Kristine Angeltvedt is CEO and co-founder of Nixa.io, a startup on a global mission to disrupt traditional tech recruitment. Kristine founded Nixa.io in 2018 as a solution to a lot of the industry challenges she faced first hand when working as a tech recruiter. At only 26, she was persistent in bringing change and innovation into a billion dollar industry. Today, Kristine manages a remote team of seven people across Europe who are building tech to facilitate faster and better recruitment without compromising quality.
Where did the idea for Nixa.io come from?
Before I started Nixa.io, I worked as a recruiter in a recruitment agency called First Engineers in Oslo. This agency works with tech companies, from small startups to bigger corporations in Norway. During my years here, I helped several companies scale their engineering team by recruiting different types of software engineers. I could see first hand how extremely challenging it is for a tech company to hire software engineers in today’s market with the average time to hire can exceed five months. Companies are struggling to attract enough qualified candidates to fill their open roles. The discrepancy between jobs and talents available is just getting bigger and bigger for every day, and hiring qualified engineers is actually listed as one the biggest challenges that managers face today.
Traditional recruitment is broken. It takes time, effort and money to find the right person and then there’s no guarantee that person will work out. I’ve seen a lot of mis-hires in my time and it takes a big toll on the company and the candidate. The recruitment model is ripe for innovation. I’ve always had a big dream of starting my own company and I decided to start building a solution to the problem myself. I saw a huge potential in building up a platform where tech and automation could be enablers for a faster and easier recruitment process.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I spend a lot of time in meetings. I’m quite operationally involved in the business and in addition to doing sales, business development, account management, team management, I also have to deliver on projects (being a recruiter, finding and screening candidates). I normally plan my week every Sunday and have a very structured system of tasks and to-do’s on my laptop. It’s nothing fancy, but just a simple system that is easy to use. As things pop up constantly, I need to be able to quickly add it to a list somewhere and make sure to tick the box once it’s done. I also block out time in my calendar to have focus on specific tasks of higher priority. I try to prioritize tasks every Sunday for the next week. I also take notes of every meeting and keep that in a folder so that I always can go back to remind myself of key takeaways or tasks if needed. When you jump in and out of different calls all of the time, it is easy to lose track of important things.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I like to break strategies or bigger objectives into smaller goals and then I create a list of tasks that I need to do in order to reach the middle goal. One objective, two to three key results, and then tasks to each key results. I feel that it is easier to navigate towards a bigger goal by breaking it down into smaller and actionable tasks.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m really excited about the remote working trend and how so many businesses realise how beneficial it is for them. The pandemic forced millions of us to work from home and companies could see that in most cases productivity didn’t drop, and sometimes even increased. I don’t think remote working is going to stop in the future, though we’ll probably see a combination of working types such as a day or two in the office and then rest at home. I’m positive about the future for remote working; it’s a trend that won’t go away any time soon.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am super structured and organized. I (almost) never lose track of time or tasks. I plan everything in detail. I plan my business life using notes on my computer and my personal life using notes on my phone. I’m also good at actually taking a REAL break from work to recharge and get a better overview. I try to keep weekends as sacred as possible.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would recommend myself to not stress out about what you “want to become when you grow up”. When you are 18, you have no clue about what you want to do or where you’ll end up. If there is one thing I’ve learned after starting four completely different degrees and only finished two of them, it is that you will find the right path by trying out different things and by getting different types of exposure and experience.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That it’s good to eat ice cream in the winter in Norway. Fellow Scandinavians will agree but few other countries!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Communicate your vision to your employees. They constantly need to know what problems you are trying to solve, how we are trying to solve them and how their work influences the company’s success and growth. We meet once a week to talk about our successes and failures, including mine, so that everyone feels part of the journey that we’re on.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Go global! A remote, worldwide team means I can access the best talents much faster.
Also, don’t limit yourself to a local market only or your network. We went out in the world from day one. This has given us the opportunity to grow the team fast with talented people and to grow an international client base from day one.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Early in my days as a young recruiter, I accidentally sent an in-depth client brief to a major recruiter of a large global organisation. They were very understanding about the mistake and it actually opened up the door to this company so that we had in-depth conversations about the challenges they faced. They explained how much time and effort was required to source, interview and hire someone, why they used recruitment agencies and how they felt about recruitment as a whole. There had been a number of mis-hires which had impacted significantly on the business and generally there was a sense of frustration about new hires. It was eye-opening to see the experience from the other side and I learnt a lot about client expectations and difficulties with hiring. They were a great connection to make at that stage of my career.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve identified a need to solve the issue of pension saving when hiring remotely. This is a benefit that is hard for companies to offer when they have remote employees because the regulations and pension funds are different from country to country. It would be great if someone could create a way to save pension for remote workers or tip me in case the service exists already.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I bought myself a pair of skis to be used for touring in the Norwegian mountains. These skis allow you to just walk up a mountain without any slopes and then freeride down in pure powder. Best investment ever, especially now that there is a travel ban and we need to exploit the Norwegian mountains instead of the Alps in Switzerland or Austria.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
My calendar. I use this to plan my week and all the deliverables and small tasks that I need to complete. I block out time to create focus sessions so that I’m not being interrupted and can stay focused. I also use Calendly to help with meeting booking so that I don’t have to go back and forth to schedule meetings. I open up two-three days a week for meetings but keep the remaining two blocked for longer focus hours.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Great CEO Within by Matt Mochary. The full book is available online.
What is your favorite quote?
“Work smarter and not harder” is the quote I absolutely swear by. I believe that structure is key to productivity. We all are limited on hours to invest in work, but there is a great potential in working smarter and to structure your work better, in order to deliver more within the same time frame. I believe that this is especially important for founders who can easily get dragged everywhere once the organization starts to grow.
Take a step back, analyze your work and figure out what you need to spend time on and what you can delegate to others. For those things that you need to spend time on, try to analyze how you can optimize your time on these tasks. Make sure that your to-do-list is almost clean after each day and that it doesn’t pile up and slow everyone else down.
- Learn how to overcome failure and use a mistake to your advantage.
- Find out how to become more productive as an entrepreneur.
- Looking for a business idea? A stonker of one is brewing here!
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.