For US companies considering setting up a tech hub in Europe, there’s never been a better time. And there are few better locations than Madrid.

Software talent in the city is abundant, costs are comparatively low, and Spanish software engineers enjoy working for US and UK companies which typically prize tech talent. But building a nearshore development team in Spain is not just a route to reducing costs or accessing a wider pool of talent: it can also be a more efficient process than growing your team at home. We know because we’ve done it in as little as eight weeks.




Here’s our ten step guide to how building an outsourced software development team in Europe works.


Step 1: Scoping the Nearshore Project

The first thing we’ll do is sit down with you to understand your needs: the scale of team you require; the type of software developers and engineers you’re looking to hire; your expectations about what the team will deliver. We want to make sure we can deliver on our promise to help you hire some of the best engineers available. The first thing we’ll do is establish that Madrid is the right location for your nearshore team, and if we should be widening the search to other locations like Berlin or Krakow. Madrid, for example, is a great location for fin-tech and med-tech companies, and to source front end, Java, web, app and fullstack developers.


Step 2: Getting to Know Our Client

It is a candidate-driven market in Europe right now: candidates are spoilt for choice, and they all want to work for the best companies. And so we want to know what makes your company one of the best; what’s great about your culture and the technology you’re building. Maybe it’s the fact that you build software that impacts on people’s lives. Maybe it’s the fact that you give your software engineers the time and space to work on special interest projects.


Step 3: Solution Design

Once we are confident that we’re set up for success, we’ll work with you to map out what the process will look like. From the moment we get the green light, we’ll aim to have your nearshore team set up and running in their own office in six to eight weeks. The key questions to be determined include what you’re offering the software engineers you are recruiting; what the technical testing part of the recruitment process will look like; whether there will be a final-round interview event; who makes the offer; what the salary levels for your engineers will be; when are we issuing contracts.


Step 4: Hiring the Best Developers

We contact an initial cohort of 4,000 to 5,000 software engineers and screen them for relevant skills, attitude and cultural fit. From that initial, top-of-funnel pool, we carry out a screening interview with 400 or 500 interested applicants. Of these, 150 are broadly very suitable, motivated, and have the right communication skills. They will progress to first round interviews

Aside from the abundance of technical skills on offer a city like Madrid, one of its main advantages is that candidates there tend to be a great cultural fit for companies in the US, UK, Ireland or other parts of Europe. When we develop a nearshore development team, we don’t look on it as building an outsourcing team: we’re creating an extension of the client’s development team. We believe that means finding the right cultural fit is just as important as the technical skillset.


Step 5: Technical Testing

We issue a technical test, agreed in advance with the client.


Step 6: Remote Interviews

Remote interviews take place with the hiring manager. By now, we’ve reduced the potential candidate pool to around 60 technically skilled candidates who are the right cultural fit.


Step 7: Final Interviews

Final round interviews take place in Madrid to determine which ten or 12 candidates or the 30 remaining candidates are the best match. Our clients’ hiring managers normally fly in for these meetings. We manage all co-ordination and venues.


Step 8: Making an offer

Zartis manages offers, contracts of employment and setting up the new office facility.


Step 9: Ongoing Management

Our job is not done once contracts have been signed and the team is set up. We also look after the office facilities – everything from renting a space for the team; purchasing equipment; providing payroll services; making sure that local health and safety legislation is adhered to; even that the coffee machine is working. We want to make sure that all the headaches that usually arise from managing a remote office are taken care of. When you think about your team in Madrid, we want you to be able to focus on technical productivity, instead of how you have to pay a fine because they didn’t put a fire extinguisher in the office. We believe there is great value in having a single monthly invoice to cover all of those costs and to take care of all of those headaches.


Step 10: Navigating Challenges

You can have the peace of mind of knowing that we can help identify and navigate issues as they arise. The time difference is often looked on as a challenge, but we think of it as an advantage – it allows you to go to a position where your software is being built 15 or 16 hours a day. It can take a little bit of time to get there, but there is a huge value to any company in doubling the productive hours in a day.


Our goal is to get to a place where your development team in Europe is an extension of your team at home, and we’re always looking for hacks to make the whole process more seamless. One of the great ideas a client in Spain came up was to set up speed dating calls with their counterparts in the US so they could humanize one another.

From those small initiatives, you build trust and rapport around the common cause — which is to build a great software product.


Zartis has deep expertise in large-scale recruitment projects across different European locations, serving clients in the US, UK, Ireland, Germany, Denmark and Spain. One of our key competencies is helping companies hire entire new teams of engineers, ranging in size from two to twenty-four.

Email us at to find out how we can help you build a development team in Europe.