Top 10 Most-Read MeetFrank Interviews

Top 10 Most-Read MeetFrank Interviews

We have interviewed a lot of great companies & people over the past year. Companies ranging from consultancies and corporations to unicorns, each of which has its unique story to tell. There has been an equally diverse set of interviewees, from CEOs to CTOs, and, of course, many people from Human Resources. ✌️

Which interview has been the most interesting? It’s hard to tell definitively, but here are the top 10 most popular articles, ranked by the number of readers.

 

#10 – Evolution


We kick off the list with one of the most technical interviews we’ve ever done – a conversation with Juris Krikis, Scala and JavaScript Department Lead. 🛠

If you are into software engineering, then the interview is a blast: We discuss the main benefits of using Scala, transitioning the codebase into a new language while the system remains in production, and the best way to learn a new programming language.

👉 Read the full interview

 

“Scala leads to better code and happier developers” – Interview with Juris Krikis, Scala and JavaScript Department Lead at Evolution

 

 

#9 – Supermetrics


We chatted with Supermetrics in the autumn of 2020, right after they announced a blockbuster €40M Series B funding round. 💰

The interview with Viivi Marttinen, People Operations Manager, went deep into their recruiting process, including how they find the best candidates & convince them to join the company. Also, we touched on the set-up of the HR team and how remote work has changed the way they operate.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview with Viivi Marttinen, People Operations Manager at Supermetrics

 

 

#8 – Kevin


kevin. is a fast-growing fin-tech from Lithuania with the utmost flexibility in terms of working time and place. 🌍

Agnė Meškaitė, their Chief People Officer, explained how kevin. focuses on results, not on hours spent working, and how they set up their organization to fit every employee’s individual flow and peak productivity hours.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview with Agnė Meškaitė, Chief People Officer at kevin.

 

 

#7 – Fleet Complete

 

Jüri Tarkpea shared his 20-year career with us, culminating with the opening of brand new development centres in Tallinn and Tartu.

From using a soviet military map to track off-road vehicles to selling his company to Fleet Complete and becoming a Global VP of Engineering, this has been quite a ride. 🚗

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Jüri Tarkpea, the VP of Platform Engineering at Fleet Complete

 

 

#6 – Brella

 

A candid conversation with Hanna Kontinen, Head of Talent & Culture at Brella, about their progress in diversity and inclusion. 👣

By creating a diverse environment, they aim to unlock innovation and allow for more unique ideas. But what KPI-s to track? How to include these ideas in the hiring process? And why should companies stay humble while discussing D&I issues?

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Hanna Kontinen, Head of Talent & Culture at Brella

 

 

#5 – Nord Security

 

Nord Security began inside the Tesonet accelerator back in 2012. Now the company has nearly 700 employees and 15 million users worldwide. 🔥

In 2021, Nord Security stepped outside of Tesonet and started building separate company culture and employer brand. Karina Dirvonskienė, Head of HR, talked about the opportunities and challenges that followed this decision.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Nord Security – Building a leading cybersecurity company

 

 

#4 – Smart Brands Lab

 

Tomas Unikauskis, CEO of Smart Brands Lab, opens the world of micro-brands for us. 🔎

We talk about their proprietary niche brand scoring algorithm that identifies the new target products and how they manage their five existing niche brands. Also, can a micro-brand sometimes be too micro?

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Tomas Unikauskis, CEO at Smart Brands Laboratory

 

 

#3 – Fortumo

 

In the summer of 2020, the news broke that Boku will acquire Fortumo for up to 40M euros. 🤝

Fortumo’s excellent team was mentioned as the main reason for the deal, so we naturally wanted to talk with their Head of HR, Signe Virolainen. How do you create a culture that is worth tens of millions?

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Signe Virolainen, Head of HR at Fortumo

 

 

#2 – Vinted

 

The 2nd most popular interview is about something boring that just might make you a millionaire one day – share options. 💸

Vinted helped to explain it once and for all: How do they grant the options to the employees? How long is the vesting period? What is the potential upside? Are there any risks?

👉 Read the full interview

 

The Benefits and Value of Share Options in Vinted

 

 

#1 – Bolt

 

The most popular interview of the past year was written right when dark clouds caused by the pandemic started to clear for Bolt. ☀️

In addition to the insight into the company, Nikolai Kabatsikov, Head of Talent at Bolt, also offers timeless advice on building a LinkedIn profile and getting hired to a fast-growing tech company.

👉 Read the full interview

 

Interview: Nikolai Kabatsikov, Head of Talent at Bolt

 

Interview with Mindaugas Šipelis, Head of R&D at Ovoko

Interview with Mindaugas Šipelis, Head of R&D at Ovoko

As the economy’s strain on the climate has become unsustainable, new business models emerge with the emphasis of producing less and reusing more. Take Vinted, for example, a second-hand clothing marketplace with over 45 million users. Ovoko brings this revolution to the most unexpected of places – the used car parts industry. In Lithuania, they operate under the brand RRR.LT.

The industry has its unique challenges but is no less significant in bringing the world closer to the circular economy and ultimately tackling the pressing environmental challenges. To move their industry forward, RRR.LT develops advanced technology, including AI, computer vision, automation and analytics solutions. Their Head of R&D, Mindaugas Šipelis, talked to us about how they streamline the scrapyards’ workflow and raise the customer experience with tech.

 

The Interview

🔵 To start at the very beginning, what business problem does RRR.LT solve? Who are your customers?

RRR.LT is an online marketplace for used car parts, serving customers all across the European Union and beyond. 

We innovate on a historically very undigitized industry, illustrated by the fact that 90% of used parts for sale are not available online. Our goal is to provide a frictionless purchasing experience for customers and open new market opportunities for our suppliers.

As a marketplace, we connect both sides: sellers and buyers. We currently have 780 suppliers on our platform – scrapyards, dismantlers, recyclers. They are crucial to us because the marketplace wouldn’t have any inventory without them. And the buyers are both regular car owners and car repair workshops.

 

 

🔵 So basically, RRR.LT takes a very undigitized industry into the 21st century?

Buying a used spare part before RRR.LT was complicated, even if the part itself was as good as the new one. The customer had to find the correct scrapyard, book an appointment via phone, physically drive there and figure out if the spare part fits your car. It might take multiple days to get the component you need.

On RRR.LT, you simply have to insert your car model, and we show you the complete list of available spare parts from our sellers with photos, descriptions, quality information, etc. You can order the spare part in a matter of clicks, and if it doesn’t fit, return it free of charge. So yes, in short, we are trying to offer this service as it should be in the 21st century.

 

🔵 You talked about how you make buyers’ life easier, but how does RRR.LT benefit the suppliers?

Historically, selling used car parts has been a very local business, but our marketplace allows suppliers to reach more potential customers and create more value. Sellers benefit from better service and customer support that boosts buyers’ confidence. Finally, they also gain access to market data to make informed business decisions about what cars to buy and dismantle.

 

 

🔵 Great, let’s move on to the innovative technical solutions. How have you applied computer vision in your business?

We have over 3 million different spare parts on the platform, each uploaded individually by our sellers. To list a new item, they have to pick it up on the scrapyard, recognize what part it is, inspect it, write a description and take photos. This process is quite time-consuming and requires a fair amount of detailed knowledge of the spare parts.

Our computer vision product is one way to speed up the process. When you open the camera inside our app, our technology recognises the spare part and prefills as much information about it as possible.

 

🔵 How did you design the product from a technical standpoint?

Reading the spare part number could seem like an easy task, but there are some tricky elements. At first, we had to build an enormous database of images of spare parts and information about them. Our advanced artificial intelligence model trains the computer vision product based on this dataset.

Also, we had to solve some challenges that are more specific to car parts. Sometimes, there might be a lot of technical information on the label of a spare part, so you have to find the correct number. Or in the case of plastic spare parts, the part number is usually imprinted, which makes identifying it with computer vision very difficult, as there could be lighting issues or unexpected shadows. Our model is already advanced enough to recognize these cases.

 

🔵 What’s the accuracy rate for recognizing the part number? 

Accuracy is quite satisfying already – about 80 to 90%. We count the accuracy with all the edge cases where even humans can’t read the part number because it’s worn, dusty or rusty. Our model is sometimes still able to detect the number, so I think we have great accuracy.

Of course, the more popular cars have higher accuracy rates than the less popular ones. Also, it depends on the quality of the image and the specific spare part.

 

🔵 How far have you developed the computer vision product? When can customers start using it?

We currently run applications in the testing environment, but we’ll make them publicly available soon. Initially, it will enable our suppliers to list the spare parts on the marketplace faster, as discussed earlier. In the future, we would like to make it available to the buyers as well. If some part of your car breaks, identifying the correct component without technical knowledge is strenuous. Our computer vision product can help with that. 

 

 

🔵 I understand that in addition to computer vision, you have engineered a semi-automated photo booth. How does it work exactly?

Computer vision product solves one step of the identification and listing process, but we are thinking about our suppliers’ entire workflow. There might be hundreds of thousands of spare parts in the warehouse, but as long as they sit on the shelf, the chances of someone buying them is very low. 

Our conveyor project helps to speed up another step of the listing process. We custom built a machine that, in addition to identifying the spare part with computer vision, also automatically weights it and takes photos and measurements. We developed this product to be very user friendly, even if you are not very familiar with spare parts. As a supplier, you merely have to print out the label for the product and wait until someone purchases it online.

 

🔵 And this also aims to solve the supply problem, to get more inventory to the platform?

We currently see that uploading new products is a bottleneck for us: Although you can already sell spare parts internationally with our platform, the uploading process still relies heavily on manual labour. We try to provide our suppliers with the technology to make it faster. Another benefit for us is that we get way higher quality images and more structured data.

 

🔵 How much quicker can a person upload the products to RRR.LT with the conveyor?

If we compare it to the suppliers with the quickest upload speed today, this solution will be at least 3-5 times faster. But for those who are uploading the products at a slower pace, this might be up to 10 times faster.

But actually, we are doing two things at once. As mentioned previously, considerably higher data quality is an additional benefit on top of the faster process. The photos will have a higher resolution and better lighting, and the item’s description is always correct and structured.

 

 

🔵 And finally, analytics! I assume that before RRR.LT, the data about the used car parts market was challenging to find or maybe didn’t exist at all?

Yes, data and analytics are essential for us. Without the data, we couldn’t be so confident in what we are building. Currently, the scrapyards are working from their experience, but we have the data to detect trends in the car market. For example, if some car brand’s sales rise, then we know that some years down the line, the demand for spare parts will also grow. 

Another example would be unmet demand in the market for some car brands. We can find those opportunities from the data and point them out to our suppliers, who can fill the gap and make good margins. The opposite also might be true – if there is already a lot of inventory for some models, then we can tell the suppliers that it’s not realistic to sell that many items.

 

🔵 What’s the long-term vision that you are building towards with all these new products?

Excellent question! We could change the customer experience for both sides in only a few years by bringing advanced digital technology to an industry that has never had it before.

The big vision for the future is that we will conserve resources by producing fewer new car parts. Instead, we can increasingly learn to reuse things. It will be even more crucial in the future, considering the environmental challenges we face. I think that reusing car parts will become the new normal and the customer’s first choice. By extending the usable life of the vehicle parts, we step closer to the circular economy.

 

🔵 Let’s jump to another subject for the very last question. You simultaneously develop both physical and digital products, including AI solutions. Does it get difficult to cover all these technical areas at once?

Yes, it’s actually very challenging to combine the different technologies. We need very high competencies on all fronts. For instance, developing hardware could look straightforward at a surface level. But when you start analyzing your specific use cases, drawbacks in the existing solutions become apparent, and you have to rethink and redesign everything.

So it is very challenging at times, but then again, we are the R&D team, so complex technical challenges are our bread and butter. Of course, it’s only possible if you have a highly competent team.

Check out Ovoko’s open positions on their career page.

 

Interview with Morgan Vernay, Senior Javascript Developer at VNTRS

Interview with Morgan Vernay, Senior Javascript Developer at VNTRS

Introducing VNTRS Estonia – Startup Studio & a VC fund enriching Northern Europe’s start-up world. Founded in Sweden in 2016, they have invested in 24 companies and worked with hundreds of others. Now they have also settled in the Estonian start-up scene. Using the Sweat Equity model & their VEQ fund to help companies grow, VNTRS is well connected with start-up hubs in the Baltics.

VNTRS has an attractive career path to offer for people who are invested in growing tech companies. And by ‘invested’, we mean both personal and professional growth. An employee investment possibility also comes with working at VNTRS, of course. Morgan Vernay, Senior Javascript Developer at VNTRS, enlightened us on sweat equity and their vision of collaborating with start-ups.

 

The Interview


🔵 Let’s bring everyone up to date on how VNTRS came about and how you are making the world a better place?

Our vision is the world where good ideas become successful. We believe that too many good ideas, passionate entrepreneurs, and intrapreneurs fall short due to the wrong reasons – we are here to change this.

We build digital products and services while also helping start-ups get to the market cost-effectively. If we believe in the people and the companies we work with, we are willing to reinvest part of our fee to equity, become shareholders and long-term tech partners. Our investment portfolio currently consists of 24 early-stage tech companies that we’ve helped to build, and we have also worked with hundreds of clients following VNTRS’ values.

As mentioned above, we risk and benefit together with our partners. This is what the concept of VNTRS – Sweat Equity is all about. In 2021, we also started the VNTRS VEQ investment company to expand our investment capabilities. VEQ will invest in pre-seed and seed rounds with a mandate all over Europe but focus on the Nordics and Baltics. VEQ does not have a traditional fund structure and thus can remain a long term active owner as long as it makes sense for both sides.

 

 

🔵 How has the startup scene welcomed you here in Estonia?

Since opening up the Estonian office in February 2021, we have seen a lot of interest from Estonian and Baltic startups. We focus on introducing the Sweat Equity concept to the founders as this model was not well-known in Estonia in the past. Nowadays, we deliver the message and spread the work through the benefits of this model, connecting ourselves to VC funds, incubators, and accelerators. 

We screen about ten start-ups weekly, asking the best ones to pitch for our Investment Committee. Collaboration with local ecosystem players helps us to guarantee a stable flow of incoming leads.

Within those 4 months of operation, we landed our first Sweat Equity project in Estonia, helped several companies with consulting, and managed to work on one additional cash project. As things stand, there are several more investment projects in the pipeline. That’s one of the reasons we are looking for additions to our team.

 

🔵 The ever-changing work environment at startups can be challenging for developers. What would you say are the main distinctions in work-life between VNTRS and startups?

I would somewhat disagree here. I have been researching this topic, and according to my research, developers primarily seek to switch jobs as they get tired of the same product development; they feel a lack of impact in decision making rather than just completing the set tasks. Also, as a start-up is growing, the “romance” of the work nature is disappearing. 

In VNTRS, we offer the developers various projects with 100% involvement and freedom to achieve technical tasks. Developers can finish one (long or short-term) project and choose to have some other tasks in hand for the next one. We always involve our developers in workshops, scoping sessions, MVP mapping process, etc. Coding is just one part of a developer’s job. 

 

 

🔵 Could you elaborate on how VNTRS’ lifecycle management helps to relieve common pain points found at start-ups?

Very often you will find developers only completing tasks assigned to them while being micromanaged at the same time. We strongly believe that involvement is vital to solving this issue, and we enable it through different means. First and foremost, we want our engineers and developers to feel like they impact the whole process of working with start-ups. We also believe that start-ups lack diversity in developers’ daily tasks.

For our engineers and developers to find solutions for our clients, we believe that a deep understanding of the start-up and its product is key for everyone involved. Getting this knowledge enables our engineers and developers to provide valuable input to our clients during the whole process. This allows our employees to work with external clients and our start-ups to widen their skill sets.

Last but not least, we feel like having a foot in the game motivates you to give your best. That is why we run our company using sweat equity. Every employee in the company can invest in the project they are working on.

 

🔵 Working at VNTRS means collaborating with multiple start-ups at once instead of choosing only one. How does it manifest itself in daily life?

This means that while you could be in the “coding” phase of a product for one start-up, you could also have part of your time attributed to screening potential new start-ups or helping others in our portfolio to scope their MVP.

Working at VNTRS as a Javascript developer, you can expect a lot of diversity in your daily tasks. We believe that developers and engineers are more than just good at coding. We value their input regarding the whole lifecycle of the products. Our clients appreciate the fact that they can count on VNTRS at all stages of the partnership and always have insightful interlocutors to help them solve their problems using the talent and experience of the whole team. Both Swedish and Estonian.

 

🔵 VNTRS also has a ‘sweat equity’ system in place, aiming to raise employee engagement even further. Could you give a brief overview of what it is and how it works?

Sweat equity means investing ‘sweat’ instead of money. We are giving out our consultancy and seek equity of the client-company in return. This model came to light in the 1930s in California, US. Back then, immigrants had no place to live and no money to buy an apartment. Local real estate developers approached them and offered a deal, ‘help us to build houses, and in return, as an alternative to the salary, we will give you an apartment, where you could live.’

VNTRS is doing the same by not seeking monetary compensation for the services but asking for equity instead. We can reinvest part of our fee back into the start-up and thus become a minor shareholder. This takes the collaboration to a higher level as we are directly interested in growing the start-up’s valuation.

A ‘killer feature’ of our company is that all of the employees invest part of their salary into the VNTRS fund. This means that all of the workers are shareholders of the project they are working on. The given system allows our workers to get engaged and have direct motivation for success while clients see us as trustworthy partners. We are not an outsourcing company, where the more hours you spend on the project, the more money you will earn. Sweat Equity is about growing together with our startups, as only then can VNTRS be successful!

 

 

🔵 When and why did VNTRS choose to use sweat equity? How does it impact a company’s working life, people & operation wise?

This was the decision from day one. In the beginning, it is surely risky and challenging as you need to find the right balance to be able to cover all the running costs, but VNTRS did play this right from the start. 

Our experience shows that the Sweat Equity model is efficient and great for founders. We are now applying all the know-how gathered in Sweden to the Estonian market. 

 

Check out VNTRS’ open positions:

 

🔵 What are some of the qualities you’re looking for in new developers joining the team? 

When it comes to hiring new developers, we look for pragmatic and self-acting people with a drive to become experts in their field of work and at working with start-ups. We look for people willing to produce clean quality code using recent and relevant technologies to help the start-ups in our portfolio grow.

 


Writing contributed by Mari-Ann Vilson

 

How to get your first job in a start-up? – Part 2

How to get your first job in a start-up? – Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the guide on how to get your first job at a tech company with Giedre Dubisevaite. She is a People Manager at Whatagraph, a SaaS platform for collecting and visualizing marketing data gathered from many channels. Whatagraph has tripled its team to 60+ people in 2020 with ambitious plans for 2021 as well. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to read Part 1 of the interview, which covers the first steps for getting a job, including building a LinkedIn profile and sending an outstanding application.

 

The Interview

🔵 We pick up the conversation from Part 1 at a place where the candidate has cleared the first hurdle and left a good first impression on the recruiter. What happens next? How does Whatagraph’s hiring process look and how long does it usually take to complete it?

It actually very much depends on the role and the team. As a rule of thumb, if we receive an excellent candidate, we do not wait a month to send an offer but rather do it straight away. So if you hesitate whether to apply, today is always better than tomorrow.

In terms of the hiring process, the candidates usually go through the following steps:

  1. Application (can be done via email or by applying on our careers page)
  2. Screening
  3. Interview with a team lead
  4. Assignment
  5. Meet the team / Cultural fit interview
  6. Offer

We are big fans of adjusting the hiring process to the specific position, so the candidate gets the opportunity to show off the specific skills as well as get to know the team before deciding to join. After all, it’s an evaluation journey for both parties.

For example, when hiring for a Sales role, we usually invite candidates for a role play with our team. Also, they get to participate in the Experience day, where you get to meet the team and see how your daily tasks will look. For a position like Product Designer, we might give you a scenario with a real UX problem to solve to see how you approach challenges. 

 

 

🔵 How different are the recruiting processes for various positions, for example, technical vs non-technical roles?

I wouldn’t make a distinction between technical and non-technical roles because each position is different. We look not only at professional experience but also at soft skills that are specific to the position. 

Almost every role we are recruiting for will have an assignment step – technical or non-technical. We have found it works well for understanding the candidate’s approach to tasks in general, but it also allows them to show off their practical skills.

 

🔵 What’s your favourite question to ask at interviews? Why?

While our Team Leaders focus on more technical questions, I like to pay close attention to the personality and cultural fit. When we hire people, our goal is to onboard them on a long-term journey with Whatagraph, so we make sure the new hires share our vision, commitment and values. So my favourite question is “Where do you do your best work?”. It might sound like a simple question, but it actually gives a lot of insights. 

For example, it shows if you are a team or an individual player, what motivates you and what management style is the best to support you. Also, it highlights if you thrive in a fast-paced environment full of challenges and if you feel comfortable working at a startup like Whatagraph.

My second favourite would be “What would motivate you to stay in the company for the next 5 years?”.

 

 

🔵 Let’s say the talent has triumphantly completed the hiring process and is ready to start their career at Whatagraph. How does the onboarding process look like when most of the team is (presumably) working remotely?

When a new person joins the company remotely, the first week is booked with meetings – we believe it is important to see the faces of the people you will be working with daily. 

During your first week, you get to know our Operations and HR team, have intros with your own team and get to meet our CEO Justas. We make it clear that everyone in the company is approachable, and each question is important. Weekly check-ins also help to keep the pulse of the new hire. 

To meet people from other teams, we have regular Whatachat events. It’s like speed dating with your colleagues, where you get matched with random people for 5-minute video conversations, which is quite fun. 🙂

 

🔵 How has the year of remote work changed how Whatagraph operates?

We learned a lot over the past year about working remotely, and although it hasn’t affected how we work that much, there were a few things that we learned to do better.

Communication, for example. It’s easy to set up all day meetings to give everyone a sense of ‘working together‘, yet it’s time-consuming and tiring, especially when working from home. 

Instead, we worked a lot on documentation – writing up the processes step by step, creating handbooks, guidelines and explainer videos. We also use task management platforms that give a transparent view of where everyone in the team is, and we moved a lot of conversations offline.

 

🔵 What should a person expect from his/her first-ever job in a start-up? 

I would compare working at a startup to riding a bullet train – you jump in and ride at full speed from day one. It’s not really about lounging on bean bags and playing Playstation 4 hours per day. 

At Whatagraph, the pace indeed is fast, which can be challenging for some. But what you get in return is the environment to grow rapidly both professionally and as a person. It would take twice as long to become an outstanding talent in any other company. Here, you can do that in a few months, guided and supported by our experienced Team Leaders.

We trust our people to take ownership and get hands-on tasks from day one. And sometimes, mistakes are made, but it’s a risk we are willing to take. We say that a bad page can always be edited, but a blank one – cannot. Getting our hands dirty is how we deliver more than expected and how we grow at scale.

And amidst the thriving environment for talent, we have our team. We are all very different, complementing each other with skills and knowledge, but what unites us is the sense that we are all together in this magical journey. Everyone is super supportive and friendly – we leave our egos at the door and focus on collaboration every single day. 

🔵 Are there any things specific to SaaS companies compared to start-ups in other areas? 

When working in a SaaS company, a focus is on the product and the service we offer. To succeed in any of the teams, you need to know the product exceptionally well because you will be either making it, selling it, supporting it or marketing it. So this knowledge is essential. 

In their first week, new joiners meet our Customer Success team, where they thoroughly learn the platform and have a knowledge building session to cover the use cases of how marketing professionals use Whatagraph to become data scientists.

 

🔵 Maybe you can give some examples of team events or routines that are unique to Whatagraph?

Even though we are over 60 people now, sometimes it still feels like a small family. Current situation and remote work has put a lot of stress on how people feel in general, and for us it is important to have this sense of community alive, and to support each other. So we have remote team activities where we connect people from different teams and give them time and space to talk while doing something fun, not work-related. For example, the bi-weekly Whatachat events mentioned earlier.

Obviously, we dearly miss our office activities like weekly team breakfasts, hearing the gong from the sales room every time we have a new customer onboarded, or a bell ping every time a demo is booked, going for a team picnic outside, or just getting together for a beer or two. The time away from the office provided us with a lot of space to get new ideas of activities inside and outside the office, so I’m really looking forward to implementing them! For example, enabling our teams in Vilnius and Klaipeda to switch offices – who wouldn’t want to work with a view over the Curonian Lagoon during the day and then chill by the sea in the evening?

Check out Whatagraph’s open positions on MeetFrank:

 

🔵 Especially at the start of your career, you might find out that your initial career path is not the best fit for you. How easily can you move between different teams and roles within Whatagraph?  

Easy. That’s the best part about working in a fast-growing company like Whatagraph. I joined the company five years ago as a Marketing Specialist, and during my time here, I had a chance to work in Customer Success, Product and Operations teams. This experience helped me find the areas I enjoy most, and now I found my place as the People Manager. 

Marija, our Head of Operations, started her career as a Partnerships Development Executive in our Sales team. Žilvinas, who leads our affiliate marketing program, worked as an Outreach Specialist before taking up the new position. 

There are plenty of opportunities, and with the current pace of hiring, they are coming up all the time. It’s the matter of you taking that step and making good use of it.

 

 

How to get your first job in a start-up? – Part 1

How to get your first job in a start-up? – Part 1

Tech companies are attractive employers in many industries and ready to offer young talents remarkable growth opportunities. However, getting your first job, in a start-up or otherwise, might seem daunting. How to stand out from the other candidates? How to present yourself to a recruiter? 🤔

To find answers to all those questions, we interviewed Giedre Dubisevaite, People Manager at Whatagraph, which is a SaaS platform for collecting and visualizing marketing data gathered from many channels. She is a perfect interviewee because Whatagraph has been on a bit of a hiring spree lately, tripling its team to 60+ people in 2020 with ambitious plans for 2021 as well. 

The interview is divided into two parts: this article will cover what recruiters look like besides the work experience, how to make your application stand out, and how to build a professional LinkedIn presence. The second part focuses on everything that happens after you have been invited to an interview.

 

 

The Interview

🔵 The summer is nearing, which means people are out there eyeing a new job, maybe their first job ever. Suppose you are such a person without a lot of industry experience. Do you really have a chance in the job market at all when every job seems to require previous work experience?

Absolutely, the beginning of a new season tends to summon the longing for change, right? The good news is that Whatagraph already has several entry positions open, and we will have a lot more in the next few weeks. It’s enough to have strong motivation and interpersonal skills to apply for entry positions – we invest heavily in new people and make sure they receive sufficient training to succeed. 

Of course, there are positions where experience is a must, like leadership roles. And having worked in similar positions is always seen as an advantage. That said, when we are recruiting for junior positions at Whatagraph, experience is not the only thing we look at, but also things like internships, volunteering projects, courses, and life experiences that might have developed the skills needed.

 

🔵 Could you give a specific example of what you look for in candidates applying for junior positions? Besides the relevant work experience, of course.

Sure, let’s take our Partnerships Development Executive (PDE) role as an example. It is a junior sales position, so I do not expect people to have a strong B2B SaaS sales knowledge. Instead, I look at:

LinkedIn profile. PDEs will be communicating a lot with our leads, so it is crucial to have a LinkedIn presence. Is the profile filled out? Is it professional? Does the person know how to sell himself or herself? If yes, then there’s a huge chance he/she will know how to sell to others as well.

Life experience. You can gain the skills needed to excel as a PDE anywhere: Customer-facing positions, fast-paced environments, even leading a school committee – all these experiences tell a story. When I read ‘a waiter’, I see a person who is most likely used to working long hours under pressure. When I read ‘studied abroad’, I see a person who is not afraid of challenges. These are all super beneficial skills when working in our Sales team at Whatagraph.

 

 

🔵 There’s, of course, truth to the fact that your first job might be one of the hardest to get, even if you have been active as a student. How should you present yourself as a junior to be seen as a serious candidate by recruiters? 

1️⃣ First, put the effort into the application. There’s nothing worse than getting just an attached resume in an empty email. Spend some time saying hi, explaining why you are interested in this position and what makes you a good candidate. It doesn’t have to be too long – a few accurate and witty sentences are more than enough.

2️⃣ Second, show that you know the company. Do your research. Offer solutions/ideas. For example, we had a developer applying for a position where instead of sending a resume, he researched our website and sent a list of possible improvements. Guess what? He got invited to a job interview and was hired soon after.

3️⃣ Third, adapt your resume to the position. Look through the job specs – what skills are we after? Try to showcase them in your resume and application letter. Tell a story of how you have gained these skills through previous experiences.

4️⃣ Fourth, make sure your social media presence shows the best side of you, especially the LinkedIn profile. Don’t just leave it empty and thus open for interpretation. 

5️⃣ Fifth, and probably most important, show your motivation and excitement to join a company like Whatagraph.

 

 

🔵 You mentioned building a LinkedIn profile, which is a fascinating subject in itself. Do you have any tips on how to present yourself professionally on LinkedIn? Are there any red lines that the candidate should avoid at all cost?

There are so many things that make up a good LinkedIn profile! We could do a separate interview just on this. 🙂

First of all, if you do not have a LinkedIn profile already, create it. An up-to-date LinkedIn profile works as your resume, so in many cases, it is enough to apply for a job at Whatagraph.

Your profile photo leaves a first impression. It will do you a favour if it’s recent and professional. Avoid cropped images where your face is invisible as well as too distracting accessories. 

Your LinkedIn headline is also one of the main fields that make up the first impression when someone lands on your LinkedIn profile. It should be quite generic but still reflect what and where you do.

Make sure your experience section it’s updated regularly and matches your resume. Mention things like the organizations you have worked or volunteered in, add a list of specific responsibilities and note your main achievements.

The number of connections shows your social presence and reputation in a sense. If it’s 500+, you’re doing a good job. But if you’ve just created your LinkedIn profile and have two connections, I’ll tell you a secret – some tools automatically send requests to connect with people without you lifting a finger.

 

🔵 If a person has already covered the LinkedIn profile basics, then what are some of the advanced features?

Write an “About” section. It should introduce you professionally in a few sentences and cover a couple of different things:

  • What is your speciality?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • In what industries have you worked? 
  • Your achievements, ideally reflected in numbers. We love data.

Licences and certification. If you have something to add – do it, it does give a sense of credibility. Also, use a custom LinkedIn URL – it looks way more professional than default-full-of-random-digits URL that LinkedIn automatically generates. 

 

That’s it for this time! Check out Part Two to find out how to nail the interview and the rest of the recruiting process.

🔵 However, if the previous answers left you wondering about a career in Whatagraph, what open positions do you have right now? Do you have any entry-level opportunities at the moment?

Absolutely! Our hiring plan is ambitious, and we need a lot of people to jump on this train with us. We have openings in Engineering, Product Design, Marketing and Sales teams.

 

Check out Whatagraph’s open positions on MeetFrank:


We have already started scaling our Engineering team, so we are looking for Backend Engineers, Frontend Engineers, Engineering Managers and QA Specialists. By the time this interview is out, we’ll have settled in our new Klaipeda office overlooking the Curonian Lagoon with the perfect view for our weekly tech breakfasts. Having grown the engineering team, we’ll definitely need additional hands in the Product Design team as well.

We are also growing our Marketing team, so we are searching for Outreach Specialists, which is the perfect entry position for those looking to advance their skills in SEO. Other open positions in Marketing include PPC Specialists and Influencer Managers.

The Sales team will welcome Client Partners and Partnerships Development Executives, the latter is the perfect entry position for anyone looking to kick off their career in B2B SaaS sales.

 

The Most Popular Company Currently Hiring: Katana

The Most Popular Company Currently Hiring: Katana

In February, the most popular Estonian company on MeetFrank was Katana Smart Manufacturing Software. 👏

What does the company do? What are their plans for 2021? Who are they recruiting at the moment? Without further ado, let’s get to know our gold medalist.

 

 

2021 started with successful Series A funding

 

Founded in 2017 and hailing from Estonia, Katana recently raised $11 million in Series A funding

Providing modern manufacturing & inventory software for scaling businesses, Katana is part of an industry that was strongly boosted by the pandemic. Staying at home and not being able to socialise has led to a higher amount of online shopping and higher need of e-commerce tools.

Enterprise planning software is one of the biggest individual software categories, yet the sector has seen the least innovation. In other words, the long-established market leading systems are like horses in the world of Teslas (no longer fulfilling the market needs).

And this is where Katana jumps in with product love in a category that has been historically so loveless.

 

But what differentiates Katana from other competitors?

 

The e-commerce boom is fuelling the uniqueness of Katana. As the industry is rapidly changing – especially after the pandemic accelerated years of growth in just weeks – manufacturers of all sorts are looking for simpler and smarter ways to meet their customers’ needs. 

The ability to support both D2C (direct-to-consumer) and B2B (business-to-business) sales channels is crucial for emerging new manufacturing brands. This flexible integration is exactly the need of modern manufactures that Katana is catering

Katana’s advantage is powered by its ability to provide smart manufacturing in a simpler way. According to CEO Kristjan Vilosius, their service is the world’s most self on-board-able manufacturing software. 

The valuation is far from self-flattery, since stakeholders confirm that the company delivers the best-in-class product. The customer reviews speak for themselves and the investors, who led Katana’s Series A on behalf of Atomico, have pointed out the following strengths:

🏆 Clarity in the company’s vision – catering to market needs by offering software for every manufacturer globally.

🏆 The simple self on-board-ability – being global from the start and bringing in an outstanding number of organic leads.

🏆 Stellar delivery – surpassing the goals with an ease (revenue growth, churn reduction etc).

 

 

Transitioning “making and crafting” into “manufacturing”

 

Katana’s mission in simpler terms is to find scaling manufacturers that are growing out of Excel and provide them with smart production planning software combined with inventory/warehouse management. Katana has stepped in to save modern growing manufacturers from taking the huge leap from spreadsheets to overly complex and expensive enterprise software.

As mentioned before, simpler and smarter is the magic formula.

They started off as a service for micro manufacturers. But by now, over 30% of Katana’s product subscriptions come from the SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) segment. And nearly 50% of customers are located in the USA.

Our readers, who love Japanese culture, probably have a question. Is there any connection between Katana the company and katana the samurai sword?

Indeed, while the founders assembled a pitch to build a Manufacturing SaaS, they met the following term: Toyota Production System. For them, the samurais and ninjas were pretty logical topics to explore. Katana, the cutting-edge manufacturing software won by a landslide. 🥷🥷🥷

 

 

Expanding the team and scaling Katana

 

We can safely say that the boom of e-commerce is not slowing down any time soon. But before Katana can grow their family of manufacturers, they need to grow their own team first.

In the beginning of 2021 Katana had around 40 employees. However this number is growing as we speak, since they are looking to double the size of the team by the beginning of 2022.

The katanauts (that’s what they call themselves) are a very international group of people with over 10 different nationalities (the more, the merrier).

The company offers its employees top-notch remote working infrastructure and a culture that has the best bits of a scaling startup. Innovative, yet stable. Not pivoting it’s roadmap every two months.

By redefining a large sector, building a world-class product, and meeting the needs of the underserved – Katana has the ambition and potential to be the next unicorn.

 

If you are interested in working in a company with huge growth potential, keep an eye on the MeetFrank app to catch when Katana has a new opening!

 

👉 Full Stack Engineer, Shop Floor Control

👉 Full Stack Developer, Manufacturing Resource Planning

👉 Product Designer

👉 Marketing Designer

👉 Product Marketer

👉 Marketing Data Analyst

👉 Email Marketing Specialist

 

 

*We measure the company’s popularity by the number of positive matches with candidates on MeetFrank in a given month in a given country.