How to Find and Hire Quality Freelance Web Developers

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Recruiting top web developer talent

In today’s business world, a strong web presence is of fundamental importance to any company. And making the most of the opportunity means hiring specialist developers to deliver the online platform you need.

But competition for good developers is fierce, so you must be on top of your game when recruiting. That means following a proven process for finding tech talent who can do the job well.

In this article, I’ll discuss how to find web developers and build a team that delivers outstanding results. I’ll give you a step-by-step process to follow, so you can attract great people with minimal effort.

1. Define your requirements

Before you start actively recruiting, you should take some time to define the scope of work clearly. This will save you a lot of pain and heartache later on. So be sure to ask yourself:

  • Do I want an in-house or contract developer?
  • What is my timescale for the project?
  • How much budget can I commit to this?
  • Is this a one-off project or an ongoing commitment?
  • What exactly needs to be developed?

Once you are clear on these specifics, you need to define which type of developer you need. Although there are many kinds of developers, they fall into three main categories:

Front-end developer

Software engineers in this category create what users see and interact with on the web platform. They work from design plans to develop the working website, including everything from buttons and forms to tables and menus.

Back-end developer

These programmers work on the elements that are not directly visible to users. They build the primary functionality of the website using technology such as PHP, Java, and C#.

Full-stack developer

A full-stack specialist has the skills needed to build both the front-end and back-end of the system. This reduces the number of people required to complete a project, making it a convenient option. On the downside, these all-rounders may not have the deep level of skill needed in specific areas. This can make it hard for them to get the best results.

2. Decide on the optimal developer ratio

When hiring a team, you need to consider the optimal ratio of the three developer types. A balanced team will typically include front-end, back-end, and full-stack developers. However, the ratio will vary depending on your needs.

For example, a startup project may have quickly evolving requirements. Full-stack developers are a good match for these, as they have the versatility to adapt to changing needs.

More mature companies with stable projects may prefer to work with specialized front-end and back-end developers. That way, they get the deep work needed to build advanced applications.

A popular approach is to use full-stack developers exclusively at the start of a project. They create the framework, which is then handed over to specialist front-end and back-end programmers for detailed implementation.

3. Find suitable applicants

Your next step is to start attracting suitable developers. You have a number of options for this, any of which can work well.

An excellent place to start is using the major freelance work platforms. These all boast huge numbers of developers, covering a vast range of specialisms. Top options include:

  • Upwork
  • Toptal
  • Freelancer
  • Guru
  • Fiverr

Alternatively, you can seek developers on specialist programming job boards such as:

  • GitHub
  • Stack Overflow
  • Dice
  • Crunchboard
  • Mashable

If this all seems like a head ache, I’ve vetted some of the best developer and contractor agencies that help many of my customers.

4. Draw up your shortlist

Once you attract interest, you need to sift through the applications to identify the most likely candidates.

Start by evaluating portfolios of work to get an accurate assessment of capabilities. Here you should focus less on more specific tech skills and more on good programming techniques.

Next, you can move on to interview the best candidates. Be sure to ask technical questions that allow you to test their knowledge (and demonstrate they actually did the work in their portfolio). You need to be able to assess both their theoretical and practical knowledge.

As teamwork is important, you must also ensure they have solid communication skills, together with the ability to fit into your work culture.

Finally, you may wish to conduct a coding test. This is a great way to validate their programming expertise.

5. Agree on costs

Once you’ve found the talent you need, the next step is to negotiate the deal. This could be arranged by paying:

  • A salary
  • An hourly rate
  • A fixed project fee

Costs will vary greatly depending on factors such as location and tech skills. But in general, developer salaries are on the high side. Make sure the scope of work is clearly defined and agreed upon so there are no surprises further down the track.

6. Onboard your new hires

The final step is to welcome your developers to your community. Onboarding is an integral part of the recruitment process but is often not given the focus it deserves.

Success in any development project is all about effective teamwork. So each new member of the team needs to be inducted professionally, allowing them to get up to speed quickly and easily.

This is true whether they are in-house employees or outside contractors and whether they operate from your office or work remotely. So put procedures in place to ensure developers onboard in a satisfactory manner.

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Use the right process to get the right results

First-class developers are always in demand, so they have many options. To attract and keep the best talent, you need a solid system that makes hiring as simple as possible.

By following the process outlined here, you can reduce the chance of wasting time chasing dead ends or hiring the wrong people. Instead, you’ll be on track to find excellent web developers who can deliver the quality software you need to succeed.

With the right software engineers on board, you can leverage your web presence to achieve outstanding business results. When you know how to hire developers the right way, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.

As a marketing broker, reach out anytime you need help with finding talent for your marketing and development needs. I have vetted agencies who help many of my customers.

Written By
Picture of Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi
Behdad Jamshidi started CJAM Marketing after realizing that most business owners don’t know how to evaluate the value of a marketing agency or assess their own needs. Since every business is different not only in their needs but where they are at in the growth process, it isn’t a one size fits all. In the past 5 years, Behdad (or Bee) has met with and assessed 800+ marketing agencies and vetted them down to a lean 100 preferred partners across all marketing niches. After pairing hundreds of businesses with the right partners, he’s found his skillset lies in the matchmaking process. Featured in MarketWatch, Bloomberg, National Post and the Financial Post, Bee’s unique background in marketing, engineering, consulting, leadership, sales and strategy, has allowed him to serve as the conduit between business owners and the marketing teams they need.
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