Vetting Remote Tech Talent With Eugene Garla of Index

On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Eugene Garla of Index about vetting remote tech talent.

Ever wondered how the recruitment process has evolved over the past 20 years? Join us as we chat with Eugene from INDEX, who shares his wealth of experience navigating the ever-changing world of tech recruitment. Learn how INDEX, a global tech recruitment platform, streamlines the hiring process for high-performing remote tech talent, and how you can save time in the first round of interviews by accessing pre-vetted, verified, and tested profiles on INDEXdev.

As remote work becomes the new normal, discover how the recruitment process for software engineers has adapted to these changes. We dive into the extra layers of vetting that companies need to consider when hiring remote Tech Talent, discussing the importance of assessing an engineer’s ability to integrate into new teams and adapt to the lifestyle changes that come with remote work. Eugene also shares insights on the impact of geography and cultural norms in the hiring process.

Finally, we explore the fascinating love-hate relationship between the recruitment industry and technology. We reflect on the progress made over the last two decades. Eugene shares his thoughts on the potential for future improvements and the importance of embracing change in this rapidly evolving landscape. Don’t miss this insightful conversation as we navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital recruitment revolution.

Stay tuned for the isolved podcast miniseries, People Heroes Rising, coming soon.

Listening Time: 28 minutes

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Eugene Garla
VP of Talent Index

Currently, I'm leading a team of 15 Technical Recruiters & Managers who are sourcing and recruiting High-Performing Remote Tech Talent from the Balkans, Latam, and CIS regions to join Index, a global talent platform of vetted full-time remote engineers.

With nearly 20 years in the Recruiting and HR Industry, you can find me at the intersection of HR and Technology. With a passion for people, recruitment, training, and technology since 2005, I started my career in the NGO sector promoting youth employment and career orientation. For over a decade, I've worked as a business trainer and recruiter in over 10 countries, including the US, Ukraine, Romania, Poland, and Estonia.

I've been also involved with organizing one of the most significant career events and online job fairs in Central and Eastern Europe and spent many years in the world of HR automation and Startups, with over 5 years as an ambassador and enabler of recruitment automation with the power of AI and chatbots.


Vetting Remote Tech Talent With Eugene Garla of Index

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you are listening to RecruitingDaily podcasts. Today we have Eugene on from Index, and our topic today is vetting remote tech talent. So we’re just gonna jump into that. Eugene, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and index?

Eugene Garla: Yeah, sure. Thank you William, for this opportunity.

I’m Gina. I’m currently VP of Talented Index. I’ve been in the [00:01:00] recruitment space for nearly 20 years. Yeah, so started with the asking candidates to bring resumes on paper on the seventh floor. And Seeing the industry where it’s today with the latest advancements of AI chat bot interfaces.

Index is a global tech recruitment platform. We help tech companies tech startups, mature startups scale up when they want to hire high performing remote tech talent. So what we usually do, rather than. Our companies receiving a lot of applications that they spend a lot of time in finding out which are actually true or not, or relevant or not, or maybe receiving a lot of cvs on email.

They access few profiles on, on index dev that are already vetted, verified. Some of them tested if the clients want that prior to the interviews so they actually can move the candidates [00:02:00] in the second or first round of interviews rather than losing a lot of time in the first rail at the top of the funnel, which actually takes the most the most time.

And then when you reach the great talent, some of them maybe already are not available. We’re based in the uk, but we’re remote first company and we have a team scattered around 10 countries. I’m originally Romanian, but I’m living for the last four years in Greece, so Oh, cool.

This is where I’m connecting from today.

William Tincup: It’s interesting, a lot of folks have moved to Greece and Portugal. I think there’s a lot of incentives by those countries to get an influx, getting people to come into ’em. It’s really, it’s fascinating cuz I’ve seen a lot of Americans actually move to Portugal, which is, Portugal’s gorgeous and so is Greece.

But it’s just really interesting. So whenever one of the things that you keyed in on is you’re a remote first. Company, there’s a lot of companies with the pandemic and even before that have moved to a [00:03:00] flexibility. So one of the things I want to ask you about with tech talent that I’ve noticed is that they kind DEIB, they, they have a love-hate relationship with testing.

So like software engineers, if you ask to take a test, most of them believe it’s beneath them. And it’s hard to get. Great testing data are getting, senior level people to take tests. But I haven’t seen, at least lately I’ve seen where people use simulations. Or or other, not necessarily testing per se, but more of an environment like, here’s the environment where you’re gonna code and, here we’ll give you a problem or we’ll give you something.

And then, you go take a look at our environment and then see what you would do, et cetera. It’s, there’s something in it for them is, I guess what I’m saying, like with a test. Good for us. They take a test, let’s say it’s on Python and they’re either, beginner, intermediate, advance, super advanced, whatever.

So good [00:04:00] for us to know, but not necessarily good. Something good for the candidate doesn’t, at least historically the candidate doesn’t get anything out of a test. But with simulations, I’ve seen like candidates actually get sick. I can see myself in this environment, et cetera.

So what’s your trick? Or what’s, what did I say? Trick. What’s your approach to tech talent that’s remote? You can, they’re not sitting next to you and you don’t really know ’em. So how do you what’s your first approach to figure out what their, where their out skills wise?


Eugene Garla: That’s so long to, to unpack there. I think that the tests are similar, like you would ask a writer or a copywriter if they can write, and I understand where sometimes the frustration comes from. And this is maybe where the images of that. And my belief may meet you are tasting some basics, right?

I think the most of the frustrations that comes is actually [00:05:00] not necessarily the test. And I’ll get to the environmental in the second part of it’s the. Repeatability of the task that they have to do with multiple companies. When you’re applying to several roles, a lot of time, because they use the same testing tool, they have to basically repeat a very similar task that not necessarily inspires them or reaches them, as you mentioned.

But they are spending and they’re investing their time, and actually they call it a waste of time rather than, It’s something that they really can get out. I think that the remote world which is very understandable companies are only testing this where only maybe the first five, seven years.

Yes. Pandemic accelerator, but started much earlier. I think because there is this lack of trust of of the person, because we are not inviting you face-to-face in our office or we are not actually seeing you behind the computer. There is this lack of [00:06:00] trust in the person. And then our companies are addressing that lack of process by pulling multiple layers of test.

If I put more layers, this will reduce the probability. That will hire someone that is not skilled or will hire someone that is a fraud or maybe working at five full-time jobs at the same time. I understand, but unfortunately this is where, because I saw lot of the previously about ATS as well as the mentality of.

A lot of companies that if we’ll have very complicated submission process for our roles, the lazy people or the candidates that don’t really want the job will filter themselves, right? I think this kind of mindset, I understand it, but I don’t necessarily agree that it actually helps you find the best talent because unfortunately, in this filtering, you might lose a lot of candidates because they drop out, not because [00:07:00] they’re lazy.

But they drop out because your process is not efficient or your process doesn’t keep them involved or engaging in the loop, right? So I think that putting multiple layers and let’s have this type of test and then this type of test, and then we will have a live coding. And after life coding, maybe we’ll do a cto, last interviews with the environment of our.

Our code so they actually see a real data environment. I think that it’s understandable, but on the long term it’s not really helping companies. So I think the same way as recruiters and tech recruiters learned how to use automation or learn how to use interview tools or coding tests.

They’ll have to learn Different new tech tools that will help them. Do this process much more efficiently. Of course, I’m biased here and I would recommend work, right? With the, with platforms that [00:08:00] actually provide already vetted engineers. This will actually help them reduce the hiring process much faster.

But if they want to do their own, they’ll have to. To learn, adapt, and be agile. Adding more layers, because lack of trust will not necessarily mean best candidates at the end of the process. Regarding

William Tincup: the, yeah no. Finish your thought. Finish your thought.

Eugene Garla: Yeah. Regarding the live environment, and actually this is something that we.

We do a bit differently than other platforms. We don’t provide our own tests unless the company is asking for, because we believe that test assignments or live coding in the live environment of the company is really the best way. How you can. Create that feeling that this is how your work will look like.

It’s unfortunately, we’re fortunate. I love remote working, but we don’t have those company days or open days where can bring, where you can bring the candidate, and [00:09:00] show them around, this is our ping pong table, or this is where you have the cookies and the coffee. But how we can create is at least create those live coding, live environments where they get to understand company real tests, company test assignments.

Even if they are not live, maybe it can be Homework test assignment, but something that would really create at least a vibe of how the work actually look like. And there is this meme of candidates, the candidates putting a line where they show that there is this dragon that they fight in the test interview and then just a paper dragon that they actually fight in the real time job.

And I understand that because a lot of time. The tests are really hard, but actually the job is not really, and this is where the disappointment starts. This is where the lack of of me of alignment starts to happen. And then the retention suffers at the end. If the candidate sees that what you [00:10:00] tested and ask during the interviews.

Are very different from their first two, three weeks at the work. This is when they start to ask, wait, why? Why did I do all of that? If actually you just want me to I dunno. Submit files in CSV and then to Excel and then just connect them to a database. So yeah that’s something that is happening.

We are happy about it. And we combine our vetting with the client’s vetting. We think that it’s a combined process rather than we are having our process and the companies having their own. And that’s why a lot of our candidates, they say that. Your process was not disrupted, like we did something for you and then we did the same for the company that, that you are assigning us for.

So we really try to mix to, to make sure that the company is not doubling the same interview, the same test, or the same approach. Just [00:11:00] to make sure that the candidate drop out through the process.

William Tincup: So one of the things that, you know, vetting, vetting can be a lot of things in terms of, okay, we’re trying to get criminals out of the process.

Fraud, reducing fraud. But I think the way we’re talking about it is the skills that are required for the job and vetting the candidates to make sure they at least have those skills or more. Do you see like with clients like where. Especially in, in, in in industries or in places where there’s not as much, talent.

Do you see folks that are willing to, obviously they’re vetting, but the skills aren’t quite there, but they’re going to put ’em on a training path or some type of learning path. Again, using the example of Python they’re not quite at the level that the company wants, so they’re vetting ’em and they’re not quite hitting there, but they know that they can train them.

And get ’em there in a month. Do you see that as a, do you, first of all, do you see that with your customers? [00:12:00] A b do you see learning in the relationship? Because what I found with tech talent, at least historically, is it just like the learn stuff, they’re always continuously learning new things, either by themselves or with peers or, with a process, some type of learning journey through, through the company.

What’s been your kind of interaction with learning and tech talent?

Eugene Garla: Yeah, that’s, it’s a great question. I think it’s more than a question. It’s a problem of the remote world. Something that we really see, and more and more this starts to, to become a reality because I think only 2020 people only saw this, but now it’s clear that it is something that remote work doesn’t help with.

It’s this career advancements, this learning process because unfortunately most of the company. And I understand why is this happening? When they [00:13:00] recruit remotely, they want someone that can bring at it value from day one because remote work is so new they don’t see necessarily remote as a career choice or as a long term path.

And companies see remote workers more as these professionals that they. Already know what they need to know in order to start bringing value. Maybe not from day one, but week one or month one. And I would agree that most of the companies today, if the candidate is not yet there in their truly remote or contracting remote tech talent, they are not really inclined in to wait for six months to this.

Person to become a great great tech talent. They usually would search for someone that can really be good from day one. And the, this is a big question that I think hopefully technology or [00:14:00] new startups or new companies will help create because, There is a lot of problems with remote work.

The loneliness, the anxiety, the sort of distance the disconnect with your team. But there was another one that’s not really addressed is exactly what you said is usually junior python developers, junior. Tech talent up until they are 3, 4, 5 years of experience. They didn’t build a necessarily approach that can help them.

Great new colleagues from day one and companies today prefer to recruit remotely. Only those that can do How will, so this, I dunno, but definitely the, there will be a whole new space of companies that startup that will address. This this this question and it’s funny. I really like how you address the vetting.

Cause it means multiple things actually. It means much more from our point of view. When we are vetting engineers, we are vetting [00:15:00] how they are performing in a remote environment. Not every software engineers fries in the remote world. Not every one of them loves them. We actually are having a discussion about this topic with them in terms of do they have a coworker space that they go, do they have a space in their home?

Is it soundproof? Is how, what about the internet connection? What about the things that might go wrong in a house and how can that they can affect their performance, their deployments, and their commitments? So there is a. A different layer. Not only the one or the skills one, but there are different layers that, and of course we also vet.

The ability to join and integrate in new teams remotely. This is also something that a lot of people cannot do. They struggle, they join new teams and then in one, two months they have to switch a new role [00:16:00] cause they couldn’t adapt, right? Because remote working, it is something different. So people will have to adapt and alert to a new ways.

And also companies will have to adopt a new ways. What I saw in a lot of developers and why they also upset and frustrated about the process is that up until now, gig workers or freelancers, they were hired only for short-time projects. Let’s say that I need a new interface for my Android app, and I’m remote recruiting two free people that will help me for the next two months to do that.

We are having Tech talent that is working two years for the same company, for the same project. And when you’re recruiting someone full-time and for a long term, you cannot just check the skills and check the fraud. There is much more that you need to check with the developer to understand how they will.

Integrate with our team, with other colleagues. [00:17:00] How do they thrive in their remote house or co-working where they work? And from this point of view, definitely vetting will change and means a new evolution of how we are addressing and assessing tech

William Tincup: talent. So is there an assessment?

So we get to talk about the skills, and I think we did a really good job there. One of the questions I have three questions left. One is is there an assessment or do you assess for how they thrive or not? At working remotely? So again, we’re vetting remote tech talent, right? So we focus mo primarily on the skills of that tech talent, whether or not they line up with what we need.

Do you believe that we should also be assessing for whether or not they’re great at remote?

Eugene Garla: At least this is our approach. Because we’ve seen and during the discussion with developers in the vetting process, we either see in their profile, in [00:18:00] their resumes that they previously worked remotely, and then we have a.

Discussion how it was how did they did the transformation and what exactly makes them stay in the remote and not go back to office. But if we see that the DEIB developers just recently in the last one or two years switch remotely, then we have to address how was this process?

Because though I’ve been a remote recruiter for many years. I’ve coordinated recruitment. Teams as well, remotely. So for me it’s more or less, I would say around 10 years and even now, I think that there are a lot of things that I don’t know exactly how to do them remotely. And for people that just switched for the last one or two years, we really see that they struggle in the process of onboarding with the remote companies or with remote first companies.

So we try to understand exactly how, what. Change in their approach, in their lifestyle and the way they [00:19:00] organize their workspace and the way they organize their life around their work or their work along their life. So there’s, at least from our point of view, there’s definitely a very big difference between.

A tech engineer that’s been working remotely for five years and someone that switched in the last few years because of the pandemic or because of the layoffs or because of other roles. So there’s there’s the way you are assessing skills and you see someone that’s been doing Java for 10 years and Java for three, four years and there is a difference there, right?

Same way we’re addressing this as well and of. The teams, the industry, the English language, because we I just heard in your previous talk that you had with the CEO from dice the problems with immigration. But I think there’s a chance now for US companies to recruit, right?

Engineers. Not only from us, and not only to bring them from the US but they, we are having great clients in the US that are working with developers from [00:20:00] either the same time zone like Columbia or Brazil or maybe from Europe. Time zone. Like the Balkans, right? So I think there’s at least from our point of view, there’s a layer of assessment or at least a discussion there that is important as well.

William Tincup: So two questions. One is around, as you were talking about geography, is there different vetting that needs to be done or you do apply? So again you’re talking to an engineer that’s working remotely has, and so we’re gonna kinda line ’em up as these are equals they’ve been working remotely for 10 years, so that’s not a problem.

Same experience, et cetera. Ones in Singapore. Ones in South Africa. So let’s say Cape Town. Do you go about the process the same way with do you, other than some cultural norms and maybe, language or whatever, but do you take ’em through the same paces? Or do you, is there contextualizing [00:21:00] to any type of social or cultural things like I’m trying to figure out okay, is an engineer in Singapore the same as an engineer in Cape Town and we just need to go about it in the same way?

Or is there something that we need to do to make it personalized to their experience?

Eugene Garla: I would say that, 75% is the same approach. It’s, they’re great talent working remotely that want to work for great new tech startups without having to move to San Francisco. So there is a lot of, there’s a lot of similarities there, but because we are hiring for full-time and for long-term projects, so not just.

Improve a website for two weeks, but maybe work for this textile for the next two, three years. So we do have some things that might be very specific. One of them is definitely the time zone and how this person is organizing the work in terms of [00:22:00] overlapping I think 20 years ago. Engineers were much more prone to work during the night for us clients, but because now we have great tech companies in the UK as well, or France a developer from Serbia don’t necessarily need to spend nights to work for a California startup. So we had to address the overlapping and the time zone also. Because it’s contracting, it’s not employment.

We need to make sure also in terms of how do they I dunno, want to take time off or vacation days because contract and employment is a DEIB. It’s still in the early process, but it’s hard to right now understand the Uber driver. It’s not an employer, it’s a contractor, but at the same time, they also need vacation.

So when will they take it so they don’t disrupt the client? So there are conversations. I would say [00:23:00] 25%. We are adjusting them to their workspace, to their country, to their reality and how it might affect the work with the client. But 75% we are addressing, not necessarily. The same, but with the similar process because at the end of the day we believe that you can find great high performing remote tech in both in Cape Town and in Singapore.

William Tincup: Last question, and this is data, this is probably early 22. I talked to a software engineer friend of mine, and he I asked him, I said, tell me about the recruiting process. What do you like, what’s the bit? And his, and he came back to me and he said, listen, here’s the deal.

First thing I ask a recruiter when they call me is, I ask him, is it remote? Is it flex? Is it this, that? And now there’s second question is I ask him how many steps are in the recruiting process? And I said tell me about that. He said if it’s more than four, I’m just not interested.

It took me aback. Yeah. [00:24:00] I’m like, huh. Okay. First of all, it’s just that that’s well articulated. It’s also well thought out in the sense of I’m not gonna waste my time. I’m not gonna let other people waste my time. If you are. Recruiting process is convoluted. That’s your problem, not my problem.

And that’s how he explained it to me. He’s listen, if they don’t have their shit, their, stuff together, this is a great way to vet that, to know that, okay, no, it’s, you’re, 14 different interviews, you’re gonna do this, that, and the other. It’s a, I don’t have time. B I have no interest.

And C, it is an indicator of a company that just doesn’t get it. And so again, that’s stated. From me that’s dated data. So what do you, what’s the optimal kind of re, recruiting experience for the candidate? A, we need to vet ’em on all the ways that we’ve talked about, right?

But like, how do we get there quicker with a higher quality outcome?

Eugene Garla: Definitely if the company’s having more than three, four steps, then the dropout [00:25:00] is a lot, right? I think the company that are having that amount of steps are actually big companies, big brands, and people tend to stay in the process because it is a great brand that they might work for.

So I think they can allow themselves to do that. Now, this is actually one of the setting point why developers should. Find their next project with a tech platform or with index is because we are doing the vetting process once. They don’t have to repeat that process with every client that we are having conversations with.

And when we are presenting the profile to the client, we are not just presenting a resume, we’re presenting. Conversation that the English level, what type of startups they worked before the, their remote work, previous experience, and there’s much more nuances rather than just a document that you get through a LinkedIn application or an email.

So I think that’s one of the [00:26:00] reasons why a lot of developers. Like working with similar platforms because they don’t have to repeat the same time of first interviews that they would get with most companies. The second element here is I think unfortunately the pandemic made the transformation faster, but not in a good way in a lot of elements.

I think a lot of recruitment processes were just, Trans not when they were not transformed, they were just shifted. They were shifted from how we used to do. Now we do it digitally. They were not transformed. They were not adapt. So some things that naturally you would do because you see person first to face, he or she came into your office.

There’s a lot of. Bias that you already reduced or some fear that you already reduced because you saw the person face to face. Now with the same way, I dunno if you felt, but with meetings online, we feel the need to [00:27:00] put more meetings to address more conversation. So in this way, recruitment became very condensed with a lot of steps and yeah, I think.

Both parties suffer, but I really hope that once this become more and more of a norm yeah, end day, it’s a recruitment. This is a love hate relationship, but it’s been the same for the last 20 years. For me, it’s nothing new, but I really hope that at least this part will improve in the next years.

William Tincup: Love it.

This has absolutely been wonderful. Eugene, thank you so much for your

Eugene Garla: time. Thank you so much. It was a pleasure.

William Tincup: Absolutely, and thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

William Tincup

William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.


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