Growing a brand new Product- and Tech organization

As you might already know, I’ve been working as a technical recruiter for the past 5 years and most recent 1,5 years at Schibsted Media Group. Being a technical recruiter puts you in a position where you get to see everything that is going on in an organization. Hot tip, if you want to get a sense check on a company; go talk with their technical recruiter!

As a technical recruiter…

  • You need to understand the underlying strategy of the company.
  • You need to understand the purpose of every product, component or platform being built.
  • You need to understand the teams and the different roles in the teams.
  • You need to know who they are and what technologies they use.
  • You need to be able to advise your Hiring Managers on what vacancy to prioritize.
  • You interact with all managers (Engineering, Product, UX and Strategy) and with top management on a weekly basis.

On top of all the comprehension and learning you need to do, you also need to be a great team player and know how to solve problems systematically. Then there are some tools you should be able to use, some phone calls you have to make… and oh, you should be able to find, attract and hire top talent to build a world-class product- and technology organization.

Easy peasy.

Quick search on LinkedIn shows 193 jobs available as Technical Recruiter in San Fransisco, USA.
Quick search on LinkedIn shows 193 jobs available as Technical Recruiter in San Fransisco, USA.

 

Schibsted Products and Technology was the result of a strategy project regarding Digital Transformation back in 2014. Schibsted has been sort of a house of brands, owning over 120 companies in 30 countries. In total, we’re 6800 employees world wide working in media houses, marketplaces or growth companies. Schibsted has a strong foundation in publishing; ever since our founder Christian Schibsted bought his first printing press and started a newspaper. That newspaper was Aftenposten in Norway.

I don’t know how much you know about publishing, or corporate structure, or other Norwegian companies and their culture. But regardless of that, the story of what Schibsted is up to now, taking action on digital transformation of the whole company, is quite remarkable.

Taking into account that Schibsted has a track record of disruptive innovation and taking chances that no other media company has done before, this is still a huge transformation.

We are connecting the dots, and building an ecosystem of services online. We use the strength in our local brands that our users know and have developed a trusted relationship to, and our global scale that helps us reach over 200 million users every month.

We are changing the way we work. Product development and innovation will continue at our local brands to meet and exceed our users demands. The global products, components and platforms will enable each local brand to focus on their core, at the same time we get better insights in our users needs globally.

Building a global product- and tech org from scratch means we need to pay a little extra attention to some things, to mention some of them:

  • Company culture
  • Communication
  • Recruiting

teamworkA 176-year-old publishing and media company is re-inventing itself to become a global tech-giant; of course we need to focus on company culture. Besides the obvious support from top management, great action by global leaders and evangelists, paying attention to company culture means: recruit people that can drive this new tech culture forward. Culture is not the same as values, it is when employees live the company values that they become culture. Culture is people.

 

chatWe are 6800 people in Schibsted. During reorganization like this, it will feel like a rocky boat-ride and most people will feel uncertain at times and wonder what will happen to their career. Besides advocating that everyone should assume responsibility of ones own career and seek out information, we need to be good communicators. Every small piece of information will become essential in this change. We build a culture where people are not afraid to ask, raise their concerns or simply take action and start communicating more. Next, everyone need to understand the change, embrace it, find your place in it and start collaborating with others.

curriculum

Recruiting the right people at this stage of a process like this is crucial. The people we bring in need to be people who can start building the bike while riding it. The key is passion and motivation. We find the people who have the interest and intrinsic motivation to be on this journey and help build not only products, but also a brand new organization. Better yet, they’re in it for the challenge and knowing that they can make a great impact joining this early in the process. They need to be smart problem solvers who engage in any kind of difficult challenge. Since 2014 Schibsted Products and Technology has grown from 11 people to over 400 in four hubs; Oslo, Stockholm, London and Barcelona.

We’re still laying out the bricks as we go, but I just must say I’m so proud to be a part of this and to be working with such smart and amazing people.

Check out our blog: http://bytes.schibsted.com/

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