The Only Checklist You’ll Ever Need to Select a Reliable Outstaffing Vendor

Jun 15, 2016

There’s no shortage of advice on how to select a reliable IT outsourcing company, and our experience shows that a lot of companies start the vendor vetting process by finding out what ‘experts’ have to say about it. How do we know? We get a ton of RFIs that look like they were written from a template with the same questions posed again and again.

The thing is, most of the questions you find on checklists don’t really do a good job at helping you choose a vendor that provides the kind of service we do, that is building and maintaining dedicated/offshore development centers with custom-recruited software engineers.

If you’re still not sure which type of company you want to partner with, check out our article on the differences between our model and IT outsourcing (and why our model might be a better option).

If you’ve decided that outstaffing is the right track for you, though, make sure you ask the following questions to find out what you can expect from a potential partner.

Staff and HR

If there’s one thing you need to be absolutely sure about before you partner with an outstaffing company, it’s whether they can actually provide you with the tech talent you need.

Make sure to ask:

  • Are you going to provide developers from your own pool or do custom recruitment?
  • How much time does it usually take you to find programmers with the skills I’m looking for?
  • Where are your offices located? Can I choose the location for my team?
  • What’s your recruitment capacity? How many recruiters do you have? What tools and strategies do you use to find talent?
  • What will be my part in the recruitment process? Will I be able to personally interview and approve candidates?
  • What experience do you have in recruiting talent with the skills I need?
  • What is your average onboarding time?
  • What are the terms and conditions for increasing or decreasing the size of the team? How far in advance do I need to notify you if I want to add new people to my team or dismiss some of the existing employees?
  • What staff retention strategies do you employ?

Project Management and Communication

Communication is key to building productive teams, which is why we recommend you ask the potential vendor about their standard project management tools, methods, and communication channels.

Make sure to ask:

  • Will my team work exclusively for me? (You’re going to want a team that’s 100% dedicated to your project.)
  • Will I be able to manage my team directly? (If you or your in-house employees have enough of a technical background, you definitely want to manage your developers without any third-party involvement.)
  • Can I use the project management tools and methods I prefer?
  • What project management tools does the team have experience with?
  • What communication procedures do you recommend to maximize the efficiency of my development team?
  • What channels do the teams you build normally use to communicate with clients?

Work Environment

Your developers’ work environment has a very high impact on the productivity and motivation of your employees, so make sure the outstaffing vendor you go with provides your team with comfortable workstations and all the necessary support staff.

Make sure to ask:

  • What equipment and development environment will you provide for my team?
  • How fast is the internet connection speed at your offices?
  • Can you show me photos of your offices? (We usually take our clients on video tours of our offices in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Dnipro.)
  • What resources (staff, skills, time) do you need to support your clients’ offshore development teams?
  • What are your normal working hours? Will the developers be able to start their work day earlier or later for a better time overlap with us?
  • How can I contact you or my team after hours in case of an emergency?
  • How much vacation time will my developers have? Will I be the one approving the vacation time of my developers?
  • What national holidays do you have?
  • Will my team be able to travel to my office on short notice? How do you handle travel bookings and scheduling?

Security

When you partner with an outstaffing company, there’s always a risk, however small, that your proprietary company data and trade secrets will be compromised, so don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions about the vendor’s security measures.

Make sure to ask:

  • Are you prepared to sign confidentiality and non-disclosure agreements, and extend these to all employees working on my project?
  • What are your terms and conditions related to intellectual property rights?
  • What security measures do you employ to make sure only authorized staff can access workstations and storage platforms?
  • What is your disaster recovery plan and when was it last verified?

Business Overview and Credibility Check

Do a thorough check on every outstaffing company you’re considering so that the one you ultimately choose leaves no room for doubt as to their reliability.

Make sure to ask:

  • What is the primary focus of your company?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many employees do you have? What is the employee breakdown by job function?
  • How many developers are there on your largest development team?
  • What is your average developer turnover rate? (You’re looking for a vendor capable of maintaining a stable team.)
  • How long has your longest relationship with a client lasted? (The more long-term clients the vendor has, the more likely they are to be a reliable company.)
  • Can you provide at least three references from your clients? (Don’t forget to contact the vendor’s clients to double check the information.)
  • Are there any pending litigations against you?
  • Can you send me a copy of your standard professional service agreement? (Keep an eye open for hidden charges and potential risks.)
  • What are your company contact details (commercial contact, technical contact, recruitment contact)?

Rates and Payments

Obviously, you want to know exactly how much you’ll have to pay the outstaffing vendor for their services to be able to plan your budget.

Make sure to ask:

  • What’s the cost of recruitment?
  • What are the initial team setup costs?
  • How much do you charge for your services on a monthly basis? Is the fee stable or flexible? If it’s flexible, what influences it?
  • What are your payment terms?
  • In what currency should payment be made?
  • How are value added and other types of taxes related to hiring a development team invoiced? (If your company and the outstaffing vendor are located in different countries, there’s no need to pay VAT).

If you’re thinking about building your own offshore development team in Ukraine, feel free to contact us using the form below and give these questions a test run.

You may also like:

Why Hire Software Developers in Ukraine?

Top 7 Reasons to Set Up an Offshore Development Team with Daxx

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