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    How to Hire Developers in Eastern Europe for a Startup [2020 Cheatsheet]

    The Complete IT Outsourcing Playbook

    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 startups scale while operating on the markets with a high talent shortage. 

    Also, outsourcing 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 with you 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 of 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 harbor real tech talent gems but flooded with mediocre talent, the best developers are hard to find.

    Also, due to a low entry barrier to such marketplaces and no vetting, you are facing a risk of running into an unreliable developer or a 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 out of the platform. 

    Fun fact: you normally pay between 5 and 20% of the commission to Upwork when cooperating with talent on their marketplace.

    Need certainty of choosing a trusted team of web developers who have been tested in the trenches and sign a contract directly?

    Pre-vetted developers for hire

    Tech matchmakers like Trustshoring offer companies access to an elite talent pool with tech tried-and-tested 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 and completed projects similar to yours in the past.

    Consider matchmakers like YouTeam, Digital Knights, or Trustshoring, especially if you want to hire software development teams, not 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 specializing in your product’s tech stack
    • Developers and development teams with the knowledge of your industry
    • Access to the user- and business-oriented developers, not technocrats
    • Completely free matching
    • 72-hour process
    • Shortlisting 2-5 solid teams and software developers that are the best fit
    • No life-long commission and binding contracts
    • Expert advice on the negotiation, contracts, and project management
    • Support on every stage of your project
    • Help in conflict resolution and mediation

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

    Many startups usually start with sourcing tech teams on this portal. However, as any review on the Internet, there is still 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, will be located on a 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 of exposing themselves on portals and have top-notch marketing they grow their business with recommendations and recurring sales.

    So now you know what is 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?


    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 appears. Go for easy-going, friendly, and communicative developers who 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. 


    Choose to work with a team that doesn’t keep you waiting or simply disappears. Check how fast they 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 able to 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 favorable 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, 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 for 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 tools you will be using regularly when working together.


    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 what way the development team reports on the progress and when you can have access to their timesheets. Your team should not be against regular or on-demand reporting. 


    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?

    So you wonder how you can 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 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 on data scientists.

    • Vervoe

    This software focusses on assessing performance. Candidates are ranked on how good 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 a final stage to find the best developers abroad!

    Signing a contract

    How to ask for quotes?

    If you have provided 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. That is why you need to provide as much information about your project as possible and stay available to answer questions from a person that makes a ballpark estimate. 

    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 a 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 minimize the price 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 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 your engagement, additional unexpected costs, and your peace of mind. That is why a more expensive option can turn up to be a cheaper one.

    Additional documents to hire developers

    Ready to sign a contract with the best developers?

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

    • A non-disclosure agreement, NDA. Also, you might ask to sign it at 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 equipped with the necessary knowledge on the process of choosing your dream software developers this is time to take the first step and start sourcing. 

    Even though you will never avoid the risk that outsourcing IT brings, you can minimize it with more knowledge and insights in 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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    Victor Purolnik

    Victor Purolnik

    Founder of Trustshoring

    Contact me

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