Katya Kashi on: A senior tech recruiter’s guide to sourcing global talent & building remote teams

Katya Kashi on: A senior tech recruiter’s guide to sourcing global talent & building remote teams

  • 40 minutes
  • Talent Acquisition
  • Ep 26

Whether you’re looking to hire contractors globally or open a physical site in another country, a hiring battle plan is a must.

On this episode of How We Hire, senior technical recruiter at Houzz, Katya Kashi shares her story of hiring remote talent from South Asia and the Middle East to Europe.

Based on her experiences and lessons, she offers practical insights for any company looking to expand, go remote, or hire several remote employees. Her biggest tip? Always start with deep market research. 

Key takeaways

  • Why sourcing global talent is critical in today’s interconnected world
  • Pros and cons of hiring a remote contractor versus opening a physical site
  • How to accommodate your hiring process to candidates from diverse backgrounds
  • Best practice tips for kicking off a global recruitment strategy

On the show

Katya Kashi Senior Technical Recruiter at Houzz
Linnea Bywall
Linnea Bywall Head of People & Operations at Alva Labs

Katya Kashi

Katya Kashi is a senior technical recruiter, a marathon runner, and a loving mother. Born and raised in Ukraine, she has made Tel Aviv her home for the past 12 years. Katya has discovered her true passion in the world of recruitment, especially in tech, where she excels at connecting talented individuals with amazing opportunities. With an unwavering dedication to her craft, she has found her stride in this fast-paced industry.

Linnea Bywall

Linnea Bywall is a former NCAA athlete turned licensed psychologist – and Head of People at Alva Labs. Linnea was recently listed as one of the most inspiring women in tech by TechRound and was featured as one of the 22 Innovative HR Leaders to follow in 2022 by AIHR Academy to Innovate HR. 

From attracting and hiring to onboarding and growing Alva's employees, Linnea's main mission is to change the world of hiring every day by challenging biases in recruitment.



  • Introduction-01:26
  • Why sourcing globally is key in today’s interconnected world-2:33
  • Why organisations are moving their talent back to the office and why this could be a mistake-3:51
  • Trends in the global talent market-7:10
  • Hiring a remote employee as a contractor versus opening a physical site- pros and cons-10:10
  • How to get started with global hiring-13:00
  • Tips on executing a successful sourcing strategy-14:34
  • Challenges for hiring for different international markets and how to overcome them-18:57
  • How to accommodate your hiring process to candidates with different cultural backgrounds-28:40
  • Sourcing versus a candidate voluntarily applying to a position- Should you treat applicants differently?-33:13
  • Best practice tips for kicking off a recruitment process for a global position-36:47
  • How to pull off a successful phone interview-39:02
  • The best KPI to keep your eye on when hiring talent-42:07
  • Top tips for companies wanting to launch their global hiring strategy-45:13

How We Hire Podcast Episode 26 Transcript

Linnea (00:06):

Welcome to How We Hire, a podcast by Alva Labs, with me, Linnea, licensed psychologist and head of people. This show is for all of you who hire or just find recruitment interesting. In every episode, I will speak with thought leaders from across the globe to learn from their experiences and best practices within hiring, building teams, and growing organizations.


Our guest on today's episode is Katya Kashi, a senior technical recruiter, a marathon runner, and a loving mother. Born and raised in Ukraine, she has made Tel Aviv her home for the past 12 years. Katya has discovered her true passion in the world of recruitment, especially in tech, where she excels as connecting talented individuals with amazing opportunities. With an unwavering dedication to her craft, she has found her stride in this fast-paced industry. Welcome to How We Hire, Katya.

Katya Kashi (01:03):


Linnea (01:05):

It's so nice to have you. We're obviously going to nerd out in recruitment on today's episode, but we're going to have the overarching focus of best practices in sourcing global talent, a topic that I think a lot of companies are, from time to time, struggling with. But before we jump into that, what inspired you to pursue a career in recruitment?

Katya Kashi (01:26):

Being honest, I always was helping my friends to find job, especially all friends that were moving from Ukraine to Israel, and I was connecting them with other people. Meanwhile, I was doing something else. I was working, doing something else, and I really, really loved to get happy feedback and to see how people are working at the places that I was sure that really good fit for them, but I was never thinking to this direction. After a while, I had a crisis where I had to rethink what is my future, what I want to do when I will grow up. It was at age around 28, I think. I think this was one of the idea, that I really love to match people with their careers and to see how this puzzle is becoming a picture. So I think this is the main reason why I came to the world of recruiting.

Linnea (02:16):

So you already did it and to turn it into a profession, decided to make some money out of it.

Katya Kashi (02:20):

Yeah, yeah.

Linnea (02:20):

That's so smart. Katya, can you just share your overall perspective on the significance of sourcing global talent in today's interconnected world?

Katya Kashi (02:33):

It's one of the main beauty nowadays with all the crisis that is happening, that our talents are really moving across the world, trying to find their place to work. And when we're sourcing globally, we are finding people with the background of living in few countries before they're going back home. Really, now, it's one of the best times to start to hire globally also, because we had a kind of a try to work remotely during corona year. And now we see that it really works for a lot of companies, for a lot of companies who made it smart. So now, it's really, really great time to continue developing it. I really believe that, and I hope that companies will stick to it and not go back, because we see already that a lot of companies trying to get back their people to the office and I really think that it's one of the biggest mistakes.


So I really believe that our podcast, that's like our talk, will help companies to not be afraid to hire people remote, not to be afraid to build sites in other countries, because there are really a lot of great talents all over the world and it's very cool to also to learn a little bit about other cultures. It's making companies, I think... Company pictures is richer and better.

Linnea (03:51):

I think it's fascinating how accepted it is become to hire globally after the pandemic because, I guess it was a thing before that, but now it's something that everyone, I mean, at first had to engage with almost, because so many companies were hiring, there was lack of talent out there, and all of a sudden their possibility to actually find talent elsewhere was so much easier. What you said here, that you see organizations moving back to having people in the office, not do global hiring as much, why do you think that is?

Katya Kashi (04:26):

I think this is the problem of control, the managers want to control their employees. And I think this is the problem of bad leaders, when they cannot really trust their employees. And also the problem of the recruiting, where they hiring recruiters who are not able to hire a really good fit and really talents that can do the job. So first, managers are not trusting recruiters. And after, because they don't trust recruiters, they don't trust their employees then. So I think this is the main problem in the management.

Linnea (05:01):

Yeah. I mean, it goes back to what's very human, that we tend to get along with people that are very similar to us, we tend to understand them better. And then our kind of subjectivity and prejudice kind of kicks in when we interact with people that are different, from different cultures, and I guess it makes it harder to make it work, because I think, to your point, it's about trust and management. And it is a fantastic opportunity. And when it works, I think it probably works way better than just having people from your own home market, but it also puts a lot of demands on the organization and the manager.

Katya Kashi (05:41):

Yeah, I agree. And I also think that this is one of the biggest mistakes, when we want to hire someone who is similar to us, because, in my opinion, it's better to hire someone who is stronger in things that we are weak. We need someone who will benefit us, and managers need not to be afraid to work with someone who can be better than them. This is another thing that I always trying to explain to our hiring managers, that hiring manager doesn't need to be the best hiring manager, doesn't need to be the best at work that he does. He needs to be a good leader, he needs to be a person who can make an environment for people to grow and develop. And it's not always mean that he's the best programmer or he's, I don't know, the best data scientist. It's not.

Linnea (06:25):

No, for sure. I remember talking to one of the top management in a scale up, where his outspoken target was to hire someone that made more money than him, simply because he wanted to hire someone that would be better than him, and that that was the only target that he had for that period. And I thought that was just an interesting way to phrase it, because that boils it down to sometimes what it's all about. But can't you just... I mean, you've been working a lot with global sourcing and hiring globally. Can't you just elaborate a little bit on interesting insights, trends. What have you observed in this now global talent market?

Katya Kashi (07:10):

Yeah. First of all, I think it's important to say that there is two ways to hire globally. First is to hire employees as the contractors, and, second, to open a site, to have an office, physical or not physical, but to make it so there is two legal ways to do it. And the company should decide what is better for them, what brings them better outcome. So the biggest trend that I see now, I was lately hiring for the market like Taiwan and Nepal, and I can tell you that I see a lot of migrations. Because due to all the layoffs that were happening in United States, I can see a lot of talents that are moving from United States to Taiwan back. And it's an amazing fact because, before, hiring in Taiwan was a challenge, because they were looking for opportunities with relocation. They all wanted to move to United States or to Europe, and now they're moving back because there is much more jobs opening in Taiwan. A lot of companies are moving there because a lot of reasons, economical, their talent reason. So I see a lot of them moving.


Also, I see a lot of companies are opening their offices in Nepal lately. It's still like the talent market there is a bit tight, but it's still pretty cool place. The language, most of them speak really great English. The culture, they all very open and nice people. They really, really kind, and it's a huge pleasure to work with them. They differ, it's still different mentality and everything, but in communication you can feel that you are communicating with a European person. So for companies that are in Europe, for them probably this market will be very interesting due to the communication that will be very easy. But again, there is a problem that they are still want to relocate. So people need to keep in mind that a lot of this is also cultural thing, they all want to move out. So it's very important to remember that, if you're hiring someone, there is a big chance that if in one year some company will come and promise him relocation, this person will leave the position.


So there is a lot of things that they need to consider and always I'm advising before you're entering any market, you need to do research. You need to understand what is their job culture there, what are the culture in general there, which language people feel really free to talk. So there is a deep research that needs to be done. If you are planning to open a site globally in some countries, the best is to start hiring with a human resource manager in my opinion. This should be the first hire in the site, and then a deep discussion, and then deep understanding about the culture of people in the country.

Linnea (09:50):

I have a follow-up question because you started saying you can either open up a site so you have a legal entity in that country or you can, I mean, I guess, use an employer of records and stuff like that. What upsides, pitfalls with those two options? What would you say? Why go with one before the other?

Katya Kashi (10:10):

It depends on the amount of employee. It really depends on the company goals. It depends on the amount of employees that is needed. Also, it's important to understand that it's a kind of remote job, but it's not a remote job. It means that if you are opening an entity in a specific country, the person can work from home, person can travel and work from somewhere else, but this person cannot move to another country, because you having an agreement with the government that you are paying taxes for this person in this specific country. So if the company wants to give all the benefits that country can also provide based on the taxes the company is paying, so this is the way to opening a site. If you're planning to hire a lot of employees, if you're planning to treat them well, so you should go with opening a site.


There is some companies who need one, two, three programmers. So probably, if it's really a small amount of employees, so to hire people as the contractors, this is the only way they can do, because they will not be able to open an entity. But in this case, they're really doing a kind of remote employees, because they're just paying specific amount and employees can travel and pay the taxes by themself deducted from their salary. So it's like these really remote employees, because they can work from any country.

Linnea (11:28):

And just linking it to how we've done it at Alva, I mean, we have both alternatives. We opened up the legal entity in the UK because we knew that that is a market that where we want to go in and we wanted to have employees in the UK. So there, we went with a legal entity because we had tied to the business plans, etc. But then, I mean, we have a few employees that we have in Portugal, we have in Spain, in, let's see, France. And maybe I'm missing some countries, so let's not say that that's the entire list, but those three, I guess, what comes to mind. But we have, oh, yeah, Prague. Based on that that's where we found fantastic talent.


We were very open to hire from wherever, and we ended up getting applicants from different countries and then we just kind of like, "Hey, we know we want this candidate," and we wanted to solve for it in the legal way. So for us, we've gone with both approaches and the overall, I guess, strategy has really been like we want the right person for the job regardless of where that person is located. So I think that makes sense.


The second follow-up question I had on these trends, you say you need to really do your research and understand the market, how does one get started? If this is the first time I'm going to do global hiring, I'm going to investigate a country, how would you go about doing that type of research?

Katya Kashi (13:00):

First of all, you are thinking about which position you want to hire in this country, making a list and stack of technologies or skills that you need. I'm doing quick research in LinkedIn to see if there is a market for this position, to see if there is a reason to really search for talents there. After I study, to go to Facebook groups, professional groups, and to see how people communicate there, how they post jobs, how they looking for jobs. I'm trying also to communicate with some of their human resource specialists there. I'm getting them on LinkedIn, introducing myself, asking some questions. Some of them are really open and sharing the information, because this is what I also do myself. Some of the recruiters from Europe came to my LinkedIn not long time ago and just asked if I think it's a good opinion to open a hiring company in Israel in my opinion, and I was happy to share my experience and my background.


So this also what I do, when I do some market research. So this is a short instruction. I'm always trying to follow up these steps. And after, if I see that there is a reason, there is a talent pool, there is an understanding between me and a few human resource employees in the country, see if there is a reason to start to go deeper.

Linnea (14:20):

So it sounds like there's a lot of thought behind, it's not just like, "Oh, let's go hunt some people down." What would you say are the key factors to have a successful sourcing strategy when it comes to global talent?

Katya Kashi (14:34):

Oh, sourcing strategy is something that I really like. A lot of recruiters prefer to think the sourcing strategy is something that you're opening a LinkedIn recruiter, you add job title, or some do Boolean search, and this is the strategy. It's rarely bringing me at least to a good place. So if, for example, let's say I need to hire data scientists in Taiwan and I know that the market is very bad, I'm trying to think out of the box and think where I can find this talent. I'm having this stack of languages that they need to know and other skills that they need to have.


So instead of [inaudible 00:15:09], first of all, I'm talking to the hiring manager, what is must and what is nice to have. Nice to have I always put on the side because, if I know that there is not a lot of people with this job description, not a lot of people who has having understanding of what is really data scientist. So I put it aside and I try to do a search and to see what is happening on the market. And after I'm communicating with few people, only after I can build a strategy. So, for example, as I said, with data scientists, I saw that the market is very tight in Taiwan. But based on their people that were appearing in the search, some of them were from United States but originally in Taiwan. I started to get some CVs that were from people who are based in United States, but, again, originally from Taiwan.


So I started to figure out, ah, there is a kind of immigration. So I started to do the sourcing. I built my sourcing strategy based on people who studied in Taiwanese universities or were born in Taiwan but now working in the United States in big companies that had layoffs. So I knew that this way my chances to get to people who are interested to get job are much higher. In the end, we hired the person, we closed this position, and it was like someone from United States who wanted to move back to Taiwan.


And it's always like this. I mean, also there is important, also, to build a business, sorry, sourcing strategist when you are hiring for management positions, because it's usually these people are hard to get. And I'm always trying to advise junior recruiters to think out of the box. If you need to hire a manager who has one or two years' management experience and you cannot hire for a long time, maybe it's worth to talk to a hiring manager and offer to look for senior developers who has some experience in management in the past but not on their tech positions. For example, in Israel, I'm always was going to search for people who were managing units in the army but didn't manage at workplace and was offering them management position. Because they knew that in the army they were able to manage people, so they're definitely leading people, so they were definitely able to adjust this to the workplace. So all kind of these thoughts, just kind of to be a little bit a detective I think.

Linnea (17:28):

Yeah, it sounds like when you put that in a global perspective, it's not just understanding the market that you're hiring for and the company and the role, it's also about understanding macro factors, what's happening in the economy or in these countries, and make the best of those insights.

Katya Kashi (17:50):

Yeah, it's always important to stay up to date on the news and to see what's happening globally, to be really interested in it. The same when the war happened in Ukraine, I was at this moment hiring for Dropbox, and we came up with idea to open a site in Poland, because there was a lot of talents who moved from Ukraine to Poland. And we had a chance to build a site there because the market was very tight then in Israel and they couldn't find any developers who were skilled enough for the position that they wanted to hire, and they ended up in opening a site in Poland and closing the site in Israel, because they felt that this market is much better for them.


So yeah, always updates, always news, it's very important. That's why I think LinkedIn, it's also nice to follow people on LinkedIn who is giving you good insights the global situation, not only connected to recruiting, but, in general, people who are producing really good information.

Linnea (18:45):

And it sounds like you have been hiring for a bunch of different markets. What are some of the challenges that you've encountered when it comes to different countries, different regions, and how do you overcome them?

Katya Kashi (18:57):

Yeah, there is a lot of challenges in every region. For example, in Taiwan they can tell you yes on any question because it's not polite to say no there. And after the interview, you can get an email where they're telling me that they are not accepting half of what you said and they are not satisfied with a lot the things because it's just not polite to say in the face no. And it takes time until you really understand them, until you understand what is the culture, what is standing behind their behavior. For example, in Nepal they all discussing their salaries with everyone. You are hiring five people, and they will all discuss how much they get an offer. And if they want to leave, go to another company, they will tell everyone how much they get offered from another company.


So if you're talking about Taiwan, this is the place where you need to know the culture, to learn the culture. I was watching a bit of movies, just like regular movies that they making, some TV shows, to understand really what is standing behind some of their conversations with them. In Nepal, I came up with the idea that we need to do leveling for all engineers as we have in other countries in order to have same salaries based on level. So they can discuss it, but we are staying the same. It means we are very transparent.


In general, I think that transparency is the key to make employees and to keep them happy, but not a lot of companies and countries are close to this situation. So there is some countries where you have no choice and you need to make it transparent so you will keep your employees and you will keep the healthy atmosphere, but we're always learning from mistakes. There is no way, especially in the new companies and the new sites, you always need to do mistake in order to understand how to fix it and how to make it better.

Linnea (20:48):

How do you make sure to draw concrete learnings from those mistakes?

Katya Kashi (20:52):

Usually, first of all, you need to accept and to say, "Yeah, it was a mistake. We did a mistake." This is the first step. Without it, nothing happened and nothing will change. And after, I'm usually writing the problem and understanding, writing the ways we can solve it, and discussing it with the teammates, discussing it with the people who are living in these countries. As I said, this is the reason to hire a human resource manager first. I'm always coming with this problem to the human resource manager and I'm asking, "What, in your opinion, can help us to solve this problem?" And see, after we are giving usually one, two, three months' test to our solution and see if it works. And if it's not, it's also very important to say, "Okay, it didn't work, we need to find another solution." And it's okay to make mistakes. It's very important to say also to all recruiters and to all people who are going to interviews, to make mistakes is okay. Even on the interview, it's okay to be wrong.

Linnea (21:46):

Yeah, to be sure. I think one of the main reasons for why or how we have improved our recruitment process is that we do hiring retros after each process, where we go over what worked really well, what didn't work, what ideas we have for improvement, and then what actions we can draw from that. And just stating from the beginning that there will be great things and there will be mistakes makes it a lot easier to then discuss them, because you're assuming and you're expecting that there will be both good sides and bad sides. I think that's the key part of how we have evolved as a hiring employer over time. So I think that's really, really important, and, I mean, especially, as you mentioned, when you encounter so many different challenges, and not just the same ones over and over again. I mean, you mentioned that you use LinkedIn, but what alternative methods, channels have you found effective?

Katya Kashi (22:45):

One of my favorite thing to say to all recruiter, is that you always need to be open, you can hire people everywhere. Once, I had a story that they hired someone through Twitter.

Linnea (22:56):


Katya Kashi (22:57):

Yeah, this is also a channel. I'm using Twitter to stay up to date to news. This is actually one of the best places I think. It's short, straight to the point. I just need to follow right people. And once, I had a kind of threat with one of the developers who were not happy about what's going on in the market, and we discussed it a little bit. And then we took it to LinkedIn, and from there he came to the interview and really was a great hire.


So there is a lot of resources, and each country has their own social media and social networks that are stronger in any specific country. So I would say that, for sure, GitHub and all these kind of platforms for technical people also can be very useful, but we also need to think about communities, because this is the main source, and this is the best source, because there we can see people are together and they're less afraid to be open and to show their talents.


So if, for example, we're talking about Taiwan, Taiwan actually has really strong communities on Facebook for the technical specialists. It's nice, before you're starting to post their jobs, for sure, to communicate a little bit with people, to see how other recruiters, locals, are posting their jobs, to communicate with them and ask what is the best thing to do. Sometimes, in some countries, they will accept only if you are posting jobs on their own language. I know that there's few countries that are still following this rule. For example, in China, it's very hard to find someone who will be a English speaker or to find any kind of community, because the country is very closed, but in Taiwan it's not a problem. Even if you're posting in English, it looks more professional for them. They really prefer to work in the company that is international. So it's totally fine.


I think also there is some social medias that can go stronger. I know that it depends as well which kind of specialist you're looking for. And if you're looking for someone junior and very young, TikTok works also amazing in Taiwan. I know that it sounds strange, but it really works great. The generation that is really finding jobs through TikTok, I think that they're doing everything, that they're even studying in the universities through TikTok. So just to stay open, to communicate more, to engage more with people, and not only directly I'm looking for this and this position, let's talk. No, it's better to start the communication, start a small talk, go to local job boards.


Some countries are old school, not all of them using LinkedIn. And being honest, again I'm talking a lot about Taiwan, but just they have so many differences compared to other markets so it's very easy to use them, there is not a lot of people on LinkedIn in Taiwan. It's kind of like a monopoly. There is few companies that did very smart thing and just stole the market from LinkedIn. They opened a platform where people can [inaudible 00:25:54] and it's making their CV with a nice template but also saving their CV for their own CRM. So they're offering other companies to pay monthly specific amount and to search in their CRM employees.


So I will also had a lot of meetings with this kind of agencies to see, to understand what they are talking, to ask these agencies, even where if you're not planning to hire through agencies, to ask them questions, what are the top companies in Taiwan? Not only global companies, you also want to know what are local technical companies, what are the big thing there? And this is the information that you can get only from locals. So my advice is always to go to locals, to communicate with them, to give them some information that you have, so that they can use for their needs and to get the information that you need.

Linnea (26:44):

And what could that type of information be? What can you share that they want?

Katya Kashi (26:48):

Usually sharing the information about the company, what I'm hiring for, what our interest, which with job recs we have open. What it gives them, it's giving them the information of the need of other companies globally so they can approach other companies based on our needs. And they really love this and they need this information. They're not afraid to waste one hour of their time for this meeting to understand what globally companies are looking in their market. And I'm not hiding this information, I'm telling them, and telling them our possible plans in the country. And on the back, we're getting, mostly from all the companies, all these meetings with the agencies, I get a list of their biggest companies, a list of their most common talents there.


Because, for example, it's very hard to hire 3D programmer in Taiwan, because the gaming industry is not popular there. And you always need to think, "Okay, where I can find 3D if the gaming industry is not good there?" So you need to think about other sites. And they're giving this information to you that we don't have. Example, the gaming business is not allowed in Taiwan, so we don't have a need of these kind of engineers. So from this information, you understand that you don't need to search it, to waste your time.

Linnea (28:04):

So it sounds like a lot to just, I mean, be where people are, which sounds obvious, but I think it's so easy to just assume that all talent is on LinkedIn. But also, it sounds like really getting under the skin of where the talent communities are in those countries that you're sourcing for.

Katya Kashi (28:25):


Linnea (28:25):

Okay, so when sourcing talent globally, what adaptions, modifications do you recommend in terms of the actual recruitment process, especially to accommodate different culture backgrounds?

Katya Kashi (28:40):

Each country having their own processes, but I think it's also very important, even while adapting the hiring process to the country, to still stay true for the company and for the hiring process that you have and not to give up on a lot of things that is important for your company due to the cultural differences. I would suggest always do some quick research, what are the processes are looking in global companies in this country?


When you're building a recruiting hiring process in any site, it's very important first to really answer on the questions, what do you need to know in order to be sure that it's the perfect candidate? And when you are answering on this question, then you can build the hiring process. You need to check some technical skills always, and you need to check a cultural fit. Don't like how it sounds, but... And which data you need to have in order to make a decision for this. So after you having these answers, you can build the hiring process.


And even I know that in some countries, for example, in Nepal, it's not typical to have a HR interview. They think that HR interview, it's a kind of an offer call. So they always were surprised when we were having 50 minutes questions, like a discussions, and where I was always telling them, "This is the place for you to ask questions. I'm happy to give you the whole information." Usually they didn't have any questions because they just wanted to get a job. This was the moment when I was starting to educate them that it's very important to understand what we are offering. It's very important to understand if it fits you. And with time, I saw that other companies also started to implement it there. And people started to accept it and behave differently. And being honest, that there is a few times in my experience that we didn't hire professionals due to strong enough from the HR interviews, based on the behavior of the person in the past when you are asking the questions, behavioral questions.


So building the process, as I said before, important to understand which skills you need and which personality you're looking for, the specific positions, the specific department, the specific manager. And when you are answering on these questions, you can build the interview process. And also before, just always recommend to do quick market research what other companies are doing so you will be kind of in line with them so people won't be shocked. But the main idea is to always to stay true to your process, what works for you, best for your company.

Linnea (31:04):

What changes have you made based on the need of that specific market? Do you have any examples?

Katya Kashi (31:11):

As I said before, in Nepal we added a human resource interview that they never had before because, for us, important to understand how long we can keep the talent, to make sure that the talent is not planning to jump very quickly. And this is something that you can get during the communication, during the questions, why the person left the previous jobs, and to really deep understanding what is standing behind these decisions.


I would say that in Taiwan markets, we tried to make the process shorter, because we saw that a lot of companies are entering the market, and to have three weeks' interview process was already not a good idea because we were losing talents. This is always the case for strong talents. If the process is long, there is a very big possibility that this person will just jump to another company who has the process like shorter and more efficient.

Linnea (32:02):

When you need to make it more efficient, what is it that you cut first?

Katya Kashi (32:04):

I think that this is just the amount of interviews, the amount of the person meets. I think that if you need five technical or even three technical rounds, I think this is the problem in your interview process in my opinion. I think 3+ technical rounds, it's already too much. You cannot check... There is always, you can check technical skills of the person, I think, in two rounds of the interviews for any position, if it's a management position, if it's a senior position; maybe for junior you need even less. You want rounds. So if you need so many rounds of interviews in order to understand if it's the right talent, so probably you don't know who is the right talent.

Linnea (32:46):

Exactly, or you're not asking the right questions I guess. So now when we're discussing how to adapt your process and we're discussing sourcing, even if this might not fit into the whole global perspective, but I've always been interested in when you source someone versus a candidate that applies, is it okay to treat those differently? And if so, how?

Katya Kashi (33:13):

I'm not a fan to treat people differently based on if I sourced them or if they applied. I think recruiters are giving a service. We are service employees. We are giving a service to candidates, we are giving service to hiring manager. And it's not that we're making an effort to if we're sourcing person so he's a better talent or if he applied by himself. I think it's very important to understand that each talent who is applying is a talent, and we are [inaudible 00:33:39] to provide service and service should be the best. I'm always prefer even to work on the site of the wow service, give feedback after the interview, the feedback that will help the candidate to improve something. Not the feedback about cultural fit, "Sorry, you're not a cultural fit," because I don't know. There is a few reason. But to give the feedback that candidate will be able to use to improve something in the future.


And my main idea in communication with candidates is that, even if in two years this candidate will go, I don't know, to work in another company, will gain the relevant experience, and I will need to hire this talent in the future, I want to stay in contact with this candidate. The way that, if I will text him, he will say, "Oh, wow, it was amazing experience. Thank you. Yes, I want to go through the process with you because it was nice." So for me, recruiting is kind of giving a service of business class in a flight that people wants to do it again.

Linnea (34:35):

Yeah, I think that's a really nice way to put it. And I think even more specific for my question, I think one thing that we have discussed a lot internally is when... Because, I mean, in all our processes, all of the assessments is the first step, so all candidates will do the personality and the logic ability test. And sometimes when we've sourced someone, you obviously can't assess if they have the right personality fit. So sometimes there's been sourced candidates that don't really match the job when it comes to the assessments. And then the discussion has been around, should we still have an interview? If this was a candidate that applied, we probably wouldn't proceed with them. But since we reached out and then sent the task, is it just rude to not take the interview, even if it's like to some extent wasting everyone's time? I think it's hard too. How okay is it to say, "Hey, I want you," but then like, "No, wait, I don't"? What's your thoughts on it?

Katya Kashi (35:33):

I think it's okay not to move forward with the candidate because it's not kind of, "Hey, I want you," it's kind of, "I think that you can fit to this position, so do you want to check it? Are you also interested?" It's not that you are making the person to go through the assessment without the person wanting this. You're also interested in this position, and it's kind of opportunity for both, for you to hire the person and for him to be hired in a great place. So I wouldn't feel bad to say like, "Sorry, you had an assessment and we don't want to move forward with you because you A, B, C," to give the explanation to the person for sure. And I wouldn't feel bad for it, because when we are reaching to people, we're not really wasting their time. If they don't want, they don't answer. And I guess that someone is not interesting to apply or to try, they will never answer to you.

Linnea (36:21):

It's fair. It's all about setting the right expectations from the start when reaching out to a candidate. I think that makes a lot of sense. Okay, so we've now talked about sourcing strategy and how countries can differ and then how your actual recruitment process, should it be tweaked or not. Should we just quickly dive into what's your best practice recruitment process? What are the stages in that one?

Katya Kashi (36:47):

Yeah, sure. It depends on the position, but let's talk about technical positions. I would say phone screen, technical round, meeting with the hiring manager, HR interview. It's amazing to have... I didn't have a chance to work with the companies that are working with Alva Labs unfortunately.

Linnea (37:08):


Katya Kashi (37:12):

Yet, yet. So I really think that it's great to have a database decision if you want to move with the person in the process or not. I would add this assessment after the phone screen, and then like to move to the technical round, who is one of the developers, not only to check the technical skills but also to check how this person can communicate with one of the developers in the team. After, the meeting with a hiring manager that will be less technical and more talking about the perspective of jobs. Also, this meeting is important not only to check if the person will fit to the team, but also to see if the expectation from his side also can be satisfied by the company.


And to have also human resource interview, which will also give more answers to the candidate, more instruments if we will move to an offer to understand if the person wants to work in this company, because, for example, some people are looking for companies that are doing parties, that are inviting singers and everything. And if you work in the company that is having another benefits but not this, it's very important to market and to be open during the human resource interview and to say about it. Because after, in one year or in six months, this person can go to another company just because he expected something else.

Linnea (38:28):

So it sounds like the HR interview at the end is not necessarily about assessing the candidate, but rather just providing information, making sure that their questions are answered.

Katya Kashi (38:40):

Yeah, this is also a big part for me for the human resource interview, to have a measure of the expectation, also from our side and also from the candidate's side.

Linnea (38:50):

Just double clicking on the phone screen, what's your top questions to ask in one of those? What is it that you focus on in a successful phone screen interview?

Katya Kashi (39:02):

First of all, for me it's important to understand that the person is communicating skills are good, that the person can walk me through his CV. Because, of course, I have the CV and I see it, it's just important to see that this person are 100% sure that what he wrote in CV is true. I had some situation where a person was not able to explain his work experience. So first, I'm checking the communication skills. Second, for me it's important to understand the motivation of the person who started to look for work. Basically, this is the main thing that I'm trying to understand, and also to explain about the position.


For me, the main idea of the phone screen interview is to give the person information about the company and about the position, to tell what is the process look like, and to understand if this person really stands behind what's written on the CV, if this person really wants to enter the process. Basically, this is the main idea. It depends again on the position, because for some positions I need to ask some technical questions that I was forwarding after to the hiring manager to make a decision, but mostly it's kind of a 30 minutes call, where I'm providing some information and getting quick understanding of the person motivation and that's it.

Linnea (40:21):

So then it sounds like it's the technical interview and the interview with the hiring manager that is actually the decision making aspects, where the phone screen is, or at least it sounds like, the majority of the candidates will proceed to the next step, right?

Katya Kashi (40:37):

Again, it very depends on the position, but let's say if the experience and stack of the candidate is what we're looking for and he's explaining during then. Of course, I'm asking, what is your day-to-day work like? And I'm trying to understand if it's something that we have in the company, if it's something that he will like. Of course, there is questions if we're hiring a mobile developer. For me, it's important to understand that, for example, we are hiring more who is working with UI, and this person was working more as a backend developer.


So all these things for me, for sure, it's important to understand and to explain to the candidate. But yeah, phone screen is kind of a filter that the person can explain and can confirm that what's in CV, his stack, that is something that he's working with and something that he wants to continue working with, and if he really motivated to work with the company. It's kind of assessment that is based, unfortunately, not on the clean data but on the recruiter opinion. But the main decision maker, I wouldn't agree that the phone screen is not a part of the decision making process, but HR interview is. So it's not only hiring manager and technical rounds, but also the HR interview.

Linnea (41:54):

Okay. We're going to start rounding off soon, but are there specific metrics, KPIs that you think are extra relevant when it comes to global talent sourcing and hiring?

Katya Kashi (42:07):

Yeah, there is. I was on an interview not long time ago at one company where they ask me if I have experienced work on KPIs. When they asked about KPIs, I said like, "You're meaning about how fast I can hire." This is the main KPI for all the recruiters globally unfortunately. In my opinion, I think that the best KPI for the recruiter is, it can be also only measured after the hiring, how the person fit, how the person perform. So in my opinion, this is the only, the best KPI. And in the long term, you can say how long the person stay in the company, and his manager satisfied with his work, and what is his impact in the company.


Because I can hire 20 people in three days. I'm not sure that they will be a really great fit because I didn't have enough time to really be inside the hiring process. Because hiring process, it starts with the takeoff meeting, with understanding. But before sourcing, before building the strategy, it takes time to really go deep into each job description, to make research, and to understand who will be the right fit. So I wouldn't go like, "You have two months to hire the employee." And sometimes you don't need even two months, sometimes it can be like three weeks. It depends on the position, depends on their location. But I wouldn't use it as a KPI for recruiters. Which KPIs you using in the Alva Lab?

Linnea (43:36):

I mean, we measure a bunch of things from our applicant tracking system, but the only one we focus on and report back to the team and the management team is the quality of hires. And the way that we measure that is how successful people are in the onboarding. So after three and five months, the hiring manager does a super quick and dirty survey on the performance of that person. And that's the reason for using the onboarding data, because, I mean, long term I would prefer to use the actual performance data, but it shortens the feedback loop. So in my mind it's the sweet spot between measuring output and quality but also keeping the feedback loop short enough for the recruiter to still remember the hires that they've made. So that's how we do it. We have discussed a lot on what DE&I KPIs we should include. I haven't landed in one that feels really great yet, so right now quality of hiring is the one for us.

Katya Kashi (44:38):


Linnea (44:39):

Yeah, and I like it. I think it works really well and I think it's relevant. Okay, Katya, before we let you go and let the listeners move on with their day, what would you say to people that want to start hiring globally or improve how they're hiring globally? What's your one takeaway or best tips that you want to share with the listeners?

Katya Kashi (45:06):

I would say that's probably hire first a great recruiter, who-

Linnea (45:09):

Yeah, good one.

Katya Kashi (45:13):

... Who will do good research. But I would say, before entering the market, to do research, to understand the market before entering it. This is what I think my best... And not afraid to make mistakes on the way.

Linnea (45:24):

Good one. So hire a great recruiter. If you already are that recruiter, good job, we're halfway there. But then make your research, and then be happy with your mistakes and, I guess, learn from them. I think those are great takeaways. Katya, it was an absolute pleasure having you on How We Hire. If people want to connect with you, I'm assuming you are... Well, now I know that you're on Twitter, TikTok, LinkedIn, so they can probably find you everywhere.

Katya Kashi (45:53):

Yeah, it's true, but mostly on LinkedIn I'm pretty active. They are just one of my top social medias. Yeah, and it was really my pleasure meeting you. And I'm following you for a long time already and a lot of your employees as well. Really love the company and the spirit that you bring there. It's really a pleasure having a talk with you.

Linnea (46:12):

Well, thank you. The pleasure is all mine. Thank you, and hope to talk soon. And for everyone listening, tune in for another episode in two weeks. Have a nice day. Bye.