Sunday, July 21, 2024

Learn to say no

Jobbatical, takes care of the talent immigration and relocation process for businesses

Please introduce yourself and your startup Jobbatical to our readers!

My name is Karoli Hindriks and I’m the founder and CEO of Jobbatical. I launched my first company at 16, becoming the youngest inventor in my native Estonia. Between that and starting Jobbatical, I also led the launch of seven TV channels in Northern Europe.

My company, Jobbatical, takes care of the talent immigration and relocation process for businesses, saving them time and providing a seamless experience for their new international employees.

We’re currently operating in Estonia, Germany, Spain, and the Czech Republic—and expanding very soon to other European countries.

And because our ultimate goal is to bring about systemic change in the way talent mobility works across the globe, we’re also in talks with several governments to integrate government immigration systems with our platform. 

How did you get the idea of Jobbatical?

I was on my morning run in Mountain View, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley, when the idea of Jobbatical started to take shape. And I asked myself: Why are there so many innovative companies in Silicon Valley compared to other regions of the world? I figured it couldn’t be that people born there were smarter or more entrepreneurial than anyone else. Smart people just move there. So my next question was: How could we inspire smart people to move to places like my native Estonia and distribute knowledge more evenly across borders? How do we move smart people to far-flung cities to build new innovation hubs and companies that change entire industries?  

Why did you decide to start with Jobbatical?

In short—to build a world where ideas move freely and people matter more than their passports.

What is the vision behind Jobbatical?

I started Jobbatical to bridge the biggest talent gap in human history. Today we’re doing that by making immigration smart and tearing down the barriers between employers and the global talent pool. We aim to change lives and build high-performing teams by relocating exceptional people to impactful tech jobs around the world.

We’re working towards a world where immigration for skilled talent is a matter of seconds, not months. Our mission is to think beyond borders and help the world work together. 

How difficult was the start and which challenges you had to overcome?

My cofounders and I launched Jobbatical at the end of 2014 as a global recruitment platform. For four years, we connected employers in emerging tech hubs with a global pool of skilled tech talent as a marketplace for cross-border hiring.

But moving people overseas is a huge hassle. It often involves very confusing immigration processes, relocation, settling in… As we were learning this, we were also becoming immigration and relocation experts behind the scenes. We were the ones making sure that people actually reached their destinations, got all the right visas and permits, and settled in as smoothly as possible.

So as our team started making sense of this bureaucratic mess to help our clients and users, our business focus started shifting. We saw how many companies needed a reliable and effective immigration partner above everything else. When they started working with us to relocate new hires, they were actually able to hire more people because of how much time we freed up for them.

And so we reached a crossroads where it ultimately made sense for us to—not pivot, but to evolve.

Mid-2019, we shut down our hiring service and became an immigration and relocation platform only, helping companies bring in international talent seamlessly and efficiently.

Our mission hasn’t changed. We’re still thinking beyond borders to help the world work together, still building bridges between talent and employers to distribute brilliant ideas and minds more evenly around the planet. We’re just solving a deeper, more systemic problem now.

On the one hand, it was a huge, tough decision. On the other hand, it was 100% the right choice for the business and for our clients.

Who is your target audience?

We work with forward-thinking hyper-growth companies and global brands that hire internationally and are feeling the pain of cumbersome immigration processes. Companies like TransferWise, Bolt, Pipedrive, Typeform and Twilio trust Jobbatical with their talent immigration and relocation because we free up time they can now use to focus on bigger things. 

Without so much as a second thought, an employer on Jobbatical can hire the right person for any job, regardless of where they’re from. As a hidden bonus—our clients have noticed that top talent is more likely to apply for their jobs when they know that Jobbatical is covering the relocation process. 

What is the USP of your startup?

We offer employers a three-sided platform that cuts down human work hours and streamlines the entire relocation process. The platform seamlessly connects employers, talent, and our highly skilled immigration experts, creating a relocation experience where the employer can literally sit back and relax without having to worry about any of the paperwork or unexpected hurdles.

For example, we have automated things like government form-filling, which used to take 2.5 hours of human time and now takes 3 seconds. Groundbreaking startups are able to grow faster just by virtue of having an optimized relocation process. 

Can you describe your typical workday?

I don’t have a typical workday, but to offset the chaos of founder life a little bit, I try to inject some routine into my days wherever I can. I block time in my calendar daily to focus on tasks that require my full attention. And then I’m free to spend the rest of the day in meetings with my team or clients, speaking at events, or flying from city to city, telling the story of Jobbatical. I have developed a strong morning routine though. And I used to take 5 am calls and start working as soon as I opened my eyes, but now I take mornings for myself. I meditate, I run, take my morning bath and then have breakfast with my 6-year-old daughter.  Building a routine around my mental and physical health has helped me become a better leader for my company. 

Where do you see yourself and your startup Jobbatical in five years?

In general, I don’t like to make predictions. What I believe is that in five years Jobbatical will have helped to change the understanding of how immigration works. What today is a complex and scary process will be just a click of a button. Hiring globally will be as easy as hiring locally. By working closely with smarter governments, we will have integrated our platform with most of their immigration systems, which will have significantly reduced the time that humans have to spend on this (today) hideous paperwork. Thanks to the fact that companies in those smart countries can hire faster, we will be seeing more unicorns arising from those places. Access to talent is the key to companies having a chance to win in the global competition. 

In five years, we’ll be operating globally, our government-integrated platform covering the entire relocation process from start to finish and empowering businesses to hire fearlessly from anywhere in the world. 

What 3 tips would you give to founders?

Learn to say no. In the honeymoon phase of a company, it’s easy to get carried away and feel flattered by every invite to speak or request for advice. But a lot of it will simply distract you from what is important, without offering comparable value in return. Set ground rules for what is a good use of your time.

Invest in learning to communicate with your team. This summer we turned our entire company around. This huge move was only possible thanks to the work that we had done together on our communication and transparency. That work requires a lot of acknowledgment from yourself as a founder about your own shortcomings. 

Hire the right person for the job. Wherever they’re from. I am a great believer in culture add over culture fit. Hiring for culture fit creates a space for the biases of hiring people who are like you. To move forward, you need people who challenge you. There is so much research today about why diverse hiring is good for companies’ bottom line. Learn from it and step beyond your biases.

More information you will find here

Thank you Karoli Hindriks for the Interview

Statements of the author and the interviewee do not necessarily represent the editors and the publisher opinion again.

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