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Case Study
International Headhunt



I partnered with Philippines based fintech start-up First Circle, who provide business financing to SMEs. The goal is to empower small and medium enterprises in growth markets by financing their B2B trade transactions.

Skill Set: Ruby On Rails, DevOps, Javascript, Architecture, Management.

On a recommendation from another client of mine, the CTO reached out to me as they were in need of a multi-talented Principal Developer to join them. As a company who are growing quickly they were in need of someone who had solid experience in their language of choice (Ruby on Rails) as well as the capability to have a large input into the architecture, DevOps and frontend stack. They’d also have to come in and get to grips with a multinational team.


Step 1

Was to jump on an in-depth call with Tony (CTO), where we ran through First Circle’s mission in more detail, as well as finding out everything about their plans going forward, why this was such a critical hire, what skills were needed and most importantly; what they were expecting of this hire.

Step 2

Was to create a candidate information pack with company overview, role specification, relocation package and wider USPs on the company and the role.

Step 3

Was to map out the market in its entirety. I knew from previous experience that the best place to look for talent in South East Asia was the larger financial locales – think Hong Kong, Singapore and in recent years, Beijing and Guangzhou. Once these had been scouted out the circle widened, to encompass Australia, New Zealand and the Middle East. Solid English speaking skills were required so finally the UK, parts of mainland Europe (specifically the Nordics) and major North American cities were also targeted. Once candidates were identified they were put on a shortlist, with pros and cons detailed. This helped to strip the weaker candidates from the pool.

Step 4

Was to talk to the candidates identified, through a period of 10 days. Each was put into a chart again citing their pros and cons, and finally stripped down to a shortlist of 6. This diverse group of candidates included Australia, New Zealand and US based developers. These candidates were then shared with the CTO.

The results

6 First & Second Interviews.
2 Final Interviews.
1 Offer & 1 successful Hire.

All 6 candidates were invited to an initial screening call. After these had been completed Tony and I had an in-depth call running through his thoughts on each, where he decided on the 3 to pull through to final interview with the VP of Engineering.

A candidate was offered and accepted, bringing an end to what was a 6 week, in-depth recruitment process.

Feedback from the client

Tony Ennis, CTO of First Circle

Working with Mitch and the team at Zebra people was painless and  delivered us an excellent result. We were hiring a principal engineer and asking them to relocate to Southeast Asia, which was not an easy ask.. Mitch found 6 high quality candidates who were all qualified and briefed well on what we did before I even spoke to them. Throughout the process he was super proactive, checking in regularly and ensuring that both myself and the candidates were well informed. We ended up hiring someone who has been one of our best hires to date. Very strong technically and an immediate fit culturally. I’d recommend Zebra People to anyone looking to solve a similar challenge.

Feedback from the candidate

Jehanzeb Khan, Lead Consultant at DiUS Computing
September 24, 2019, Mitch was a client of Jehanzeb’s

It’s very rare that you come across such a standout and genuine  recruiter. Mitch not only has strong communication and interpersonal skills but he also understands the tech. Which in itself is a very rare feat. Mitch helped me find my ideal role. He guided me every step of the way. His communication was top notch and he was able to remediate all my concerns and questions. He kept me informed throughout the recruitment process. He went above and beyond to ensure I was prepared for interviews. I was particularly impressed by his timely responses. Specially considering we were in totally different timezones. On top of all that he is great fun to work with. Professional, thorough and consistently going the extra mile are but just a few reasons that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Mitch when recruiting new staff or indeed for anyone looking for a new career change.

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