• Octagon Careers

A personal experience of working in a Startup

In 1997, not much longer after Steve Jobs went back to the company he actually co-founded, he spearheaded the famous ‘Think Different’ Apple Campaign, saying that “those people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do”.


Internet – and its huge impact on worldwide growth – made it possible for entrepreneurs from all over the globe to generate and spread brilliant, innovative ideas, capable of disrupting traditional business models and the market in general. From the medical to the mechanical industry, from agriculture to education, startups are ready to tackle global issues and face unlimited challenges in order to solve them. For some time, the startup world has seen unprecedented growth. Startups have demonstrated that data and artificial intelligence can help quantify and understand problems, and most importantly, can be used to solve them too. It is true that many startups are characterized by humble beginnings and small teams. However, their products or services are new and innovative enough to solve problems in such a way, that translates into huge success, as happened with Facebook, Apple or Uber.


I am Cristina Ciorici, a master’s degree student from Republic of Moldova, doing a Summer Internship together with Octagon Careers at SpinLab, a startup accelerator program where our team, next to many others, tries to provide the world with valuable solutions which can address certain pain points and ease the daily life of customers across varied industries. Together with Octagon Careers particularly, we work on delivering a so-much-needed solution to ease the process of recruitment for students and junior roles by replacing CVs and Cover Letters with customized, job-preview-style challenges.


The first time I had the chance to hear about Octagon Careers was in early spring 2019, while I was an exchange student at the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. Finally, I met Vanesa and Neil several times during a couple of career events happening in our school. Being previously involved myself in a very challenging recruitment process for months in a row, I knew what a struggle it is to be considered at least for a “next step” when you are a student and there is not a huge amount of work experience to show on your CV yet. Learning from the co-founders about the Octagon Careers’ idea of changing the traditional application process, made me feel very enthusiastic about the cause and I wanted to join their team. I knew from the beginning that the most important part of any job you take is, in fact, to strongly believe in what you are working for. And I have come to believe more and more in Octagon Careers since I was selected to be part of the team for the three months internship during the summer, and once I had the chance to hear from so many other students that they would positively perceive such a solution in their candidate experience.


The incredible chance of working with Octagon Careers brought me a lot of things to take away on the road of further professional and personal development. I could not be more thankful for taking this step as part of my growth, as during these almost three months I had so many things to experience. I enjoyed an amazing Festival where the latest technologies, disruptive startups and remarkable speakers provided incredible ideas three days in a row and where we had a huge network of experienced professionals to discover at Tech Open Air Berlin 2019. For three months I had the chance to meet the people of SpinLab, each working for amazing startups and developing great plans of reaching so many different categories of customers’ needs. For three months I was so lucky to take part in a range of trainings and workshops and to be in contact with professionals in different fields, gaining knowledge and experience of building PR strategy in a startup environment, or how to expand the company’s idea outside of the current city, country or even continent. For three months I had the opportunity to meet student teams willing to discover and unpack the recruitment industry through intense market research, something that offered me the opportunity to talk even more about the current need of helping students applying for jobs. For three months I learned how to make remote meetings work in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, and how to work within a team regardless of different time zones or geographical locations. And for these three months of being part of Octagon Careers, my team offered me an unbelievable reward that, until recently, was just a dream on my wish-list - a trip to Hong Kong.


But more than anything, the startup life brought me on one hand, a unique experience of learning self-discipline when you get a lot of flexibility and independence over your daily tasks, and on the other hand, developing my hobby for creating blog articles into valuable content for the industry. Now, drawing nearer to the end of the internship (and the end of the SpinLab program), I am enthusiastic and full of hope expecting the Octagon Careers’ success in “redefining how corporate employers recruit students”.



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