The mobile landscape is always changing, and Apple’s iOS—along with Android—remains at the forefront of mobile advancement. Through new programming languages, APIs, graphics frameworks, and interface redesigns, the platform plays host to a huge portion of mobile users, which makes it an operating system where most businesses want their app to be available.
If you have an app idea ready to build from scratch, have an existing iOS app that needs updates or new integrations, or you’re just re-submitting a new version to the app store with some bug fixes, you need a skilled iOS developer to not only design and code your app, but to guide you through the somewhat complicated process of submission and approval.
So, how do you find the right professional to help you make an impact? Here’s an overview of what you can do to find, hire, and work with a freelance iOS developer.
Identify Your Mobile App Project Requirements
Not all apps are created equal. While some will be simple utility apps, others will need more specialized skills to build, requiring access to device-level APIs, and integrations with third-party APIs. What is your app for, and what will it do? Who is your audience, and what will your app do to be useful for them? These are a few questions that should help you with the first step: defining exactly what you want from your mobile app. Once you establish these requirements, you’ll be better able to identify the type and level of skill needed from your mobile developer to make it happen.
To research what those requirements might be, delve into resources like the Hiring Headquarters: There’s plenty of information about mobile development, including explainer articles about the iOS design process and how to write iOS job descriptions, as well as articles about what’s new with Swift 3, tips for successful iOS apps, updates to iOS 10, and iOS graphics APIs and frameworks to know.
Writing up a basic creative brief can help you identify high-level information such as each deliverable, your app’s audience(s), brand guidelines the designer should use, and any existing content that should be included.
Write an Effective Job Post
Use the information in your brief to create a detailed job post that will appeal to the type of iOS freelancer you’re looking for.
Start by defining a scope of work that focuses on three things:
- Results: What deliverable(s) do you expect?
- Targets: What are your deadlines? Are you breaking app development down into phase?
- Time: What are the start and end dates for your app development, and your submit-by goal date?
You’ll also want to highlight the specific skills you’re looking for and what stage your project is in, whether that’s a specific framework, API, or programming language.
Shortlist Potential Freelance iOS Developers
As proposals are submitted, you’ll need to vet the most promising developers to create a short list of people you want to take on to the interview phase. Here are some points to look for:
- Professionalism. Who’s tailored their submission to speak to your business and your mobile app? Check out their Upwork profile: How do they present themselves in general?
- Talent. Because iOS developers are critical at every juncture of an app’s development, it should be clear from their proposal, profile, and portfolio that they have the skills needed to build an app that looks great, works well and is well-received by users.
- Experience. Has the freelancer built mobile applications for other businesses in your specific industry? Do they have plenty of experience working in iOS-specific software such as the Xcode IDE, Cocoa frameworks, and successfully submitting to the App Store? Are they full-stack (handling UI design, software architecture, and programming) or do they collaborate well with others?
- Feedback. What do previous clients have to say about their work? Reviewing feedback can give you insight into their ability to communicate, solve problems, and produce a great product.
- Portfolio. Each app in their portfolio should show how the developer used their skills to develop a product that met the client’s requirements and solved the problems they were looking to solve. Also keep an eye out for apps that have excellent, easy-to-use UIs, have an aesthetic you like, or have excellent performance with no crashes, bugs, or long lags. All of this will point to a developer who can work well on both the front- and back-ends of an app’s functionality and has a holistic approach to app development.
Prep for the Interview
The interview is an opportunity for you to learn more about a mobile developer’s technical skill set, creativity, and past experience.
Prepare your interview questions ahead of time so you can feel confident that you’ve covered all the relevant points. We’ve created a list of iOS development interview questions you can reference, but here are some additional questions to consider:
- “What do you think of our existing mobile app?” If you don’t have an app yet, see what they think about your site and how your business could add value for your customers with a mobile app. If you do have an existing app, hear out what they think is good about it or could use improvement, and how they’d go about it. This will tell you if they’ve done their homework.
- “Tell me about three apps you’ve worked on?” Ask about their most similar mobile apps, favorite apps they’ve worked on, or just their most recent apps. Listen for how they solved the initial problem, the challenges that came up during development, and what they did to address them.
- “What’s your production timeline?” Get more details about how quickly they work (whether that’s alone or with other freelancers), how much time they’ve spent on previous projects, and how they receive and implement feedback during the various phases of development.
- “What makes a great mobile app?” Learn more about how they’ll approach your app and its unique goals, as well as their experience with similar work.
- “What’s your favorite mobile app? What might you do to improve it?”
Using your observations and their responses, engage the iOS developer who has the talent, experience, and mindset to excel with your particular project.
This article originally appeared in Upwork.