Vetting Developers at Lemon.io: Our Mighty Way

Lemon.io is a marketplace delivering the best European programmers to the top American companies since 2015. Many entrepreneurs inquire, how do we make sure our devs are the best ones. There are two ways to answer. The short one is a pic on our main page. For the lovers of long-form narratives, we proudly offer this article. Dive in to know more about vetting developers at Lemon.io!

crossroad programmer

Where to find a developer for your star project?

These seemingly time-worn laments never end. In the ever-expanding virtual universe, the need for qualified developers who help your startup not to get lost is eternal. No wonder. You will not build a successful startup without a perfectly chosen team of specialists to embody your marvelous projects. That’s why there are so many different marketplaces and job platforms — for each their own. The core division between them lies in the sphere of testing the candidates. 

Bidding developers vs. vetting developers

Bidding platforms don’t test their registered programmers at all. After you post the bid (an offer with the desired price), you are included in the competition, and the entrepreneur satisfied by your conditions will make you an offer. Vetting platforms test and filter their registered professionals before offering them for the startups. The tests they’re employing can be truly multifaceted. There are platforms checking only essential references and tech stack. Some go deeper and want to make sure the candidate’s communication and language skills are suitable for independent cooperation with the foreign startup.

Some vetting platforms are pretty confident and never change their vetting procedures. Others platforms’ track is full of radical twists and turns, and the reasons for that can also be quite copious. 

test check

From Coding Ninjas to Lemon.io

The company that’s now sparkling under the name of Lemon.io has started as a cozy startup with a different working scheme and set of procedures. They also checked their developers. However, the current vetting practice of Lemon.io doesn’t have much in common with the somewhat random checks of its predecessor. We’ve collected memories of the people who started their Lemon.io way with the Coding Ninjas and survived the rebranding. Their direct speech will help us tell this curious story.

rebranding

Coding Ninjas: Uber for developers

For the entrepreneurs who prefer giving brief tasks to offshore devs, the emergence of Coding Ninjas in 2015 was a blessing. Alexander Volodarsky, Vasyl Dzesa, and Anvar Azizov decided to create the Uber for developers: if you have some short tasks to complete, call us and we’ll find you a suitable specialist out of the constantly widening pool. According to Malky Volodarsky, head of the client success department at Lemon.io, at first, the dev stack of the Coding Ninjas consisted of the founders’ friends and friends of friends. The developers fulfilled short one-time tasks (closing the tickets) and invited their pals to the network.

There were some programmers who helped us with the company web and simultaneously worked for the clients we found for them. The best inside vetting ever.

Anastasiia Andriienko, Matching Team Lead at Lemon.io

Anastasiia saw the vetting development in progress: she started as a personal assistant of Alexander Volodarsky and worked through the company rebranding. The rebranding influenced the processes on each level since it was accompanied by the change of the working scheme. As a personal assistant, she composed the tables with potential clients, maintained the contact database, and checked the devs’ availability — in short, she basically fulfilled the functions of the entire team — just on a more narrow scale.

multitasking

Vetting developers at Coding Ninjas

At Coding Ninjas, the developers were mostly focused on WordPress. The vetting was quick and concentrated on a particular task. So was the work: it took the devs 2-3 days to complete an average CodingNinjas task. An Uber, indeed!

Back then, nobody checked soft skills: when you offer the devs for one-time tasks, the client asks them to complete the task and doesn’t need to maintain any long-term business relationship (that’s what soft skills are for). 

 We checked the language proficiency on a very basic and practical level: say, your client lost their password (or you lost it yourself): let them know, describe the situation, don’t let the work stumble. All the communication was written, so no one thought of any self-presentation skills check. Self-organization has always been on the table, but at Coding Ninjas, the devs were still rather few and we somehow managed to arrange everything for them without making too much fuss.

Ievgeniia Kruglova, Head of Talent Acquisition at Lemon.io

The technical vetting of the newcomers was on the shoulders of one person: Anvar Azizov, who is now Lemon.io’s CTO. He offered the developers a short task set and asked them to complete it in the course of 1-2 days. 

After 5 years, Coding Ninjas had much more to offer the market than the plain short tasks fulfillment. Uber for developers was a pretty suitable model for the nascent small startup — but when the company started to get more and more requests for the whole dev teams able to complete the entire project, its three founders decided it was time to change. Their approach was so profound that the plan of “change” gradually shifted to the complete rebranding and restructuring of the whole business.

from uber to limo

From Uber to personal limo: enters Lemon.io

Both time and speed proved right. Lemon.io appeared from the ashes of the Coding Ninjas in the middle of the COVID pandemic: when the world of 2020 knew nothing of its future, the trio of founders closed its downtown Kyiv office, went online, and started creating the infrastructure for the company with the new objectives who will take its place among the top marketplaces. 

Together with the rebranding, came a lot of crucial changes in the vetting and working processes. The reasons were multifold. First of all, the developer’s portrait changed. Lemon.io as a vetting platform started to look for the devs who work not only with WordPress but with all the possible instruments and languages. The portrait of the customer has also changed. For the full-time projects, it was absolutely necessary to start choosing devs with all the necessary business soft skills, the ability to manage themselves, and the English good enough not only to find the lost password but to coordinate the working processes leading to the potential digital hit. To select the right people, it’s crucial to adjust the selection criteria and mechanisms.

new vetting developers

After growing up, we’ve realized we needed a real interview where we check communication, cooperation, and English proficiency skills. Besides, we started offering paid test tasks that took the dev 5-7 days to complete. It worked well, but we realized we needed separate departments corresponding to the clients’ and developers’ acquisition process.

Ievgeniia Kruglova, Head of Talent Acquisition at Lemon.io

  At Lemon.io, the Sales and Matching teams (responsible for finding clients and offering them suitable developers) are tightly integrated, since their core tasks are also intertwined. Among the others, both teams answer the question “What is important to know about these devs?” in order to offer the Lemon customers comprehensive solutions for their business. 

In addition to this, the screening process has undergone profound professionalization. According to Inna Chernova, the recruitment lead at Lemon.io, the entire recruitment department passed the specialized IT recruitment courses to know the ins and outs of the field they’re working with. 

Modern tools are also adding to the overall vetting transparency: thanks to Jiminny and the CRM system, there’s always a possibility to watch the recording of the particular screening or interview in case of some discrepancies — and change your mind under the influence of the newly opened reasons.

vetting developers going through doors

Vetting developers at Lemon.io

So, what is the current point of the company vetting evolution? How does it feel to be vetted at Lemon.io — and what parts does the process entail now? 

First of all, the recruitment department checks the developers’ CV and background (LinkedIn, forums, etc.). If the background is clear and promising, the matching specialists invite devs to the online interview. At the interview, the soft skills and language proficiency are checked. 

However, if the programmer comes from the partner dev shop or team, Lemon.io supposes they are pre-vetted and doesn’t check soft skills and language competency. All the rest is similar: we monitor Google and feedbacks, call the partner team manager, and conduct the reference check. 

After the soft skills, references, and language check, comes the technical screening. It is in this sphere of vetting the difference between Coding Ninjas and Lemon.io is probably the most drastic. 

Right from the start, it’s worth mentioning that Lemon.io’s technical interviewers are our external contractors.  We hire them just as we hire devs they’re interviewing, and monitor their job success according to clients’ satisfaction.

Kate Leshchyshyn, Head of Sales at Lemon.io

The external screeners reckon with the Lemon.io recruiters’ requests and requirements. After the discovery interview, recruiters learn about the devs’ fields of interest and competence. The recruitment department can request/select the particular tasks and topics for the technical interview (upon the info provided by the candidate about themselves). 

Finally, the thoroughly checked candidate is included in the pool of the available developers. Lemon.io clients can choose them for building their dreamt-of starship. We promise to choose a suitable dev in the course of 1-2 days (that’s the info you can also find on our main page — and it’s true!). Nevertheless (things can happen!), you have a right to reject our offer and propose your filtering specifications. If you request another dev, we will surely provide you with them (and won’t charge additional fees). Having faced the profound rebranding, we know what it means to alter demands, why it’s tough, and how important is to find a golden ace!

vetting developers

A post-vetting P.S.

Time flies like an arrow — and the projects also keep moving forward. Besides the pre-employment vetting, there’s also a post-employment stage of the clients/developers accommodation at Lemon.io. Our Customer Success department has it all covered. According to its head, Malky Volodarsky, in the course of 6 months, the CS inquires the employers about the quality of devs’ work and possible amendments.