Tech Recruitment Blog

How to lose tech candidates and alienate recruiters

TB4HR Team


Here at Toolbox for HR, we hire geeks. We treat every single one of our candidates as an individual while at the same time we constantly crunch data to verify any hypothesis or remove the bias. Big data helps our recruiters not to waste candidates/ interviewers/ hiring managers time.

In the last 2,5 years, we saw 500+ successfully accomplished recruitment processes. Many Software Engineers, DevOps, Data Scientists and Test Engineers got some new wind underneath their wings, moved jobs, cities, and countries. The total compensation of our hires is equivalent to the annual budget of Falkland Islands.

Today almost every company is, to some extent, a tech company. Owner of the lemonade stand at the farmer’s market needs a portable POS, ride-sharing driver needs to understand where to go to get 2.4 multipliers for his rides and the demand for the geeks making businesses smarter is not going away anytime soon.

We recently looked at the data coming from 500 recruitment processes to see what we learned.

We compared different interviewing philosophies among our clients. We grouped them into 3 categories:

a/ Friendly human – 2-3 stages of technical interviews with humans

b/ Hostile human – 3+ stages in unpredictable order and decision process with humans

c/ Talk-to-the-bot – test and/or homework followed by 2+ stages with humans

It turns out that more complex recruitment process (and test and/or homework) does not lead to better decisions. You need 2.6 tested candidates interviewing with a CTO to make a hire, but only 1.6 candidates who were previously interviewed by the engineers. Candidates who were exposed to tests are less likely to accept offers.

Source: Toolbox for HR


This also translates into the time invested into interviewing of tech candidates.

Source: Toolbox for HR


You might say that 11 hours to hire the right match is not a big investment and it’s hard to argue with that. Now, imagine growing from 20 to 100 people that is 6 months of one of the team members not coding, testing, maintaining infrastructure and not even using the bathroom and having coffee chats… just being locked up in a room with an army of candidates.

So do you still want to grow your team?

The best way to start is to invest in trained and enthusiastic interviewers, help them calibrate and have the best ambassadors of your employer brand! Side effect: more time spent on coding less time spent on the interviews.


Happy recruiting!

Marcin Smolinski is a tech recruiter with 20 years history of building engineering teams around the world. He is a founder of Toolbox for HR, a Recruitment Process Outsourcing focusing on tech and space.


Raise or the fall of the empire? Tech Talent in the UK

TB4HR Team


Every industry (not only in the UK) is considering the impact of Brexit on the global economic landscape. For the past 2 years, the British tech industry is being impacted by a weak pound through increasing costs of services outside of the UK (like hosting, growth services, outsourced software development etc.). According to our research, ~32% of 100.000 tech professionals in London are educated overseas. ~10.000 Geeks in London work in the financial services industry and some of those jobs are to be located elsewhere soon. More and more Developers, DevOps and Data Scientists (especially non-UK born) are considering opportunities in continental Europe due to the uncertainty of their post-Brexit status and (again) weak sterling. Will the British Empire rise like a phoenix through education and innovation or will it fall due to lack of both? Our current infographic shows a landscape or current status of talent in the UK, but we’re looking forward to revisiting these numbers in the future to assess the real impact of Brexit onto Britain’s tech talent landscape.


Keep on recruiting – Ta ta

Marcin Smolinski
Founder @ Toolbox for HR


Tech Talent in Germany

TB4HR Team



For the last few years, many doubted whenever Silicon Allee is a thing but with a rise of Soundcloud, Zalando or GoEuro, Berlin is becoming a strong player on the global tech scene. Berlin’s size, liberal environment, reasonably priced services and properties are attracting young entrepreneurs and VCs in large numbers. An interesting fact is that approx half of all geeks in Berlin did not graduate from German universities which is a great proof for its inclusiveness.
Klaus Wowereit (fmr. Mayor of Berlin) once said ‘Berlin ist arm, aber sexy’ (Berlin is poor but sexy) we believe that with Rocket Internet recently raising USD 1 Billion fund the only part of the message that still holds true is ‘sexy’.


Munich, Ruhr region, Hamburg and Frankfurt are, since a couple of generations, home to German industrial, media and financial sector behemoths. There are more and more Developers, DevOps Engineers, Data Scientists in those cities moving away from 9 to 5 jobs into innovative products that have a global scale outreach.


We checked Germany’s talent pool, their skills, and experience to share it with you. Enjoy our Germany tech talent infographic.


Keep on recruiting – Tschüss
Marcin Smolinski
Founder @ Toolbox for HR


In Conversation with Sebastian Wieckowski – Senior Tech Recruiter

TB4HR Team


Q: Which is your favorite programming language and why?

A: Of course Pascal and Assembler (and playing with it on 8085 microprocessor) – mainly because of nostalgia and how terribly hard was to pass Microprocessor programming class.

Q: Which one is the easiest to recruit for?

A: Oh well, if we are talking about all programming languages, the answer is simple: the easiest are roles where you have a knowledge about them, you know some tools, you personally played with them and made some real programming. In my opinion it is essential to have a great understanding of technology and role itself, it is not enough to read about it on Wikipedia or ask a Hiring Manager. Recruiters should educate themselves about each techstack.

For example I never done C++ programming before, my knowledge was very general so when I had to recruit a super star C++ developer, the first thing I made was installing all the tools to write some basic programs, go for some tutorials for a week or so. Doing all this prepared me to ask more in depth technical questions and understand what candidate was talking about. This also helped me to evaluate (on a high level) their skills and not send candidates for slaughter on next stages.

Overall, it really depends on requirements of Hiring Manager. If you are not a partner for him/her to ask questions, advice and sometimes challenge the search criteria, the easiest role can take months to fill. If you cannot build a credibility with Hiring Manager it’s hard to be a partner.

Q: You were into product management & sales in past. What did you learn in the previous jobs that helped you to move to recruiting?

A: That everything depends on me and I should not count on others to achieve my goals. I know it’s sometimes not very easy to deal with me but I hold myself (and others) to high standards when it comes to learning and internal drive.

Working for Polish Telecom and Netia at the very beginning of my career (2005 or so) had the biggest impact on me. I was a simple hardware IT guy fixing computers. Later on when market was changing I went to work in Polish Telecom’s call center and then moved to Netia as Tech Consultant and trainer. Add to this my geeky nature and 260-320 hours of work per month and I got nice fundamentals which shaped me into who I am today.

Q: Do you think tests help to recruit developers?

A: What kind of tests? The simple answer would be no.
Too many False negatives – the human factor is required on all stages in my opinion (well in few years sourcing could be replaced with some nice machine learning.)

Q: What are your favourite tools to source great tech talent?

A: We got so many great things to use currently: GitHub, Stack Overflow, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook even Meetup, and Kickstarter like pages where we can use x-ray, scripting etc.. All of them are good to source and you can have a great success. But my personal network, developers coming back to me and recommending people is the best option I have – from this source I got like 5% of my hires but I am proud that experienced developer can come back to me to recommend his friend or ask for advice when he/she is changing the job or wants to go into different tech stack for example. This is a proof that I am doing something meaningful – developers are not numbers and assets to be placed to client. In fact I am responsible for their future career to some extent.

Q: What tips would you like to share for those starting their careers in tech recruitment?

A: You need to love and understand IT and its community, some tech knowledge is a must have.
If you did not write simple ‘Hello world’ with any programming language, you don’t know what is the difference between HTTP or HTTPs, or why Unix is still a thing..try to learn. Practice your coding skills a bit, if you hate it, tech recruitment might not be a place for you. Writing poems on Linkedin to attract a Java Developer, or putting pretty pictures for LinkedIn profile won’t do the trick.

In Conversation with Yelizaveta Areshka – Tech Recruiter

TB4HR Team


Q: You studied Business Economics. How is tech recruitment working out for you?

A: To start with, I’ve never thought that my first job ever will be connected with recruitment. My educational background already suggests that I was far from tech world before I found about TB4HR. However, after working here for half a year it became more and more obvious that understanding basic economics’ concepts helps in detecting trends and getting better understanding of why things work out this particular way, not the other. Even though both of the areas seem to be very strict to numbers and science, at the end of the day, it’s all about humans’ behaviour and decisions. Studying economics involves a lot of market analysis; so, I assume, throughout 3 years I’ve gained a decent understanding of which countries (mainly European states) have competitive advantage in terms of employment opportunities alongside with skillful labour force. Moreover, being aware of the current economic situation might allow to, sort of, “juggle” with talent pools, which is definitely beneficial for recruiters, developers and our clients. The first “wow” moment when it all perfectly matched in my head has happened when I understood that TB4HR is following the two-sided market theory in its everyday activity: we are aiming to help two sets of agents (our clients and developers) to “trade” with the help of the TB4HR platform, thus increasing their efficiency.

Q: What was the hardest thing for you when getting into recruiting? Please elaborate.

A: I believe that working as a tech recruiter has a number of its own peculiarities, when comparing to other kinds of recruitment. Hence, I had to make an extra-effort to learn basic tech notions like types of developers, programming languages, frameworks, etc. As IT developers are extremely passionate about their work (or rather a lifestyle), it definitely helps to know as much as possible about their average mindset and speak the same “language”. Without that it’s very hard to make them interested and involved into a new project, as a recruiter needs to understand the values developers have. From what I observed, it’s about the idea and challenges, not that much about the material reward.

Q: You finished thesis on immigration. What do you think about the mobility of the tech talent in Europe?

A: In my opinion, the mobility of tech talent drastically varies in different parts of Europe.
For example, there’s a common belief that developers from Eastern European countries are more prone to move to the west. It is still true in the majority of cases, however talking to the younger generation of tech talent this opinion seems to be losing its reliability. As with any concept connected to immigration, it’s very hard to evaluate a human factor: developers tend to opt for remote or freelance job instead of relocating.
If we are talking about EU states, once again, barriers of labour movement seem to be reduced to its maximum as it’s one of the 4 freedoms any EU citizen has. Nonetheless, differences in ethnical background, languages, and cultures put certain limits on the degree of mobility.
Constant changes that Europe undergoes bring gains, as the aftermath of Brexit.
For example being the largest diaspora in the UK, a lot of Polish people are moving back. It’s definitely beneficial for the labour market in Poland, as it obtains many skilled workers with extensive experience and average salary expectations, but unfortunate for the British market, as it loses skilled labour force with initially depreciated wages.

Q: What’s the future of Machine Learning? How will it impact industries and businesses?

A: Machine Learning is a big word now in numerous industries. Coming back to the field of my bachelor studies, it turned out that I’ve already encountered machine learning techniques when writing my thesis. The major goal of Machine Learning can be summed up with one word – prediction – and it is very much in line what economists and econometricians are trying to achieve by creating models. However, as innovative and as it sounds, Machine learning creates multiple challenges in the process of fitting the data: it, of course, does a great job in forecasting, but is not the best way in assessing the effects an economic policy might have on various variables.
Nonetheless, applying machine learning in the field of finance is an awesome way to predict trends and provide economic agents with solutions to simple financial problems (analysing customers’ spending patterns and suggesting saving/investment portions of their income, for example).

Q: What have you learned about tech talent while contributing #TB4HRLabs studies?

A: Having an opportunity to contribute to #TB4HRLabs studies is a great way to learn about the distribution of tech talent around the world in the quickest way possible. The first statistical research I’ve done at TB4HR was aimed on analysing tech pool in the Eastern Europe. It’s extremely helpful to be involved in these studies for a recruiter-newbie, as you can observe the density of tech pool in different countries, what programming languages are spread there, and form general opinion on which regions have the majority of certain types of developers. It always useful to give a data-backed recommendations of talent pools for our clients or provide them with alternatives.

Tech Talent in Internet of Things Industry

TB4HR Team


The Internet of things involves machine to machine data communication based on data gathering sensors and cloud computing. We’re bringing data analytics to the real world and that is REALLY THE NEXT BIG THING that is going to stay with us for longer. There is no limit to the innovation IoT can bring and we’re proudly taking part in building this future.

We checked the IoT talent situation and turned it into an infographic. Maybe it’s time to freshen up your C skills. Embedded development jobs are getting more and more attractive.

Keep on recruiting!

Marcin Smolinski
Founder @ Toolbox for HR


IoT Infographic Oct 18.001
IoT Infographic Oct 18.002
IoT Infographic Oct 18.003

Hiring Database Developers

TB4HR Team


All of us have used some kind of database, at least once in a lifetime. Collection of data in the Excel spreadsheets, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), or contact lists in our Gmail mailbox are the most obvious examples.

If you want to manage those information, analyze them and generate reports based on those data, you need to use a Database Management System (DBMS). It’s a software that will help you with that. One of the first DBMSs, IBM IMS (Information Management System), was launched in 1966 and was designed for Apollo program. IMS helped in the inventory of huge amount of bill of materials needed to build Saturn V moon rocket and Apollo space vehicle.

That’s a cool, geeky stuff, but what does it mean for the recruiter?

As the new types of databases are still created (e.g. NewSQL) and the number of information, which needs to be managed or retrieved increases in a geometry rate, some of the companies decided to create brand new role: Database Developer. Don’t confuse it with Database Administrator, whose responsibilities are a bit different. Developer designs and develops new features or programs that will cooperate with databases, as well as improves their performance. Where to look for those professionals? Take a look at our presentation!

This presentation will give you a bit of overview on the databases topic, how they’re divided and what SQL stands for.

In conversation with Agata Wypych about Złombol

TB4HR Team


Our Recruiting Ninja Agata with her fiance Piotr will represent Team Sztos and take a long ride in their Polonez 98 car from Katowice to Palermo along with other 500 teams to collect money for Silesian orphanages. We recently did a short interview with Agata.


1. Agata, Tell us more about your participation in Zlombol event?

Złombol is the biggest charity rally in Europe. One of the principles is to finish around 2500 km route using a car built or designed during the communist era. The main goal is to collect money for Silesian orphanages, that will cover necessary expenses and donate holidays for children.

Each year, the number of participants is higher, same as amount of collected money. So far, for this years’ edition (10th one!) there are 506 teams registered. How many of them will arrive to the finish at Sicily? No idea! There is also a special stage to Tunisia, but this is just for the bravest. 😉

This is our first Złombol, so both me and my fiance Piotr, really want to finish it with our grey Polonez, ‘98. I’m sure it won’t be easy, probably we’ll face many of smaller and bigger troubles with the car, but this will be an adventure of a lifetime! And a good deed, too!



2. How does Zlombol help underprivileged children through this initiative?

One of the conditions to take part in the rally is collecting at least PLN 1.500 from Donors – companies or individuals. In return, participants offer advertising space on their cars on which the Donor can put a sticker with a company logo or a signature. 100% of the collected amount is spent on needed items for children from orphanages. The teams cover all their expenses, car mechanics or accommodation by themselves.

During the first edition of the rally in 2007, the organizers managed to collect over PLN 15.000, which were spent on household appliances, toys and other needed equipment for children in the shelters in Katowice. Last year, the raised money exceeded PLN 734.000! Children were given computers, games and educational programs, bicycles, toys, and stationery. They were funded the holiday trips as well. We hope, that this year the collected amount will be even higher!


3. Please share how you got to know about Zlombol and pictures of last year’s travel.

Piotr is a huge fan of old cars and trucks. Besides building truck models (built 2 already and the collection is still growing :)), he loves watching cars-related films on YouTube. 2 years ago he came across video report about Złombol at Nordkapp and fell in love with the idea. As I’m huge fan of holidays “on the road”, it was easy to convince me to take part in that crazy event.


Last year, Złombol participants finished their trip on Passo Dello Stelvio, the highest pass in Alps. Here you’ll find some photos.



4. Whom would you recommend to participate in such event, if yes how and where they can apply?

If you want to do something good for others, experience an extraordinary adventure, or simply check your driving skills and possibilities of your (grand) parents’ car – Złombol is definitely for you! You should be prepare for all kind of difficulties – broken car, sleeping in the tent, long distances done daily. But the prize – children’s happiness and their smiles are definitely worth it!

The rally starts on September 25th, so there is not much time to prepare for the trip. If you want to participate in this year’s edition, take a look at Złombol’s website:, register your team as soon as possible and have fun! See you on the road!


You can donate to this noble cause by doing wire transfer to the official foundation account listed below.

Fundacja Nasz Śląsk im. gen.Jerzego Ziętka

Address: Łani 1, Chorzów

Bank account number: PL 72 1050 1214 1000 0023 2153 3859


The title of the transfer: Złombol 16 – Sztos, from „Company’s name”

Finding Tech Talent on Meetup

TB4HR Team


Meetup is a unique platform for finding tech talent. There is an opportunity to reach members who are extremely active in Tech community and are willing to go an extra mile to learn more about technology and develop their skills. The profiles of these members could range from designers to developers, Data scientists to Analysts and more. The list of topics is big based on which members join groups, create local communities and eventually meetup to discuss or brainstorm ideas, latest trends around these topics.


So if you are looking for networking or learn some new tricks about a particular programming language or technology then Meetup is your platform, not to mention finding someone on meetup gives you an opportunity for personalizing the pitch and opens another communication channel. Check out the following presentation to see what more you can do on Meetup.


Hiring Frontend Developers

Marcin Smolinski


The moment users open websites or apps on the desktop, smartphone or tablet we see beautiful work of Frontend Developers. Frontend Developers code in programming languages such as CSS, HTML and JavaScript with different frameworks so that websites, apps look great and are easy to use…

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