You are not charging enough to hire decent staff locally. If your business model does not permit this then you must question the work you produce. If you are not willing to change your pricing model then you must bear the harsh reality of hiring offshore resources.
I'm quite experienced with this and I can tell you that you must put in hard time to interview without exception. Its literally a 1/200 chance you will find someone worth hiring on eLance or oDesk so that tells you the number of interviews you must wade through. You also have to be an attractive employer as well so WHAT CAN YOU OFFER THEM LONG TERM? Here is what I've learned and what I do.
A good offshore programmer does these things.
- Is very honest
- Communicates on a regular predictable schedule
- Is working on a regular and predictable schedule
- Has a good grasp of your language and communicates well
- Is friendly and courteous and a general joy to talk to
- Is passionate and helpful and cares
- Is available for the amount of hours you need and dedicated to you in that time
- Completes things on time
- Is an INDIVIDUAL freelance programmer, not some team or slick talking project manager. This does not work out hiring someone else to do your job of being the boss, EVER.
If any of these things are not the norm for the contractor, do not hire them long term. Best to drop them quickly. You CANNOT know about these things unless you put them through tests that involve real world problems, time commitments and about 1 month of trying them out. However, you can reduce your failure rate by doing a lot of upfront filtering before trying them out. Remember, there is a sea of people waiting to fulfill your needs.
You must also talk about yourself or your company. Post about your company showing its highlights and what it can do for the potential employee / contractor to attract the worthy.
- List history of your company and successes
- List your technology and its relevance in today's market (yes they read this)
- List benefits, hourly rates, bonuses etc.
- Focus on presenting stability and reliability and long term employment
Here is what you don't do.
- Hire a company or team or organization to "handle" your work
- Trust they will work out
- Pay higher than market value expecting that to make someone work harder
Here is my process of interview to filter out candidates...
- Create a job posting for the perfect qualities you desire and set the bar as high as you can because people will post that have none of these qualities so it helps weed them out a bit and better to ask the most up front.
- Place a small blurb at the bottom of the posting to indicate they have actually read the interview such as "please write about your most impressive work at the beginning of your response that relates to this posting". This will tell you if they are a human, if they can follow directions, if they are passionate about what they do and if they have some skills that will help you.
- Create initial small fixed priced PAID tasks that will be paid upon successful completion. You can either make real tasks or just test tasks but I found its more productive to do real ones if you can as it really shows ability.
- Have a grace period of 2 weeks by the hour. Do not pick your favorite yet. You should have everyone going that has passed #3 because you don't know how they are until you know how they are.
- Now be selective to the ones who communicate the best and who are the most reliable and you just plain like the most.
You should be OK after going through this exhausting process because your hard work will produce the desired result. If it seems to come too easy then you are doing it wrong. It requires due diligence, persistence and hard knocks. Keep trying till you get it and its very much worth it. Your company will start to grow as your free time opens up for getting more clients.