissions, tools used)
  • They have worked on projects similar to mine, in my industry
  • They have excellent tech skills in the technology I need
  • They have mature project management skills
  • They come up with creative solutions
  • They can start when I need and have the right team size
  • I trust them

Finally, consider the price and rates per hour. When going for a more affordable price you might pay more in terms of your engagement, additional unexpected costs and your peace of mind. That is why a more expensive option can turn out to be the cheaper one.

Additional documents to hire developers

Ready to sign a contract with the best developers?

These are the documents you would normally have to sign with your tech team or a developer to get started.

  • A non-disclosure agreement (NDA). You might ask for it to be signedat the beginning of the selection process.
  • Statement of Work (SOW). With this document, you will have to define the framework of your cooperation – either time-and-material or fixed price.

Wrap up

Now you’re equipped with the necessary knowledge about the process of choosing your dream software developers, this is the time to take the first step and start sourcing.

Even though you will never completely avoid the risk that outsourcing IT brings, you can minimise it with more knowledge and insights into the market of development agencies.

If you value your time and want to bring outsourcing risks to their minimum, get matched with trusted developers who have performed multiple successful projects similar to yours – start here!

 

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