“Foreign professionals are really interested in coming to Germany and to Berlin. There are so many great developers out there, that it would be a shame not to take advantage of that. We couldn’t build up our IT department if we focused only in the few German people available. Why do so if you can get great knowledge from abroad?”
With this philosophy, Home24 is expanding quickly and is ready to receive your application for their vacancies. There are dozens of positions available, and you should apply now.
Today, Immigrant Spirit interviews Britta Isermann, HR Manager, and Laura-Lucia Wehner, PR Manager of Home24. Read below and find out why you should join this young, motivated team in the core of Europe’s start-up scene.
Immigrant Spirit: Tell us about Home24 and what has made it successful over the years.
Britta: Home24 is Europe’s largest online shop for furniture and home accessories. We have more than 300 employees at the moment, operating in six different markets: Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and we just launched Belgium on August 20, 2014.
We have more than 100,000 products in our portfolio. We offer pretty much everything, for everyone, in every style for the entire house: bathroom, bedroom, living room, etc. Our wide range of products is the center of our success.
We also have a range of unique products, so everyone can find something that suits their style at Home24. We also make sure to create a great shopping experience in our online shop, which is another key factor for our success.
It is easy to navigate through our shop and find the things that you want and just what you are looking for. You can also get inspired by looking at the Home24 showroom for new ideas.
We have been operating since 2009 under the name Möbelprofi, and we started out specializing in just a few products in the German market. Through time, we have added new products and brands to our store, and that’s what brought us to where we are today. Since 2012, we are known as Home24.
Immigrant Spirit: What are the main advantages of working at Home24?
Britta: At Home24, you are encouraged to offer your own opinions and ideas. We support people to grow as our company is changing and we are growing. Each and every one of us can make a difference.
The Managing Directors sit among us, on the third floor, and always encourage all employees to share any thoughts or ideas they might have at any time.
The team itself is amazing. In every department, people have a great spirit. We love to work in teams, we have to work in teams and we also like to celebrate our successes as teams.
Each team has their own budget for team events and get-togethers, and they can use it however they want. Whatever they want to do together – a big dinner, or paintball, laser tag, indoor climbing – they’re free to choose.
We also have our own company parties. We have “Furniture Fridays”, which happen around once a month, on our rooftop. We have DJs, music, barbeques – it is a lot of fun. They are legendary parties! We also have summer parties and Christmas celebrations at the end of the year. We like to motivate our customers and create a strong team spirit!
We also have a very young team. You need to be very versatile to work in such environment, with all our growth and constant changes.
Finally, we offer opportunities for young professionals to grow with the company: you can start as an intern and grow to become a full-time employee. Some become team leaders or even build a whole new niche, for example.
Immigrant Spirit: What characteristics would a professional need to have to be successful at Home24?
Britta: They need to be smart and driven people, who love to do what they are doing, with passion for their job and flexibility to match the diverse work environment at Home24. They need to be open-minded, always thinking one step ahead and bei very good at what they do.
When we look at the CV of a person, we can already notice if they are motivated and open to new challenges, or if they were doing the same thing for years and years. Engaging in professional development, such as training, for example, also stands-out. We really value people who are constantly improving themselves.
Immigrant Spirit: What would you say to foreign professionals who would join your team? What could they expect?
Britta: First of all, we support them in their relocation and in their apartment search, writing emails in German for them when necessary, and so on. We also help them during the visa process if they are coming from outside Europe, of course.
They can always count on the HR team for any support they need, or to answer their questions.
Once they are here, we try to connect them to other colleagues that went through the same process. We had someone from the IT team coming from Russia, for example, and we connected him to someone from the QA department who had gone through the same process.
In this way, we encourage people to share their experiences with one another. I have never relocated, so we use our resources and our people and their experiences in the best way possible.
Once they start working at Home24, we assign them a “buddy” from their new team who supports them with the systems and tools we use, so they can adapt easily. We make everything so that they feel comfortable and don’t feel left alone during this process that, we understand, can be stressful sometimes.
Immigrant Spirit: What are the main advantages of having an international team working for Home24?
Britta: First of all, it helps us think outside the box. This way, we can also get better knowledge our markets and be more open minded to different mentalities and traditions.
Laura: One example is that even before we entered the Belgian market, we already had a Belgian staff. They helped us to understand the market and also expectations of the Belgian clientele. An international team just brings an entirely different atmosphere to the office.
Immigrant Spirit: Would you say that it is becoming more important to hire international professionals than in the past?
Britta: Absolutely. The job market is becoming more and more competitive in Germany. We have such great talent from many different countries coming to Germany, why not take advantage of that? If they have great experience, great knowledge, great education, why focus only on the German market? German candidates are great, but we also love to look abroad. The experience that other people bring is amazing. And they are really motivated.
Immigrant Spirit: What are some of the hardest positions to fill nowadays?
Britta: Definitely IT positions. The competition is really high and we are looking for the very best people. We have high expectations to meet, so it is always hard to find great people. In the end, it all comes down to the expectations you have for your people, in all areas. But if I had to name one area, it would be IT.
[Home24 is currently hiring frontend developers and backend developers. Apply now!]
Immigrant Spirit: Looking into the future, where would you like to see Home24 in 3 years?
Britta: In three years, I see Home24 conquering more markets. Growing as a company, and, making sure that we provide the best shopping experience for our customers.
Whenever they think that they need to buy something for their home, I want them to come to Home24. I want us to be the go-to destination for furniture and home accessories.
I want us to continuously have something new and interesting to offer our customers, and all of that should be based on great IT service.
Immigrant Spirit: Can you share any personal experiences of things you like about working for Home24?
Britta: I joined Home24 in April, and since then, so many things have happened. So many people have joined, so many things have changed, and I like that. I am really excited to see what is going to happen in the next 6, 12, 18 months.
Laura: For me, the main thing that I never expected from my job is that I work with my friends. I really enjoy coming to work in the morning because we are such a strong team, and we really get along. We go to drinks after work, we get together – my coworkers became my best friends after I came from Italy, and that is fantastic. When you have a long day and you get along with your colleagues, it is great. We are like a family. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
Britta: I am a part of the HR team, but also in IT I feel extremely welcome. As I am focused on hiring for IT, I even have a desk there, and they invite me for all the IT events. It is great to have such a strong and welcoming team to be a part of.
Immigrant Spirit: What would you say are the main advantages of buying with Home24?
Laura: The first and most important advantage is that we offer free shipping for our products. And our team will not simply drop a package outside your door and let you handle it all by yourself: we set up a time and date with our customers, we confirm that date a few days ahead, and we also call 45 minutes to one hour before coming to make sure you are available.
This is great, because you know when to expect your delivery and can plan out your day accordingly. I have recently used this myself, as I was moving, and it was fantastic. When you at from Home24, your order will be carried upstairs, exactly where you want it and if you request, will even be put together for you. If you decide you don’t like it, we will come and pick it up for you again – without any cost.
This is a big differentiator and eliminates the risk of online shopping, because people often say: “I don’t know if I will like it. I never sat on it, tried it or touched it.” Well, with Home24,this is not an issue as you can return your order without any problem.
Our client’s satisfaction is extremely important to us, and our return rate is actually really low, below 10%.
Immigrant Spirit: Do you also have an app for mobile shopping?
Laura: We are constantly working on new innovations and tools, and a mobile app is something we will also develop in the future. Recently, we launched a tablet version.
In order to stay on top, we are always trying new things, reworking our design, improving our service. A few months ago, we did a complete redesign of our store, and we are always looking for new ideas and ways to optimize our shop.
Immigrant Spirit: If any Android or iOS developers are reading this interview, should they apply to work for you?
Britta: Absolutely! This is one of the areas we are focused on and it would be great to have great people working with us.
Immigrant Spirit: What would be your key message to our readers?
Britta: If you want to make a real impact on people’s lives and integrate your own ideas to your job, then Home24 is the best place for you to work. It never gets boring.
Laura: We are a very young, dynamic team. It is not like a regular 9 to 5 job. We want your inputs and ideas. We are all in this project together, and we want to make this the best, biggest, coolest shop out there.