Outstaffing — hiring a remote employee through another company — is one of the best ways to quickly fill a talent gap on your engineering team.
It's a work arrangement that gives both sides maximum flexibility, ensures quality and leaves the door open for long-term professional collaboration.
In many locations, filling a position with an in-house developer simply isn't realistic. Outside of global tech hubs, finding top tier talent is either nigh impossible or cost prohibitive. Companies that have a niche tech stack, require a developer for only six months to a year or are facing other constraints can benefit by turning their talent search global.
There's a persistent myth that outstaffing or outsourcing means going to a freelance site, finding the cheapest coder possible, getting unusable code, pounding your head against the wall — lather, rinse, repeat. Thankfully, that's not how modern outstaffing works.
Outstaffers Are Part of Your Team
When you hire an engineer via an outstaffing agreement, that engineer becomes a full-fledged member of your team. They attend meetings and standups just like anyone else. They work directly with your project manager and other developers.
Compensation, motivation and other HR matters are flexible and at the discretion of individual companies. This can include startups offering stock options, bonuses or other performance based rewards. Developers fit in with your company culture and even post memes and jokes to your team's #spam channel on Slack.
For all practical purposes, outstaffing is no different from remote work. It's a model that works well for entirely remote companies such as Zapier, GitLab and Basecamp.
How to Pick the Right Engineer
Finding the right people to join your team via an outstaffing model is just as important as hiring the right people directly. This means that you shouldn't ignore culture fit and soft skills. You're not hiring someone to sit in the corner and churn out code, you're looking for a new team member!
Technical skills are what brought you here in the first place, so don't skimp on them. The major advantage of outstaffing is that you can get an experienced specialist to solve your team's problem. This is obviously your first priority.
Make sure you talk to multiple potential developers. I know it seems counterintuitive, but soft skills are actually more important for remote workers than for someone physically in the office. Successful remote work requires initiative, empathy and superb communication skills. Check for these during the interview, or you can use a communication assessment.
Our developers that work via outstaffing agreements universally agree that strong English, solid soft skills and flexible availability have helped them forge successful relationships with their teams. Thus, it's important to check for this and not focus only on technical skills.
Consider Outsourcing as an Alternative
Outstaffing is a useful approach for established teams that need an additional hand on deck. A new developer quickly integrates into the team, and a project that needed additional staff gets finished on time.
On the other hand, hiring one or two outstaffers to complete an entire project isn't always the best way to get things done. In this case, outsourcing, hiring an entire team, is a tried and true way to develop software.
The Bottom Line
Next time you need an extra developer, designer or QA engineer, it's worth looking into outstaffing. You get to expand your search to the best engineers around the world, minimize your risk by avoiding the red tape of a direct hire and still get the benefits of a fully committed employee.
If you'd like to know more about how we manage outstaffing and discuss whether it'd be a good fit for your team, feel free to get in touch for a quick call.