Although there are lots of top-notch developers out there, it may be quite hard to find a suitable one in the shortest possible time. And the task becomes much more complicated when the role requires familiarity with the crypto market combined with the ability to work fully remote. This is exactly the problem that Particle.One, a Silicon Valley startup, faced a couple of months ago.
Tanya Lyubimova, Co-founder & CEO of Particle.One, Judge & Guest lecturer at Alchemist Accelerator, shared with us what it took to find a quant developer for their crypto branch, and how much of a role a simple fluke can play.
Defining the needs
Particle.One builds innovative quantitative trading tools, and collects and analyzes market big data to make investors’ asset management easier and more efficient. Using knowledge graph methodology Particle.One finds relationships between companies and commodities and delivers real-time AI-driven commodity market insights 10x faster than it takes a human to collect and process information. A couple of months ago, they entered the cryptocurrency market and needed a developer who would process incoming datasets from Particle.One’s data scientists and turn them into production-ready code.
Particle.One’s requirements for a quant developer were:
- Strong knowledge of computer science and math
- 3–5 years of practical experience in computer science/math
- Python proficiency
- Be passionate about, or at least familiar with, the cryptocurrencies market
So they wanted to find a person with solid fundamental knowledge and Python/Pandas/Numpy development skills, since the company works on mathematical models, data analysis, and AI/ML systems.
Furthermore, they wanted a remote worker. But because Particle.One creates a technically complex product, they needed a developer to be absolutely immersed in it; that’s why they didn’t consider freelancers, and searched for a full-time developer only. Despite the list of strict requirements, they were confident that the search would not take long. How wrong they were.
The first steps
At first, Particle.One decided to go to job boards and to try to hunt developers on LinkedIn at the same time to increase their chances of success and to not waste time. Two big problems arose:
- It didn’t take much time to find candidates on job boards, but it took too much time to look through hundreds of responses and analyze them.
- Sending job proposals on LinkedIn was exhausting and time-consuming, too.
Overall, the process was extremely distracting and lengthy. It also slowed down the company’s main work, since they had to call team leaders frequently to do the tech tests. And in the end, it still didn’t lead to the desired result: Candidates either had the wrong stack, or they were not familiar with cryptocurrencies, or they simply ignored the messages. But all difficulties and failures are precious, since in the process we understand what we really want and need.
And a chance sometimes plays a huge role. That’s what happened to Particle.One.
“We never gave up hope of finding someone, at least on LinkedIn, and kept surfing hundreds of pages every day,” Tanya says. “And one day, we accidentally stumbled upon Insquad’s profile. We read several posts, and they made an impression. It was obvious that they really knew what they were doing, so we decided to give them a try, although we had some concerns.”
Partnership with Insquad: matching needs with reality
So Particle.One reached out to us for a consultation.
“No one on our team had ever encountered this kind of recruitment. We have worked with a lot of staffing agencies, but this was the first time we faced a company like Insquad. So we had a lot of questions, and needed some sort of in-depth onboarding to make sure it wouldn’t be another waste of time and, what’s more important, money.”
We scheduled a call with the Particle.One team to define their needs and outline the future work plan.
“We were invited to have a call with Insquad’s CEO, Alex. He listened carefully to all our questions and gave a thorough answer to each of them. By the end of the call, we had the most complete picture of the format of work with Insquad: He told us about all the stages of vetting of candidates and showed some examples of the tests developers are given, as well as the selection process and further hiring support.”
Then Particle.One made their company profile on our website, gave us a list of requirements, and the process started.
“In a week, Insquad found five developers with an appropriate stack of languages and sent us the candidates’ profiles so we could check out their CVs and test results. Work with recruitment agencies can take weeks, but here we found developers almost in the blink of an eye. I must admit I was also amazed at how concise and informative the candidates’ profiles were: they even included short video interviews. There was no excessive info; they were kept short and sweet. We picked three devs out of five, and Insquad arranged interviews with them. Everything went without a hitch, and it took only two interviews to find Vit, who seemed perfect to us. And, as it turned out later, he really was a perfect match: He’s a great developer who fits perfectly into our team.”
A few final questions
Why do you think most startups continue to look for developers in traditional ways: on job boards, via LinkedIn, and sometimes by turning to a staffing agency?
“I think many of them either don’t know that companies like Insquad exist, or they don’t understand how they differ from staffing agencies. As far as I know, there are few companies of this kind on the market, which means it’s essentially an innovation. But I think that it is necessary to talk about their existence. People should know at least about Insquad.”
What did you like the most about working with Insquad?
“First of all, the ease of communication and Insquad’s openness: When we reached out to them, the guys quickly responded and offered us a call. As I said before, we had a lot of questions, but after the consultation all of them were closed. Secondly, Insquad has an efficient and trustworthy technical testing system. If Particle.One didn’t have internal rules requiring a complex multi-stage technical interview, we would definitely rely on Insquad’s test results. Frankly, there wasn’t much difference between them and the results we ended up with after vetting the candidates ourselves.”
Particle.One’s example shows that sometimes the best solution can come out of nowhere, but only if you strive to find it. If you’re here, that may be exactly what you are doing now. And perhaps Insquad is what you are looking for. Why not give us a try?