Where To Start And How To Hire Full-Time Software Developers In South America

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As a leader in a software development department or someone responsible for hiring software developers, you may struggle to find the right talent in the US market, even with a sufficient budget. Post-pandemic remote work has led many companies, including yours, to consider hiring full-time developers in South America. This region offers a pool of talent that can work cost-effectively while still earning a good local wage. South America has multiple nearshore benefits for hiring remote developers, offering a more manageable solution in terms of communication, culture, and scheduling compared to other regions like India or Pakistan.

Some Questions arise:

When it comes to hiring full-time developers in South America, especially in countries like Colombia, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Whether you choose to work directly, through a staff augmentation firm, or via a nearshore marketplace, ensuring you find top talent is key.

To start the process, understanding the dynamics of the software engineering market in North America is crucial. This knowledge will help you navigate the hiring landscape effectively and make informed decisions.

Finding good developers involves leveraging your network, utilizing online platforms, and conducting thorough interviews to assess technical skills and cultural fit. Being proactive in your search will increase the likelihood of finding the right candidate for your team.

When it comes to making payments, it's essential to establish clear agreements on payment terms, methods, and schedules to avoid any discrepancies or delays. Utilizing secure payment platforms can help streamline this process and ensure transparency for both parties.

Addressing device and cybersecurity concerns is essential when working with remote developers. Implementing robust security measures, providing encrypted communication channels, and establishing clear guidelines for data protection are critical steps to safeguard your projects.

To maintain legal compliance, it's advisable to work with legal professionals who specialize in international employment laws. Ensuring that contracts, intellectual property rights, and employment regulations are in place will protect both your business and your employees.

Ensuring competitive compensation is vital to attracting and retaining top talent. Researching average salary ranges in the region and offering attractive benefits packages will help you stand out as an employer of choice.

By addressing these key points before onboarding developers from South America, you can enhance your hiring process and set the foundation for a successful working relationship. At BetterWay Devs, we specialize in facilitating connections between US firms and developers in South America, providing expertise and support throughout the hiring journey.

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Hiring methods

Other things to have in mind when hiring

Hiring directly without intermediaries

When looking to hire full-time developers in South America, one key advantage is the ability to establish direct relationships without intermediaries, fostering trust and a conducive work environment. By hiring directly, you can allocate your entire budget towards developer salaries, enhancing their quality of life in South America.

Recruiting talent directly can be a challenge, especially without a thorough understanding of the local market. For effective recruitment, leveraging platforms like LinkedIn and Torre.co is highly recommended.

In crafting job descriptions, it is crucial to be explicit about the required level of English proficiency. This specificity plays a significant role in attracting the right candidates for your team.

Alternatively, utilizing local recruiting agencies and paying a success fee for candidate placements can also streamline the hiring process. Platforms such as Clutch can aid in identifying reputable recruiters in the region.

Managing payroll, compliance, and benefits for long-term hires is vital. Ensuring developers receive full employment benefits, akin to those in the US, including stability, legality, and health insurance, is essential for employee satisfaction and retention.

Direct international wire transfers may classify developers as contractors, restricting access to financial services and benefits. To circumvent this, opting for local labor contracts through providers like Deel.com or ontop.ai ensures legal compliance and access to local benefits.

Additionally, offering private health insurance, a coveted benefit among developers, can enhance overall employee well-being. Allocating a budget for this purpose or leveraging services like Deel or BetterWay Devs for comprehensive employee benefits can be advantageous.

Consider the implications of company device policies when hiring remote developers. Discussing the use of personal vs. company devices during interviews can help mitigate potential challenges, especially when shipping company devices to South America may lead to logistical and cost issues. Developing agreements to support developers in acquiring suitable devices locally for work purposes can be a strategic approach to address this concern.

Hiring through a staff augmentation firm

Numerous software companies in South America offer Staff Augmentation services, which can be found on platforms such as Clutch and Google. The primary advantage of using a staff augmentation firm is that it provides a turnkey solution for your software development team's hiring needs. You don't need to worry about the intricacies of the hiring process, but for long-term success, it's crucial to select the right provider.

Choose a firm that allows you to build a trusting relationship and maintains transparency about their processes. When you aim to hire software developers, focus on salaries and benefits. If the provider doesn't pay good salaries or provide suitable benefits, the skilled developer you hire may change jobs quickly, and the staff augmentation firm will have to find a replacement. This, of course, directly increases the monthly cost. Initiate a clear conversation about how much the candidate is being paid.

Ideally, find a provider willing to disclose the salary they are paying the tech professionals, understanding that the company has to pay all the Employee of Record (EOR) costs plus their profit. Understand what they are providing for what they are charging. Discuss the company, work schedules, holiday policies, and work devices.

Also, understand if they have an office and how they handle remote or hybrid work. Many staff augmentation firms can become excellent partners and help you with a steady pipeline of nearshore developers if the focus of the relationship is win-win-win: the developer, the staff augmentation firm, and your company. Staff augmentation firms can be cost-effective if you use team leaders and don't require all developers to have a high level of English, as local companies can find and manage more accessible non-bilingual staff. Make sure it's clear whether the company hires directly or uses another company to provide services, which will affect costs or lower salaries.

Remember, a staff augmentation firm can find good Latam developers if they are known for being a good employer. After all, developers are always looking for options that will benefit them the most. Keep expectations clear; while some giant companies like Globant can maintain people on the bench, most local staff augmentation firms have to compete for the same seniors when they get a position from you. I will discuss juniors and the talent pipeline later in the article, but where staff augmentation firms are better positioned is to help you grow over time with junior and mid-talent.

Hiring through an intermediary nearshore marketplace

Intermediary nearshore marketplaces create a vast network of local staff augmentation firms in Latin America, including prominent names like You Team and Andela. Leveraging these platforms offers a significant advantage when you aim to hire remote developers or software engineers. The unique structure of these marketplaces enables a strong recruiting force by having multiple firms simultaneously scout for your position.

To attract and retain stable tech talent from Latin America, it's crucial to set a budget that accommodates a good salary, staff augmentation firm fees, and the marketplace fee. It's been observed that the final budget projected for a position on many of these marketplaces often matches what is expected to be paid directly to the developer. This makes it challenging for a quality staff augmentation firm to engage in the deal. Consequently, only unassigned profiles are presented to occupy them while waiting for a better opportunity for either the offshore developer or the staff augmentation firm.

Opting for this route is beneficial if you need to assemble larger teams of software engineers. Pooling together multiple providers aids in meeting your nearshore software development hiring needs. However, it's important to ensure consistent work conditions, schedules, and holidays when hiring developers from Latin America for your nearshore outsourcing endeavors

Other things to have in mind when hiring

Now that we have gone over the different ways to recruit, there are other things we should be aware of to have a stable team.

Local holidays and work schedules

Develop a flexible policy for holidays when you aim to hire developers in South America, as all countries in the region have different holidays. Local holidays are significant for many developers, usually because their family members are also off work. This is a factor that Latin American developers consider when deciding where to secure remote jobs.

Countries like Colombia and Argentina have a substantial number of holidays. It's critical to discuss this with the developers or the companies during the hiring process. Our recommended policy for managing holidays in nearshore developer roles is to allow the developer to request the holiday they want to take off, providing at least one or two weeks of anticipation. This ensures that no meetings or deliveries are affected.

Maintain excellent communication with the developers you hire. Developers in South America are highly professional and understand that there may be business reasons to work on a holiday. However, they also value the ability to take off on some of these dates. Being understanding and communicative about holiday schedules can be a key factor in successfully hiring and retaining Latin American developers in remote jobs.

English level expectation 

South America boasts a culture similar to the US, making it an ideal region to hire remote developers and skilled software engineers. The shared time zones facilitate regular working hours, promoting work quality and morale, unlike regions like Asia where developers may have to work overnight.

However, while South America offers a pool of talent, the region's English proficiency may not be as strong as countries like India or Ukraine. This situation creates a smaller pool of experienced candidates, with many companies vying to recruit from the same talent pool. To compete, companies not only offer excellent salaries but also unique work environments and challenges.

When considering roles and daily communication needs with your software engineer or remote developer, assess whether a high level of English is necessary or if most communication will be via chat. Bear in mind that the higher the English requirement, the smaller the pool of candidates in South America—potentially overlooking many talented individuals.

Typically, developers will have a sufficient level of English for communication via chat. With daily work and potential English lessons provided by the company, their proficiency can improve significantly. Local recruiters or staff augmentation firms can assist in finding good talent without a high level of English, which ultimately is more cost-effective.

Remember, when the level of English is lower, candidates may struggle to adequately demonstrate their skills during an interview. Therefore, support your interviews with Spanish-speaking developers by relying more on technical assignments than live interviews or live code tests.

Junior talent and talent pipeline

Consider your talent needs in one, two or three years; it will probably be even more than today, so why keep fighting for the same senior talent? Plan and hire junior and mid developers. You can find in South America an excellent source of affordable junior talent that can start growing with your company and become very knowledgeable talent as they work with your company over the years.

I hope for this guide to help you start hiring in South America, and even better if you decide to do it through us. Our model is unique, we designed it in a way that solves all the issues that both companies and developers face, with the goal of creating long-term productive work relationships with incredible talent in Colombia and South America.

You can read more about how we do it on the homepage, https://www.betterway.dev

In the end, no matter the method or the company you use, focus on the developer's well-being, ensuring they get a good economic benefit, an excellent opportunity to grow professionally and an outstanding work and life balance.

This will allow you to attract great talent and build long-lasting relationships to move your business forward.

If you want to have a better undestanding of this topic, including countries, benefits, regulations, among others, read the Essential Guide to Hiring Software Developers in South America

Other related articles:

Recommended staff augmentation firms to hire long-term software developers in South America

Best employer of record (EOR) firms to legally hire software developer in South America‍

Pablo Velásquez
BetterWay Devs CEO
AtlanticReef Founder
https://www.linkedin.com/in/pablovelasquezmejia/I Love To Connect Opportunities With Great Latam Talent

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