TechCrunch predicts that by 2020, it will be 5 million apps in the world (now there’s 2 million of them, according to data from the app stores). Therefore, the demand for app developers will be growing, and there may be even a shortage of app development talent in certain regions. In this article, we are going to talk about the different ways of finding the tech talent and discover how to hire app developers.

Basically, there are the following ways of hiring developers:

  • Hiring with internal resources: Having an internal recruiter who is a part of the company’s staff look for the tech talent.
  • Hiring via an agency: Paying a third party recruitment agency for sourcing the developers in their curated talent pool.
  • Hiring via freelance portals: Searching for remote developers on platforms such as Upwork or Guru (for short term projects) and Toptal or Crossover (for long term projects).
  • Hiring the entire offshore development team via either a local agency or a tech talent marketplace.

Now let’s discuss what is important to know when looking for app developers.


Know Your Project Requirements


Know Your Project Requirements


When searching to hire app developers, you should keep in mind your project requirements.

When drafting the requirements, answer the following questions:

  • Is it a completely new app or improvement of the existing app?
  • Will it be a web app or a mobile app?
  • Will it be a native or hybrid app?
  • Which platforms will it support?
  • How complex will it be?
  • Which functionality will it have?
  • Will it support augmented reality?
  • Which devices is it for – a smartphone, a tablet, or both?
  • How can it help the target audience? Which problems can it solve?
  • How complex is the app?
  • Does the app require APIs and integrations?
  • Which web server will it use?

Based on your answers, define the technology stack that you are looking for.


Consider the Location and Think of Outsourcing when hiring an app developer


Outsourcing when hiring an app developer


As your next step, consider the developer’s location. If you’re searching for tech talent locally, please keep in mind how much the app development will cost you in the US, UK or Western Europe. Depending on the app’s complexity, you will have to pay between $ 75,000 and $ 250,000 in the United States. As for the app developer salaries in various regions of the US, here is the statistics of hourly wages as of 2017, collected by CareerOneStop:



$ 34 - $ 90 per hour


$ 38 - $ 160 per hour

District of Columbia

$ 38 - $ 76 per hour

New York

$ 30 - $ 82 per hour


$ 31 - $ 74 per hour


$ 30 - $ 76 per hour


If you’re limited in time and budget, you can consider outsourcing the app development. For the sake of comparison, here are the average hourly rates of offshore software developers per region:



$ 17 - $ 26 per hour


$ 20 - $ 31 per hour


$ 21 - $ 37 per hour


$ 25 - $ 42 per hour


$ 30 - $ 47 per hour


$ 31 - $ 50 per hour


$ 33 - $ 52 per hour


$ 33 - $ 58 per hour


$ 34 - $ 53 per hour


$ 41 - $ 48 per hour



Shortlist and Compare the Candidates


Shortlist and Compare the Candidates for your Project


When checking the candidates’ profiles, keep in mind the following:

  • Experience: This includes the tech skills and, if you are looking for a remote developer, experience working in remote or distributed teams.
  • Technology stack: You should clearly define the tech stack required for your project and shortlist the developers with this specific stack. We recommend avoiding the profiles of developers claiming to be full stack. In many cases, it means that they have a superficial knowledge of all technologies instead of deep knowledge of the key technology.
  • Reviews and rankings: If you are searching for developers on freelance websites, pay attention to the reviews of previous clients. If you are looking for an offshore team via a local vendor, you can read the client feedback at websites such as Do not be afraid to ask providers for contact information of recent clients.
  • Overview of the created products: Experienced developers are always ready to provide ready-made applications that they have created and demonstrate a portfolio with links to App Store and Google Play. It is important to review not only the design or the set of functions but also some feedback from users regarding the product and its functioning. Another tip is to check the company's website if you plan to hire a development company. The site is the face of the company, it should be informative, new-fashion, user-friendly.
  • Level of communication: Effective communication is an indicator of effective collaboration. This is the main aspect of working with a remote team. Do not hesitate to ask for interviews with developers who will be allocated for your project. If the company limits your communication and offers to interact exclusively through the project manager, it is worth questioning the effectiveness of working with the team.

It is important to mention that your chosen provider should be open. Everything should be logical, clear and understandable - the development process, level of professionalism, methodologies and tools, etc. If you still have questions and could not get clear answers to them, it is better to refuse to accept such a candidate.


Choose the Right Provider


Choose the right provider for your project


When hiring a developer, you should pay special attention to the interviewing process. This stage will help you make the right choice and hire the best candidate. I recommend you to take some simple steps:

  • Email. Set an interview time, communication channel, briefly describe your project, needs, and expectations.
  • Phone call. Very often, emails replace live or phone communication, but calling a candidate is essential to get a more accurate understanding of the candidate and their communication skills. 10-20 minutes would be more than enough.
  • Video interview. This is a very important stage, which is critical for decision making. During the video interview, you can clarify all your questions and get a clearer understanding of the candidates' behavior model as well as communication skills.
  • Testing hard and soft skills. Very often there is a need for testing. You can either test candidates at the video meeting stage or give a test task. If you are not a technical specialist, then you should use third-party services to test and evaluate candidates' technical skills.

Please note: after carefully selecting and interviewing, make a decision quickly. The longer you think about a decision, the more likely you are to lose the right candidate.


Hire the best app developer


Hire the best app developer


After you have selected the app developers for your project and made a decision regarding your collaboration, you should decide how to sign the contract. Here are the options that you have:

  • When hiring with internal resources for a full-time position in the office, it is better to sign a contract directly with the developer(s).
  • When hiring via a recruiting agency, you should first sign a contract with this agency, and then directly with the developer(s).

If you have chosen to outsource and are going to work with a remote development team, there are several options that depend on your project type and its complexity, such as:

  • If you want your remote dev team to be located in one country, not spread all over the globe, then sign a contract either with a local software agency or a vendor featured at a tech talent marketplace. However, keep in mind that when working with an agency, in most cases you will communicate with your development team only via a project manager.
  • If your project is long term, then again, a marketplace or a local agency would be your best choice.
  • If the location of your team does not matter to you, you can form a distributed team from scratch on freelance portals and sign virtual contracts with them.

It is also possible to hire developers from agencies on freelance portals. But again, you should choose what is more important for you: having an intermediary between you and your team or personal communication with the developers.

A word of advice: take care of your idea and sign the NDA with potential candidates before providing them with detailed information on the project.


The Bottom Line


When hiring app developers for your project, you should consider the following moments:

  • Project requirements
  • Location, including the offshore destinations
  • The candidate’s experience, tech stack, and reviews
  • Whether to choose an intermediary or sign a contract directly with the developer(s)

We wish you good luck in finding the best tech talent for your team.


About the author:

Anton Mishchenko, the CEO and Co-founder at YouTeam

Anton Mishchenko is CEO and Co-founder at YouTeam, a platform for building remote teams of world-class engineers within 1 week. Anton’s area of expertise includes tech entrepreneurship and digital marketing, business development in the music and media industries.