How to recruit a good software developer in Ukraine?

Software developers from Ukraine are known to be really good. Most people who’ve worked with them, know they are great performers and they are easy to communicate with compared to other regions such as South area Asia.

But as with any employment: you want to have a good employee. And if you’re trying to hire without being there physically (which most do), there are a couple of things you have to have in mind.

Before we start: Yes it is possible to hire them. And even do it consistently and get great performance (and funny and awesome people). You can even do it without being there physically.

Where to find Ukraine developers?

I’d like to break the methods into a couple of categories:

Job ad website. Just as you use job ad websites at home, the same can be done in Ukraine. The idea is you make an ad, and pay to upload it.

Then you get a lot of applications, and that’s that.

These websites in Ukraine haves a couple of different business models. There is the normal one where you pay X amount of dollars to upload the ad. However, there is also a model where they get X percent of the first salary.
Both can easily be 500-1000 USD.

Recruitment agency. We have to respect that Ukraine is quite far away, and the culture is different. In addition English is not their main language, so a recruitment agency is not that bad an idea.

The first time I hired a Ukraine employee, I went for this option. The way it works is you pay 1 month salary to the recruitment agency. Then they will keep finding relevant applicants until you hire one. They will also help with interviews, contract and any questions you might have. It can get a bit too expensive in the long run if you already know the game, but a great way to start.

Outsourcing websites. It’s always better to hire people you already know are great performers. If you outsource yourself to websites such as Freelancer.com or Upwork.com, then you can work with the freelancer first. If the person performs, you can then consider hiring the person.

Most important: the coding test

To find a great developer, you need to make sure they actually know how to code. Of course their personality is just as important, but that is quite easy to get an idea of when you conduct an interview on Skype. So starting out, their coding skills is the most important.

If you’re technical yourself, or have some tech-guys on the team, this is quite easy. Simply make a coding test that is relevant for your company, and send it to a potential candidate. Make sure the work is not above 6-7 hours in order to be fair to the potential employee. I strive that a given test task can be made in 3-4 hours.

I normally don’t focus so much on the actual things are written. I am more focused on how they structure a project. Do they understand how things should be placed? Do they understand architecture? Do they use modern coding patterns?

However, what do you do if you are not technical? I strongly advice getting some help from some friends. Hiring an employee without a coding test is extremely risky, as it just shows you so much truth about a developer.

The interview with a Ukraine developer

When you’ve received a coding task, and you think the quality is nice, you conduct an interview.

Sometimes it makes sense to just host a single interview. If you have more people on your team it might make sense to first have a technical interview and then later an interview mostly focused on the person.

The interviews, to me, are mostly about understanding their personality:

  • Do they speak English?
  • What do they want? Now and in 5 years?
  • What kind of personality do they have?
  • Are they hardcore developers or potential managers?
  • Are they fun to chat with?

I will also drill into technical aspects. Often I would ask some questions about why they did certain things in the coding test, but also ask additional questions about relevant concepts. I don’t need them to explain certain algorithms or technology specific things; I am more concerned with the general concepts and they understand that (ie. what is an API? What is OAUTH?).

Hiring and contract for a Ukrainian developer

When you’ve conducted a range of interviews, it’s time to hire the person. You will simply tell the person you want to hire him / her, and you negotiate a salary like you normally would.

In terms of benefits, it’s actually quite similar to the rest of Europe. A normal compensation (which is between 1500 and 4000 USD depending on your candidate) and benefits such as:

  • 25 Paid vacation days a year (it’s Europe after all)
  • 3-4 Days paid sick leave
  • 1 Month resignation warning after 3 months (trial period)

The most surprising thing to me was the long vacation, but that is simply normal in Ukraine. Some will try to get 30 days of vacation, but as this is negotiable, I try to avoid that.

What contract do you use? I wrote one myself and got it verified by a lawyer, based upon contracts I could find on the Internet. I’d prefer mine is not out there in public, but if you want it, contact us and we’ll send it.

With that in mind – good luck with your new Ukrainian employee 🙂

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