Talent is vital! Ann Kuznetsov of Gamestar Search details how to recruit the very best in the online sector

Fundamental to the success of any company, regardless of size or time since establishment, is the talent that it recruits across the entire spectrum of commercial hierarchy. Within online businesses which operate in the digital space, the acquisition and retention of customers is as important as the acquisition and retention of high quality management, technological […]

Fundamental to the success of any company, regardless of size or time since establishment, is the talent that it recruits across the entire spectrum of commercial hierarchy.

Within online businesses which operate in the digital space, the acquisition and retention of customers is as important as the acquisition and retention of high quality management, technological innovators, sales professionals and those who have the ability and experience to take a company forward.

Talent acquisition and specialist head hunting is therefore an instrumental service to the online trading, gaming, banking and fintech sectors, and in order to take a detailed investigation as to how to conduct this fine art and science in a region which is notorious for online startups, fintech and electronic trading firms, FinanceFeeds today spoke to Ann Kuznetsov, Co-Founder and CEO at Gamestar Search, a specialist Recruitment company within this particular industry sector.

“We were looking for a space that was fast growing, and was cash rich, as a complete contrast to the banking sector in which I spent several years recruiting traders, that had been hit by a recession and had very little available capital for talent acquisition” said Ms Kuznetsov.

“Because we wanted to concentrate on the digital and online industries, we specifically looked to establish in a fast growing, startup hub. We considered San Francisco Bay, and actually spent some time there recruiting executives into some of the large pharmaceutical and biotech firms, but the hub there is very developed and many companies have all the services that are needed for that industry, hence there are already numerous good firms that provide all the recruitment resources” she continued.


Tel Aviv, Israel was chosen for many reasons, however first and foremost, due to its status as the ‘startup nation’, its high quality and energetic entrepreneurs and large number of fast-moving companies in the digital sector. After experiencing San Francisco’s established nature, and having conducted extensive research in mainland Europe in cities such as Berlin, Ms. Kuznetsov concluded that Tel Aviv’s dynamism has generated a disproportionate number of online trading companies, digital gaming enterprises and ingenious e-commerce start ups.

“I drew a conclusion that throughout my career so far, I have been a specialist as a recruiter, and maintained a specific concentration on particular industry sectors” detailed Ms. Kuznetsov. “If you are going to be effective you need to know your space inside out, and it is only possible to truly know a certain space by focusing on one specific area and really building a network in your chosen field. We found a lot of Israeli placement companies that were already in the market to have a slapstick, non-service orientated approach, and that recruitment in Israel is not a skill, it is not a value added to any business. Companies using the existing services, therefore, pay for a CV rather than a complete support service and placement service for recruitment” she said.

“For me to send a CV and expect a fee for that is not the correct method of operation. Companies which are not personable and which do not build relationships are missing the mark, this is particularly alarming as the pace at which the industry has grown, demands a comprehensive recruitment service to continue with its growth, recruitment that is based on purely volume rather than quality will end up slowing the growth process and in turn the success of the industry!”

The Startup Nation is a land of opportunity

“We started 2 years ago, and have been in Tel Aviv for the last year. Our profit is doubling every year, and we are selecting companies that are attractive to our candidates. We have so far avoided working with any of the binary options brands, and can concur that for quality candidates to be interested, the positions available must be with digital product companies like Wix, or Fiverr, both world renowned enterprises, and prime examples of the Israeli start up success story” Ms. Kuznetsov explained.

“The mentality among candidates is that they need to progress, and need to do better, to earn more money and move on, therefore generating a very large turnover among high quality, upwardly mobile employees. Even companies like ironSource are not able to retain their staff. Some companies here in Israel use methods of engaging their employees by organizing a lot of fun days and trips abroad, which in some cases retains staff, but is often still not enough to dissuade a quality employee from moving on to pastures new.”

“We are now in a position as a company where we have more clients than we can handle. We started with online gaming, including working with social gaming companies like Playtika, as well as with several mobile game studios and casual gaming companies, all of which operate as digital entities. This represents 70% of our client base.”

Ms. Kuznetsov revealed that the other 30% of Gamesearch’s client base consists of web and mobile product companies. All look for marketeers, developers, and product managers. In terms of the method by which we recruit, we are solely digital industry focused, and we have headhunters for each vertical. We make sure that we know our space inside out. When a role is released to us, which may be for example, a Director of Marketing position, our specialist headhunter in that area will know the top 5 marketing directors in the industry and be able to deliver to the requirement immediately!” enthused Ms. Kuznetsov.

“Hiring is quick, in tune with Israel’s fast-paced corporate world, and we give a 3 month guarantee to our customers. If something happens, we can give a refund or a free replacement. This is a very rare occurrence and since establishment has only happened twice, however we operate at a very aggressive fast pace, are quick to push things, create urgency, and apply a lot of pressure to make things happen and manage all parties throughout to get the results. We work on volume as there are so many hiring needs, it is all about speed and quality!”

Ms. Kuznetsov is a very enthusiastic professional indeed, and concluded by stating her viewpoint that “Recruitment here is an amazing space. I have worked in 3 different industries as a specialist headhunter, and as lucrative as placing traders in banks in London’s financial district was, it has not been for quite some time now, however by total contrast, when it comes to the digital space, this is new, it is happening and therefore is extremely lucrative from a recruitment standpoint. I was at SThree for 5 years, where the environment is very corporate. They train people up to be headhunters, but I used to place traders in banks who were in their 50s and 60s. The candidates in the digital and online trading sector are a similar demographic to me and are very ambitious, many have their own start-ups and are go-getters, making it easier for me to relate to them” she said.

Concluding, Ms. Kuznetsov stated that “The reason why Israel is such a vibrant startup hub is because on average the base salaries are relatively low in comparison to other developed countries and therefore to truly succeed and secure yourself financially, many Israelis are drawn to work in start-ups or open their own as the possibility of an exit is much more likely here in Israel than it is in any other country and can really change a person’s life. The hunger to succeed here in Israel is immense and involvement in start-ups really does allow you to build your own destiny!”

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