Alex Staff Agency

Hiring a Team from Scratch

Hiring a senior technical team for international startup's Cyprus office
The Client
We were approached by a startup from a Gulf country, which was positioned as a taxi and delivery service striving to become one of the largest players in the region. The project already had directors and product managers, and the development was split between outsource teams from Russia and Ukraine.

Our client was about to open a new office in Cyprus.
The Challenge
The client was looking for a way to protect their business from potential problems with outsourcers. It was decided to create a project office that would combine the management of development departments and perform other tasks, like drawing on external experts to be able to change the outsourcing team if necessary. In the long term, the office would also support both internal development and DevOps departments, so that the production could be managed by in-house staff.
Our help
Our first hiring plan included 10 positions, from Lead Architect and Head of Development to Lead Project Manager and Data Science.

We helped clarify the requirements, tasks and the list of roles to fill, as well as form compensation packages for potential employees. We also helped with finding a contractor, which allowed the company to reduce the cost of both the business and employee registration.

We were able to assemble a team in a month and a half.
How Did We Do It
After the initial communication with the client, we conducted a study to align the client's expectations with the real supply in the market. Since the specialists from Russia and the CIS countires were a priority, relocation to Cyprus was required. We examined local tax laws to determine both gross and net pays. At that moment, our client just hired a local contractor and was dealing with legal issues. These issues (relocation and employment of candidates, employer registration in Cyprus) partly concerned us, so we were aware of the work process. At the request of the client, we selected a new contractor who not only helped with all the subtleties, but also reduced the company's expenses by 50%.

During the hiring process, we communicated closely with the company's owner and helped crystallize the vision of who the company needs most. Since our client was a startup, there wasn't formalized structure nor description of business processes and requirements. We picked and sent diverse candidates, so that our client could form a bigger picture of what kind of person they needed.

Since the company didn't have its own HR department yet, in addition to our usual recruiting routine, we discussed and formed the compensation packages with those candidates who had reached the latter stages of the selection process. The difficult part was that many candidates traveled only as tourists to Cyprus, or have never been there at all. Since they didn't know anything about the real cost of living in the country, they couldn't assess the salary offer. We asked the candidates to estimate their monthly cost of household & living expenses, so we could recalculate how much it would cost in Cyprus. After adding another 150-500 euros on top for unforeseen and non-recurrent expenses, we estimated the final salary offer.

During this period, employees were hired after a face-to-face meeting with the CEO. He lived in Cyprus, but traveled to Russia several times a month for work. We found a suitable candidate, conducted a screening interview and then presented them to the CEO. Then we organized a face-to-face meeting for them during the CEO's business trips.

We also solved some of the issues that occurred during the adaptation process. That included communication issues, hierarchical structure of the company, monitoring and resolving conflicts. Since all new employees were brought by us, they contacted us for help and advice.

As the company grew and the number of employees increased, we faced more challenges. Six months after hiring the main pool of employees, the company approached us with a request to gather an HR department. A little later, we helped to select a new employee who would take over the recruiting tasks.

Another six months later, we've been asked to find some non-technical specialists from the Gulf countries. To help our client increase the presence in local markets, we hired marketing professionals, business development specialists, project managers as well as junior analysts.
The Result
We successfully hired several senior executives in a month and a half. Each of these employees made a significant contribution to the development of the company. We also helped with hiring in-house developers, analysts and devops specialists. All of the candidates have worked in the company for at least 2 years.

Our cooperation didn't cease even after we assembled the internal HR team: today we help them by taking on the most difficult and time-consuming hiring tasks.