Digital transformation has led to the rise of countless software development companies, putting software engineers in high demand. While fully remote companies used to be rare, COVID-19 has changed the trajectory and more and more companies have since become remote-friendly. While this is great for employees, it comes with a series of consequences for businesses.

Finding Talent in the Software Development Industry

Since the workforce is now enjoying a unified worldwide job market where they are no longer limited to just one geographical location, their opportunities are endless. Salaries have skyrocketed and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find engineers with high-level profiles that fit the requirements of companies like Mobile Jazz. A problem that many businesses in the software development industry are currently facing.

Mobile Jazz has been a fully remote company for 10 years which used to be a big competitive advantage for us. We pride ourselves in offering our team flexibility and freedom in many areas. The shift of the global market towards a remote-friendly workplace has put us in a tricky position to stand out from our competitors. However, companies that recently went remote won’t be able to deliver the best remote experience to their employees. It takes time and dedication, and is about so much more than just working from home. With a decade of experience under our belt, we’ve learned how to do remote work properly, e.g. MJ Summer Camps, MJ Workations, MJ University. Can you tell the competition has some catching up to do?

Nonetheless, as a specialized software development company we are focused on engineering and delivering results for our clients. Without a dedicated HR professional on the team, we simply don’t have time to find the right talent ourselves and therefore often have to rely on recruitment agencies. This is where the real problem begins.

The Disappointing Reality of Working With Recruitment Agencies

As companies have an increasing demand for engineers and other talents, there are consequently more recruitment services on the market as well. Every time we post a new job opening, we get contacted by tens if not hundreds of agencies promising us the best of the best. It is impossible to know who to trust and who to best work with as we have limited time and therefore can’t vet all of them.

Moreover, most agencies we worked with didn’t seem to care about the quality of their applicants. Either they didn’t match the level of expertise we required, for example sending a junior profile when we clearly asked for a senior, or they focused only on the skills but not the candidate’s background & personality. It is extremely important to us that the people we hire match our company culture. Unfortunately, recruitment agencies are never proactively checking whether this is in alignment or not.

Hint: We are a dynamic, remote team of developers – do you really think people in suits fit the team!?

Another issue we’ve identified is that agencies charge per hire. They throw a big pile of candidates at you without much effort of vetting them first, hoping that the quantity will maximize the chances of hiring. This leads to extra work on our side as we need to review lots of CVs and conduct cultural & technical interviews with people that shouldn’t have landed on our desk in the first place. A good recruitment agency should filter properly, based on both the technical as well as the cultural background, and only propose candidates truly matching the required profile.

When it comes to recruiting there needs to be an emphasis on the process, however, the only thing that seems to matter is the end result. The actual process of hiring talent is simply not valued the way it should be and that’s why we have never made a hire via an agency. Despite the resources and time it takes, so far it has always been easier to find talent ourselves. Working with an agency has never solved the problem, it has only caused more work due to the huge number of applicants. In our opinion, this is not how it’s supposed to be and an issue that needs to be addressed.

Our Secret Desires About Recruitment Agencies

As a small business with very specific needs, we’d love to find a recruitment agency or freelance recruiter who truly cares about who we are, our cultural identity and values, how our team is built and what kind of team-bonding activities matter to us. We need them to understand our niche and where our expertise lies, the nature of our projects, the clients we work with and which technologies matter to us. Our dream agency would collect all this information first and carry out at least one round of interviews. Only after validating that the candidate is a good fit in all areas, they would proceed to propose an interview with us. By the time we get on a call, we want the candidates to be as excited to speak with us as we are to speak with them because all stakeholders know there is real potential for collaboration.

At a minimum the agency will pre-filter based on experience, skills and cultural values. But ideally they have some technical understanding so they can evaluate candidates’ expertise thoroughly, just like a developer would. Surely there is an agency out there that specializes in recruiting engineers, or are we asking for too much?

We can’t help but wonder how often agencies discard candidates for a position. Does this even happen at all? In any case, this is not the kind of agency we want to work with. We need someone to make our lives easier, not harder. Someone who is aligned with our mindset and attitude and shares the high-quality standards we have. In fact, we are happy to pay the expensive recruitment fee as long as we receive quality service. Even a subscription plan or another form of prepaid agreement is something we’d consider if it ensures that the recruiting process itself receives more attention rather than only valuing the hire itself.

If you happen to be a freelance recruiter or working for an agency that is aligned with the above-mentioned requirements, and you believe you can truly help us find the talent we are looking for, please drop us an email at Send us a few lines about your services and why you think you are different from the agencies we worked with in the past. We’d be happy to hear from you.

What You Should Know About Mobile Jazz

If you’re an agency interested in working with us, then keep reading. Here are some facts that will help you to assess who we are and how you can support us.

Some of our team members during a workation in Cape Town (South Africa)

Our team has been fully remote since the beginning and consists of 18 software engineers and 2 designers. The whole company has a strong engineering mindset and is specialized in data-driven applications (native mobile development, backend & frontend web development, DevOps & system admin) and design. We are mainly located in Europe (Austria, Spain, Serbia, Checz Republic, Italy, Denmark) but also have some team members in Azerbaijan, Brazil and other countries. Our team loves to travel and many of us used to be digital nomads before the pandemic. We can’t wait to get back on the road!

Our clients are typically startups and scaling businesses. We handpick projects that are meaningful to society (NGOs, Health Foundations, etc.) or that are technologically a big challenge (and fun for our engineers). They are located all over the world, including the US, Australia, Germany and Spain.

Our jam is OpenSource code. We have published and contributed to multiple libraries, and have even designed our open-source multi-platform framework called “Harmony”.

Now that you know a little bit about us, we’d be happy to hear from you to help us get the talent we need. Thanks for reading until the end, and as a proof of that, please include the word “pizza” in your email when approaching us. Everything’s better with pizza but most importantly, we literally will not read your email without it. We know how to filter, do you?

Joan Martin

Starting with a mathematics degree, continuing with a computer science master's degree, and working on mobile and backend development during the past 10 years, Joan is a proficient software engineer. Motivated by great projects and an awesome team, Joan is currently leading the Mobile Jazz team and enjoying the MJ philosophy at its best.