How to find a Machine Learning team leader for an IT company
within a month?

IT Recruiter
Katerina Iliushchenko
Recently, we at Lucky Hunter, have filled a rare opening for the position of Machine Learning Team Leader for an IT company from Moscow. There were quite a few difficulties: from the specifics of the project to the position itself and its rareness in the IT market.

Despite this, a month after we'd started the search, the candidate found by our IT recruiter Katerina Iliushchenko accepted the offer and successfully started working for the client's company. In our new article telling you how in just a month we managed to fill such a difficult vacancy.

The task

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In June 2021, one Russian IT company contacted Lucky Hunter. The main product of the company is a traditional media-services provider. In the endeavour to create a unique service, the founder wanted to find a specialist able to build project architecture from scratch, reconstruct algorithms for a new product format.

The working conditions offered by our customer fit the market. Among them were:

1
market salary
2
the ability to work remotely (or a mix of remote work and work from office if desired)
3
standard IT-perks (voluntary medical insurance, education on a company dime)
The client also did not include the test assignment in the selection stages, organizing only two interviews with the candidate.

Difficulties

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Nevertheless, despite the fact that the vacancy satisfied the market requirements, the task can't be referred to the simple ones, and here's why:
Our client was more focused on business tasks
Our client was more focused on business goals and lacked in-depth technical knowledge. Therefore, in order to determine the final expectations of the customer and competently present the specifics of the project to the candidates, together with the client we formed the product goals, requirements to the candidate and future tasks of the employee.
The product was built from scratch
There weren't any developers in the team, which means that the Team Leader had to develop algoristic-type models and build architecture on their own.
A large number of IT specialists holding the position of Team Leader in a company often tend to manage the team without resorting to independent development. Finding a Team leader ready to develop the product from scratch is not easy, and this has significantly narrowed the pool of suitable talents.
The client was looking for a specialist with a specific technology stack
In addition to the traditional languages used in Machine Learning such as Java, C ++ and Python, the candidate had to know Ruby (or be ready to master it). This combination of skills is quite rare in the IT market.
Machine Learning team lead is a rare position on the Russian market
In general, there are not so many specialists working in Machine Learning compared to other IT professions. There are even fewer specialists who have been working in ML for many years and have team management skills.

How we've filled the role

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Candidate profile
In order to fill a vacancy and find a suitable specialist, we have determined the candidate's profile. This is a specialist with a vast background who prefers creating cool, breakthrough products to management.
In addition, it was desirable that our candidate was located in Moscow. We looked beyond searching within just one city but nevertheless focused on Moscow since key figures and managers from other IT departments of the company were located in Moscow. Realizing that hiring a specialist from Moscow would facilitate communication and create conditions for productive work, we mainly searched for the specialists from this city.
Motivation
While working on ways to motivate candidates, we decided to focus on the uniqueness of the product and the ability to create a new, useful service from scratch. It was important for us to get out a message that the candidate would be able to influence the project architecture, assemble a "dream team" and, what is also important, work in a well-established company that has long ceased to be a startup.

Result

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After a few weeks of searching, we managed to find two suitable candidates. Both candidates successfully passed all stages of interviews and received an offer from the client. As a result, one candidate accepted a job offer and successfully joined the client's company.
Despite the fact that the found candidate was not initially interested in changing jobs, he rekindled dreams of creating a unique product on the Russian market: thus, he's left the current job in favour of our client's company.
In total, we looked through 42 specialists' CVs, conducted interviews with three candidates, and two of them our client made an offer.
ML Team Leader statistics
At first glance, it may seem that 42 candidates aren't a significant number, because a competent IT recruiter is able to process hundreds of Cvs per day. Well, in reality, this is not always the case. Due to the specifics of the position and the requirements for a specialist, we had a very limited pool of suitable candidates.
In addition, we carefully analyzed each CV, creating a personalized email, tailored to the interests of each certain candidate.
It is precisely the selective search, attention to the specialists' portfolio and the ability to adjust the ways of motivation depending on the background of the person that led us to success and allowed us to quickly fill such a challenging vacancy.
Several key success factors
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Selective Search
Lucky Hunter recruiters are always focused on selecting only the most suitable candidates. At the same time, in this particular case, the selective search for candidates was supplemented by the creation of a unique offer for each specialist, a close study of not only the CVs, but also the personal information about the candidates, and everything in order to hit the target and find the best tech talent.
Flexibility of our Client
Despite the fact that our client was far from the IT sphere, he paid heed to our recommendations and was ready to adjust recruiting processes in accordance with market requirements.
Lucky Hunter professionalism
Thanks to our deep knowledge of the IT sphere, we were able to help our client phrase the final expectations. This allowed us to accurately determine the profile of the candidate, understand how to motivate specialists and, as a result, successfully fill the vacancy.

If you have a rare and difficult IT vacancy that you can't fill for a long time, do not hesitate. Our team will help you find the perfect candidate and successfully fill the vacancy. We provide CVs of the first specialists in 4 days after the job opening discussion!
What else to read
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