How Should you Hire Remote Developers in 2021?

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Published: 16 Feb 2021

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Technology companies hiring engineering talent in far-off locations is not a new phenomenon. Many of them went remote because it made sense financially, whereas others simply aimed to tap into ever-growing global talent pools. Given the recent large-scale transition to the remote modes of work and the always growing need for talent, a  reasonable question arises: What's the best way to hire remote developers in 2021? In this article, we take a look at the three ways to build a remote tech team, including their pros and cons so that you can weigh your options and make the best choice for you. 

Without further ado, here are what we consider to be the top three ways to hire remote developers and build your tech team in 2021:

  • Hire talent off freelancer platforms;
  • Go with traditional outsourcing;
  • Build your own Dedicated Team.

Now, let’s dive in and consider each option individually. 

Hiring remote developers on a freelance basis 

Going for talent repositories is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you need to bring extra hands on deck. Below, we've listed the benefits and shortcomings of hiring freelance developers. 


  • Freelancers aren’t full-time employees, so you can cut overhead costs;
  • Freelance platforms offer a broad pool of talent, so finding remote developers within the needed skill-rate ratio is relatively easy; 
  • You can end and renew cooperation with little to no notice period, depending on your needs. 


  • Freelancers may have issues with consistency and may lose focus, given that they typically juggle projects from multiple clients; 
  • Lots of effort goes into managing freelancers, especially if you have several projects with lots of people involved. Thus, it can be problematic to synchronize their work with the rest of the team, when there are long chains of approval;
  • In many instances there is no formal contract, so your ideas and project details are not guaranteed to be secure;
  • Freelancers can go off the grid at any point amid a project, so you might have to find someone to pick up the slack quickly which adds extra stress and additional costs.

Hiring remote developers through traditional outsourcing

Another option is to hire remote developers by turning to an outsourcing vendor (offshore or nearshore) who will use their in-house team to develop software based on your vision and requirements. An outsourcing model assumes being locked in a deal from the project's start to finish, receiving deliverables outlined in the contract. While this is one of the most viable options to develop software on the market, it's not necessarily a universal recipe for success. Let’s take a look at its pros and cons. 


  • If you've chosen the right vendor,  you'll work with a seasoned remote team with experience in your domain;
  • It's a flexible solution, given that you can assign different projects to different vendors. 
  • Outsourcing eliminates management responsibilities, as they usually rest on the vendor's shoulders.  


  • Although you provide the vendor with project details and share your vision, for the most part, you give up control over the development process, which may not yield the results you expected.
  • The outsourcing model doesn't assume visibility into who is actually going to work on the project. Thus, there's a chance that it will be executed by inexperienced developers. 
  • Finding a vendor with proper domain expertise can be time-consuming. 
  • When you outsource a project, everything will be set in stone, meaning you’ll be unable to change or add deliverables on an ad-hoc basis unless you are ready to incur additional charges

Read also: Staff Augmentation or Project Outsourcing, Which is Better for you?

Hiring remote developers within a Dedicated Team model

 In essence, a Dedicated Team model is a way to hire remote developers and set up a development office on the vendor's premises. Within this model, remote software engineers report to you or someone on your side directly. They also act as parity to your in-house engineers, seamlessly expanding your in-house development unit. 


  • You only hire those candidates who you've interviewed and approved yourself;
  • Developers are fully dedicated to your project, working for you full-time, 5 days per week;
  • You can seamlessly scale your remote development team, adding developers as your project grows and hire as many remote developers as you need from one employee to a full-fledged team;
  • The vendor takes care of your employees' well-being and comfort while they work relying on your company’s best practices and workflow. 


  • An extensive onboarding program may be required, depending on your internal system's complexity; 
  • If your company has internal flaws or imperfect workflows, your remote developers may hit a wall and fail to bring expected results;
  • It can be problematic to run a Dedicated Team if you lack experience managing remote employees. 

Freelancers, outsourcing or a Dedicated Team: Which is better for you? 

Before you dive into one of the options mentioned above, answer the following questions. 

How big of a team do you need? 

 Complex projects typically require a full-fledged development team, and as your project grows, chances are you'll need more hands. A Dedicated Team model is a perfect fit for projects that require adding new team members as the scope of work grows. Conversely, traditional outsourcing doesn't offer this level of flexibility, as it is centered around deliverables outlined in the contract. The only way to add developers would mean treating it as a separate project. Hiring an army of freelancers to handle complex projects isn't the best idea because of the enormous management effort it will require. 

 Is there someone with technical expertise to manage the project on your side? 

 If you have a specialist in-house with the requisite technical background to oversee the development process and conduct technical interviews, then hiring freelancers or going with a Dedicated Team are the best options. Traditional outsourcing will work if you don’t have people with substantial tech expertise in-house. Within this model, the vendor will rely on their internal technical expertise to develop your product. 

Does your project have sensitive information? 

Freelancers are the least reliable option for projects where protecting sensitive data is critical, as they aren't obliged by a formal contract. There's a risk that they will expose your data because of poor device security or disclose your project details to someone else. On the other hand, hiring remote developers through a Dedicated Team model or traditional outsourcing is much more secure as vendors usually ensure that the necessary security measures are in place. 

Do you prefer long-term or short-term engagements?

Many companies include remote developers in their long-term strategies, integrating them deeply into their processes. Each of the three ways we’ve described here allows companies to do that. However, we can say that a Dedicated Team model offers a more focused approach when it comes to long-term objectives. This model fosters close cooperation between in-house and offshore/nearshore units as well as promotes a better understanding of the client's business and high commitment levels, which eventually brings amazing results. For example, remote developers at nCube have become an indispensable cog in our client's development workflows. That is hard to achieve within freelance and outsourcing models, where developers are constantly moved between projects. 

Final thoughts: Freelance vs. Outsourcing vs. a Dedicated Team 

Finding an extra set of hands on freelance platforms can be relatively easy, but it's far from being a one-size-fits-all solution. However, there is a significant difference between hiring a freelancer and a full-time remote employee through a Dedicated Team or a traditional outsourcing model. 

If we were to put the three options on a scale in terms of their reliability, freelancers would probably be ranked the lowest, as this model is associated with high levels of unpredictability. 

Traditional outsourcing would take second place, given that you rarely know who works on your project and if the developers handling it are skilled enough and you only receive the deliverables bespoke on the contract. Still, this option is more secure and transparent, as the vendor is formally obliged to stick to the contract and is accountable for the end result. 

With this in mind, a Dedicated Team model would be the most reliable option, given that you eliminate a great deal of uncertainties by selecting and hiring all of the team members yourself. The team will be integrated into your workflow and report directly to you, giving you full control over the development process. 

When it comes to hiring remote developers, many factors are at play. At the end of the day, you need to explore all the possibilities out there to make an informed decision. If you’re interested to find out more, especially given a dedicated team model, let’s connect.

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