You might have heard about the product called NordVPN, but do you know the company behind it, Nord Security? The company started its journey in 2012 inside the Tesonet accelerator, and it has rapidly grown ever since. Today, Nord Security is one of the largest tech-companies in Lithuania in its own right, with nearly 700 employees and 15 million users worldwide.
Only recently they stepped outside of Tesonet to separately start building their company culture and employer brand. We talked with Karina Dirvonskienė, Head of HR at Nord Security, about why they are doing this, how it is going and why should the talent care?
First of all, congratulations on starting your employer journey. Could you tell us a bit about how it came to life? Why did you choose to do it now, and what challenges did it bring?
Thanks! Starting Nord Security’s employer journey is indeed a big step for us.
It’s no secret that the story of our company began with the inception of NordVPN, which at the moment is one of the most popular VPN service providers worldwide. It was the 35th project developed inside the ecosystem of the Tesonet accelerator, and over time it grew beyond our expectations. Today we are a team of nearly 700 employees and have expanded our product family by adding four new cybersecurity tools (NordPass, NordLocker, NordVPN Teams, and NordWL). And it’s definitely not the end – we are still growing exponentially.
As it often happens, the new beginning brought us some challenges. In the past, we could rely on the Tesonet brand to fulfil our needs as an employer, but now we have to build our own employer brand from scratch. However, we’re optimistic about it since we’ve already made some progress.
Could you introduce your products to people not too familiar with the cybersecurity market? How are they received in the market so far?
At the moment, Nord Security has more than 15 million users worldwide that trust our products to ensure their privacy online. Basically, our goal is to provide true online privacy and security to as many people as we can. That also means building awareness around cybersecurity issues and their importance in the connected world.
As I’ve already mentioned, our story began with NordVPN – currently the fastest VPN on the planet, built to protect our users’ online presence from cybersecurity threats. To put it simply, you can secure your internet data and safely access personal information while browsing with NordVPN.
We also built the same solution for businesses to ensure their employee privacy online while working – NordVPNTeams. Then, there’s NordPass – an easy-to-use password manager used for storing and creating credentials. NordLocker helps to store and share confidential files securely. Finally, NordWL – a collection of tools, know-how, and infrastructure for building your own VPN products.
These five products form the Nord Security productfamily and have gained global recognition with high praise from major tech outlets and cybersec experts alike. However, we’re always looking for new opportunities to grow, so the product line-up is definitely not final.
In your first month as a separate entity, Nord Security already became the 4th most popular company on MeetFrank in Lithuania. Clearly, there’s a lot of interest from the jobseekers at the moment. What’s special about working for Nord Security? Why should people join your organization?
Where do I even begin 🙂 Well, first of all, we’re a fast-growing company with a very dynamic environment set up for professional growth. The essential thing is that every person joining our team gets to build global solutions that solve relevant problems. You can be sure that you’ll be working with top experts from all over the world and gain valuable experience.
Knowledge sharing is vastly promoted in our company and is, in fact, one of our key values – we have various initiatives, internal and external events, and even separate programs designed for personal and professional growth. Nord Security is also a very diverse company that gives people the freedom to act – you will find plenty of opportunities to express yourself and show initiative.
Could you list some of the perks that your employees enjoy?
Our colleagues enjoy numerous benefits focused on increasing their well-being, like private health insurance, mental health programs, bonus vacation days, in-house physiotherapists, flexible work hours, and more. Also, we’re famous for our workations and various celebrations.
However, in our opinion, all these perks are simply an addition to our main benefits – a great team, ambitious goals and exciting projects to work on.
What about employee dynamics – do you hire more local or global specialists, and does this put additional strain on your HR team?
As our company was founded in Lithuania, we currently have more local team members. However, we’re actively growing our international ranks and have colleagues working in Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Romania, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, and Brazil.
Hiring worldwide and expanding our reach is certainly more demanding than hiring locally. It’s a challenge to extend a feeling of belonging to team members working remotely. However, the current pandemic situation benefited us in this regard: It accelerated our remote work practices, and now we feel that we’ve become stronger as a global employer.
How many vacancies do you have at the moment? Which departments of the company are you expanding the most rapidly?
At the moment, we have more than 80 vacancies waiting to be filled, and mostly we’re looking for professionals to join our teams of Frontend, Backend, Mobile, and Marketing. However, we’re actively expanding other teams as well – take a look at our Career page – I’m sure you’ll find several options, including challenging leadership roles.
What are the most important qualities when hiring new people to the Nord Security team? Do you have any tips for the applicants to be successful in your hiring process?
We look for people who are passionate about tech and eager to learn new things quickly. The cybersecurity and IT markets are constantly changing. Breakthroughs are coming every day. As a team, we have to be ready for the shifting environment and the challenges it brings.
We place a high value on people, who challenge the status quo, look for better ways to do things, and do not agonize over decision making. There’s also a lot of focus on teamwork – we believe that magic happens in teams, so there are no individual agents here.
Together with early stage investments, 70V offers an acceleration program to help founders to build and scale their businesses. Useful connections, diverse knowhow and licence to show brilliant ideas – an attractive career path for people that love to see the birth, growth, and success of a company.
In the light of their recent 1st startup exit, we talked with the 70V’s associateAivaras Rastenis, who honestly admitted that he didn’t expect the first exit to arrive this soon.
Despite that research shows that90% of all global startups fail, 70V is a safety net for talents. In the worst case scenario, good performers (the growth journey lovers) will have a secure place in another startup as soon as possible. 💪
How do they do it? Without further ado, let’s jump and find out! 👇
We gave a little introduction to 70V, but you, as an insider, could you please open up more. What is 70V all about?
Imagine having a business idea that helps other businesses to reach their goals. And you want to go global, but lack of money and knowledge sets its limitations. What to do?
No need to be alone in this – fundraise and find partners with experience! This is where accelerator funds, like us, come into the picture.
70V invests in ambitious B2B entrepreneurs globally. We help them to build and scale predictable sales machines with talent from Lithuania. Our predictable revenue playbook has been already used with more than 70 companies.
70V partner Jean-Baptiste Daguené has said “I eat SaaS for breakfast, B2B sales for lunch and data for dinner”. Is there still something new to offer to the table?
Oh yes, there’s still plenty of room on the table!
The B2B tech startup ecosystem is an exciting space to work in. It’s a very fast paced environment with tonnes of possibilities for stellar growth. All the top Lead Research Specialists (LRS) and Sales Development Representatives (SDR) in our portfolio have been promoted within 8-12 months.
Higher risk comes with higher reward. Seeing the birth, growth and success of the company is something extremely special. Do 70V portfolio companies share their achievement stories with each other, or you keep them strictly apart?
This is a very good question!
Working in a startup and B2B sales is challenging. That’s why building a B2B community is a top priority for us. We can’t wait to get back to normal but we are very proud that we moved our community online.
Every month we connect talents in our portfolio to share their triumphs and their mistakes. Also, 70V rewards accomplishments highly through our portfolio leaderboard where SDRs (Sales Development Representatives) compete for monthly cash prizes.
Could you share with us, what is the next big thing?
We search for the next big thing in the Nordics and Baltics. Each month we make two to three investments in various B2B companies. Fintech, adtech/marktech, legaltech, accounting solutions – just to name a few.
Our portfolio companies might go after the same customer but with different value propositions.
As we speak, we have already invested in 35+ companies and all of them compete for the best talent!
Want to see the full portfolio? Click on the picture and find our out more.
70V together with its portfolio companies provide unique career opportunities. However, we cannot avoid the elephant in the room –the startup 90% failure rate. How does 70V provide job stability/security?
In short, 70V is like a safety net for talents. Once you pass our application process and prove that you can deliver, we will hold your back no matter what.
As investors we also think how we can minimise the investment risk and maximise the returns. We focus on identifying the top founders who are 100% committed to their business venture. It takes at least 7 qualification steps and only a small fraction of founders we meet get an investment.
In the worst case scenario, If you are a good performer and enjoy the startup journey, we will definitely secure you a place in another startup as soon as possible. When you join one of our portfolio companies, you join the 70V community as well.
Mad respect that you’re not trying to claim that the 70V portfolio always falls on the successful 10% side. The startup life can be tough and not suitable for everyone. Who are the people you are looking for to join the team?
We look for people who enjoy working with customers and are born competitors.
If you are a go-getter, speed is your religion and discomfort attracts you, then we’d be a perfect fit. However, if life is happening to you and you’re full of excuses, then it’s a no go.
The top performers earn 7000 EUR+ monthly and all of them share the values written in our B2B Sales Manifesto.
How do you usually find the candidates to hire? What % of hired candidates have been sourced and headhunted?
It is really the top talent that we’re looking for. The top 10% of the ideal candidates.
We combine both passive and active sourcing. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone who’s reading this article was already approached by us. 🙂
Sometimes the best talent comes to us through referrals or platforms like MeetFrank. I’m extremely happy that talents who already work in 70V startups keep recommending their friends to join.
70V has only one religion – the TARGET. What is the key to motivate team members to make smart decisions and take responsibility for the consequences?
It’s about the mindset. When you have a sense of ownership then all of that comes naturally. We look for people who care about delivery.
The main motivation comes from the dynamic environment, speed of decision-making and clearly seeing the impact of our actions.
In the end of the day, 70V is the best B2B sales school in town. We cultivate a training-intensive environment that inspires to learn, grow and lead by example. Each new talent goes through a 2 weeks onboarding program with clear steps and training. People keep saying that after the 1st month here they feel like 3 or 4 months have passed already.
You have probably sacrificed some of your weekends and holidays to work. Be honest, has the startup hustle killed your social life?
Haha. True that. However, I don’t label that as a sacrifice. I really enjoy what I do here and understand the scale of my impact to our startups and new hires. On the contrary, I have improved my social life by focusing on building meaningful relationships and giving my undivided attention to the people who are the most important to me.
And of course, the industry I am in is plenty of networking opportunities. Almost every day I meet new people and reconnect with people I know.
Sounds like your cup of tea? Check out the 70V openings and apply!
70V is recruiting for Lead Researchers, Sales Development Representatives and Account Executives. Recently they have opened a new vacancy called Sales Operations Specialist. Read more about career possibilities on 70V’s website or check out the MeetFrank app:
💡 Besides investments from pre-seed to series A, 70V offers an acceleration program. They strongly believe that the success depends on the success of their startups.
💡 The company has invested in various B2B sectors: fintech, adtech/marktech, legaltech, accounting solutions. Their portfolio companies might go after the same customer but with different value propositions.
💡 B2B sales is the key element of success. According to 70V, the best solution is to start having meaningful customer conversations even before building a product.
💡 70V is a safety net for talents. When you join 70V portfolio companies, you join the 70V community as well – stellar performers are always secured a job.
💡 Working at a startup is a risk with a huge upside. The top performers at 70V earn €7000+ monthly and have been promoted within 8-12 months.
Teltonika IoT Group accelerates the technological progress in Lithuania by developing unique Internet of Things solutions. With the headquarters located in Vilnius, Teltonika IoT Group has local offices spanning from Mexico to Singapore (27 offices in 18 different countries).
If unaware of the term Internet of Things (IoT), you might imagine it as cat 🐱 videos and memes on the Web. Instead, let’s think about wearable health monitors, pet tracking collars, or any other appliances that are connected to the Internet to make our life easier.
Despite the tough competition in the IoT field, the past two years were extraordinary for Teltonika IoT Group, as their workforce grew from 750 employees to 1300. What are the obstacles this growth comes with? How does the company find the top talents and which HR problems they face?
Interview with Julius Svagzdys, Chief Corporate Marketer
Congratulations on the amazing growth! What does this expansion mean to Teltonika?
The people in the Teltonika company group are the most important business asset. And it is not surprising that workforce expansion, first of all, stands for business acceleration.
We are very proud of our HR department team who always seek the maximum result and can find the most talented employees in more than 18 operating countries. For us, this first stage of global expansion means that soon we will be recognized as a worldwide leader in IoT technology development.
Furthermore, we do not intend to stop at this milestone, but we’ll be continuously expanding our team. This is why we have more than 50 open vacancies from engineering to management spheres. It is also a great challenge for our HR development department.
What are the main challenges HR department has to face? How have they tackled the growth problems?
Challenges always come together with problems. It means that when your organization is continuously expanding, it opens more business opportunities, but at the same time it brings more problems related to new talents’ acquisition, training, leadership development, integration into the organizational culture, and much more.
The Teltonika company group is always looking for new methods to attract talents through social media, postings on job boards, special advertising, and even other traditional methods, such as recommendations from our current employees. We even have a dedicated team that is working on talent acquisition campaigns on social media.
Another opportunity vs challenge is employee growth and professional development. In every Teltonika company, we offer constant trainings that will reflect career advancement opportunities in the future. In our case, the organization is expanding very quickly, so it is a big challenge to provide every employee with professional trainings. Today we are proud to say that more than 90 percent of our managers started their vertical career paths inside the company.
From our long-term company experience, I can ensure you that the culture of organization influences the performance of new talents. Today in the Teltonika company group we are working in a mutual trust and respect culture. We are not only investing in new employees’ understanding of our organizational culture processes but also doing our best to show how effective it is. Every organization is performing by following a certain internal culture, so it is a huge challenge to show our organization’s cultural path to every employee.
Great workplaces with great culture are more effective and successful compared with an organization without it.
How has C-19 affected the IoT field?
Covid-19 continues to make an unprecedented impact on our society and the global economy. As a result, the Internet of Things industry was also involved in the consequences of the pandemic. However, this industry is full of undiscovered use case opportunities that Teltonika companies have taken up during the pandemic period.
First of all, we started our new business niche called Teltonika Telemedic which is now responsible for professional telemedicine devices development. It gave us a chance to start developing professional artificial lung ventilators, proximity solutions, and other useful devices that can help people during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following this period, we demonstrated that by focusing on the possibilities, we were able to reach more than 30 percent yearly growth and hire more than 300 employees only in Lithuania. And of course, those achievements are the reflection of a great team spirit and significant effort from our employees.
What is that special something that Teltonika offers to its team members?
Many companies are concerned about the side environment or activities that help to integrate the organization internally. All of this is really important, but during the COVID-19 pandemic period, most employees are working remotely, which requires a new employee integration strategy.
As we all know, a good team spirit and the environment that promotes well-being are the key elements for employee engagement with a company. However, another necessary element that builds integrity within a company and increases employee engagement is exceptional challenges.
Let’s imagine that everything you are doing is about innovation and different ways of helping people. I personally believe that such exceptional challenges are definitely one of the most convincing arguments for choosing the Teltonika company group. Today we are performing in 5 different technology spheres, and you can become a part of various projects such as e-scooter sharing devices, insurance telematics, development of medical gadgets, and professional networking device programming.
Teltonika seems to be very good at educating the community as you are investing into, not one, but two educational programs. Could you please tell us more about the Teltonika IoT and B2B Academy?
We believe that professionalism is the main criterion of building exceptional IoT devices and directing them to the right client. This is why we are taking care of our employees’ education from the very first days.
As a result, we have successfully launched IoT and B2B academies that are taking care of our youngest employees who are learning about IoT technologies and professional B2B sales.
Right now, we have 5 operating academies in Kaunas and Vilnius which have successfully trained more than 500 students.
The IoT academy offers 8 different technical programs that help students to obtain more knowledge about IoT devices programming, supporting, designing, and more.
Whereas the B2B academy is an exceptional project for students who would like to challenge themselves in professional sales. Our main value is to help the people and by supporting our academies, we are helping students to make their first career step.
You mentioned that Teltonika has plenty of open vacancies. Where could one reach out to you if they wish to join your team?
Now we have open positions for PHP and front-end developers in our brand awareness department. If You are looking for an opportunity to show your programming superpowers, just let me know!
And finally, what is the most useful IoT gadget that you use in your daily life? What IoT appliance (that is not made yet) would you like to use in the future?
Nowadays I cannot imagine flexible connectivity without Teltonika Networks equipment which is traveling together with me and keeping all my gadgets online wherever I go, from home office to the holidays on a boat. In the future, I will definitely use one of our upcoming smartwatches detecting atrial fibrillation.😄
Let’s evaluate the current situation in terms of market competitiveness, offered salaries and the number of job openings and see how the first and second waves of the pandemic have been shaping the Lithuanian job market.
Ready? We are ready to learn more too! 🚀
Job Market Overview
In our previous report in mid-October, we saw that the number of job openings increased by 19%.
This month, there was also an increase – by 23%- in the number of job openings in Lithuania. It seems more employers have sped up their recruitment processes in mid-November. 📈
On the other hand, the number of job applications in the Lithuanian job market has declined over the past 4 weeks. 📉
This gives a clearer picture of the job market – there are either more opportunities than needed or the expectations of job seekers do not match with those of employers.
🕵️♀️ Next in line are offered and expected gross salaries. Similar to Estonia, both saw a decline this month.
The gap between the salaries persists.
Last month, it was at the “OK level” to find a job in the Lithuanian job market. By mid-November, finding a job is much easier—almost at the “easy level”! 🙏
If your future career plans include Lithuania, your chances of finding your dream job are higher nowadays!
Job openings in Top 6 Specialties: November vs May
In this section, we will compare the number of job openings as of today with May’s.
Let’s go where the stats take us:
✅ All the industries saw a decline in November when compared to May in terms of the number of job openings.
✅ Sales and Business Development and Software Engineering saw a much sharper fall than the other industries.
✅ Customer Support and Data & Analytics already had a low number of openings in May. As of mid-November, these numbers are even lower.
📉 When it comes to the number of job openings, Lithuania is facing a similar situation to Estonia – all industries have seena harsh decline. Let’s see what December will bring and how the Lithuanian job market will end the year.
Offered Salaries: November vs May
We all know how 2020 changed everything from how we live and work to the state of the global economy. In this section, we will compare the gross offered salaries in November and May to underline the results of the first and second waves of the coronavirus pandemic. 😷
Let’s discuss the 3 main takeaways from the chart below:
➡️ There is some good news from the Lithuanian job market. All the industries saw an increase in gross offered salaries except for Customer Support.
It is at the “OK level” to find a job in this industry. It is possible that the salaries have been lower due to high demand as well as a high number of job opportunities.
➡️ Data & Analytics saw the highest increase in offered salaries.
➡️ Marketing & PR & Design saw the lowest increase.
Market Competitiveness Per Specialty
Next in line is market competitiveness per specialty. In this section, we will compare the situation in Lithuania in mid-November vs May and see how the country is doing as 2020 is almost (finally!) over.
The chart above is telling us that:
💡 The industries where it is easier to find a job are Marketing, PR & Design, IT & Sysadmin and Customer Support.
We are happy for these industries, particularly for Customer Support, as professionals working in this industry have not been receiving much positive news lately. 😊
💡 Although it is still easy for software engineers to find a job in Lithuania, our data shows that the market was more in their favour 6 months ago.
💡 The industry that saw the most dramatic fall is Sales and Business Development. In May it was easier to find a job in this specialty, while nowadays job seekers may find it much more challenging.
Welcome to the MeetFrank family!
🤩 We are happy that the MeetFrank family is growing every day! Say hi to our new members: PrestaPro, Aeroclass.org, AB „Kauno energija“ and DeepFin.
This is the place where companies like Smart Brands Laboratoryjump in. With their know-how in the field, they have created a micro niche brand development model that scales them through a series of growth methodologies in branding, multichannel sales, sourcing, and digital marketing efforts.
Alien just landed on the Earth and your task is to explain to this totally clueless creature “What Smart Brands Laboratory does?” Go!
Smart Brands Laboratory is in the business of understanding people’s behavior. We’ve developed a proprietary niche brand scoring algorithm that identifies products that people around the world need, how they get what they need, and what the most efficient ways are to meet that need. We now own and manage 5 niche brands in the home & kitchen, vegan, pet, and sports product categories.
The source of your company’s success is the micro niche brand development model that you have created. What source of scaling magic is this? How does it differ from anything else on the market?
The primary objective of niche branding is to deliver a highly relevant message along with a value proposition that resonate closely with a narrowly defined audience. Our goal isn’t to build large brands that speak to masses and deliver products that are great for everyone. We’re driven by an eagerness to identify a subset of people that have a few specific things in common and speak about what matters to them. That’s the main competitive advantage of our business model.
Smart Brands Laboratory works with niche brands that have huge undiscovered potential. How do you find these unique labels? Do you agree that if a brand is too niche, it may die from lack of audience?
Even if you have the best brand of trombone oil in the world, every month there are only 300 people around the world looking online for trombone oil. Our niche scoring model determines when a product developed for a certain audience is not a viable standalone business.
Looking at Smart Brands Laboratory’s DNA and that you help brands scale across multiple sales channels and geographies. What are the main markets you focus on?
Smart Brands Laboratory’s primary sales markets are the USA, Canada, Mexico, the EU, and we’re about to launch in Australia. We’re also laser-focused on choosing the right marketing mix in each market. For example, the demand for certain vegan products has been growing steadily in the US for the past few years, whereas it has only recently picked up in Germany.
The market is more and more tired of big corporations and instead turning their face towards microbrands. How do you see this microbrand explosion evolving?
The rise of direct-to-consumer brands started almost a decade ago. They utilized undervalued traffic strategies such as social media ads and influencer marketing. They spoke about a single problem and presented a clear-cut solution to that problem. DTC brands spoke in a way which resonated with their audiences and social media advertising algorithms facilitated delivering that message to these audiences efficiently.
Also, customer behavior appears to have shifted towards experimenting with new unheard brands more frequently. A nationally known brand used to be the main driver for customer confidence. Now DTC brands that utilize user generated content, influencer marketing, and online product reviews can deliver the same feeling of confidence and convince new customers to purchase their products.
In the light of these niche branding and newly found customer confidence factors, more brands will continue to enter the e-commerce space. However, one of the main challenges for these brands will be determining the right product-market fit and balancing customer acquisition costs with their lifetime value. I think microbrands have a better chance at striking the right balance due to substantially lower competition in these niches. This is what we’re after at Smart Brands Laboratory.
Even during these unprecedented times, Smart Brands Laboratory is actively hiring and looking for new members – currently to the Sales, Marketing and Product development teams. Who are you looking for? What is the mindset that unites your current employees?
Since inception we’ve been inviting people to join the team in hiring sprees whenever we hit a significant milestone. We’ve doubled our team a few times already and we’re currently preparing for our 3rd round of hires. We’re looking to grow our product development and sourcing team to launch even more brands next year. We also want to expand multiple traffic strategies such as SEO, SEM, paid media, affiliate, and influencer partnerships.
Regarding mindset – I’d say that it’s very important to be open and sincere with your peers when you’re working in a startup environment. The ride is bumpy, everyone has their ups and downs. It’s never easy. All these things are way more comfortable when people approach challenges with an open mind.
Here are some examples of out job openings that are active at the moment:
How do you find the talents to hire? Do you publish a job offer or what % of hired candidates has been sourced and headhunted?
I would say that a lot of people have come to us organically through word of mouth and conversations at local meetups. In addition, we post all open positions on MeetFrank and reshare them on LinkedIn. So far, we’ve hired over 50% of our staff through MeetFrank’s platform without using other headhunting services.
What are Smart Brands Laboratory plans one month from now? What does 2021 look like?
Analysts predict that 1 out of 3 gifts in the United States will be purchased online. We expect a wild fourth quarter this year! I’m sure 2021 will be another year of growth for the company. We’re looking to grow our niche brand portfolio and open new sales channels.
Let’s be honest, moving to another country or just choosing a new career path is not an easy taskand raises a lot of questions. But no worries, we are here to help. 💪
New set of empowering features have been launched in MeetFrank recruitment app 👀, which allows users to anonymously ask questions about the position/location, discover certain job markets and apply for positions under 60 seconds. Because we simply believe that talent is borderless and career possibilities should be transparent. 🚀
Putting statistics aside for a moment, there’s no better source of information than personal experience. Lithuania has been discovered by a number of talented people. And now it’s time to meet with four of them.
A big THANK YOU👏 to the amazing four! Also, we would like to thank Work in Lithuania – this article was made in collaboration with them.
Meet our four experts that shared their thoughts about Lithuanian job market with us.
💣 Why did they decide to continue their career in a small Baltic country? What’s their career story? Continue reading to find out more!
British girl Ffion
From Leicester, a picturesque Cathedral town in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧, Ffion Quick first heard about Lithuania from some Lithuanian students she was studying with at university. Little did she know that she’d be furthering her career there in a few short years.
What inspired you to move to Lithuania?
First and foremost, I wanted to come on an adventure. When I was in university, I met amazing Lithuanian students and their grasp of IT was just out of this world. So, that made me start researching Lithuania a bit more and I realised that it was promoting itself as a tech hub.
So you were aiming for the IT sector. What career path did you choose?
I’m a UX Writer at Wix.com, which means I write all the text you see on the interface when you build a website with Wix.com. But it’s not only writing text, it’s programming all the stuff in the backend to make sure the user is able to see that text on the screen. So, it’s the best of both worlds. I get to be a copywriter and I also get to be a developer. I’m getting to meet people from all around the world too.
Lithuania is pretty far from the UK. What was the recruitment process like?
It was straightforward and difficult. I had to do a task, which I spent two days doing, and that was really good practice for what the job would be like when I came here. Then I had a video interview with HR in Vilnius. Then I had to go through two more interviews with my colleagues in Israel. Then finally they flew me out to Vilnius, and I had a face to face interview and then after that they said I had the job, so that was crazy!
Is there anything that you discovered about Lithuania before moving there that stuck in your head?
When I was researching interesting facts about Lithuania, I stumbled upon one that said there were more hot air balloons than people, which now that I’m here I don’t think is actually true. To see that amount of hot air balloons over the city is breath-taking.
Salvatore from San Francisco
Salvatore Riniolo hails from California 🇺🇸, near San Francisco, where he went to school and has lived for the last six years. Mesmerised by video games and the worlds they open, he wanted to develop games from a young age. Now he manages art content for Unity, one of several major game engine developers in the world.
San Francisco to Lithuania, and not the other way around. What’s your story?
Once the department, where I was managing my team, started shifting to Europe, I was tasked with building a team here, in Vilnius. Since I hadn’t travelled much before that, having spent my whole life in that little area in California, I had a dream to see a lot more of Europe and other countries.
You probably did not know a lot about Lithuania in advance?
I feel like my knowledge of geography when it comes to Europe was just a blank slate. I learned about Lithuania about a year and a half ago when I was told I would be building a team here. I had no idea what to expect, but I quickly fell in love with Vilnius. While some of the more modern areas of the city remind me of big cities in the U.S., there’s also a very European feel to the Old Town here, with all of these different architectural styles mixed together. I just love it!
Also, since I’m a big fan of street art, I really like Užupis – it’s beautiful, and it just seems really fun to be in that neighbourhood. And no – I don’t care if it’s an expat stereotype to like Užupis!
Have you noticed any differences between the people in Vilnius and your peers back in San Francisco?
I think Lithuanians tend to be a little quieter than I’m used to, but that’s not a bad thing. The people on my team are incredibly hardworking, and there’s a different culture of communication here. I find that I don’t need to follow up as much or to micromanage what my teammates are doing. Given how direct Lithuanians are, there’s not much beating around the bush or sugar-coating anything. I appreciate that.
The work-life balance here is another thing I really appreciate. Lithuanians focus significantly more on spending time with family, taking days off, celebrating holidays, and simply enjoying themselves when not at work. It feels a lot better, and it’s a big reason why I wanted to move
The true citizen of the world – Katya
Originally from Belarus🇧🇾and having spent four years in Budapest in her teenage years, Katya realised that home is not where you were born, it’s where you feel good. And for the last six years, this feel-good place has been Lithuania.
You’ve been living in Lithuania for quite some time now. What was your path to where you are today?
Yeah, it’s been six years already! After living in Hungary as a teenager with my parents, I knew that I wouldn’t want to be tied to just one place or country. After graduating from high school, I came to study Marketing and Global Business at Vilnius University. The studies were in English, and I had the chance to go to Portugal twice – for ERASMUS and to do an internship. Despite that, when deciding where to settle after studies, Vilnius was my first choice. I don’t know, it just felt cosy, plus the culture here is not that distant from what I was used to in Belarus. So, after several months of job hunting, I landed a position at Booking.com. I’ve been working there for the last one and half years.
Are you in the same position as you started?
I started as a CS Partner Specialist, working with accommodation providers on the platform. When an opportunity came to rise to the position of Quality Advisor in the same department, I took it. My team was nothing but helpful and supportive, and the transition was very smooth.
You’ve had quite the international experience in your life. How does the Lithuanian culture compare to what you’ve experienced elsewhere?
One thing about Lithuanians I can say for sure is that they’re open and reachable. If you have some issues – and who doesn’t when moving to a new country! – they’re more than willing to help. And if in other places people tend to be more focused on themselves and their inner circles, Lithuanians are much more communicable.
Harvard alumni Ruta
With a diploma of the prestigious Harvard Law School in her hands, Rūta🇱🇹could choose from a long list of job offers from around the world. However, she chose to develop her career in Lithuania. Now, she works for Revolut, a challenger bank that has already changed the way millions around the world perceive the future of banking.
Could you tell us a little bit about your professional journey?
I was born and grew up, like my whole generation, in exciting times. I had the chance to watch my country go through many transformations. I observed my mother set up a business in a new, already post-Soviet environment. After highschool I entered the Faculty of Law at Vilnius University. While still studying, I started working for Transparency International, and worked there for almost seven years. During my career there, I started dreaming that I would like to study some more. I chose to study for a Master’s degree at Harvard Law School.
Harvard was an amazing experience. I met extremely interesting people from all over the world, and I was taught by a number of people who were my heroes – for example, Cass Sunstein, an icon of behavioral economics, Samantha Power, the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Noah Feldman, one of the most famous US constitutional law experts.
What were your initial plans after your studies? What helped you decide to further develop your career in Lithuania?
I considered the possibility of staying in the USA after graduating to gain some professional experience. Still, I enjoyed living in Lithuania, so I became interested in professional opportunities here. Finally, I received an offer to work in Lithuania at Revolut, a world-famous startup, a career many of my classmates at Harvard dreamed of.
Lithuania is a great place for a career because it is easier to be noticed and build a professional reputation here than in large countries, where the competition for any job is much higher. In my case, my current manager just heard about me from former co-workers and contacted me to ask if I was interested in career opportunities. Something like this could hardly be expected in a big city like London or New York.
It is also easier to gain the trust of the employer – I see a lot of examples when young specialists receive a high level of trust from managers and have the opportunity to work really interesting jobs and grow professionally. Meanwhile, abroad, a young professional of my age is usually just a small cog in a large organisation, where climbing the career ladder takes a lot of time.
Isn’t Vilnius too small for an ambitious person like yourself?
I view Vilnius as a compact rather than a small city. It can offer almost everything (if not everything) a larger European city can, just at a smaller scale. There is no need to spend hours in traffic jams here, and you can easily escape to nature even if you live in the city centre. The nearest pine forest is a 15-minute drive away from my house – so if I want to get a fresh breath of air and clear my mind after a long day at work, I easily find time to do so.
Startups, as often portrayed in pop culture, require a lot of passion for work, but in Lithuania it is easier to strike a balance between work and leisure – unlike, for example, in New York, there is no need to commute an hour to work on the subway, so you can have much more time to yourself. Personally, I try to maintain my exercise routine, and I can manage having very precise appointments with my trainer, because I can get from one place to another very fast.
When choosing a career path, we all consider many elements – from personal life to the kind of career we want to create and where is the best environment for that. When choosing a place for professional career development, it is worth not forgetting that there are many international businesses in Lithuania, as well as interesting opportunities in the field of public policy and the non-governmental sector. When working here, it is possible to enjoy the already mentioned advantages – the compactness of cities, nature, fresh air, the fact that it is easier for young people in Lithuania to earn trust and start doing really interesting things at work. I believe that after considering all this, Lithuania, as a place for career development, ranks on an equal footing with other countries in the world, often outweighing them.
Want to know more about possibilities in 🇱🇹?
Lithuania is an unique mixture of great opportunities to work at international companies, where you can kick-start your career with less time and less hassle. If you’re interested in knowing more, then get the MeetFrank recruitment app to discover the local job market & to start a new path in your career.
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