How quarantine changed the HR work, why hiring Clojurists is a joy, and what media sources will come in handy for HR — about all this and a little more, we talked with Julia Savchenko, Clojure explorer and the master chef of the HR kitchen in the Freshcode office in Kharkiv.

About me



It was quite difficult in the beginning, yes. I had 6-7 interviews per day, and it was energy-consuming, emotionally-consuming. But I probably looked through all the Clojure labor market during that time. :)

I tried to enhance interviews and searching processes as much as possible. I advise 4 things that may help you find a specialist, especially the narrow specialist, as in my case searching for Clojure gurus:

  1. <medium>Be creative<medium>
  2. Sometimes you have to wait. Be patient and <medium>keep calm.<medium>
  3. Try to build <medium>long-term relationships<medium>
  4. <medium>Use marketing tools<medium> for brand awareness building

The main insight that I want to share with you — <medium>working with Clojurists is a real pleasure and joy<medium>. The Clojure community is:

  • <medium>Friendly and open-hearted<medium>. Even if a candidate didn't accept my offer, he or she mostly is staying in touch. These guys are interested in friendly talks and always are ready to help you. If a person has a perfect British accent he/she tries to speak slowly to sound as clear as possible for me as for a non-native English speaker.
  • They can talk about Clojure <medium>24 hours, 7 days a week<medium>. Even if you have different time zones. And this is awesome!
  • <medium>Dedicated fellowship<medium>. Most Clojure developers say that when you start to write on Clojure you don't want to switch to another language anymore.
  • They are not spoiled by excessive attention and appreciate your interest, but they are also <medium>selective and know the value of their skills<medium>. And it's awesome! [2]
  • <medium>Socially important projects are in priority<medium>. Even for most juniors for whom the priority was a high salary, now the usefulness of the product becomes a new key preference.
  • Their <medium>CVs are perfectly comprehensive<medium> (this is especially about candidates from Europe and USA). They contain all necessary information so sometimes there is no need for interviewing. :)

I search for Clojure specialists via 4 key channels:

  • Linkedin
  • Telegram
  • Slack
  • Recommendations

The last one is the most powerful tool. It's my savior and source of many useful and interesting meetings. So-called 'word of mouth' is a really great phenomenon, so don't hesitate to use its tools.

I search for candidates among people with different tech stacks. <medium>Clojure could be a hobby or just an idea to try<medium>. But the crucial point is an interest in the Clojure ecosystem.

From my own experience, I can highlight some key markers on how to identify "potential Clojurists". :)

  • <medium>Python<medium> (most of the candidates worked with Python or, at least, tried it)
  • <medium>Java<medium> (because of JVM under the Clojure hood)
  • Interest in functional programming

One more thing that I can't call a marker but it's a fascinating observation. Almost all <medium>developers who are ready to switch to Clojure are involved in sports<medium>. It's a validated hypothesis, proposed by our co-founder. :-)

This 'phenomenon' can be explained in different ways. Maybe it's about readiness for challenges, <medium>readiness to make efforts and to overcome yourself<medium>.

My 'personal win' and a great gladness is hiring Valentina and Julia, <medium>Clojure ladies on our team<medium>. One more pleasant thing for me is that many candidates are aware of Freshcode. I thank our marketing department for their work and all the team for their efforts to develop our company brand.

I ask people why they are interested in our company or why they choose Freshcode for work among other companies. And here are the main benefits they mention:

  • deep <medium>Clojure expertise<medium>
  • relatively big Clojure team (in relation to the total number of employees it's, offhand, 15%)
  • 70% of the team — <medium>strong middle and senior developers<medium>
  • clear and transparent processes
  • small-sized company = close community
  • Clojure Cult
  • interesting and socially useful projects
  • Freshcode top anagement loves Clojure and actively participates in the life of the community
  • freedom of choice of professional self-development ways: mentoring, job interviews, team leadership, open-source projects, etc.
  • good onboarding proess

Our Clojure team is growing and I am happy about it. I am curious to <medium>get something new about the Clojure world and exchange my experience<medium> with other interested people. We have an internal Clojure chat and it's a great source to get new knowledge and to get valuable advice from Freshcode Clojure experts.

HR during quarantine: trends and challenges

Due to quarantine, many companies have switched to a remote or hybrid model (in the last one, the ability to <medium>work remotely/in office is optional<medium>). Therefore, we've faced a new challenge — to keep in touch with employees under any circumstances, at any time. This is, at least, messaging and chats, and ideally, regular 1:1 video meetings (more often than ever).


About people and inspiration

I am totally inspired by people. All people are different and their needs are different. You always try to find an individual approach.

I don't call an interview an 'interview'. I call it a <medium>'friendly call'<medium>. And I think it's a much more 'candidate-friendly' name. I try to give people the feeling and confidence that they are a <medium>part of the team, not a 'labor force'<medium>.

The HR path taught me empathy. It validated my hypothesis that every person is a universe unto themselves. The main thing is to find the good in every person, to have a desire to find it.

HR is a story not only about people. It is a unique story about 'people' and 'business' combination. <medium>HR is a great ecosystem to put business things and human aspects together<medium> without prejudicing one over the other.

I love to work with people. And I love to share my knowledge with them. My first training was dedicated to the theme of soft skills and their importance. My audience was quite young, 60-80 high-school students.

When I went out to them, they were looking at their smartphones, but luckily, my <medium>presentation made a splash<medium>, and then I was invited as speaker again and again.

The success of your presentation depends a lot on how you start your speech and how you welcome your audience, on how you warm up people.

HR skills and super power

I've always been convinced that <medium>people don't become HR, people are born HR<medium>. Over time, with some courses, training, or university education you gain theoretical knowledge and special competence. But, I think, the main thing is to be passionate about your work.

There are some crucial things without which it will be difficult to become professional HR in the IT industry:


Freshcode Clojure HR Savchenko Julia

I always try to ask people how the current week is going, what good has happened. I am <medium>sincerely happy for their (even the smallest) wins<medium>.

Finally, <medium>HR has some superpower<medium> that is probably unconsciously known by most people but not all of them pay attention to it. This power lies in the ability to influence the development of the company and to enhance this process.

Thanks to the work of HR specialists, companies can grow, can change business direction, and so on. So this is the superpower and HR's super talent.

Common HR mistakes

No one is safe from mistakes but it's better to avoid them and learn from others. So, here I am going to highlight some of the novices' missings.

Now then, <medium>top 6 HR's mistakes<medium>:


Finally, one more tip. If you are not a native English speaker, improve your English as much as possible. Start it right now. I try to improve my English to have small talks and to be able to joke.

Links for HR specialists, clojurists and all who love HR and clojure

Here I've prepared a list of links that may be interesting for all who are related to the HR industry or Clojure field (ideally who combines both of them :) )

I am following these media resources and they may come in handy for you too. Some of them are in Russian, others are in English. I hope, everybody will find here something interesting.

Info channels about Clojure


Slack: с

London Clojurians:

P. S.: Don't hesitate to talk with Clojurists in your team, ask for their help or ask everything you are interested in about Clojure. Sure, these guys would be happy to talk about it!

Clojure podcasts

HR/Recruiting podcasts

HR/Recruiting Telegram channels

HR/Recruiting YouTube channels

Hurma —

ITBEARD (interviews with IT experts) —

Sourcing challenge show —

Social talent —

People First Club —


For HR —

P. S.: After reading this book I fell in love with HR art — «Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead» by Laszlo Bock.


I am happy to work with Clojure, with Clojurists, and with the Clojure team at Freshcode. I am sure <medium>Clojure has a bright future<medium> because of all the people who support it, who improve its ecosystem, and implement cool Clojure-based products.

We at Freshcode try to <medium>contribute to the Clojure world<medium> and we thank all people who help us with it.

This year Freshcode participated at re:Clojure conference where our team announced the open-source onboarding platform which we're working on right now.

It's a significant achievement and I hope our product will be useful and interesting for the Clojure community.

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