The search for talent continues

In the first step, we spoke to half a dozen start-ups in the Netherlands (see: The search for talent) to learn more about their needs and expectations. In the second step, we shared an online survey with students from various Dutch universities. We used multiple channels and addressed as many students as possible in order to achieve more generalisable results.

We wanted to know what aspects are most pivotal to students. What are their needs? What are they looking for? Our survey helped us to find answers to these questions.

Are students interested in working at start-up companies?

One of our key leap of faiths was that students are not only eager to work in general, but to employ their know-how and ambition working for start-ups as well, which might come with more uncertainties as opposed to jobs at mature companies. So would students like to work at start-ups, and if so, what kind of start-ups is most attractive?

Our survey confirmed that students are indeed open to work at start-up companies, but those start-ups should be at least in a semi-advanced stage including a business model, a team of more than 10 employees, and preferably a source of funding. Overall, over 65% of respondents were strongly or very strongly looking for a job while studying, and 55% would be interested in working for a start-up company. Thus the demand for connecting those who search and those who offer seems to exist.

What are students looking for in a job at a start-up?

Another crucial question was what students actually want to gain when working at a company. To attract users to our platform we needed to know what drives them to look for jobs at start-ups. Motivation is key to understand what to offer to satisfy a market need.

Gaining practical experience was regarded by over 95% of respondents as at least highly important. This highlights students’ intrinsic drive to improve themselves and develop their skills, which also suggests that students are likely to proactively go looking for a job. Practical experience was followed by networking (>80%), while less than 50% of respondents valued fixed pay highly or very highly. This corroborates our leap of faith that students will be willing to work for start-ups despite the more volatile pay and working hours as long as they benefit in the form of contacts or skills from their experience.

Overall, the student survey provided confidence in our idea and allows adjusting our potential offer to what is actually desired. We are eager to focus on users’ needs not or insufficiently satisfied by current solutions.

The survey also helped us connect to students and establish an early user basis accessible in upcoming stages of our business.

Practice. Experience. Community. Those are the key points relevant to students. Whether there is an existing business they can help to excel or an already funded start-up: students are demanding jobs we want to help them find.

To gain more direct feedback from students we moreover conducted on-campus interviews. These interviews provided additional, more personal insights in how students perceive start-ups and their job opportunities. One RSM Master student allowed us to share his thoughts:

Our market research helped us develop an understanding of our potential customers (start-ups) and users (students). These insights have somewhat confirmed our leap of faiths, but they have also shown that some facets are ambiguous than anticipated. What have we learned?

So what is next for EazyConnect? We are already developing our prototype, so be on the lookout for future updates! The quest continues.

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