First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Laurens van Nues: I am doing fine, and so is my family, thanks for asking. I live together with my fiancé in Amsterdam, and we now work from home most of the time. We have actually adjusted really well to this new reality; I don’t miss the commute to our HQ in Rotterdam, and we appreciate the increased flexibility that we now experience. I’m actually working in the French Alps this week! So safe to say that we are doing fine.
That also goes for the Magnet.me team, which is also one big family of mine. We are all working from home mostly now, but we have managed to stay closely connected.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you Founded or Joined Magnet.me
Laurens van Nues: Vincent Karremans, Freek Schouten, and I started Magnet.me while we were still in university because we were annoyed that there wasn’t a decent online solution to discover the right jobs quickly and to interact with recruiters directly and easily. At Magnet.me, it’s our mission to make it easier to find a job you love or the talent you need. We have our photographers like Airbnb to capture company culture, and you can find jobs like on Tinder.
My co-founders and I have never worked for any other company, nor have we ever applied for a job ourselves, which is quite ironic as founders of an online job platform! But we have seen and learned a lot while growing Magnet.me to more than 250, 000 job seekers and more than 5,000 employers, and expanding to the UK (Magnet.me currently operates in the Netherlands and the UK).
How does Magnet.me Innovate?
Laurens van Nues: We use the first principle thinking to devise our product strategy and innovate continuously. That means that we always try to dissect a problem to its key defining characteristics. What is right about a problem regardless of how it is solved now and the age we live in? And how can we best solve it with state of the art technology and design thinking if we start from scratch? We are extremely customer-focused, so we validate everything we do with data and talk to users to ensure that we truly deliver on our promises.
How does the Coronavirus Pandemic affect your Business, and how are you coping? What are the Lessons Learned?
Laurens van Nues: Well, as we help companies find new employees and fewer of them are hiring, we have definitely experienced the impact of the pandemic. We saw revenues fall sharply in March, so that was quite unnerving. Since then we have fortunately seen a slow but steady increase in sales.
In the meantime, we have become a far leaner company. We have slightly decreased our team size, which wasn’t easy on a personal level, but we have mainly become a lot smarter about our other expenditures. For instance, we are now becoming far less dependent on paid advertising for our growth. It was an eye-opener for us to discover how much we can still improve without spending more money. And we are making big strides in enhancing our product and user satisfaction in general.
We have also added employer branding products to the mix, and we are now helping our customers organize online career events. That’s a totally new demand that arose amongst employers, and fortunately, we can really help them out.
How do you Deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you Project yourself and Magnet.me in the Future?
Laurens van Nues: I try to make sure that I enjoy life as much as I can at all times. Especially in stressful times, it’s tempting to lose yourself in work and to stay glued to your laptop. But in my experience, getting away from it regularly is key to staying happy and productive. So I go for daily workouts and walks to get a coffee. I make sure I see my friends and family (although from a distance), and I remind myself to think positively, which is my second nature anyway. I still really see potential in everything we do. That hasn’t changed one bit.
And that is precisely the message that we share with our team. We want them to take breaks; as a matter of fact, we actually have an unlimited number of vacation days policy for employees. Another example is that we’ll continue to work from home a lot more after the crisis, which has improved our work-life balance.
We also talk about why our work matters for our users, now more than ever. And how excited we are about our long term plans, which really haven’t changed one bit. But we also try to be proactive and open when it comes to breaking bad news and adjusting our forecasts. That is something our employees really appreciate.
Your Final Thoughts
Laurens van Nues: Even though we have had some setbacks over the past months, it is inspiring to see the team’s energy still puts into everything that we do. With results to match. Be it the online career events that we have successfully started organizing, our continued commitment by our account managers to ensure customer satisfaction, and our hard work at improving our product further. I’d say that all things considered, we can be really proud of how we are moving through these challenging times. And I’m still very much excited about our work and our future.
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