How to Hire Software Developers in India


In addition to boasting one of the largest software development talent pools in the world, India also sports some of the youngest and most ambitious developers you can find. They are competitive, diverse, and breaking ground into new technologies. Maybe you’ve decided you want to offshore some of your software development to India, but don’t know quite where to start. Before you dive headfirst into the black hole of insta-freelancer websites, there are a few key considerations you’ll need to take into account first:

  • Developer mindset: at the end of the day, software developers in India are not greatly different from US developers: they’re hungry for consistent, challenging work, and eager to build solutions for your company. Throughout the hiring process, make sure to treat your offshore talent the way you would local talent.
  • Scope of work: if you anticipate your project pivoting frequently or requiring a high degree of collaboration, working with an Indian development team may not be the best fit. Challenges such as  time zone constraints can make active communication difficult.
  • Patience: while India has a wealth of highly skilled developers, that doesn’t mean you should be in a rush to hire someone just because he or she has a nice looking resume. Be patient throughout this process, and take time to truly vet candidates before welcoming them aboard (more on that later).
  • Cost: it pays to have a proper expectation on developer cost before starting the hiring process. You may have heard that top-quality developers from India go for a fifth or even a tenth of the cost of someone in the US. But, having hired several Indian software developers over the years myself, I would say you should expect to pay between a third to half of what you would pay a comparable US developer.

The Job Posting

Crafting an effective job posting for developers in India is not just a crucial part of the hiring process, but also an important way to send out the right message. It sets the stage and clear expectations as to the level of talent you’re looking for and the types of projects you’ll be providing.

The Job Description

Required skills and qualifications: you can afford to hold software engineers in India to a high standard. As you build your job description, be clear on the education and coding languages required for this position. How many years of work experience do they need to qualify? What specific skills would you like to see demonstrated in their portfolio? Is it a must that the candidate has three years of experience in Python or Ruby on Rails to excel in the position? If so, say so! 

Expected activities: beyond the skills required for the job, it’s important to provide applicants with a clear expectation of how they’ll be applying those skills each day. Indeed.com has a few suggestions on ways to help applicants get excited about building a long-term relationship with your company.

In our job postings, we provide a lot of details, including getting specific on required skills and qualifications: 

Where to Post

Which job posting sites typically yield the best results? Well, again, that depends on your needs. For one-and-done projects, resources like Upwork, guru.com, and freelancer.com can usually provide you with reliable enough talent; however, if you’re looking for contractors or want to build an ongoing relationship, job boards like LinkedIn* and Indeed have typically supplied the best talent for our needs at Tech9. 

*A note about posting jobs like this to LinkedIn: if you’re targeting Indian talent specifically, you don’t need to stress about identifying specific regions in the area in your search; just select the entire country of India and set the job type as “Remote”.

The Interview

Once you’ve identified a potential candidate for your team, there are a couple of steps you’ll need to take to make sure they are who they say they are. As technical job candidates everywhere have greatly improved in writing professional resumes, you can’t rely on applications alone in the decision-making process.

The Coding Test

A great way to determine whether your applicants are serious about the position is to administer a simple coding test. These are often the best predictors of an engineer’s future success. Both Coderbyte and HackerRank offer solid tech assessment templates to help you fill these vital software developer positions. Make sure your coding test includes the following attributes:

  • Real-world scenarios: a sample programming test should reflect the same problems the company tasks its developers in solving. Treat the test problem the way you would an actual one.
  • Time Limit: real-world scenarios have deadlines, and your coding test should be no different. A typical sample problem should take a dedicated, seasoned coder between 30 and 45 minutes to complete.
  • Rubric: having an objective rubric will help eliminate bias and make absolutely clear what you’re looking for in an applicant. Applying this rubric will ensure that top developers in India will always advance to the next round of the hiring process.

Caution: the coding test does not replace the technical interview; but it does help narrow the field and clue you into the attitude of the developer. And when it comes to a successful ongoing relationship, finding a developer with the right attitude for your company culture can make all the difference.

The Face-to-Face Assessment

Conducting a face-to-face assessment via video call is the best way to get to know candidates. They allow you to run live coding sessions that give you a peek into how the engineers write, run, and test their code.

These video calls will also clue you in to the developer’s verbal communication skills with you—and vice versa. I know this can be a particular pain point when offshoring software development; but my philosophy is that with practice and patience, you can build a mutual understanding with any Indian developer (if you find yourself unwilling to put in that kind of time, then hiring a software developer in India may not be the right move for you).

Housekeeping

Once you’ve made the hire, there are a few housekeeping items you’ll need to check off your list before you proceed, and that starts with the contractor agreement. Although this agreement can be difficult to enforce from across the ocean, you need to make sure it’s understood that you will have the rights to the intellectual property they’re building for you.

You also need to outline the terms of payment. Are you paying them in USD or Rupees? How much do taxes affect the pay rate? Who’s going to eat the cost of the exchange rate and processing fees, etc.? Make the terms clear and easy to understand.

As you prepare to expand your team to India, you’ll likely find that the hiring process for software engineers in India is not greatly different from what you’ll do in the US. Just remember to maintain high hiring standards, and pay close attention to how qualified applicants write and optimize their code. Even though the investment may be lower than it would be with a local developer, you are still investing in a committed, long-term partnership. How you treat these developers is the best indicator of success in that partnership.

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