Interview with HR success story magnet.me

Magnet.me is a succesfull Rotterdam based startup in the HR and recruiting market. The company started in 2012 to connect students and graduates to potential employers and has been used by more than 40.000 students. We interviewed founder Vincent Karremans about the company’s growth strategy.

This article is an expanded translation of the Magnet.me interview of Vincent Karremans interviewed by Viking

How does magnet.me work?

“We are a platform that connects companies and students. Companies create a profile with their selection criteria. Students create a profile based on information from their CV. Our algorithms compare all information and when a student meets the matching criteria for a company, he or she receives a matchmaking request. This way, students discover  what their available options are in one go, whether this is at a well-known multinational or an unknown startup. Simultaneously, employers build a network of suitable candidates that they can reach out to directly if a job opening becomes available. For both parties, the process becomes easier, more personal and faster.”

Where did you get the idea for this new concept from?

“It arose from our own experience as students.  During our job search, we discovered that we would always find the same fourty companies on every job fair, career guide of job website. We wanted to change this, and enable students to reach all potential employers.”

How is it different from other recruitment services?

“Better candidates, less hassle, lower cost.”

Linkedin is very big in The Netherlands, how do you compete with them?

Linkedin is more about who you know, Magnet.me is about who you are: about your skills. For students we are more relevant because they do not yet have a large professional network when they graduate.”

What is the best example of a match that you created? E.g. are there CEOs that found their employer using Magnet.me?

“We don’t exactly know. Because we are not a traditional recruiter, we do not track exactly who is hired were and when. We hear only indirectly from our customers that they hire candidates found via us.”

National and international growth

Magnet.me has grown rapidly, what was the most important success factor for this growth?

“A very good team. This is absolutely the most important factor for success, and also for having fun and enjoying our work.”

Magnet.me is expanding in the UK with a London office, did you outgrow the Dutch market?

“Yes and no. There is still plenty to do in The Netherlands. However we have high ambitions and the UK market is much larger, more international and more interesting in other aspects. Another reason for expanding is that we would like to show Dutch students all career options, including international options. We can now offer UK options to Dutch students and vice versa.”

Magnet.me used to be a free service, but you recently decided to charge companies a fee. What was the reason for this? And what was your businessmodel before the recent change?

“The business model has not changed. We support free use for everyone, and offer companies the option to upgrade to get access to extra features. The first response we had from companies when we added the paid features was: Why is it so cheap?”

You are currently focused on recent graduates, are there any ambitions to expand to the whole labour market?

“Ambitions yes, but no concrete and detailed plans yet.

Advice for new entrepreneurs

What would your advice be for starting entrepreneurs?

“Keep in mind that there are a lot of things that you do not know and that you have to learn a lot. Try to learn as much you can as fast as you can. Talk to entrepreneurs, dive into all details of the market, and make it a personal goal to keep developing yourself.”

Magnet.me had some serious setbacks as well, including the sudden death of a co-founder in a car accident. How do you deal with serious setbacks?

“It is important to realize that setbacks are part of entrepreneurship. You have to persevere and work harder (or at least differently) when they happen.”

Did you have any sudden windfalls or strokes of luck as well?

“Yes, mostly in the form of meeting talented people who were excited (and crazy enough) to join Magnet.me.”