HELP: Questions to Ask a developer


Active member
Hi guys,

I need help vetting a developer. I am using Odesk, and I want to integrate XF forum with some cms.

The programmer said it would take around 40 hours. He is from Ukraine, I have never hired person online before for something like this. He will be billed hourly, and i am supposedly able to monitor and see what he is doing.

He gave me a few example sites he worked on, they seem legit, although simple.

What kind of questions should I ask him?


Well-known member
Personally, I'd suggest staying away from such sites and look around for local/more established developers. The best freelance work comes from referrals. The race to the bottom finished years ago, and the result is that most of the good talent has moved on. But, if one must, you can toss every response you get in the first hour. Instead wait a few days. If you've written a good project description (and with a little luck), you'll start to see a few qualified proposals trickle in.

Insist on an initial call before signing off on the project. If the developer doesn't offer to do a call, I'd take it as red flag. It's easy to be deceptive via email, but if you have someone on the phone you can quickly gauge how competent they are on the fly. Treat it like a real phone interview for a job you've had in the past, except you're now the interviewer. The call will benefit both of you, and by the end of it you should know:
  • Portfolio. Where is their live work? Did they do the entire project, or just a portion of it? Are they able to deliver a product by themselves? How similar is your project to others they have done?
  • References. This should be their selling point. Get references to 3-4 clients they've worked with.
  • Workflow. How will scope be nailed down? How do they respond to change? How often are milestones? How soon can you see a proof of concept?
  • Timeline. Is it realistic? Do you know what items you'll be responsible for?
  • Payment. Price is a pretty good differentiating factor. This should be a deposit + additional chunks when a deliverable is given. Also, how will hard costs be handled?
  • Code. Who owns it? Will it be supported, and how?