How to hire a freelance or full-time developer
September 21, 2023
min read

How to hire a freelance or full-time developer

Eli McGarvie
Eli McGarvie

If you're tired of traditional recruitment methods and want to explore new avenues, keep reading, as this article offers unique alternatives for discovering and recruiting freelance developers. And while we'll be primarily focusing on freelancers, each source we explore is equally suitable for finding full-time and part-time talents. So, whether you're in need of a temporary boost or a long-term addition to your dev team, this article will provide you with the information you need to ensure you find the right fit for your project. 

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Expert advice on hiring a freelance developer

First things first, it's important to consider the insights and recommendations of a trusted unbiased tech advisor. Their expertise can be valuable in guiding the process of evaluating potential developers, which can be complex.

Hiring a freelance developer requires more than just a face-to-face interview and a good resume. Having the right tools and guidance is crucial. A CTO or a custom software development company can provide valuable insights, or you can bring in a trusted tech advisor. They will help you make informed decisions and ensure you hire the perfect freelance developer for your needs.

When hiring a freelance developer, it's also crucial to find someone with a balance of technical and soft skills. Effective communication is especially important for developers. For further guidance on hiring the right developer, check out the article below.

RELATED: What to look for when hiring a developer 

How to hire a freelance developer

If you're looking to hire a freelance developer, there are several avenues you can explore.

One option is to consider vetted tech talent networks, which provide a reliable source for finding quality developers.

Another option is to ask for referrals from trusted individuals in your network who can offer insights and a deeper understanding of a developer's strengths and weaknesses.

Additionally, you can explore online tech forums, portfolio websites, and social channels to connect with developers and showcase your company's projects and culture.

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1. Vetted hiring platforms


  • Reduces the risk of hiring unqualified or underperforming developers¬†
  • Increases the chances of finding highly skilled professionals
  • Provide support and guidance throughout the hiring process


  • Can have a smaller pool of candidates to choose from compared to other hiring methods.¬†
  • Can be expensive¬†
  • May have restrictions on the number of candidates you can consider

Vetted hiring platforms are an excellent source for finding quality freelance software developers. These platforms offer rigorous screening processes and continuous project-based evaluation to ensure top talent. They go beyond the developer's resume and use a specially-designed screening process to measure their abilities. Additionally, they provide ongoing evaluation based on the developer's performance in real projects.

Here are some key benefits of using vetted tech talent networks:

  • Reliable source to find quality developers
  • Rigorous screening process
  • Continuous project-based evaluation
  • In-house experts for personalised matching

By utilising these networks, you can have confidence in the skills and expertise of the freelance developers you hire. This ensures that you find the best fit for your project.

Examples of these platforms include:

  • Toptal
  • Arc()

RELATED: Developers for hire: 10 best job sites for businesses 

2. Referrals


  • Can be a cost-effective hiring strategy¬†
  • Often result in high-quality candidates as they come recommended by someone within the organisation or network
  • Candidates are often pre-screened by the referrer, so the hiring process can be faster.¬†


  • Often come from personal connections, which can introduce biases and favouritism into the hiring process.¬†¬†
  • Tend to be limited to the immediate network of existing employees.
  • May lead to overlooking qualified candidates who are not part of the referral network.

To find reliable freelance software developers, there are a few strategies you can employ. One effective method is tapping into your network of professional contacts and asking for a referral from a trusted individual who has worked with the developer previously. Professionals in the IT industry often change jobs every 3-4 years, so your chances of finding a suitable candidate through referrals are quite high.

By leveraging your network, you can increase your chances of finding a developer who is a good fit for your specific requirements. Your professional contacts may have connections with talented developers who are actively seeking new opportunities. These referrals often come with a level of trust and credibility, as they are recommended by someone you know and trust.

3. Tech forums 


  • Attract a diverse group of developers with various skill sets and experiences.¬†
  • Allow employers to engage directly with potential candidates.¬†
  • Employers can assess developers' skills and capabilities firsthand.


  • Can lack a formal screening process, meaning you may have to rely on self-reported skills and experience.
  • Focuses on technical discussions and problem-solving, making it challenging to assess a candidate's soft skills.¬†
  • Will need to sift through numerous forum threads, evaluate candidates' contributions, and engage in individual conversations, which can be extremely time-consuming.¬†

Establishing your presence on online tech forums is a great way to connect with freelance software developers and gain insights into their expertise and knowledge. These forums provide a platform for developers to interact with the tech community and showcase their skills.

Additionally, tech forums often have dedicated job listing pages where you can post about your job opportunity, attracting freelance developers who are actively looking for new opportunities.

GitHub is a valuable community where real software developers share code samples, allowing you to assess their capabilities and find someone who has worked on similar projects.

Another option is to connect with top developers on StackOverflow, a platform where developers seek advice and share tips. However, it’s important to note that StackOverflow has removed its Jobs Board. Nonetheless, it remains an indispensable resource to pursue.

4. Portfolio websites


  • Can gain a better understanding of a developer's capabilities and their suitability for specific types of projects.
  • Help employers assess the developer's technical proficiency and see if their skills align with the requirements of the role.
  • Can demonstrate a developer's communication and collaboration skills through sections like an about page, contact information, blog, or testimonials.


  • Often showcases only the best work and may not reveal weaknesses or areas lacking expertise.
  • Emphasises visual presentation of projects and may not provide enough information on code quality, performance optimisation, or adherence to coding best practices.¬†

Browse through portfolio websites to discover talented freelance software developers who have their own online presence and showcase their expertise through their work. These websites often provide a comprehensive overview of a developer's skills, projects, and experience.

Additionally, some of the top software developers create long-form blogs that demonstrate their expertise and allow you to assess their knowledge and problem-solving abilities.

By exploring these portfolio websites, you can gain insights into a developer's capabilities, coding style, and previous projects, helping you make a more informed decision when hiring a freelance software developer.

RELATED: 14 Dazzling Web Developer Portfolio Examples

5. Social channels


  • Can engage with passive candidates who may not have otherwise come across your job postings.
  • Allow you to showcase your company culture, values, and brand to potential candidates.
  • Compared to traditional methods of recruitment, it can be a more cost-effective option.


  • Often crowded with various job postings, making it difficult for your job posting to stand out.
  • Limited space for job postings can make it challenging to provide comprehensive details about the job requirements.¬†
  • Not all developers actively use social channels for professional purposes.¬†

Utilise social channels to tap into a vibrant community of talented software developers. Engage in conversations, share job postings, and connect with potential candidates who are active and passionate about their craft.

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer a wide reach. They allow you to target specific groups or communities of developers. Join relevant groups or communities focused on software development, coding, or specific technologies to connect with professionals in the field.

6. Specialised recruitment agencies 


  • Can save significant time and resources
  • Typically conduct initial screening and assessments of candidates to ensure they meet the required qualifications
  • For companies that are looking to hire developers discreetly, recruitment agencies can provide an extra layer of confidentiality


  • Usually, businesses are charged a fee, which can sometimes be a significant cost.
  • May have limited control over the selection process and criteria used to evaluate and shortlist candidates.
  • Working with a middleman may lead to a lack of clarity or miscommunication regarding the job requirements.¬†

These agencies are professional companies that specialise in finding developers for businesses like yours. They have access to a pool of talented individuals and can provide expertise in finding suitable developers for your specific needs.

Additionally, recruitment agencies handle administrative tasks and can even offer additional services if needed. They may also help you save time and effort in the hiring process and ensure that you're connecting with highly skilled developers.

7. Networking at tech events


  • Tech events attract developers who are actively seeking new opportunities and are passionate about their work
  • Tech events provide an opportunity for face-to-face interaction with developers
  • Tech events often include coding challenges, hackathons, or other technical activities where developers can showcase their skills in real-time


  • Tech events are often crowded with numerous companies looking to hire developers. This high level of competition can make it difficult to stand out and attract the attention of talented developers
  • Tech events usually provide limited time for interaction with developers, making it challenging to thoroughly evaluate their skills and suitability for the job
  • Participating in tech events requires financial investment, including registration fees, travel expenses, booth setup, promotional materials, and more

These events provide opportunities to network and engage with developers in communities that align with your interests. Find online events and meetups on platforms like Facebook, Meetup, Eventbrite, and LinkedIn.

These events allow you to showcase your company's projects and culture. Gain insights and knowledge from industry experts. Actively participating and engaging in these online tech events increases your chances of finding skilled freelance developers. If you are looking for a tech event be sure to check out World Congress ‚ÄĒ it's the world's leading event for developers!

Mainstream job boards & hiring platforms


  • Popular job boards and hiring platforms have a large user base, which means your job posting will be seen by a larger pool of candidates
  • You can easily track and review applications, schedule interviews, and collaborate with your hiring team, saving time and effort in the hiring process
  • Compared to traditional recruitment methods like recruitment agencies, job boards and hiring platforms are often more cost-effective


  • Popular job boards and hiring platforms attract a large number of employers and developers, which leads to intense competition for job openings
  • These platforms often rely on algorithms and automated systems to match employers and developers, which can result in a lack of personalised recommendations
  • While many job boards and platforms offer free basic services, some features, such as enhanced visibility or additional tools, may come at a cost

These sources are some of the most obvious, but not all hiring platforms may be suitable for finding developers. Popular job boards and hiring platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Seek allow you to easily connect with a wide range of talented professionals. However, it’s important to keep in mind that these platforms may not offer pre-screening, so having a well-defined screening and evaluation process in place will help you identify suitable candidates.

Need help to hire a freelance developer?

If you're still in need of assistance in hiring the perfect freelance developer for your team, WeAreDevelopers is here to lend a helping hand.

We understand it can be hard to find the perfect fit for your team. That's why we're here to take the weight off your shoulders and guide you through the process. With our expertise and extensive network, we can connect you with top-quality freelance developers who will bring immense value to your team.


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