Interview
12/04/2023

Ask the boss: Nina Zimmermann

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Receiving an invitation to an interview is the first hurdle that needs to be passed in the application process. But how can one best prepare for the interview? What is my future boss like? How does he or she „tick“? In our #Asktheboss series we look at different departments and see up-close what it is like to work there.This time, we talked to Nina Zimmermann, CEO at Kununu.

Kununu is looking to improve the workplace alongside employees and employers. The first Kununu paycheck was published at the beginning of this year. How important is it to you, that salaries no longer remain such a taboo topic in Germany?

Talented employees want salary transparency: In fact, almost 6 in 10 Germans would be in favour of their company at least disclosing the salary range of their employees. Almost a third would be even in favour of publishing the exact salary figures. But the reality is different. Every second person in Germany doesn’t even know what his or her partner earns. Yet, pay is an important indicator of one’s own worth – not just within one’s own company but also externally, for example, when looking for a job. It is important that we all work towards achieving greater pay transparency.

What is special about Kununu, and what would you like to share with new colleagues?

What really stands out at Kununu is our unique culture. All our employees really do subscribe to our mission of creating a better working world for everyone – with both employers and employees alike. I notice this in every conversation I have. Kununu is a place where people really can make a difference, and we see innovative ideas being generated in all departments. Our culture is one of openness and transparency, which leads in turn to a strong, connected and motivated team within the organization.

Please describe your application process.

If we believe that a candidate fundamentally fits the job description, then the recruiter will meet with the candidate and answer questions regarding the role. In the second meeting, the candidate will meet with their potential line manager for a meeting which normally takes around 60 to 90 minutes. If candidates advance to the next round, they are given a task tailored to the role, which they prepare in advance. This is then presented and discussed in a second interview with the manager. The final step is an informal get-to-know-you meeting with various colleagues to determine whether the chemistry is right.

What do you look for in an application?

When it comes to applications, I look for things that get my attention and are particularly creative. I am looking for applicants who can think „out of the box” and who will approach things in different ways to others. It is important to get to know the person behind the application and not just evaluate their skills as presented on paper. It is important to discover something in the application which makes me inquisitive and draws my attention to the applicant.

Do you have a specific question which you always like to ask during interviews?

I don’t have a specific question which I always ask, but it is important to find out what applicants might find hard to share or what is difficult when they talk about themselves. So I like to ask about a challenge or difficulty they’ve faced in the past and how they dealt with it. Ultimately, this question helps me get to know the applicant better and understand how they would react in stressful or unexpected situations.

What should your ideal candidate bring to the table ?

They should have a strong creative drive and demonstrate a positive attitude and want to change and drive things forward. I am looking for people who are proactive and don’t wait for people to tell them what to do. They should, in fact, demonstrate the complete opposite. They should think and act for themselves, take responsibility and make decisions. Ultimately, it is important that candidates are willing and able to face the challenges of the job over time, become successful at what they do.

What advice would you give to young professionals?

I have faced a lot of challenges in my career, but I was also fortunate enough to have had many colleagues along the way who always supported me and gave me advice. My advice is: believe in yourself and have the drive and ambition to achieve what you have set out to achieve. Look for support along the way and create a network. You can’t do it alone, and you don’t have to.

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