Tag Archives: #hiring

Freelancer vs. remote employee vs. custom software company. What is the best option when hiring for software development?

 

No matter the size of your company at some point as you grow you will need to  hire developers.

Finding good talent is where the problems usually begin. Hiring can be a long, complicated, often overwhelming process and hiring tech talent is usually at least 5x more difficult. Unless your company name is Google, Apple, Facebook or a unicorn, with salaries and perks to match, hiring developers is more like 10x as difficult.

If you are facing this dilemma, why not consider using remote workers? It’s a solution that not only gives you access to the best talent, regardless of where they live, but is also cost-effective.

Remote hiring usually falls into one of three categories.

 

Hiring freelance software developers

Freelancing is a common practice in IT, so hiring a freelance developer may seem the easiest choice.

There is plenty of talent, from almost any location in the world, with whatever skills you may need, and dozens of services that make the hiring process and payment simple and easy.

However, in order to work effectively with freelancers you need enough technical expertise to be able to produce clear technical requirements, judge code quality, control technologies, establish tight-but-achievable deadlines and control the overall process.

Hiring a software freelancer works best when you have  one specific task.

If you have multiple tasks or a complex project you may consider  hiring several freelancers to create a team. However, you should keep in mind that managing a globally dispersed team requires a specific skill set, so it is prudent to hire a project manager as well.

Obviously, the more people you need to find the longer and more complicated the hiring process becomes, as well as a greater chance for missteps to occur and errors to happen in the finished product.

 

Hiring a software developer employee to work remotely

Once you are no longer restricted to a geographical location the talent pool is definitely larger; you have access to high-skilled software developers from all over the world, but you still have to find the right one.

Not every person who is an ideal candidate for an in-office position is great for remote work. Remote work demands a high level of self-discipline, self-motivation and self-organizing skills. Therefore,  you need to choose a candidate who has had at least some success working remotely.

You’ve probably heard about successful companies that work entirely remotely, such as Groove, Basecamp, and Buffer. Their inspiring stories encourage lots of startups to work as a distributed team. Just keep in mind that before they succeeded they put in a lot of effort to create an effective remote working culture.

Another point that is often overlooked is that when hiring overseas remote employees you need to deal with international money transfers and compliance with a tax structure you are unlikely to be familiar with.

 

Hiring a custom software development company

A custom software company is basically a ready-to-hire remote team.

There are dozens of different companies on the market, but their scale, experience and expertise varies. They can work as a temporary team on specific projects or dedicated, long-term as an extension of your in-house team. The common feature they all have is a complete infrastructure that can provide the full software development lifecycle service.

That means that in addition to the development team you get project managers and team leaders who will organize the process, keep it on time and in budget, and discuss it with you at whatever level you choose, from overview to in-depth detail.

Hiring a custom software development company is the best solution for projects such as MVPs, complex iterations, or large projects requiring innovative technologies. And because these companies value their reputation, they are careful with IP and confidentiality.

Choosing the right partner can be a long process as well, but after signing a contract everything moves faster. An experienced team, with established processes of communication and collaboration, can achieve results faster than a newly-met group, no matter how skilled the developers.

Many of the best custom software houses are overseas, which allows you to take advantage of substantial compensation differences. And because you pay the company they are the ones who deal with taxes, benefits, policies, management, etc.

 

Which should you choose?

That depends on your needs. What are your technical requirements? How complex is your project? Does it demand a widespread skill set or rare talents and knowledge? What is your number one priority, time or money? How much do you want to be involved in the process?

All that requires you to carefully think through your decision to ensure it is the best one for you.

While there are several approaches, they all carry one major benefit: each allows your business to grow fast and independent of the local talent pool.

CHANGES: lessons learned

 

Old wisdom says that the only constant is change. Time works great changes. We are living them.

More so than most, the startup ecosystem is constantly changing.

There are the repeating cycles: bubbles and downturns will always exist, whether large, small or in-between.

Our effort over the last few posts has been to focus on what is happening currently and link to those with enough knowledge and wisdom to possibly predict what will be next.

You don’t want to see your company lose nearly 20% of its value because you missed a trend or ignored a warning sign.

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Illustration by BRIAN STAUFFER

In 2016 Bill Gurley, a savvy venture capitalist who invested in Uber and Snapchat, was the first to issue a warning to unicorn investors — one that was actually heard.

Many things have changed, including tech layoffs as a sign of a slowdown in booming Silicon Valley.

Over the last few weeks we wrote a series of articles about these changes. Here is a  wrap of the important points, AKA, lessons learned:

  1. Short-term thinking; continued fund raising instead of exiting (IPO, acquisition, organic growth, etc.), employee valuation-watching and candidates joining for riches, instead of passion.
  2. 2016 will be a year of tightening investment. The reason we are all in this mess is because of the excessive amounts of capital that have poured into the VC-backed startup market. Perhaps now startups will get back to the basics, i.e., make a product people or companies want and will pay for > sell it to drive revenues > run/grow on operating cash > and make a profit. Now is the time to do more with less and be a RABBIT (Real Actual Business Building Interesting Tech).
  3. Hiring changes: when the easy money faucet turned on many startups found themselves drenched in cash. When the faucet was turned down, and investors returned to the old fashioned values of profit and sustainable business models, over-funded companies, such as Dropbox, started eliminating perks and cutting staff, in order to lower their burn rate and conserve cash. Bad for the unicorns (fast becoming unicorpses), but good news for companies, such as Google, Facebook, etc., that have the revenue to continue to offer fat salaries and multiple perks.

Now is the time to lower your burn rate and do more with less. An interview with Miki provided encouragement and links that show there are great advantages to starting a company when money is tighter.

Hiring changes

 

Has hiring really changed?

The need to find and hire talent has always been one of the biggest challenges for most managers, no matter their position or how long they have been doing it.

Although the need never goes away, accomplishing it seems to be a moving target.

Startups are no different.

For decades joining a startup meant giving up benefits, perks and salary in return for the opportunity to work on the bleeding edge of tech and doing something that could have global impact.

Then the easy money faucet turned on and many startups found themselves drenched with cash.

So much so, that they started offering Google-style perks, six-figure salaries and sign-on bonuses to, mostly, young, white males who could code and were willing to work “insane hours” as a badge of honor.

picture on hiring

image credit: here

Recently the easy money faucet was turned way down as investors returned to the old fashioned values of profit and sustainable business models. Continue reading Hiring changes

Talent shortage is a myth

 

Is there a talent shortage  or the main problem is an ability of startups to hire right people?

It’s no surprise then that the demand for software engineers is higher than ever. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for software developers is expected to grow 22% by 2022. That’s much faster than the average for all other occupations.

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source: manpowergroup-en

It’s no surprise that “The talent shortage is a supply and demand problem,” says Brad Nellis, director of the Northeast Ohio Software Association (NEOSA). “We are not graduating enough software engineers and developers and there hasn’t been a strong enough influx of foreign talent. At the same time, we’ve had very high, sustained demand for over three years.”

But  as for me to say that there is the talent shortage is the similar to saying there is a shortage of half priced new luxury cars.

My point is that there is no shortage talent for the right opportunities, great teams, and companies that are led by great leaders in growing markets, who possess an abundance of vision and resources. But there is the eternal conflict of understanding between an employer and an employee.

  1. There’s a shortage of talent, to recognize talent. Weak managers hurt the overall hiring effort. It’s a well known fact, that half the google engineers wouldn’t hire the other half of google engineers.
  2. There’s a shortage of understanding: the problem is that most of the employers  are not looking for talent , they are looking for young programmers that can work at the lowest possible salary. Most of the bosses are wringing their hands and worrying about creating an environment that will attract and retain young workers, while still motivating and retaining the rest.  employers are looking for  the programmers at lowest possible cost to maximize their profits, and not the “talent” as employee understand it
  3. There is indeed a shortage of available top talent willing to work for low pay and long hours, working for teams that are mediocre, lackluster, and guided by leaders without imagination, vision, or drive.  And in the macro economy, there is a shortage of truly top talent that is well compensated in an economy that is heating up.

Continue reading Talent shortage is a myth

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Why and How to Hire Well

 

”I would even go so far as to say that people are the foundation of every organization, big or small, high-tech startup or huge corporate juggernaut.  But the startup world is unique in its constraints and also in its opportunities and thus, the emphasis on building a great team is more important at a startup than in any other organization.”Moritz Plassnig, co-founder/CEO of Codeship

A few years ago, the Young Entrepreneur Council identified Ten startup hiring challenges with different entrepreneurs suggesting solutions. If you scan through them you’ll notice that most are a function of poor candidate fit.

Poor candidate fit is most often the result of a lack of preparation and poor interviewing skills.

Hiring success is, as with most endeavors, in the prep and paying attention to details. You need good execution, but without the prep you are winging it and it’s likely that the seat-of-your-pants will come up short. Above all, you need to own this: if you don’t do the prep, don’t complain when your hires don’t work out.

Prep includes, but is not limited to

  • A comprehensive description of the job, skills needed, experience wanted, attitude (see Branson below); not an idealized wish list, but a pragmatic view of a good candidate.
  • Competent interviewing skills, which are learned, not inborn. Recognizing/accepting that good hiring requires time and committing to spend the time to do it right. A sworn oath not to lead the witness (candidate) by asking questions that suggest the answer or contain the information you want to hear. Not getting caught in the charm trap (as explained last week).
  • Personally checking references to learn what was missed in the interview, not to confirm the stuff you liked.

Here is more good hiring info.

Robert Herjavec wrote a good post on hiring that covers many bases.

Learn the secret sauce to Intuitive Research’s success; a 16-year-old aerospace engineering firm that has never had any openings or layoffs.

Laszlo Bock, Google’s SVP of People Operations banned the brain-buster questions that Google used to brag about as being worthless in determining a good hire. “Part of the reason is that those are tests of a finite skill, rather than flexible intelligence which is what you actually want to hire for. (It had already jettisoned the hiring algorithm it bragged about in 2007.)

Richard Branson hires for attitude, “In my eyes, personality always wins over book smarts. Company knowledge and job-specific skills can be learned, but you can’t train a personality.  Spanx’s CEO Sara Blakely once said to me: “The smartest thing I ever did in the early days was to hire my weaknesses.” I couldn’t agree more. I can attribute a lot of my success in business to hiring people who had the skills I lacked.

Robert Siegel, general partner at XSeed Capital and lecturer in organizational behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, makes the case for incorporating viable HR practices from the beginning. “The single largest issue that causes the most emotional heartache in a startup is people challenges. Every organization has them. If you put best HR practices into place in the earliest days and are doing the right things right, you’ll have fewer and fewer issues and blowups.”

One final idea to digest.

You may think you are building a company, but there is really no such entity. What you are building is a group of people moving in the same direction and committed to a shared vision and set of values — and it only take one or two bad hires to screw the whole thing up.

Image credit: Shutterstock