Guest: Moritz Delbrück, CEO of Justix GmbH
Moritz Delbrück is CEO of Justix GmbH. Moritz will talk Chris Pyak about English jobs at Justix GmbH, his biggest challenge right now – and how you could solve his problems. (And get a job!)
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Transcript of the interview with Moritz Delbrück about English jobs at Justix GmbH
Announcer: The Immigrant Spirit Podcast with Chris Pyak. No pretence. No bullshit. Just Chris and an employer talking about a real life business problem. Offer a solution and get a job. And here is your host, Chris Pyak.
Chris Pyak: Thank you for joining the show tonight. For those of you who listen to the Immigrant Spirit podcast for the first time, let me explain a little bit what you can expect here this evening. We always have an honoured guest. I will tell you in a second who this is for this evening. This guest is usually a manager from Germany who is offering jobs in English. What we will do together in this roughly, 20, 25, 30 minutes, is we will talk with this manager about the goals and the challenges behind this job, the stuff that’s usually not written in a job description.
In a job advertisement, they often talk about the hammer, the kind of skills that they are looking for, but very … we talk about what is the hammer for? Do you want to put a picture on the wall? Do you want to build a boat? Do you want to kill your wife? That’s all stuff that you can do with your hammer, but you don’t read about it in the job advertisements. Job manager in this case who is offering a job also has a goal behind the job. That allows us to talk about how success is defined for this job.
You as the listener to this show, if you are listening live, you will have a chance to ask our guest, which name I will tell you in a moment, the goals he wants to achieve, about the challenges that he faces on his way to this goal, and if you have to write back around, then you can offer a solution as well. The solution, if it’s smart and practical, maybe will lead to you to a successful job application with our guest and hopefully to a job in the future.
Basically, in one sentence, the goal of the podcast is to bring together international professionals like yourself and German employers and have them talk to each other about that what really matters, success for the position they are looking for.
I don’t want to tease you any longer and want to welcome our guest for today’s Immigrant Spirit podcast, here is Moritz Delbruck, CEO of Justix GmbH. Hello, Moritz.
Moritz Delbrück: Hi, Chris. Hi. Nice to meet you. Thanks for inviting me.
Chris Pyak: I’m very glad that agreed to come and liked very much about when we first talked about huge opening, that you are so excited about hiring international talent. There is some companies who grudgingly agree to try someone with an international background because they can’t anymore, but with Justix GmbH, it’s the opposite, you want international talent. Can you tell our readers why you are so keen to work with people from a very diverse background?
Moritz Delbrück: Sure, absolutely. Our task at Justix is to build legal tech business models and to execute them and build them up in international markets. When you approach or when you build up an international market and you want to serve many different markets out of Cologne, you need international people because how else can you provide service for these markets. We’re building very international team. We’ve already grown to 22 people from 11 different nationalities at the moment, ad we’re definitely keen on having more team members joining us from, of course, many different countries of the world.
Chris Pyak: You said that you want to do an international business and go to the market in many countries. Do you have target markets that are more important for you right now than others?
Moritz Delbrück: Absolutely. We started our business in the Netherlands last year and used the second half of last year to prove the customers that we do have a product market fit which customers enjoy, so we saw some very nice growth rates and grew the company significantly in the last year and now are on the verge of taking it international. We just opened up our office in Belgium. We are preparing for going live also in Italy and in France this year.
As long as customers enjoy our way of solving their legal problems, we will also internationalize in many more markets in Europe and maybe also beyond in the next years.
Chris Pyak: You have quite ambitious goals even for this year already. Can you tell us a little bit about the kind of people that you are looking for? First, before we talk about concrete positions, let’s talk about the kind of attitude that you are looking for. For you, for the listeners, be prepared. There is a chat window here in YouTube obviously. We will in about 10 [inaudible 00:05:52] ask Moritz your questions about this job. We will take only a handful of questions, maybe two, three, four, so be prepared to ask your questions very, very fast … taking question. Moritz, [looking 00:06:09] for?
Moritz Delbrück: In general, we are a fresh company, so called startup if you want to say so. For us, basically, when we look at recruiting, we prefer to look at the attitude. We educate and train for the skills. Why is that? For a simple reason that in the current state the company is in, we still have to adjust our product and our services to the markets. That demands lots of flexibility. It’s very hard to predict which hammers, if I want to use your term, which hammers we’re going to need in a year from now.
Instead of looking for very specific instruments only, we prefer or it is easier to look for people who feel well in an environment that is continuously adjusting and evolving forever. To give you an example, there is someone in our team who is currently running our operations in the Netherlands who only graduated from university last year and worked very closely with me and few other leaders in the team first in an assisting role, but then he was so quick in taking up what we needed and thinking for himself, that basically we asked him to take the lead even for the whole office and for 45 people in Maastricht.
I think this one particular [gradient 00:07:41] is a very sound example of someone who has an attitude of being a self-learner, who is very curious, who is also very analytical in the way he is thinking, and then he is very structured and goal oriented when it comes to finding a solution. We found that this was a very open-minded and fresh and very helpful way of attitude.
Chris Pyak: What would happen, for example, I’m a marketer, we spoke about one position that you will discuss little bit on, I’m a marketer and maybe I’m fresh from university. I have a good degree. I have attitude means I am a fast learner. I can transfer my knowledge into new skills and into results very fast, but I’m not right for the market that you are active in right now in the countries that you are active in right now.
Moritz Delbrück: As long as you have [sense 00:08:46] to reach out to you, absolutely, certainly. One of the reasons we started our company and that we offer our services is that we believe the way that clients have tried to get a solution for their legal problem is rotten. The way that lawyers and legal experts have been working for several hundred years is about to change because of new technology. It is very difficult. I think you will have problems to find a book and maybe even a course in university teaching you on how technology and new communication channels will help you to solve legal problems in the future.
The reason I’m saying this is that it’s no obstacle at all if you don’t have an expertise in this field yet because we are all on the way of finding out this. Part of that is being open as a learner and being open for experiments and not ruling out also ideas which seem crazy maybe on the first hand but for which there are good causes for giving it a try with certain limited budget, and then by looking at the analytical results or by looking at the results analytically and by pure facts and by observing the customer behavior. Then let’s take it from there and see how we can optimize our products and processes further [crosstalk 00:10:17] as long as you speak the language. This is rather valuable for a marketer, I would say.
Chris Pyak: Yeah. This is actually something that I experienced in many … I lived in five different countries myself. What I experienced that young countries or people in young countries often have an advantage of is they don’t have any preconceived ideas. They do exactly what you said. They look at what is really there. What does the data really tell me. Then they find very unusual solutions for something that established companies, established societies, thought was unsolvable.
Moritz Delbrück: I think I used to call it the advantage of the unbiased view. It also happens when you leave your home and you return to your home after being away for several month or maybe even years, and suddenly, you start walking into what used to be your home, and you start walking through this as if you were a visitor in a museum. Everything you see, which used to be common, suddenly you see it as if it were behind a glass. I always thought this really intriguing and fascinating myself because then you can easily compare what could and should be done differently.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, I completely agree. Let’s talk about the concrete positions that you have to offer. I’m not sure. I think you have, in total at the moment, seven different positions to offer. Is that correct?
Moritz Delbrück: If I’m just counting the job offers published on Justix.net, I think it’s nine different positions at the moment. This is only at Justix in Cologne. In addition to that, we also have open positions in our office in Maastricht in the Netherlands. The people we are looking for in our office in Cologne can be divided into two areas. One is the area of technology, so we have several developer positions open. We work a lot with PHP and Symfony framework, so this is not an unknown word for you, then please feel invited to take a closer look at the junior and also senior roles we have in the developers role.
Then something which is probably more interesting for the people with a nontechnical background is everything around marketing. What we are currently building is a team both first for the Dutch market and in the mid-term future also for the Italian market and for the French market. We look for people who are native speakers, either in Dutch or in Italian or in French and who also lived in these countries but who are willing to relocate to Cologne. Of course, we are in the process of also having a very nice relocation package and process where we support the identification of a proper flat. We help with getting some language courses even though we speak completely English only in the office, of course, it doesn’t hurt if you’re able to order your bread in the bakery by proper German.
It also makes more fun in Cologne because it’s usually a very fun experience for people in Cologne in the local shops or in the local bar. When it comes, for example, to the content marketeer position, this would be a role where we would look for someone who has a talent in writing but also in organizing several internal and external content producers. When it comes to the Netherlands, for example, we do have employees in the Maastricht office who compose blog posts, who also compose YouTube videos about certain legal advice.
These content producers usually are lawyers or [inaudible 00:14:17] themselves. The content is most likely legally very, very accurate, but this does not necessarily mean that this is written in such a tone of voice that the common people or main street, and I’m thinking always about my grandma or my cousin or some, that they could understand the solution for their legal problem in plain and simple words. This is a translation, which is necessary and thus needs to be done from someone who enjoys working with language and who has, not only rationale but also a stomach feeling, a gut feeling about words people use to describe their problems.
There is also an SEO perspective to it. There is also a coordination aspect about it because next to the internally employed content producers, there are also external partners of us, some lawyers, some other journalists. This role would be the one to coordinate this, and to ensure that on the written and on the audio and on the video side, we are continuously publishing relevant content of legal issues.
Chris Pyak: You mentioned a number of different objectives now. If you would have to rank them from most important, which one would come out right at the top, which task, which result?
Moritz Delbrück: I think the language proficiency needs to be a given. It’s more like the coffee. The cream is, so the top skill would be to be a very good organizer and communicator who is able to keep the overview when several people are reaching out or demanding something of the person at the same time.
Chris Pyak: How would you know that someone is a good organizer? Imagine you hire someone, half the year has passed and you want to evaluate do you want to keep him on or do you let him go after this six months trial period that is usual in Germany, if you would look at his performance, what would you look for, what would tell you this guy is really good or this lady is really excellent?
Moritz Delbrück: We try to build a culture in the organization where lots of responsibility and accountability is given to each team member. In addition to that, once you have defined the areas of responsibility, then as a next step, obviously you also define certain indicators of performance with regard to and [inaudible 00:17:15] again the nice advantage about having online business is that almost everything can be put in metrics. You can see, for example, for such a position you can not only see how many people actually liked the content being published and how long did they need to do it, how often was it being shared or recommended to others.
You can also gather the feedback, of course, from coworkers. This is something that I would always do. We strongly believe in 360 degrees feedback. For any review we do, we ask all stakeholders who have been working with such a position.
Chris Pyak: If I may ask, for this position, the reach would be one criteria that you achieve or would it be actual leads in some form of kind that you are looking for?
Moritz Delbrück: It would first be reach, and of course, the quota of reach turning into leads needs to be considered as well, but this very much depends on the type of content and the type of channel. For example, Facebook content is very well suited for creating and for building a brand, but it’s not going to lead to have so many leads whereas content which is primarily pushed by Google and by performance marketing search traffic has a much higher conversion rate. Of course, you need to distinguish between the channels.
I do agree, of course, it is also next to reach and leads, it is also feedback from coworkers. The more people feel well by working with such person, the better as long as the targets are being met.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, okay. If I would want to apply for this position, what would you like to see from me when I reach out to you? First of all, in which form do you want? Do you have a preferred form that people should reach out to you? When they do, what could they tell you or send you that would help you evaluate their skills, that you would feel, okay, if I get this, then I can really understand if this person might be helpful or not for me?
Moritz Delbrück: I think if the person can help me describing the situation where he or she had a similar challenge, and the way he was trying to meet that target and to overcome that challenge, and what the person has learned out of this and why she would like to do it again. This would be very relevant of course. Assuming that there is no such relevant experience before, then I think the more authentic the person can make clear that he or she is willing to learn and walk the extra mile to get there, then there is, of course, also a chance for or a potential for giving such a junior a chance whenever we are primarily looking for someone with some relevant experience in this field already.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, I understand.
Moritz Delbrück: When it comes to the format, it’s fairly easy. Just go to Justix.net, and please use the formula over there. You can directly apply, for example, with your LinkedIn account. By this, you’re directly put into our running processes, and then we will get back to the candidate very, very soon, and ask for first a phone call, a video call with one of our internal experts. The second round already will be a personal [meeting 00:21:00] and get to know several stakeholders. Then we’ll have to see if we organize maybe even some event where all stakeholders meet one day, and then there will be straight feedback and maybe even an offer after this personal meeting.
This is how we do it, for example, for the people operations position. We’re having some meetings tomorrow, and straight after tomorrow, the people already will get an offer. It’s a very lean and very quick process.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, okay. Just to have a complete overview before we move on to the next job, and by the way, we’re getting the first questions right now. If you also want to ask a question, then ask it now, because we will take only two or three questions, so now is the time to reach out. Before we move on to the IT positions, can you tell us very quickly, if I apply through Justix.net, [inaudible 00:21:58] do you have someone in HR who will make the first selection or do I talk to you or do I talk to one of your managers?
Moritz Delbrück: We do have one team member who is responsible for reviewing and administrating all incoming applications. Her name is Heike. She is also mentioned in the website at the bottom. In addition to that, I’m also directly getting a copy, and I’m reviewing it myself as well. It’s absolutely fine to just address Heike very easily. Then we will take it up very quickly after that.
Chris Pyak: Last question, does Heike prefer perfume or chocolate or … No, I’m just [inaudible 00:22:42]. We start to get the first questions. Let me give you the first question right now before we go on to the IT position. Maria Janelle, I think, writes, and she asks you’ve mentioned attitude as an important factor in considering someone. Do you think age would be a concern in bringing out a significant contributions in your company? Is age [crucial 00:23:12]?
Moritz Delbrück: Our customers are basically from all … We have maybe not too many children calling us, but starting at the age of 18 up to very high ages of, I think, 80 plus, 90 plus, we have all sorts of different customers. I think we also need this diversity internally. Of course, age is no concern at all. I also personally believe it never should be. Already now, we do have very young people, I think in the age of 19 in Justix. I think this is our youngest team member at the moment. I always used to joke that my co-founder and colleague, [Olaf 00:23:50], already has gray hair. I think we’re already pretty diverse. Of course, this is no obstacle at all. It should be about competencies and attitude only and not about physical things like this.
Chris Pyak: You said already before that your company anyway works in English so language is not an obstacle language is not an obstacle. How about non-EU citizens, people who need a visa. Of course, for Dutch marketing, it’s very unlikely that a Dutch person will need a visa; but maybe for the IT positions, would that be something that you would shy away from if someone applies who would need help with the visa process.
Moritz Delbrück: On contrary, we have made very good experiences already. I know plenty of entrepreneurs who complain about the very long bureaucracy processes to get visas and to onboard people. While the city of Cologne certainly has no reputation for being highly efficient and transparent about everything, I can only say that … We have hired two new team members, who both are coming from Eastern Europe, actually from the Russian side, so they both had to apply for visas. The process was very smooth and easy or maybe it was a bit more time consuming than I personally experienced it myself because luckily it was Heike taking care of it together with her colleagues, but it all went well. Of course, this is no obstacle at all.
Again, it’s only about competencies, attitude, and the willingness to learn. We have very high expectations of candidates, so please be prepared. We’re really taking a close look. We try to find candidates who have outstanding marks, who really … I try to find some indications for an outstanding performance and character in people. If it be in sports, in leisure-time activities, or in school reports or whatever, and once we have fallen in love, we will do everything to date, and to also get engaged and in the end even get married.
Chris Pyak: It’s a very good example. In the IT positions, you have, for example, ones today we wanted to talk about which [inaudible 00:26:34].
Moritz Delbrück: Yes, I can hear you. I think we’re having some connection issues.
Chris Pyak: I hear you very well.
Moritz Delbrück: Excellent, good. I just moved into another room bit closer to the WiFi, so okay.
Chris Pyak: The question was IT positions, you wanted to talk about one of them.
Moritz Delbrück: Yes. Basically, as most developers, I think, nowadays, it’s 2018, so of course we are working in a very agile environment, so it’s a very agile and independently acting team. Right now, it’s one team of developers, like both on the front end and on the back end side, of course. We are completely working but with immediate shipping, so it’s completely hosted on AWS. As I said, we’re working with a PHP and Symfony framework. You can get some further information about our tech stack when you take a closer look into the job description. For me, I’m just a an economist, so I think I’m the wrong one to elaborate on the tech stack.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, I was also just nodding along to everything you said because I studied Business Psychology, that’s my background. You wanted to talk about UX, IX.
Moritz Delbrück: Exactly. Next to the hardcore developers, we do need further talent and team members, both of a junior and also on the senior side when it comes to user interface, so everything around design, to the creation of and to the internationalization of our brand. Right now, we have one very big business model. It’s called HelloLaw. As I mentioned, it’s active in the Netherlands already, and we’re taking it to other countries. Next to the user experience concept, luckily we we have found someone of whom we’re very proud, who will lead our UX team. We’re looking for some operational hands on the design side, especially for digital design, so some digital creators who can help to set up online campaigns who … everything visual [inaudible 00:28:58].
Chris Pyak: Excuse me. The last sentence got lost.
Moritz Delbrück: Okay. We’re looking for someone who can help us with everything visual that needs to be designed, both on our own real estate, on our own website, and through our communication channels, but also once we brand and advertise on partners’ websites. When it comes to blog posts, to video content, and maybe even on specific new mobile channels, and this might even lead to pure voice technology. When you think about … I know it sounds contra-intuitive, but even if we think about how an Alexa skill for legal services should look and feel like, there will be some parts next to the pure audio experience. There will also be parts of the user journey that will have some visual connection to it.
We do look for one or two team members who do have some very profound experience in creation, in user interaction, in design, who can help on building such things and taking them to a very high professional standard so that it will make the customer experience really as appealing as it can be, because in the end, it’s still a negative issue. People reach out to us because they have a legal problem. Our core belief is that in legal service, it should not only be about regulations and laws, but it should be about the people and the way that they feel because we had every legal problem, there are humans having an emotion about the legal problem. We want to change the experience people are having when solving this legal problem. The design is a very important matter of this.
Chris Pyak: Yeah. How would I, if I would apply for this job as UX/UI, I think it’s called, what kind of documents, what kind of projects could I send you that would help you the most to evaluate me? What would you expect to see?
Moritz Delbrück: Definitely a portfolio of things which have been created in the past, and the more the better. Both on print but especially on digital, maybe even on video, so the more references people can send us, the better.
Chris Pyak: It’s a diversity bonus? If I … Different platforms, video, audio, website, and so on, if I have experience in all of these areas, is that a plus?
Moritz Delbrück: Yes, in the beginning, I would say it is a plus because right now, we are only dealing, serving for two different markets, and the team is still rather small. We will have to see. Of course, we want to scale as much as possible, meaning that we would be very happy if we don’t have to build a team of several dozens of creatives in the next years, but this could be. Assuming that we were to build a larger team, then we would also focus on special areas of course. In the current state, a generalist who has done it all, who’s interested in learning it all would be preferable for us.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, very hard shift. We have another question coming in from Tjess. Tjess writes you mentioned agile way of working, do you have a DevOps model implemented, and do you have any positions in DevOps?
Moritz Delbrück: Yes, we do have a DevOps team, but we don’t have any open positions in DevOps anymore. The team is complete. We’re very happy with our current colleagues at the moment. Luckily, they are also happy with us.
Chris Pyak: Okay, good. Thank you then. We will take maybe one more question. I have a question for you as well, Moritz, and this is which question did I not ask you yet that you wished I would have asked you so that you can talk about it.
Moritz Delbrück: That’s a really good one.
Chris Pyak: Yeah. When you think about the people you want to work with, what is the number one thing, the most important thing you still want to get across in these last minutes that we have?
Moritz Delbrück: I think when it comes to culture, what we really … I told you that we are trying to identify some indications for out-performance in the CV of people or in the profile. What we also look for is to have made … When you achieved something really well, there are basically two ways to react on this. There is a certain type of people who get very proud and self-confident. In German, we have a saying that they wear out their nose pretty high. You can also call it arrogance, right?
That’s one type of people, but there’s also this tiny fraction who actually the more successful they are, the more modest they become, because they have made the experience … It could be that, for example, like for myself, there was once several, ten, fifteen years ago, like in a tiny fraction of science and business ethics and corporate governance, I knew that there were very few people out there who probably have as much of an in-depth expertise and know-how as I did. However, being so deep into the matter, I only realized, holy fucking shit, the matter is actually even more complex. How could other people even dare to call me an expert when I see how much more complex it actually is and how much more perspectives need to be included.
What we are looking for next to the indicator for [crosstalk 00:35:16].
Chris Pyak: Sorry, Moritz. Just lost you for a second. What you are looking for, what’s the last-
Moritz Delbrück: Is to develop some modesty as a consequence of success. I think this is an attitude most of our team members, I think, even all of us have in common that we’ve had this moment once in our life maybe that when somebody regarded us as experts, but as a consequence of that, we became more modest instead of arrogant.
Chris Pyak: Maybe the last question fitting because it very nicely fits to what you just … When you think about the team that you have right now and the chemistry in this team, Maria asked what is it in the chemistry that makes your company successful?
Moritz Delbrück: I truly believe that it is at the core of the company, is the culture of the good people.
Chris Pyak: Thank you very much. Moritz Delbruck, CEO of Justix GmbH. Thank you, Moritz, for coming and joining us in the Immigrant Spirit podcast with nine open positions. If you want to work together with Moritz, if you want to apply to one of his open jobs, go to Justix.net. There, you’ll find all the open positions, and hopefully, soon, Moritz will reach out to you after you have applied. Thanks again, Moritz.
Moritz Delbrück: Thanks for having me.
Chris Pyak: Yeah, it was my pleasure. My name is Chris Pyak. I’m the managing director of Immigrant Spirit GmbH. If you want to hear more podcasts with more German employers who hire international talent, who work in English, then please subscribe to our newsletter at pyak.eu/podcast, that’s my name pyak.eu/podcast or if that’s easier for you at immigrantspirit.com/podcast. Thank you very much and have a nice evening. Bye-bye.
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