5 Questions to Ask a Remote WordPress Web Developer

Thanks to the Internet, we are in the age of telecommuting, online outsourcing, and a truly global workforce. A small business based in Chicago can have its employees and contractors scattered across the globe.

Companies are no longer limited to their geographical location when scouting for contractors or permanent staff. If the person with the right skills for a WordPress development job at the right price is based in Romania, it wouldn’t make business sense to pay 10 times more just to hire someone nearby for the same quality of work.

Yet, as many businesses have found out, hiring remote developers does have its pitfalls. So before you jump onto the bandwagon, you need to ask your prospective remote WordPress web developer a number of questions.

1. Have They Used Remote Work and Collaboration Tools Before?

The absence of physical interaction with the rest of the team means remote WordPress developers must make up for this with collaboration tools. Collaboration tools are varied and range from simple ones like Skype and RescueTime to more extensive project management platforms like Trello and Workfront (sign up here to read or share insights on web development collaboration tools).

It’s possible that the developer has no experience with any of the collaboration and remote work tools your organization currently uses. However, the most important point is their experience with working with these types of tools since the logic and workflows they follow aren’t markedly different.

2. How Do They Stay Focused?

The typical work environment of a remote developer is teeming with potential distractions. If they are operating out of a home office, family members, pets, frequent bathroom and coffee breaks, extended meal times, house cleaning, television, and social media are just a snapshot of the things that can rob them of concentration. Since there’s no one supervising them in person, it’s important that they have techniques that help them stay focused.

Time tracking tools can come in handy as they help them know how much time they actually spend coding and debugging. But these will need to be complemented with hacks such as shutting themselves in a room, instructing family members that they are unavailable for conversation during working hours, and defining and strictly adhering to timelines for breaks.

3. How Would They Rate Their Written Communication?

Onsite developers have a myriad of avenues for communicating with one another; water cooler conversations, working lunches, office meetings, quick face-to-face consultation with a colleague, voice calls, email, and SMS. While in theory many of these channels are available for remote workers, certain practical limitations mean it’s likely that the majority of their communication with the rest of the team will be in writing.

Ergo, of all their communication skills, their ability to coherently articulate points in writing is critical. Of course, most remote WordPress developers will rate their written communication highly. The good thing is this is something you can gauge in your email exchanges even before you set up an interview call. If they cannot write well, they’re bound to run into problems and pull back the rest of the team.

4. Can They Work with No Supervision?

We talked about establishing how the remote WordPress developer avoids succumbing to the distractions around them. To do that, they must be a self-starter that can work independently without supervision. All the cost advantages of engaging a remote worker can go up in smoke if the person needs to be constantly prodded to do what needs to be done.

The time their supervisor and teammates will spend following up and waiting for the remote developer to work is the time that would otherwise have been spent on a more productive undertaking. Autonomy is, therefore, an indispensable skill for a remote worker.

5. What Do They Do For Fun?

In principle, the more time and effort a remote developer devotes to a project per day, the better it is for the project. However, no human being is one dimensional. Their productivity in the medium to long term will be impaired, and they could experience burnout if they don’t take time to kick back and have fun.

Since a remote worker doesn’t have to ‘go home’ at the end of the day, they could find themselves sucked into 18- to 20-hour work days. This is counterproductive as it will only increase coding errors and endanger their mental wellbeing. Make sure the candidate has a stable and healthy work-life balance.

There are plenty of benefits of hiring a remote WordPress developer. However, these can only be realized if you hire the right developer from the get-go.

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