Is hiring developers via agencies worth it?

Getting access to top developers can require a lot of resources, especially if you don’t know where to look. You can spend hundreds of hours looking for the perfect developer, only to be disappointed when your efforts amount to, well, nothing in particular.

Even more sobering is the fact that, as much as the software engineering marketplace is filled to the brim with prospective and senior developers, finding one that fits your particular needs is as hard in practice as it initially sounds on paper.

Thankfully, you can take shortcuts in the form of agencies or sourcing platforms to find the perfect fit. But, in all reality, this is not a shortcut in the real sense of the word.

What you will be doing here is allocating resources away from your revenue and into your time; yes, you’ll save time, but you will also spend more money on the service, simply because the service is associated with a cost.

In the long term, however, this should end up as net-positive—both for your company and the organization that will help you find the ideal fit.

Yet, even here, there are multiple paths that you can take: do you opt to work with a staffing agency, or choose a specialized outsourcing platform (like Proxify) for the same thing?

Let’s examine the pros and cons of both hiring approaches.

Agency vs Proxify comparison chart

Before we delve into things, here’s a quick visual representation of the similarities and differences between hiring through a staffing agency and partnering with Proxify:

Hiring through agencies vs Proxify

What kind of projects are you working on?

Before you decide on either of these two approaches, it’s probably a good idea to know what you’re working on, what you expect from your future developers, and how to manage the project in the first place.

Think of it as directing a movie: if you go into the film with a blank slate (puns, anyone?), it will be harder to realize the vision and deliver a final product after filming ends. However, if you have a storyboard (storyboards are a bunch of cards that visually explain the scenes, like comic panels), then the chances of the film being closer to the initial vision will be greater than otherwise.

In this case, having a storyboard equates to having a thorough plan about your project (both written and otherwise) that will help you along the way and keep your developers on the right track.

More specifically, here are some examples of projects that you could be hiring for:

  • Mobile applications
  • Native
  • Web
  • Hybrid
  • Desktop applications
  • Windows
  • Linux
  • macOS
  • Cloud applications
  • SaaS
  • PaaS
  • IaaS

Mobile application development

Mobile application development is different between the three types: native, web, and hybrid apps, simply because they use different technologies to build, operate and execute their end goals.

Native applications are usually built with Python, Java, Kotlin, and more languages. On the other hand, web-based applications are developed using HTML, CSS and JavaScript—among other languages and markup paradigms.

Desktop application development

Desktop app development, or as I like to call it: the OG software development, is a process where you build programs to be later used on desktop or laptop-based operating systems.

These systems are Windows, Linux, macOS, and others.

Additionally, the list of desktop software falls into several categories, including productivity (word processors, database manipulation), media (video and image editors), and entertainment (games).

To build desktop apps, developers can use a multitude of frameworks such as WPF, UWP, Electron.js, Cocoa, and more. Starting from scratch is also a viable option, for which languages like C++, C#, Java, Python, Swift, and Go (among others) are preferred over some of the existing frameworks.

Cloud application development

Finally, there is cloud app development, which generally means that your applications are residing somewhere on a cloud, which is a server that could be based anywhere in the world.

Most popular programming languages and frameworks used to develop cloud-based apps include Go, RoR, Node.js, ASP.NET, PHP, not to mention the major cloud services such as AWS, Azure, GCP, Digital Ocean, and more. H2: Hiring through an agency

If you decide that freelance developers aren’t worth the risk, another possibility is to outsource your hiring to an agency. Granted, this is a safer approach than testing freelance devs, however, it does come with its red flags as well.

The good thing about working with an agency is that you won’t have to hire multiple experts (from multiple disciplines) as you would have done with a freelancer or a freelance contractor.

Instead, the agency will take care of all that in your stead.

What is a staffing agency?

A staffing (or hiring) agency is the intermediary between employees and employers, operating with the goal to find the best matches for companies that have job vacancies that need to be filled in a reasonable period of time.

“Reasonable period of time” can mean different things to different companies. It can take anywhere from days to weeks, and sometimes even months before a position has to be filled and the job vacancy closed.

In rare cases, sometimes the job opening never gets filled due to a variety of reasons (pay, lack of suitable candidates, rare tech stack), but that’s a story for another time.

How does a staffing agency operate?

The process of hiring talent through a staffing agency typically goes in the following order:

The employer reaches out to the agency: The first step is to reach out to the staffing agency that specializes in your niche (in this case, it’s software developers) and specify all the information. So, things like project duration, rate range, the number of developers needed—everything needs to be stated precisely before the agency initiates the hiring process via their channels of operation.

The agency comes up with a suitable job description: Then, they advertise the job description acting as your intermediaries. Sometimes, the agency will already have a specific candidate (or candidates) in mind even before they create the job description. They might reach out to the job seekers personally if they think the candidates are a good fit for the project.

The agency vets candidates: Once the applications from the candidates start coming, the hiring managers review their resumes, skills, experiences and qualifications to decide whether or not they’re a good fit—either for a permanent position or for a short-term stint. The most qualified individuals then meet with the hiring managers to discuss further details about the job.

You make the final decision: As a hiring manager, the final decision falls on your shoulders. Remember that agencies are the middleman, not the decision-makers. Everything past this stage (including the final interview process) is your responsibility.

The agency sorts out the paperwork: Depending on the contract, most staffing agencies will sort out the associated paperwork as well. This includes contracts, taxes, legal, and other part-time or full-time employee-related tasks.

How much does a staffing agency cost?

Typically, staffing agencies will charge anywhere between 50% - 100% of the hired candidate’s agreed salary.

So, for an agreement of a 50% markup, while the employee’s hourly wage is 50€, the agency will charge you anywhere between 70€ per hour for the entire work. Sometimes, the cost can go up to 150€ per hour, depending on the agency and the agreement.

Additionally, there may be other fees associated with the hiring process such as buyout fees or transferring fees (temporary to permanent employment).

This is just a rough estimate, so be sure to ask upfront about the agency’s costs before you dip your toes into the waters of hiring via intermediaries.

Staffing agency pros

As employees have moved away from traditional employment and opted for a more flexible environment, staffing agencies have become a viable solution for finding talent in considerably less time.

Here are some of the benefits of filling your ranks by using a staffing agency.

Flexibility

I mentioned above that, lately, employees tend to migrate toward a more flexible employment model. Similarly, companies do that too.

As seismic changes are destabilizing the current labor market, companies try to stay afloat by becoming leaner where and when possible. In other words: they are trying to hire new talent only when absolutely necessary.

In fact, temporary staffing solves this challenge by enabling companies to have talent on demand, while ensuring that their employees are staying productive.

As a quick subjective interjection, I would add that this isn’t necessarily good or bad, it’s just how the current state of affairs is playing out. It will be interesting to see how the market will evolve relative to the current and future employment trends, but I digress.

Flexibility and having a sufficient wiggling room are important both for job seekers and businesses: the former because of their shift in priorities from maximum productivity to maximum happiness and quality of life. And the latter are simply trying to persist in the ever-changing landscape of the challenges of the modern world.

Relatively fast hiring

Lately, there has been a tendency for the hiring process to needlessly stretch across time and become more difficult for both of the involved parties. Candidates have often been unable to find qualifying jobs because of job gatekeeping, bad advertising or simply bad pairing between their skills and the job responsibilities in the workplace.

A staffing agency could potentially mitigate this process and reduce the time between finding, reaching out to and hiring a prospective candidate.

Risk reduction

The hiring process is a tricky endeavor. There are a number of legal responsibilities that are involved with hiring a candidate, and none of them are pleasant to go through in the sense of time, punctuality and expressing the contract in clear legal vocabulary.

Plus, introducing a new employee into the fray comes with its own financial risks because of unexpected sickness, team chemistry issues, or when someone decides to quit.

Again, depending on the contract, a staffing firm should mitigate some of these risks and handle the papers if and when they occur.

Staffing agency cons

Every coin has two sides. And with that little nugget of wisdom (author courtesy), let’s examine some of the potential downsides of partnering with a staffing agency.

Training outside staff can take more time

Introducing a contractor or a temporary worker is usually indicative of faster task turnaround time, meaning that work must be completed quickly and more efficiently than usual.

Therefore, a hiring manager (or direct supervisor) may not have the time to train each temp as diligently and thoroughly as possible as they would a full-time employee. The learning curve shortens and the training time must be allocated to actually working on the project itself, which could be a hurdle and interfere with the workflow.

Bonding with the rest of the team may become an issue

A new temporary hire may not have great chemistry with the existing team, at least in the beginning of the stint.

There may be a running friction between the goals of short-term employees and already-existing full-time teams. The sole nature of the type of employment can result in a discrepancy between the two teams and lessened interpersonal relationships, and therefore lead to cracks in the team chemistry.

Prepare to lose some control of the hiring process

Outsourcing the hiring process will necessarily lead to giving up some control of it as well. In fact, the agency doesn’t know your company culture as thoroughly as you do, so you may end up with cultural fits that wouldn’t be ideal relative to conducting the hiring process yourself.

Partnering with a questionable agency can result in a poor hiring experience

Not all agencies are made equal. Moreover, some agencies may have not developed deep working relationships with fitting candidates, meaning that the resulting resumes that they receive may not be up to par with your company’s requirements.

Make sure to clearly communicate this with the agency you’re considering partnering with before you sign the deal.

Hiring with Proxify

The problem with traditional staffing agencies is that, sometimes, there are glaring issues concerning transparency, turnaround time, and the actual skills of the candidates.

In fact, if you don’t read the fine print, you can fall prey to a number of hidden fees without getting quality service in return. And we’re all aware that shadiness and the lack of transparency are not exactly the pillars that you want to base your partnerships on.

In all honesty, most staffing agencies are probably ok, but there is something way, way better.

What is Proxify?

Proxify is an elite network of pre-vetted, qualified professional developers that are proficient in multiple programming languages, frameworks, libraries and other tools. Some of these languages include:

  • C, C++, C#, Objective-C;
  • JavaScript, Typescript, Angular, Node.js, Vue.js, React.js, React Native;
  • .NET, .NET Core, ASP.NET;
  • SQL, MySQL, PostgreSQL, MongoDB;
  • Ruby, Ruby on Rails;
  • PHP, Symfony, Laravel, Drupal;
  • WordPress, Shopify, WooCommerce, Magento;
  • HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, Tailwind;
  • And many more that you can check here.

Our developers are currently working in 450+ different companies that span across 22+ countries, and these numbers are consistently growing on a daily basis (I’ve personally witnessed the growth firsthand!).

Why should you hire with Proxify?

Simply speaking, working with us is the perfect way to either scale your existing team, or build a brand-new development team from scratch. Here are some of the major pros of partnering with Proxify:

We only onboard the top 2% of all developers

We get thousands of applications each month. In short, here’s what the entire process looks like from top to bottom:

Self-assessment quiz: Each applicant fills in a quiz where they provide answers about their professional experience, tech-stack proficiency and other notable distinctions in their field.

Technical quiz: Each applicant completes a technical quiz which helps us to assess their factual knowledge, English proficiency, and soft skills.

Code test: Applicants who show sufficient knowledge and proficiency are then given to complete a code test. Here, they will be using the language or framework of their choice, which will later translate to client work through Proxify (if all the steps are diligently completed).

Technical interview: Promising applicants then undergo a 1-hour technical interview. Our engineering managers continue to further test their skills with real-world examples and use-cases, as well as their creative ability to problem-solve on the spot.

Final review: Out recruitment managers perform a final review, revisiting all the stages of the candidate’s answers to ensure they’re staying consistent all throughout the vetting process.

Onboarding and ongoing reviews: Finally, our community managers provide a warm welcome to our newcomers and discuss onboarding technicalities. As an additional step, we also perform regular reviews of our developers to ensure that quality standards within the Proxify network are always met.

We provide quick and fitting developer matches

All our developers are pre-vetted, which means they will be ready to start within days, not weeks or months. In fact, we do all of our vettings proactively! This makes it possible to deliver suitable developers to our clients in a lightning-fast manner.

On top of that, we’re also able to accomplish such a fast turnaround time thanks to a “deadly combination” of our automated systems, aided by the entrepreneurial touch of our hard-working internal team. Finally, we also use sophisticated AI to score candidates and find the right people at the right time, but don’t share that with our competitors yet!

The matching process between the clients and the developers works in three simple steps:

  1. You provide information about your project: Share anything you deem important, including the duration, complexity and nature of the project;
  2. We hand-pick you a fitting developer: We will present a high-quality, pre-vetted developer to you within days of your inquiry;
  3. Work begins immediately: Work starts. If you’re not satisfied with the work in the first week, we offer a full refund—no questions asked.

We offer reliable team members, not temporary gig workers

Other platforms, agencies or staffing firms may have lots of candidates to choose from, however, most of these candidates are usually gig workers that won’t mesh well with the chemistry of your existing team.

Unlike them, we can help you find long-term developers at a reasonable price. In fact, most developers in the Proxify network are consistently working on projects for at least 12 months straight.

Avoid “last order” panic and disarrayed projects, and let us help you secure reliable developers ASAP.

You get access to a pool of top-performing developers and tools

Our developers are among the top 2% performers worldwide. They work hand-in-hand with our devoted client managers to make sure that every project for every client is on the right track.

Additionally, you will also get access to a powerful dashboard from which you can manage your developers, assign tasks, and have full control over the way you handle vacations and invoices. On top of that, you will also get an open channel of communication with our Proxify Customer Success team to ensure consistency at all times.

Proxify dashboard

How much does hiring with Proxify cost?

Opting to work with a Proxify developer will cost you between 31.90€ and 49.50€ per hour, depending on the developer’s experience, proficiency, and the complexity of the work itself.

There are no recruitment fees or hidden costs associated with onboarding a new developer, and, again, we will provide what we think would be a suitable developer for your needs within days.

Conclusion

Finally, there is really no “one-size-fits-all” solution to decide which option would work best for your hiring needs. If you want to consider hiring with Proxify, you can check out our extended offer here at your leisure.

We have flexible plans and a sizable pool of elite developers ready to tackle any backend, frontend and full-stack development challenges right from the get-go.

Happy hiring!

Find your next developer within days, not months

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In a short 15-minute call, we will:

  • Understand your development challenges
  • Explain our process to match you with qualified, vetted developers from our network
  • Share next steps to finding the right match, often within less than a week

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