If you ask anyone who’s looking to hire a software development company, what’s their hiring mantra? 90% answers a company that knows how to code. Ummm… let me break it to you - not everything depends on coding only! Let’s see what goes into hiring a software development company.
Right software developers can change your business. But where do you find these developers that can change your world? And how to hire the best amongst them? You can answer these questions with data and logic after reading this article, that’s a gentleman’s promise :-)
Both Startups and enterprises require software development. The reasons for hiring might be different for both, like for startups, generally, there are no software developers on board as the business is just starting. For enterprises, most of the time, either their IT team has too much on their plates or they are looking to outsource software development for cheaper options.
But the process of hiring software developers for both startups and enterprises is almost the same. If you are thinking about why to hire software development team offshore or nearshore rather than hiring in-house developers, click the link.
The process usually starts with panicking about hunting for a software development company. Everybody doesn’t look to hire software developers in the same way. Some opt for “Phone a friend” while others like googling their needs. So, hiring is never easy. And when we are talking about hiring a software development team, it’s a tad bit more complex. Moreover, hundreds and thousands of software companies on the block make the process even much trickier.
We write this “hiring software developers guide” not only leveraging our 8+ years of experience but also leveraging the hiring experiences of various C-level executives (both startups and enterprises) that we work with. After reading this article, you will have a clear outlook on “Where to look for a software development team”, “How to evaluate them” and “What hiring mistakes to avoid”.
How to hire a software development team?
STEP 1: Getting ready for the hunt
The first step always starts with you. You have to be aware of the software you are aiming to build. You should be well acquainted with its features and user flows. Once you know what software you want to develop, you need to know what kind of software company you are looking to hire.
The different categories of software development companies :
[a] Onshore ( Hire software developers from the same country that you are located)
[b] Offshore ( Hiring software developers in another country in a different time zone)
[c] Nearshore ( Hire software developers in a neighboring country)
You might opt to select anyone based on your preference.
STEP 2: The hunt for the best software team
Once you know what category of software company would best fit your requirements, you have to start the search. You can use either of the ways listed below :
[a] Word of mouth or recommendation
The word of mouth is the most trusted method as long as it comes from a person whom you can trust and (s)he has first hand experience of the team (s)he is recommending In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing.
Word of mouth is shared by past and present customers and is triggered by awesome customer experiences. So, when someone that you know and trust talks to you about this awesome software vendor they know, ask them to introduce you to the vendor.
P.S. Binaryfolks grew organically just by word of mouth in the initial few years. Till date, almost 80% of our customers are acquired by recommendation from some of our highly satisfied existing customers.
Remember to evaluate the team even if they are recommended by a friend. Not everyone specializes in everything. What your friend might have developed might not be similar to what you are looking to develop. Take a thorough look at the experiences and technical expertise before blindly trusting the referral. We will talk about this more in the later sections.
[b] Listing directories
Now, you might ask, if every company registers themselves on a listing directory, how does it benefit me and how do I know who’s the best? Well first, with a listing directory, you can filter according to your preferences like Country, No. of employees, Languages and frameworks, etc. Another major advantage is you can also read the reviews that past and present customers provided for the software company.
All the segmentations, ratings and the client feedbacks will help you validate the company’s reliability and performance and help you take a step forward to picking your potential software company.
[c] Searching on Google
Another course of action is organically looking for a keyword in Google and then finding relevant results w.r.t that keyword. If you want to look for a company in India that you want to outsource the software development, you can search for “Outsourcing software development to India”.
[d] Freelancing sites
The last resort is opting for Freelancing sites like Upwork, freelancer.com, etc. You might think that hiring on these freelancing sites is easier and time effective, but I’m sorry to disappoint.
While these portals help to find developers for companies, the sheer amount of low quality and copy-paste bids and proposals that they receive for one single project makes it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.
So, if you are not careful while filtering, you might end up with an incompetent company.
Now that we know how to find a custom software development company, the next step is evaluating the companies. Pro tip: Skip the good enough ones - Good enough is neither good nor enough!
How to evaluate a software development team?
 Start by getting to know the company
Every company has a different story. Initiate communication by talking about each other’s business and the story behind it. This will help you get to know the company and the person behind it better.
Ask them the software development approach they generally take so that you have an overview of how they operate.
Then start discussing your requirements with them. As I pointed out earlier, it is very important that your potential software team understands all the features and functionalities and the complete user flow. This will guarantee successful development later.
A good software firm will start providing feedbacks and recommendations from day one. They will ask questions and point out logical gaps in your application flow, if any. If the software firm you are communicating with doesn’t do this and nod yes to everything, you should probably take a hint and cross them off the list.
 Ask them about their experience and technical knowledge
Practical experience proves competence - we all know that. Knowledge about an industry or technology helps the project overall. Be careful here, it’s not important that the software vendor has solved a problem similar to yours or developed something exactly alike. What you have to evaluate is whether they have worked on projects with similar complexity as yours.
Also, their experience will help you evaluate their skillset and technical expertise. It’s good to hire someone who has worked with different industry verticles and different components of various software. This means they will have a broader horizon of technical skills and frameworks. So, they can provide suggestions that you otherwise would not be aware of.
Also, experience in similar industry or components can help them understand issues and solve bugs quicker, in turn, reducing the development time.
 Understand their level of commitment
Business-to-business (B2B) is less about business and more about relationships. It is of utmost importance that your development team delivers what they promised. But how will you know if that is the case before hiring them? Ask for references. Go through the testimonials on their site and more importantly independent third party sites.
Testimonials are the most credible source of feedback. Testimonials can make or break a brand. They substantiate whether or not the potential software company provides actual value. Client references help you understand the company’s technical capability, communication, project management, bug solving, etc to form a more impartial outlook. All these assist you to form an idea about whether the company can consistently deliver what’s been promised on time and help you know what you can expect from this business.
 See how they communicate
I always repeat this - Software development is an iterative process and if you don’t understand each other’s language fluently, you cannot have proper, healthy and lengthy discussions. Get yourself a development team that understands and can speak fluent English, but more importantly who can make sensible logical talk, not just empty promises or nodding head to everything.
Also, one of the most aggravating experience for a customer is receiving conflicting updates on different occasions, or not receiving updates at all. Make sure that you hire a software development team that will keep you in the loop.
By saying in the loop, I don’t want you to expect them sending you a message every time a feature is developed or deployed. But, you should be well aware of what is going on in your project, be it it’s development or design or testing and get timely updates without you having to constantly knock on their door.
Now that we have made it clear what to do in order to hire software developers and how to evaluate a software development team, let us leave you with a few tips on hiring mistakes.
Hiring mistakes to avoid
 Don’t place everything around money. If you end up hiring a team with the lowest bid, you might initially think everything worked out well but later on your expenses will be definitely on the higher side, fixing all the corners they cut.
 Don’t hire someone who cannot express their thoughts properly in fluent English even if they are technically competent. This is because you have to constantly communicate with the team and if you cannot understand them well, then the frustration will grow and affect the project in the long run.
 Not carrying out proper research is dangerous. Verify their credentials, check their history and talk to their past and present clients. Interview them and try to understand if they are a good fit for you. Lack of proper research can take all of your hiring efforts downhill.
 Not Clearly Stating Requirements is yet another mistake. If you don’t have a clear vision of your software or if you go to and fro with your requirements, it would just lead to misunderstandings and other unfavorable outcomes.
As Malcolm Forbes rightly said, “Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he's hired to do.” The software development company that you hire should be expert in their fields. This doesn’t mean they need to have more than 1000 employees or they need to have experience with every technology that was ever invented. It just means they very well know what they are doing and they can do it much better compared to others.
We hope that reaching at the end of this article gives you the clarity that you wanted to have when you started reading it, see, Gentleman’s promise, I told you :-). If you want to know more about hiring a software development team, read an article that we have on “5 questions you need to ask every software development company before hiring them”.