How to know if you need contractors or to hire new engineers?

Limor Bergman Gross

Executive Coach at LBG Consulting Service Ltd



At my previous company, we had a web application and wanted to develop a mobile application. We didn't have the skillset required for this internally and weren't sure whether we should hire a mobile developer, or whether we should employ the services of a contractor.


My company preferred working with contractors, as it was easier to hire them than to go through a hiring process. They typically worked with specific vendors who offered a pool of talent that was available right away. Because of my company's preference, I contracted a third party company to develop the mobile app. However, the quality of their work turned out to be very disappointing, and I realized that they were not putting much effort into developing the best mobile app possible. My feeling was that they had a short term approach rather than a long term approach. They wanted to get the job done and wanted to get their money. After they developed the first prototype, we decided to continue the work. One of our engineers wanted to learn about mobile apps, so we put him on the project and he kept developing it afterward.

Lessons learned

Even though this experience was disappointing, I have hired a couple of contractors in my career and with the benefit of the hindsight I would say that contractors are great when:

"You need a specific skillset"

"A project needs to be done in a specific timeframe"

"The task doesn't require too much context"

I would suggest hiring an engineer when:

"There is a long ramp-up time for the project"

"You are willing to build a team"

"The project requires someone who really cares about the product and company"

Of course, it also depends on your company's culture. Sometimes it is in the company's culture to grow and nurture its employees, and you will want to have employees feeling like they are part of a family.

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Limor Bergman Gross

Executive Coach at LBG Consulting Service Ltd

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