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How to recruit mid-level developers for a startup? Case from the Lucky
Hunter recruiter

Article for startup founders, IT recruiters, developers and anyone interested in cases from the world of IT staff recruitment
IT recruiter Daria Lysova is telling you about how in less than a month she managed to recruit two experienced .NET developers for a startup company with standard terms.

Short excursus

The number of startup companies is growing rapidly, while IT specialists are in short supply. At the same time, there are more and more new vacancies in large IT companies, often operating conditions in which are more attractive than in a startup.

Under current conditions, it is quite difficult to recruit developers for a new startup project. Therefore, every time when startup leaders apply for help, we scrutinize the requirements for a vacancy. In the case when we see conditions are at variance with realities of the market and the client's unwillingness to correct them, we weigh all the pros and cons of cooperation.
Note: the founder of our agency, Tatiana Melnichuk has recently written an excellent article for the business journal Rusbase, in which she reveals the main difficulties of recruiting IT specialists for startups, and also gives practical advice. I strongly recommend getting acquainted with it.

The task and its difficulties

In February, the startup founder asked us to find two .NET developers, middle or senior, for a salary that ranks below the average on the market. In addition, operating conditions in the company were not attractive enough for future employees, there were a number of factors that could scare off candidates:

  • office in a residential area of St. Petersburg, located away from the last metro station;
  • under-the-counter salary with a small white part;
  • money from the second investment round will hold out for 7-8 months;
  • investor not from the IT sphere;
  • there are no standard, self-evident IT perks.

Why have we agreed?

To tell the truth, we do not always agree to cooperate with customers who provide unrealistic requirements for the candidate and are not ready to be flexible to achieve effects. However, this case was something else.

  • Firstly, the product itself turned out to be innovative and has already shown economic profit.
  • Secondly, we were attracted by the interest of the team leader in project, his enthusiasm and willingness to listen to the advice. After we'd outlined the average wage of .NET developers on the market, he agreed to raise it to the required level and flexibly consider candidates.

How we've filled the job opening

Thanks to a clear and well-coordinated collaboration with the client, we quickly removed the vacancy and understood the required profile of specialists. We also quickly found out the key points that may be interesting for applicants and what to lay emphasize on in the selection process.

To find the right specialist, I sent hundreds of letters to candidates describing the benefits of the project. I also used many sourcing channels, among which Telegram was one of the most effective and useful. I managed to find there one of the candidates who subsequently accepted the offer.

I worked alone on the filling job openings. I fixed both candidates up with the job as soon as possible, namely in less than a month.

For clarity, showing you statistics from the CRM system:

What is the reason for success?

Despite rather tough conditions it was not so difficult to fill the job opening. The reason lies in the well-established principle of partnership, on which the relations of our recruitment agency and clients are built.
The customer quickly responded to the CVs sent by the recruiters and scheduled interviews.
our client clearly saw all the disadvantages of the vacancy, so he made concessions, where it was possible, and listened to the advice we gave him.
the customer showed flexibility and agreed to consider the majority of CVs, including the CV of a junior developer from Minsk, which we sent only because the candidate asked to submit him. He was ready to give a chance to many capable guys who were interested in the project.
the team leader conducted excellent interviews, because he understood that the task of motivating candidates was not only the recruiters' task.
Interestingly, after the interview, both candidates took an interest in the project and decided to lower their salary expectations by 30,000 rubles.
Note: later on the same day, a client with a similar technological stack addressed us. However, the operating conditions were more attractive: a large grocery company offering good white wages, stability, perks. The job opening has not yet been filled, because the client considers CVs too slowly and is not ready to be flexible in selecting candidates and setting up an interview time.


In less than a month I managed to recruit two almost senior .NET developers for a startup with not very attractive conditions. This case shows that the role of the client and his active participation in the filling a job opening are fundamental factors for success. When the customer shows adequacy, does not overestimate the requirements for the candidate and, together with the recruiter, seeks to "sell" the vacancy, the candidate will be found and he will be found quickly.
Always remember that recruiting is a partner service. Cases in 100% of events will succeed when the customer takes an active part in filling a job opening. If you need to fill an IT job opening, even the most difficult, we will help you. Contact Lucky Hunter recruiters.