WELCOME IN THE RECRUITING BOUTIQUE FOR STARTUPS!
I'm Sarah de Winter, the Founder and Managing Director of KICKSTART Human Resources GmbH.
It all began with a vigorous discussion with a well-respected and experienced head hunter.
I was an HR manager with Zalando, and he had complained about the use of 'Du', the German informal form for 'you'. For him he felt that our use of 'Du' in the first meeting would frighten away applicants. But I disagreed strongly. Firstly because every applicant would have to get used to 'Du' right away in any new job at Zalando or a startup. And secondly, if applicants were bugged by 'Du', then they would definitely not fit any startup.
Yet I couldn't get this conversation out of my head. And finally it hit me:
A head hunter for startups must look for a completely different set of qualities in applicants. One needs to be fully at home with the total absence of any daily routine nor process in first phase of a startup. Without such knowledge a headhunter cannot know how an early startup functions, how to prepare a suitable job description, and also how to properly prepare and debrief a successful candidate. With these radically different business conditions, it was no wonder that this well-respected head hunter found it difficult convincing us of his choice of candidates; his heart wasn't really in the startup scene.
At the same time I felt the strong desire to work as a head-hunter, with the big advantage of my understanding of startups through my own experience as an HR manager helping to get a brand-new startup off the ground. My two years with Zalando's own brand was an intensive schooling but also the best time of my life.
MY PASSION FOR START-UPS
For sure the chaos, the lack of structure, and the wildly changing daily routine is stressful. When there are constantly new priorities, when it all happens at once, and when everything needs to happen “yesterday”.
Certainly every day one can't get to every task, which actually urgently requires attention.
Nonetheless, I have only found this unique energy and passion in startups, and not in well-established businesses or in big companies. From startup founders to their interns, they show the readiness: to work constantly on their processes and services; to struggle against the chaos; to remain switched-on right into the late evening; to never to take it easy; to drag one's sick body into the office; to take few holidays; in short to go above and beyond the call of duty.
And all that for a brand, still in the process of definition and establishment, without benefit of a reputation, and with no certainty of existence in the coming year!
My own experience and observation is confirmed by my former colleagues, who have gone through the major switch from their prior career at too well-established perhaps even stuck businesses.
Zalando shows how a quick work-tempo and rapid growth, with exactly this kind of startup energy, can establish new benchmarks for the future and for the German economy. Just like little kids at the very beginning, we see that in the end they can indeed find their way to the big stage.
The focus of KICKSTART Human Resources GmbH is on start-ups.
We are proud to provide young companies with the best management and specialists at the highest level in the online disciplines and in the eCommerce sector, and in addition to that to advise them regarding their setting up and personnel development.