Monday, November 29, 2010

[The Insider] 15 Talents

When you want to be the leading market place bringing together talented students with interesting company projects of innovative companies, you need to be where the students are. When the 15 Talents SIBE GmbH was founded in early 2008 it was the leading rule for structuring the company. This simple but powerful rule was the reason why 15 Talents was created with Social Media at its core, making it a true social media company.

Two years later the responsible for Sales and the company site within Xing, Andreas Griesbach, is giving us insights of the company structure and how it works today through an interview.

But to be able to understand where this important decision came from we have to take one step back. The company was created out of a problem: many companies came to University Professors with well-paid, interesting short-time jobs and practicals / internships but it was hard to find enough talented students to fulfil those, mostly because of the lack of available time. The demand increased and soon became too much to handle for the career centres of the universities, so it was decided to outsource the job of finding talented students into one single company. Right from the beginning there hasn't been a shortage on projects but on talented students. As a result the main marketing strategy, still used today is focussing on finding talented students. And because students basically live a second life¹ in these social networks it was obvious that 15Talents needed to participate there to find the right students for their projects.

But which networks should it be? As the jobs often require unique skills, for example in software programming or speaking foreign languages you can't focus on just one social network - moreover as you don't know which skills future projects might need. In order to find as many good people as possible 15Talents decided to go broad. And the only way to go broad without lowering content quality is by putting more resources on it. By now, Andreas told us, roughly 60% of marketing resources are spent on Social Media. Company resources, spent during company hours.

To cope with the huge amount of data, the different writing styles and rules of each social networks they have decided to split the job up over various employees. Each employee is responsible for different platforms because he/she knows best how to handle it. This way they are able to write blog posts frequently, post interesting links on Facebook and Twitter and engage in Xing forums and groups. Another technique they are using to deliver content efficiently is linking them up.

Always on the right side - the links to stay
connected with 15Talents
For example the RSS Feed of latest projects is directly linked to Twitter, posting and informing all their followers about new job offers. And to make it even easier for everyone to stay connected with 15Talents all those involvements are stated on the side of each of their web page, including the home page.

But the autonomy of the employees doesn't mean they are totally independent. While everyone is responsible for staying connected and delivering content on their own, they decide together to emphasise topics requested by companies and students, e.g. SEO & SEM. When working on these topics each employee is doing his/her part of bringing it to the surface in their networks: One might write a blog article, the other shares links on Facebook, yet another starts and participates in discussions on Twitter, Xing or LinkedIn. This way everyone is responsible himself and can rely on the full team for support at the same time.

Besides 15Talents is using another technique, making them a true social media company: When they receive a new project offer they don't have any students listed for yet, they go hunting themselves in Social Media. In quite a few forums and blogs they are already known for having interesting offers for talented people. But in rare cases some forums don't like such postings and consider it spam. If they are rejected, Andreas told us, they respect that and leave them alone.

They don't want to annoy people, they just want to make a good offers. And Social Media allows them to do this easily and efficient. Being able them to find people through their interest and likes, 15Talents brings together talented students and interesting short-time company jobs to everyone's benefit – just like a real market place does.

¹ Got the pun?

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