Can Russian-speaking IT specialists solve the IT skills shortfall?

How do you successfully recruit a team of Russian-speaking IT specialists for a European company? Tatiana Melnichuk explains

The problem
As is widely known, in IT globally demand exceeds supply, with the shortage of tech specialists particularly acute in technologically advanced regions, such as most European countries.

To solve the problem, IT recruiters tend to look beyond their borders at specialists from other countries. To find a particular specialist, companies often organise a developer’s relocation package, which isn’t easy, and takes time, patience and money.

In the case when a company needs not only one specialist but a whole team of developers, it becomes more difficult to organise the relocation. The relocation process may last for months and may not give results. Some companies crack the problem by building a team of remote employees. In the age of ITC (information technology and communications), this is a fairly common practice.

Consider Russian-speaking IT specialists
When looking to hire a remote team of IT experts, Russian-speaking countries such as Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are often the best option for European companies for several reasons.

Russian tech professionals are considered by many to be the world’s best specialists. According to data provided by HackerRank, Russia ranks second on the list of the best IT specialists, topped only by developers from China. However, Russian developers, unlike most of their Chinese colleagues, speak good English, resolving a lot of communication problems.

Russian-speaking IT specialists prefer to receive a salary in international currency. This competitive clause will give an option of finding a team of developers faster.

Since the average salary level of IT specialists from Russia is lower, European companies can save money by paying a salary in accordance with the local labour market standards. In addition, in Russian-speaking countries taxes are lower than in Europe, thus reducing costs.

However, in order to build a successful team you should know the specifics of Russian IT recruiting.

RECRUITMENT PROCESS

The first feature of IT staffing in Russia is the speed of recruitment. If you don’t want to miss a valuable candidate, you need to review CVs quickly and give constant feedback to the candidate. Be flexible.

Employers are actively competing for IT specialists in Russia. If take too much time, the candidate may accept another offer. Two weeks is standard time in Russia. It’s more than likely they will be offered another job during that period if you prevaricate.

RECRUITMENT CHANNELS

There are specific channels for sourcing and selecting professionals in Russia. If you are putting together a team by yourself, you should be aware of the following:

Headhunter This is the most popular job board in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. In order to use the website, you need to register your company to gain access to the CV database.

Telegram Russian developers are actively using this form of Messenger to communicate and obtain relevant information from the IT world. There are a great number of thematic channels in Telegram and Russian recruiters post job openings there.

Social media In addition to global social media, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, the social networking service Vkontakte is very popular in Russia. If you need young middle or junior level specialists, I recommend registering your company page there.

Finally, don’t forget about recruitment agencies – there are quite a lot of them in Russia! Contact agencies specialising in IT staffing. The average cost for selecting one IT specialist is 15% of an employee’s annual income.

Many Russian IT recruitment agencies also use their own recruiting channels. At Lucky Hunter, we use AmazingHiring – a great platform for tech talent acquisition.

Test assignment
Russian-speaking IT specialists don’t like to spend a lot of time taking tests. If there needs to be a test, try to draw up one that will take no more than three hours to complete. If this is not possible, then offer remuneration for the work.

TIPS
1. If you decide to assemble a team of remote developers from Russia, try and find a local team lead.
They can tell you where to find the team and how to manage the work processes within the team. This will simplify the process no end!

2. Decide which operating model is better for you:

  • You can hire a team from different cities. In this case, they will perform tasks remotely, via Skype. The main disadvantage of this model is different time zones of employees, so your team will be working irregular hours.
  • The second option is to rent an office or co-working, and build a team from a chosen city. The main disadvantage of this model is additional costs and a fewer suitable candidates. My experience, however, is that this is a more suitable option for European companies. A team working together becomes a united crew, they don’t want to find an opportunity outside the company and will do the job better.

Tatiana Melnichuk is founder of IT recruitment agency Lucky Hunter, based in St Petersburg, Russia.

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