Why Djinni exists

Max Ischenko
Mar 22, 2015 · 3 min read

An explanation to myself, team, friends, potential employees and partners.

tl;dr version: make tech recruiting less annoying and show Ukraine can be home to world-class startups in the process.

What is it? Djinni is anonymous job search for developers.

Why now? “information economy” tilted power balance towards workforce, permanently. Existing recruiting platforms ignore it, classic Innovator’s Dilemma. Djinni is a “designed-from-scratch” response to this new reality.

Why us? 1,000 hires made despite crappy UX, no full-time engineers (except founder) and zero investor’s money. Now imagine what we can do with stronger team and more resources.

Unsolicited job “opportunities” you get on LinkedIn, GitHub and basically any social network are kind of annoying, aren’t they? But it’s just a manifestation of a deeper problem. Tech companies are in dire need for talent and they’re trying every tactic they can to get candidates.

Old recruting approaches are no longer good enough

Job boards.

Job boards have been around since the dawn of the Internet. I’d also put in this bucket job fairs, recruiting events and Careers pages on employers’ websites.

It worked fine in a buyer’s market, when there were multiple applicants desperate for a job, any job. And it still works fine in many verticals but tech industry is not one of them.

Cost of starting a tech company has collapsed, more companies get funded, software is eating the world. The biggest constraint for growth is often how fast you can hire. It’s a seller’s market in tech — there are plenty of opportunities and candidates get to choose.

You can’t just post a job and wait for a quality applicants to pour in. You do get applications but they won’t be the best — the best candidates too busy with their current job to apply.


So you can’t afford to sit and wait for a perfect candidate to appear and you go find them on LinkedIn. After all, it is the largest professional social network, everyone is here.

That is exactly the problem.

Good luck getting any response at all, unless you’re a well-established employer brand, like Google. And since everyone have a profile, regardless of whether they’re looking or not, it means you have 1-in-20 chance even contacting the right candidate in the first place.


Sifting through LinkedIn proved to be high effort and low-leverage activity. Let recruiters do it for you, right? Wrong. Recruiters can be helpful but they can also be a waste of time and a massive cost. Besides, developers hate them.

History of the Internet is pretty consistent on this. Craigslist. Ebay. Expedia. oDesk. Airbnb. Uber. Recruiting is no different. Somebody will figure it out. $20–40k placement bonuses will be gone one day.

Djinni flips traditional model

Instead of having candidates search and apply for job opportunities let the companies search and apply for candidates. After all, that’s what you do in a seller’s market anyway.

By making it easier to find a good match we can largely eliminate the need for an intermediate, such as a recruiting agency. Less cold emails, more targeted contacts with mutual interest.

Contribute back to Ukraine

Ukraine has close to a 100,000 developers but very few worldwide-recognized startups. How so?

I think there are two main reasons: 1) not enough expertise/resources building successful startups 2) not many developers believe that’s something they can do.

After those frightening and fateful events in January-Feb 2013 Ukraine is different. My country deserves better. With any luck we can contribute back, help and inspire others to do the same.

1000 hires and counting

Of course, we’re not alone. Dozens of startups attack this space and there is massive inertia behind status quo, as with any industry.

Over a 1000 (thousand!) hires have been made through Djinni to date — a proof we have a fighting chance. It wasn’t easy but startups rarely are. Idea has been proved, but we can still fail at execution. Which makes it ever more exciting.

If you want to get involved please get in touch.

Thanks to Alexander Zaytsev and Alex Deny.

    Max Ischenko

    Written by

    Founded DOU.ua, a 150K+ developer community in Ukraine and Djinni.co, a marketplace for hiring developers. Believe in capitalism, luck and Ukraine. @maxua