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


Building Tech Team for AI Toothbrush

TB4HR Team


Every morning it’s a battle for parents to get their kids brush in a right way. Parents spend lot of time, energy and efforts convincing kids to brush by talking, educating and playing, no matter what parents do the end result is always the same, kids brush in a fast, inappropriate way and find their way out. This is how a daily routine looks like.

Kids are very smart who are armed with information, the internet, gadgets, interactive toys. What if smart kids were given a smart brush? A smart brush powered by Artificial Intelligence that turns boring brushing experience into a fun & educative game. Introducing Kolibree the world’s first AI toothbrush that was developed by parents and dentists, for parents and kids. The toothbrush interacts with the game like a joystick and the interactive educative game Go Pirate 2 is designed to teach kids to cover and brush all areas of the mouth, while rewarding kids with coins. The game is designed to last for at least 3 months, with two brushings per day for two minutes each. In total there are 16 game levels. Parents can use mobile app available on Android and iOS to see personalized reports on daily brushing habits and what was missed.

That’s the kids story, what about parents? Honestly, even if adults brush as thoroughly as their dentists recommend, it might not be that effective even with the so-called motorized smart toothbrushes. Kolibree’s AI brush is loaded with 3D motion sensors — including accelerometers, gyroscopes, and even a magnetometer to give that perfect guided brushing experience. The Coach app is designed for adults and allows real-time data capture, interaction and qualitative analysis: teaching grown-ups how to improve their oral hygiene.


If you would like to know more or own one visit

Toolbox for HR is proud to build Kolibree’s engineering team in France.

Image Sources:

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


Tech Talent in FinTech Industry

Marcin Smolinski


FinTech is gaining a momentum but there is still a long way to go.

We’re still walking around with our cards, our money is laying around in our current accounts not being invested when we don’t need it and currency exchanges can be found at every airport. At the same time, we see fraud detection or mortgage credit scoring being nearly 100% dependent on machine learning. There are still plenty of opportunities for FinTech companies to change the way we and businesses earn, pay, transfer, borrow and invest money.

Hiring talents for the FinTech industry is an arms race. The more skilled developers, data scientists and product managers companies can hire the more of the technology edge they have over competitors working on tackling the exactly same challenge. William Mougayar in his book The Business Blockchain says that by mid 2016 there were only “5,000 developers dedicated to writing software for the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, or blockchain in general. The good news is that Java, C++, JavaScript, Python, Golang and Haskell developers are out there to be hired!

We looked at the most popular tech stack among FinTech companies and checked how deep are the talent markets for those technologies in several countries. Enjoy our first infographics of 2017!

Marcin Smolinski
Founder @ Toolbox for HR

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Tech Talent in E-commerce Industry

TB4HR Team


HO HO HO e-commerCO!

With all holiday shopping madness, we looked up what is the most popular tech stack used by major e-commerce platform. Then we looked up how does it translate into geek talent market in several countries.

Happy Festivus, Hannukah, Christmas, days with limited food deliveries, days with slow internet at your parents, anything else you will be observing in coming days.

Keep on recruiting in 2017!

Marcin Smolinski
Founder @ Toolbox for HR

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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.

Infographic: C Developers In Central Europe

TB4HR Team


We recently made small exercise sizing the markets of Central Europe from the perspective of
C talent. There are ~53K C developers from Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, Croatia, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Macedonia,  Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Montenegro. We will be releasing other tech stack statistics soon so keep on checking our blogTwitterLinkedin, and Facebook!
Read more

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 EduTech Industry

TB4HR Team


Since famous TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson, we see education market moving the needle on disruption. At the same time, the costs of education were soaring over the last 40 years.

Platforms such as Elearning, Videos, Online Classrooms, Mobile Apps, Social Media blended with IoT, VR, 3DPrinting are creating new learning opportunities for students and teachers as well as developers and product managers. There is a bit of technology in kindergarten and K12 Education. Even countries with relatively low GDP believe that tablet and e-schoolbooks are money better spent than another central committee for education.

EduTech is working its way to make sure that education is accessible, affordable and exciting. How many solar system models have we made over last few decades? Now we can zoom out on our iPhone to show 6 years old distance between the galaxies to explain why Voyager is pretty lonely in intergalactic travels. Don’t get me wrong – building stuff together with kids is still fun!
Another exciting industry and another talent market research delivered by #TB4HRLabs – enjoy!

Keep on hiring!

Marcin Smolinski
Founder @ Toolbox for HR

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