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How to Select an IT Recruitment Agency in Ukraine

So, you’ve decided to look for an IT recruitment agency in Ukraine. We won’t go into why we think this is a great idea. Instead, we’ll jump straight to explaining why some seemingly obvious search methods won’t work and what we think you should do instead to find a reliable and effective recruitment partner.

If you’re just about to start searching for an IT recruitment agency in Ukraine, you’re probably thinking: “Wouldn’t it be nice if someone compiled a list of the best IT recruitment agencies in Ukraine?” Sadly, as handy as a list like that would be (especially for a non-Ukrainian business), it doesn’t exist. And in all honesty, even if it did, it would most likely be geared towards whoever initiated its compilation or paid to be featured.

You may still run into a list or two on job boards ( and are the most popular job boards in Ukraine). We suggest that you don’t take them seriously — experienced tech professionals rarely use them to look for work. According to a recent survey run by Ukraine’s largest online development community DOU, most technical specialists find jobs through recommendations, and job search websites are mostly relevant for junior specialists. Since recruitment agencies mainly focus on filling middle, senior, and management roles, no well-standing agency would bother setting up an account and using a job board.

Another place where you may run into a list of recruitment agencies in Ukraine is Clutch is a great place because it features real client reviews, but you should bear in mind that there’s quite a lot of good agencies that are just too busy to fill out Clutch profiles or don’t have dedicated marketers who could do it for them. Therefore, if you limit your search endeavors by Clutch only, you might miss out on a great number of good agencies that simply aren’t on this platform.

What should you do then? Put your detective hat on and make a list of your own. You could start with a good old Google search or use LinkedIn and filter recruitment agencies by location (any respectable recruitment agency would have a LinkedIn profile because most Ukrainian tech workers use it). Below are all the things you should check in a potential recruitment partner before initiating communication with them.

How to Select an IT Recruitment Agency in Ukraine

Here are the things you’ll want to look into:

  1. Area of expertise. Choose an agency that has experience finding tech professionals, or, better still, the specific type of tech professionals you’re interested in (for instance, hiring game developers is an art in its own right).
  2. Years of market-specific experience. The longer an agency has worked in the tech industry, the larger their network and candidate base are. When researching an agency’s experience, be on the lookout for a sneaky little term “accumulated experience.” Some agencies try to puff up their feathers by adding up the collective experience of all their recruiters and boasting an impressive 20 years on the market. A quick check on LinkedIn will reveal, however, that none of the agency’s employees have worked there for longer than two years, including the founders.
  3. Number of active vacancies. The easiest and most reliable way to evaluate how active an agency is, is to browse through the vacancies posted on their website. Consider the overall number of current vacancies as well as how long ago they were posted. A deeper look into how well job descriptions are written will also help you get an idea of how your vacancies will be presented to the public.
  4. Number of employees. If you need to hire a lot of people at once, you should definitely consider partnering with a larger agency. There’s a small catch though: an agency’s public number of employees isn’t always reliable. To look more presentable, some agencies count all the freelance recruiters they’ve ever worked with in addition to their in-house employees as part of their team. This isn’t exactly a lie, but you may want to clarify how many people would work with you and whether they’re in-house recruiters or freelancers.
  5. Portfolio. Ideally, you want to partner with a recruitment agency who has worked with businesses similar to yours. Prior experience will allow them to have a much better understanding of your requirements, and therefore find better-suited candidates. Recruitment agencies usually display their most prominent clients on their websites, and you can always ask whether they have experience hiring for your particular needs in a private communication.
  6. Social media activity. This part is optional, as not every recruitment agency finds it necessary to invest their time in social media marketing. But if you do see that a certain agency has a public account, why not take this opportunity to check whether their values coincide with yours and whether you find their tone of voice appealing.

What Questions You Should Ask an IT Recruitment Agency

Once you’ve come up with a shortlist of recruitment agencies that look the most promising, schedule a short call with each of them. Here are a few general questions we suggest you ask in a call:

  • How long has the agency been on the market?
  • How many vacancies does the agency close a year?
  • How many active recruiters does the agency have?

To evaluate an agency’s industry expertise, prepare a few more specific questions that would be directly relevant to the vacancies you’re looking to fill. Here are a few suggestions:

  • What’s the average time-to-hire for the positions I’m interested in?
  • How easy or hard is it to find the type of tech professional I need?
  • How many of these tech professionals are there on the market overall?
  • What salary expectations will they have?
  • What hurdles can I expect during the search and after making a hire?

Having clarified this information, not only will you gain a better understanding of what the tech market in Ukraine is like, you’ll also be able to evaluate how well the agency knows what they’re doing and how long it will take them to close your vacancies. Plus, you’ll see what kind of communicators they are and what culture and values they share.

Don’t underestimate the importance of the latter because when you’re breaking into a new territory, the voice of the recruitment agency you choose will essentially be your voice until you get established and recognized as a separate entity. A badly written job description will definitely deter good developers from even considering applying to your company, so it truly does matter that the recruiters you settle with are true professionals.

I’ve Chosen an IT Recruitment Agency in Ukraine. Now What?

The agreement you’ll make with a recruitment agency can be exclusive, meaning the agency will be your sole representative within a designated market, or non-exclusive. An exclusive agreement is typically made for only a short period of time to begin with, with the option to extend it if you’re happy with the services you’ve gotten during the trial period.

This might sound counterintuitive, but an exclusive agreement is actually more beneficial for the client than a non-exclusive one. Exclusivity usually comes with a smaller fee charged by the agency and often results in the agency’s recruiters being more motivated to invest into promoting your vacancies and find the best talent out there for you because they know they’re your only representatives.

How Much IT Recruitment Agencies in Ukraine Charge for Their Services

Recruitment agencies typically either charge a retainer, or a success fee. A retainer is basically an advance payment an agency keeps regardless of whether they manage to fill your vacancy or not. A success fee is a fee you pay only after one of the candidates provided by an agency becomes your employee.

On average, recruitment agencies charge 15–22% of an employee’s annual net salary (up to 25% in top agencies) for their services. The percentage may range depending on whether you’re working with an experienced recruitment team, a new agency that doesn’t have a rich portfolio yet, or freelance recruiters. And bear in mind that executive IT recruiting in Ukraine will command higher fees.

Sometimes, the fee is divided into two parts, one being paid after you hire the candidate provided by an agency and the other one — after the candidate has successfully passed the trial period.

If the candidate doesn’t pass the trial period, agencies usually find a replacement. If for whatever reason a replacement can’t be found, the agency may return what you’ve paid, minus 10–20% of the total fee.

What Businesses Work with IT Recruitment Agencies in Ukraine?

  • Companies that want to open R&D centers in Ukraine. They usually look for unique specialists, and these are never easy to find. Despite the fact that there are about 200,000 software developers in Ukraine, the majority of them are, of course, currently employed. Good developers are rarely jobless, and if you were to investigate the way R&D centers usually open in Ukraine, you’d quickly realize that about 80% of their early hires are poached from other companies.
  • Startups that recently received funding.
  • Companies interested in remote employees. Even though there are countless freelance job boards you could use to find a remote tech specialist, many companies still choose to work through a recruitment agency. An agency runs background checks on candidates, requests references from former employers, has them sign NDA agreements — no freelance platform can offer this level of security.
  • Companies that need to grow fast and can’t handle the growth on their own.
  • Companies looking for unique expertise. An experienced recruiter with a large professional network will be able to locate unique skills much faster than you ever could on your own.

Why Work with an IT Recruitment Agency in Kyiv

Kyiv has the largest concentration of tech talent in Ukraine, so, naturally, most Ukrainian recruitment agencies also reside here. This gives you plenty of options to choose from.

Another benefit of working with a Kyiv-based recruitment agency is that it will allow you to tap into the tech talent pool of the whole country — as a rule, professionals living in other cities readily move to the capital if the job opportunity is attractive enough. An agency located in any other city in Ukraine will most likely focus on the local talent only.

Most international IT recruitment agencies in Ukraine are also based in Kyiv, however, there’s very few of them left after the 2008 financial crisis. And the ones that still operate mainly do executive IT recruiting, providing specialists for management positions. None of the international IT recruitment agencies in Ukraine specialize in tech recruitment, so we recommend that you don’t chase big names and work with an agency that offers industry-specific expertise instead.

About Skillers

Skillers is an IT recruitment agency based in Kyiv, Ukraine. We work exclusively within the tech industry and focus on filling challenging positions of middle, senior, and managerial levels. Over the last 15 years, we’ve accumulated a database of over 100,000 developers and helped more than 90 businesses close 1,500 vacancies. We also assist companies from Europe, Asia, and the US in finding and relocating Ukrainian developers.

R&D centers, product companies, startups, and IT service/outsourcing companies looking for executive and rare talent make up the majority of our clients. We’re also open to collaboration with banks, telecom providers, and any other companies that have technology at the heart of their business.

“We have been extremely impressed with the work that Skillers have carried out for us. The consultants are professional, thorough and understand our business needs. They have helped us in a number of difficult areas and the quality of the candidates they have is fantastic, as is their ability to deliver on time. A professional and friendly team of people who it is a pleasure working with, we have no hesitation in recommending Skillers  to anyone who appreciates a good value solution.”

Slava Kostinsky, Regional Director, Altium

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