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How to Navigate COO Recruitment in the Shadows: Unveiling the Anonymity Challenge

By 24.10.2023Blog

How to Navigate COO Recruitment in the Shadows: Unveiling the Anonymity ChallengeWe at Values Value were looking for an experienced COO capable of systematically developing business strategies and optimizing internal processes. Experience in public speaking, fundraising, and business development was also important. The team operated from various locations, with legal representations in Ukraine and the United Kingdom. The primary challenge was the requirement for strict anonymity.

Project: art outsourcing gamedev company

Profile of the desirable candidate

The ideal candidate was expected to have expertise in game development, a proven track record in managing and scaling outsourcing companies. The candidate was also expected to have a deep understanding of the functioning of marketing, HR, and business development departments. An ideal COO should possess practical knowledge of data analysis and operational performance metrics. Additionally, a high level of proficiency in the English language (C1, C2) was required, as the role involved external public activities aimed at acquiring new clients for the company.

How to Navigate COO Recruitment in the Shadows: Unveiling the Anonymity ChallengeChallenges

The primary challenge of this job vacancy was the requirement for strict anonymity: the company was seeking a replacement for its current COO, who wasn’t fully meeting their expectations. 

What did this mean for recruiters? In the initial emails, we did not disclose the company name; we only mentioned the nature of the business (art outsourcing) and aimed to invite candidates to online interviews, promising to provide more details during the call. It can’t be said that this approach ensured 100% confidentiality, given the niche nature of the market.

Sasha Kononenko, Recruitment Lead

Fortunately, requests for anonymous searches from clients are not frequent. We always discuss the risks that the current employee may find out from third parties because the market is quite narrow, and rumors can easily reach the specialist. We always convey to the client that it would be more ethical to have a direct conversation with the employee.

Sometimes clients trust us and give their current employees a second chance. And if that is still not possible, they inform them about the impending termination and that the company is starting the search for a replacement candidate. However, we understand that it is difficult to take such a step as termination, especially if the employee holds a strategically important role in the company.

It is important to understand that anonymous search significantly restricts the recruiter's movements, offering fewer opportunities to effectively sell the company on the initial contact with the candidate and fewer chances to leverage their network for market recommendations (again, due to anonymity). It is important to carefully weigh the pros and cons before approaching a recruiting agency with such a request.

An additional difficulty was that the company had only recently entered the market, making it relatively young and unknown.

What helped to fill the vacancy

The job vacancy was successfully filled through targeted headhunting of candidates from donor companies identified by the client. Despite our client’s brand being relatively unknown, the project was appealing due to its ambition and the opportunity to be involved in building the company and its processes from practically the ground up. This served as a compelling selling point for candidates who may have grown tired of working in large corporations.

From the Values Value side, the process was owned by Sasha Kononenko, the Recruitment Lead & Partner. The sourcer on the project was Valeria Bakhvalova, the Head of Sourcing & Partner. Great job, Sasha and Valeria!

Looking for a recruitment partner?

Values Value is a team of game development recruiting experts.
Since 2017, we have been helping video games industry companies to hire entire teams, headhunt top-level talents, study the labor market and salaries in the industry.

Our recruitment agency focuses on result, speed and top-notch recruitment processes.
The candidate is our core value, as a game recruitment agency we stand up for the employee’s right to decent working conditions and a comfortable job change process. We love games and believe that by matching game dev talents with great companies players get more chances to enjoy top games.

Hire with us!

Check out our other cases!

Recruitment Expert

Author Recruitment Expert

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