January 19, 2021
December 11, 2020

Hiring Top Tech Talent In Ukraine: Why Work With a Recruitment Agency in 2021

Want to hire the best tech talent from Ukraine? Here’s Why You’ll Want to Hire A Tech Recruitment Agency To Make It Happen.  

In 2021, it’s no longer a secret that Ukrainian tech talent is some of the best in the world.  

Our clients are often astonished at the level of talent Ukrainian candidates bring to the table. Aside from their technical skills, Ukrainian developers are known for being highly self-motivated, and hard-working. They are strategic thinkers and clever problem solvers who thrive on challenges. They’re also very proactive learners, always looking for ways to sharpen their skills or expand their skill set.   


Ukrainian developers are keen on emerging technologies and are often the earliest adopters of innovative solutions. A love of entrepreneurship and innovation is in part inspired by the environment candidates grow up in. Ukraine’s leading tech universities are located in Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkiv, and Lviv and have played a huge part in these cities emerging as the dominant IT hubs in the country. 


With these very active tech communities, exposure and love for technology are acquired at an early age and because they are encouraged in school and university, Ukrainians start coding very early on. The universities help prospective software engineers develop their analytical and critical thinking skills and compliment the student’s theoretical knowledge with practical experience working as junior devs for leading IT companies while still in college. 


By the time they graduate, they’ve already worked on projects of various scale and complexity. 


The IT sector in Ukraine is very competitive and we have so many talented engineers competing for the best opportunities, it really pushes developers to challenge themselves. At the tender age of 23-24 years old the skills a Ukrainian developer can offer is often miles ahead of what their European peers are capable of. 


This also explains why we have so many senior-level developers as young as 27-29 years old. As more and more startups chose to open offices in Ukraine and companies like Google, Samsung and Philips opening new development centers here, our tech talent are often immersed in work on the cusp of innovative trends and business intelligence gathering.


In Ukraine, the IT market is brimming with talent at every level and speciality you can think of. Whether you’re looking to recruit for popular technologies like PHP, C#, Java or working with more specialised technologies like Scala, Haskell, Solidity or Golang, in Ukraine you will find leading specialists in AI, BI & data analytics, blockchain, IoT and more. Most candidates also enjoy working with the latest javascript frameworks like React.js, Angular.js, Vue.js as well as niche tech like Erlang, #F, .NET core and Magento.


Aside from their jobs, It is also very common for Ukrainian developers to work on development projects for fun in their free time. Along with cultural similarity, strong ethics and affordable rates these qualities make Ukraine’s tech talent uniquely attractive for American and European companies looking to hire remote developers. 

The Critical Thing Agency Recruiters Know, That You Don’t. 

Ukraine is filled with exceptional technical talent but competition for top talent is fierce. It is not uncommon for a candidate to have two or even three job offers to choose from and salary is often not the biggest factor in their decision! Often, candidates will take a lower-paying position because they felt it was most aligned with their values or aspirations. 

The takeaway for clients here is that employer branding is critical and you must put effort into marketing your vacancy really well to the candidate.

The problem is, it’s hard to know how to present your company’s position as the most desirable option when you don’t know what your candidate cares about the most. Knowing how to position the opportunity in a way that’s most appealing to this specific candidate requires insight - and that is exactly what a recruitment agency can offer clients. 

What determines whether your offer is accepted or rejected.  

There’s no one who knows what top tech talent wants in a job, better than the tech recruiters that work to find them the most exciting opportunities. Candidates know and trust recruiters, they speak up about their concerns regarding a potential employer, which the recruiter will delicately relay to you. That gives you the opportunity to swiftly address those hesitations and win over the candidate. 

On the other hand, if you’re hiring and interviewing without a recruiter involved, it is highly unlikely you’ll ever hear about the candidate’s inner workings or get the real reason for why they declined your offer. 

Imagine, after working through the entire recruitment process, the CVs, the interviews, the offer - all of this hangs in the balance of a recruiter’s insight into your candidate’s decision-making process. It is often the only thing that stands between an outstanding engineer accepting your offer or rejecting it for someone else’s. 

Of course, working with a recruitment agency brings a lot of additional advantageous we’ll go into in this article but this is one I want to stress because I don’t think most companies realize to how little a decision this significant boils down to. 

When Do you Really Really Need to Hire a Recruitment Agency?  

Typically, small and medium-sized businesses don’t keep recruiters or talent acquisition managers on the payroll. They prefer to leverage recruitment agencies to help them procure talent and avoid the overhead of paying salaries to full-time recruitment staff. If you’re looking to hire remote tech talent from Ukraine, here are a couple of scenarios where working with a recruitment firm on the ground makes the most sense. 

The Benefits Of Hiring A Top Recruitment Agency in Ukraine


Hiring a new team member is a serious commitment and because the stakes are so high for getting it right when it comes to tech talent, you will get fully enmeshed if you’re going at it alone. Recruiting tech talent is a time-consuming task by nature,  it will eat up the greater part of your day, and leave you stressed with little to no time left to focus on your actual job. 


Hiring an IT recruitment agency to help will free you up to focus on the most important aspect of the process - engaging the candidates under consideration to make the best hiring decision you can. 


  • Agency recruiters spend years developing their network and talent pools so they waste no time on the heavy lifting tasks of sourcing and prescreening talent. They reach out to vetted candidates and shortlist CVs for you right away cutting your time to hire in half.     

  • Agency recruiters have in-depth knowledge of Ukraine’s IT talent market, and their networks run deeper than that of ANY freelance recruiter. They’ll know the type of people you’ll want the moment you describe the role to them.  

  • They can reach passive, harder to find candidates that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to contact, remember top talent doesn’t hang around looking for jobs, they will never see that vacancy you posted on 105 leading job boards. 

  • Agency recruiters know the inner workings of candidates they work with, they know how to write your job post and present your company’s vacancy for maximum appeal to top candidates. 
  • If you're looking for talent to help with a specific project or for a designated time period, an agency is the fastest way to hire an outstanding candidate. IT recruitment agencies in Ukraine have lists of contract talent who can start immediately on and provide you with the specific skills you require. 

  • Recruiters can help you crystallize the fuzzy ideas about what makes a candidate “great” for your specific role into concrete requirements. 

  • An agency recruiter knows what compels candidates to accept your offer over someone else’s and this knowledge can work wonders for your employer branding - your recruiter will know how to best market the position to Ukraine’s best software engineers. 

What to Look For in an Agency. 

You’ve decided to hire an agency in Ukraine, but how do you pick? Start with narrowing down the field by looking for:

Industry-specific knowledge or specialty firms.

Recruiters working for specialised IT recruitment agencies have a relationship with top talent candidates, and they know where top talent works, networks, and what they’re looking for in their next job. 

Client loyalty, retention, and recommendations.

Successful recruiting is based on relationships, so it’s a good sign if the agency has loyal clients and a high degree of client retention. It’s even better if you get a recommendation from the agency’s current client.


Can the recruiter describe their recruitment process? Does it align with your hiring needs and hiring goals? 

Here’s how we handle the process at Make it in Ukraine. It starts with gathering information about your vacancy. We always aim to present your vacancy in the best possible light to ensure it is appealing to our top candidates. That's why we ask you to provide detailed information about your project, team, tech stack, development process and company culture. As soon as we receive a job description detailing your requirements for the role we approach suitable candidates from our pre screened and vetted talent pool and select 2 to 5 individuals for interviewing. At this point, your dedicated recruiter will go over the candidate's background, assess their soft skills and English proficiency level, and share more information about your project.

Once we interview these 2 to 5 candidates and shortlist the strongest applicants we’ll share their CVs and help you schedule interviews with the candidates you feel strongest about. While you’re coordinating and conducting interviews, our team will source, prescreen and interview an additional 50-60 new candidates to select  2-5 individuals that best match your requirements.  Your dedicated recruiter and their team will assess these individuals for soft skills and English proficiency as well. This takes us around a week. 

These candidates will also be shortlisted and you’ll be able to schedule interviews with them once you’ve completed your first round of interviews with candidates from our talent pool. 

Why You Need To Move Ahead Quickly, Once You Have Your Candidate Shortlist.

Once we find an appropriate candidate, we present the candidate's profile for the client's consideration. From thе moment we present the shortlist of candidates it is imperative that you move as quickly as possible to interview and extend offers to your top choicеs. If you stall this process, it is highly likely that in the span of just a few days these candidates will receive and subsequently accept someone else’s offer. 

Our standard recruitment timeframe is 3-4 weeks from the moment we start our search to the point where you extend an offer. Of course, it always depends on the tech stack, specific business domain knowledge, and experience required for the position.  The more complex the requirements, the more time it will take to find and hire the right candidate. Keep in mind that candidates will typically be required to provide a two weeks notice to their current employers so this time will need to be accounted for in your hiring timeline. 

Drop-off rate.

A recruiter’s drop-off rate is the percentage of hires that aren’t with the company after a defined amount of time, usually six or 12 months. 10 to 15 percent is a normal drop off range, anything above that can be seen as a red flag. 


The IT recruitment agency should be clear about how and how often they’ll communicate with you and the candidates. You want to aim for updates and an activity report every 5 to 10 business days, depending on the position you’re trying to fill.

How to Evaluate Recruitment Agencies in Ukraine

Start with narrowing down the field by exploring key criteria with prospective agencies. When it comes to statistics, not every firm makes them readily available to potential clients; just make sure the data they provide are compatible with your hiring goals and timeline. 


Below are key questions to ask your prospective agency to gain an understanding of each aspect of a potential collaboration.  

Industry or role specialization

  • What sectors does your firm represent?
  • What tech positions do you specialize in?
  • What placements have you made in this field in the past two years? Recruiters should have current placements. Ideally, placements in the industry and a job title that you are looking to fill.
  • What types of companies have you provided candidates for? Recruiters with IT agencies already have relationships with the kinds of candidates you’d want, you just want to be sure they’ve placed candidates for companies in your industry. 

Recruiter qualifications

  • Do your recruiters have direct experience working on vacancies in my industry?
  • Who on your team would work with us? How much experience do they have?
  • Do they have candidates in mind who might be a fit for what we need? Give them a sample job description and ask for sample resumes to see if the candidates they select are what you have in mind.


  • Can you describe your process?
  • How long would you expect this process to take? Check to make sure the process aligns with your hiring goals and timeline. 
  • What channels do your recruiters use? The more channels, the better, but they should also be places your target candidates can be found, top talent doesn’t hang out on job boards. At Make it in Ukraine our recruitment team is always looking to growing our talent pool. We frequently organize and sponsor tech meetups, conferences and hackathons, to keep our ear to the ground for new talent and network with top talent that may not be considering any new opportunities at the moment, but will most likely be more prone to respond to our agency if we reach out to them at a later date.
  • What screening processes do you use? Depending on the role and your company culture, you may want to participate or customize the screening processes.
  • What pieces of information will you need from me to get your process started?  


  • What is the ratio of salespeople to senior recruiters to junior recruiters? What is the seniority composition of your staff? If my assigned recruiter struggles to find candidates what steps are taken to get over that hurdle?

Engagement and responsiveness

  • How often do your recruiters check in with their clients? A recruiter should be clear about how and how often they'll communicate with you and potential candidates. You should receive updates and an activity report every five business days, depending on the position you're trying to fill.


  • What's the firm's average drop-off rate?
  • What's the drop-off rate for the recruiters that would work with me? A recruiter's drop-off rate is the percentage of hires that aren't with the company after a defined amount of time, usually 6-12 months. Expecting a zero drop-off rate is unrealistic however, аim for an agency with a drop off rate < 30%.
  • What's the time-to-fill? Time-to-full is the average time it takes for a firm to fill an open position for a client.
  • How many of the candidate CVs that you submit to clients progress to an interview? This is known as the CV to interview rate. 
  • What's your retention rate for clients? Successful recruiting is based on relationships, so it's a good sign if the agency has loyal clients, good reviews and a high degree of recurring clients.
  • What's your client success rate? This will be the percentage of the agency’s clients who are satisfied with the outcome of their collaboration. 


  • What's your fee structure?
  • What is your pricing/billing process? Ask how the service rates are applied. In Ukraine recruiting firms may charge a flat rate or they may work on contingency, charging a percentage mark up of salary if they close the vacancy. 


  • Can you provide references? Ask the recruiting firm to provide one or two references that you can contact. A great recruiting firm will have satisfied clients who can share their experience working with this recruitment agency. 

How Recruitment Firms are Paid in Ukraine

In Ukraine, recruiting firms are typically paid using one of two methods:

Retained Fee

  • In this structure, your company pays upfront for the recruiting firm’s services. While contracts differ, most retained fee agreements are exclusive. Retained fee agreements most often lend themselves to an ongoing relationship with recruiters, value-added consultations about your industry, and establishing processes and systems that work for your hiring managers, which reduces the risk of the payment structure.
  • Costs vary from contract to contract but expect to pay about ten per cent of the open position’s salary to start the recruitment process, and another 10 to 15 per cent after a hire is made.
  • The guarantee period is usually six months to a year.

Contingency Fee

  • Contingency contracts are non-exclusive, so you can work with multiple recruiting firms and only pay the firm whose efforts result in a hire. This limits your financial risk, but this is offset by a shorter guarantee period.
  • The recruiting firm will take a 15 to 25 per cent commission after the hire is made.
  • The guarantee period is typically two to three months.

How to Negotiate with a Recruitment Agency in Ukraine

Working with a recruiting firm can be an expensive but worthwhile addition to your company’s talent acquisition strategy. But when negotiating, keep in mind that an engagement with a recruiter can evolve into a beneficial long-term relationship so you don’t want to offend them. 

Understand their rate structures, fee schedules, and guarantee periods.

  • Before you begin negotiating make sure you are clear about how, what, and when they charge, and what their guarantee period is.
  • Some firms that use a retained fee structure may be willing to spread the cost over three payments (e.g., at the start of the search, at the time of hiring, and at the end of the guarantee period).

Ask what you can do to lower your cost.

  • You may be able to negotiate a lower rate if you’re willing to do some of the initial legwork for your recruiter. Make sure that you follow through, otherwise, you’ll jeopardize the relationship and your hiring timeline.
  • Don't sweat the small stuff when negotiating fees. If you try to talk an agency down from 20% to 17.5% what you're doing is encouraging them to only show you, candidates, they don't think they can place elsewhere. If you need to ease the financial impact on your cash flow, ask for a payment plan instead. 

Inquire if they offer a flat rate.

  • A contingency search firm may accept a flat fee in exchange for exclusivity agreement— they secure you as a client and won’t need to compete for the winning candidate.
  • For retained firms, they may consider a flat rate for a first-time engagement so you can test their services.

Request volume discounts.

  • If you’re going through or anticipating a future rapid growth phase, ask if you can negotiate a lower rate or a flat rate based on volume or a guarantee of future work. At Make it in Ukraine we offer a lower rate for every vacancy we fill for you, after the first placement. 

Inquire if they have a referral network.

  • Recruitment Agencies in Ukraine are usually happy to lower their fee if you refer a client to them. Cоntact us to learn about our referral program.

How to Run a Recruitment Agency Retrospective

After you’ve filled your position, be sure to evaluate the collaboration and provide feedback to the agency so that they can improve the service they provide you with in the future. 

  • How was the communication? Did your account manager maintain an open line of conversation with you throughout the recruitment and hiring process? 
  • Did the process work for you? Again, it’s less about what the agency’s actual process is, and more about whether it yielded the results you need.
  • What is the long-term placement success? It’s not just about getting a warm body in a seat. Is the hire accomplishing what the hiring manager specified in the intake meeting with the recruiter for their 30, 60 and 90 days plan?


Final Tips For A Successful Collaboration With Your Agency 


When recruiting in Ukraine, it is important to keep up to speed with our competitive IT market. We will ask you for feedback after each round of interviews within 1-2 business days, so that we are able to keep up with our timelines and make sure we don't lose the candidate to another offer. 

Be precise in what you need and what your expectations are. Let your dedicated recruiter know any time there are any changes on your side. This will help us provide you with the most relevant profiles within the shortest time period.

Be prepared to onboard the new team members and manage them remotely. If you need help with onboarding, we have the resources to help. Our remote onboarding checklist is a great place to start. 


If you have any questions about hiring tech talent in Ukraine or want to explore if hiring a recruitment agency is right for you, book a free consultation with one of our client success managers.

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