How a major EdTech hired 18 developers in three months after many fruitless attempts
Where did we start
Umschool known as the largest school in preparation for the Unified State Examination in Russia. According to the data from publicly available sources, in 2021 Umschool's revenue has almost reached 17 million dollars. The company has been growing steadily since 2019. One of the main causes of such dynamics is the unique online platform with which students are being taught. Its key difference from other similar platforms is the focus on the betterment of user experience..

It is hard to believe that the development team consisted of 15 members in November 2021. Meanwhile, it was necessary to conduct the active recruitment. Due to its growth, the company had expanded the demands on the product, though they were difficult to meet by the workforce of 15 employees.

That's when to find IT specialists, Umschool requested the assistance of Remokate. We started working with the company in accordance with our Sales-based method: at first, we carried out an audit of their recruitment system and conducted in-depth interviews with the current team. The following results were revealed.

Audit results
Weaknesses
  • Lack of a transparent system of IT staff recruitment. Team members were employed due to cronyism, and their recruiting was often conducted by the CTO.
  • Weak and “not selling” interviews. The problem concerned both the initial interviews and testing level at which test assignments were thrust on people and (spoiler) many candidates were dropped out.
  • The excellent HR system with well-written rules and values, which, unfortunately, was not reflected in the IT staff recruitment.
  • Rates were below the labor market levels. No comments.
Non-unique advantages
  • Work schedule. The possibility to adjust schedule to meet the needs of studies, private life, hobbies, etc. Besides, the company has a quiet working area. And there is a minimum number of time-wasting calls.
  • Professional growth. Some respondents noted that both hard and soft skills seem to improve.
  • Quality of team communication. The team reported on a healthy working environment; formal communication is perfectly organized. One respondent even reported on a family atmosphere.
Unique advantages
  • High level of integrity. All respondents admitted that development problems are always discussed; developers are not criticized for the mistakes; everyone finds it easier to address an issue and brainstorm the solution.
  • Everyone commended the CTO’s work. One gets a feeling that the leader's personality is the main reason of a good teamwork. Everyone commented on the leader's considerable professional and communication skills.
  • Management openness to discussing financial issues. It is believed that if a developer wants a higher wage it's better to find another job. This notion doesn't apply to Umschool. The financial issue can be easily discussed with the manager and wage level would correspond to the level of development skills
Solution
According to the Sales-based method, project work starts with reducing weaknesses, highlighting advantages, and turning the unique advantages into HR Unique Offer through which job offers will be delivered to developers.
What was done with weaknesses
We adjusted the rates in line with the labor market, offered the alternatives to test assignments, conducted a deep analysis of interviews' testing level and even prepared the plan of the company's presentation on behalf of the CTO
What was done with advantage
We decided to place the leader's personality at the heart of changes, as far as all members of the technical team hero-worship him. We have also conducted a little pool of developers, which has shown that the team leader's personality is one of a few things that really attract developers. A competent team lead is the guarantee of adequate tasks, good communication and professional growth.
What else we done
  1. Undoubtedly, we have used all the existing candidates' search systems, from incoming flow of applications to X-Ray search requests.
  2. Due to well-managed application cancellation we imposed stricter rules on the selection of candidates based on the initial interviews in order not to bother the CTO and team leads with the irrelevant candidates' interviews.
  3. We were not stopped by the refusal of offers. We took part in the 'job offer competition', we handled objections and kept in touch with potential employees at all stages of decision making. Our strategy relied on the sales-based method. It significantly influenced the acceptance of job offers
As a result of the study, a special HR-pitch to communicate with applicants per opening was formulated
“We would like to make a special mention of the project's CTO. He is a Python-developer with 8 years of experience. In his career he ran a start-up presented in Silicon Valley, was a head of development studio and created such a sophisticated product as Umschool. Being a man with technical background, he also maintains a high level of mutual understanding and openness in a team. It means that problems are openly discussed, as well as the aspects of financial and professional growth. The CTO believes that open discussions save everyone's effort and time, and consequently, a great product can be designed.“
What has changed
Once the changes were incorporated into the recruitment process, the following results have been achieved:
  1. The number of suitable CV’s per is about 20 to 30 applicants per lead positions and 120 to 150 applicants per middle positions.
  2. For the lead positions we have shown from 2 to 4 before the offer; as for the middle positions we have shown from 4 to 7 candidates.
  3. The average conversion of technical interviews into job offers is 75%.
  4. The average conversion of job offers into accepted offers is 97%.
  5. 18 people were hired in the period from December to April
Closed positions
QA and DevOps Team Leads
10 Middle Developers (Frontend, Backend, Fullstack)
2 Senior Backend Developers
1 Senior and 2 Middle Systems Analyst
Frontend Team Lead
Middle UX Researcher
As a result, 18 people became members of a team that develops the largest online-school in preparation for the Unified State Examination in Russia. As of June 2022, 100% of candidates successfully went through a probation period. The probationary employment of other developers will finish in July and it runs smoothly.
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info@remokate.com
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