In conversation with Katrin Sirach, provider of the professional partner agency optinoo
Freedom is the highest good for Katrin Sirach. This might be one reason why she gave up a high-paid job at a pharmaceutical company with a corporate university to jump in the deep end. There, she founded optinoo GmbH in 2017, which she describes as a ‘Pharma Parship.’ This digital professional matchmaking platform helps career seekers and companies to find great matches. After working as a human resources manager, Sirach knows how hard it is to find truly great matches between professionals and companies. With her job market navigator, she is now setting the course to changing how professional relationships are created. As a business founder, she does not shy away from taking risks. However, it can be hard for her to meet her own high standards. The young entrepreneur and single mother of two sons always aims at giving 100 percent for her job and her family.
Adlershof Journal: What does optinoo stand for?
Katrin Sirach: optinoo is a digital marketplace for recent graduates, experts and professionals from the life sciences, who are embarking on the quest for their dream employer.
There are countless job portals on the market. What sets optinoo apart from existing services?
We are a matchmaking platform, so we only suggest companies and organisations that match our users’ demands. Our services are focused on the applicants. We survey our applicants’ ideas and demands based on a questionnaire, which is tailored to the requirements of the industry, and match them with the culture and the work environment of different companies. Based on their answers, a high matching score is a gateway to a promising professional partnership. Job seekers then receive employer recommendations and company profiles and can choose between sharing their contact details and applying for a vacancy.
What are the benefits for the applicants and the companies?
Both sides save a lot of time tediously looking for matches and it also strengthens a company’s employer branding.
What role do salary expectations play?
In Germany, salary is still paramount when opting for a job. However, soft factors are playing an increasingly important role. This includes things like team diversity, open plan offices vs. individual offices, flat hierarchies, flexible work schedules, and work-family balance. This is the zeitgeist we are going for.
How many users does optinoo have?
What does your service cost?
It is free for job applicants. Companies can test our service during a 30-day trial. Depending on the duration, employers pay between 90 and 600 euros to appear on the site and 300 euros per requested candidate.
Is there a type of company culture that candidates prefer?
No, there is considerable diversity. Some profiles do better than others. However, we will need a critical mass of data to analyse why that is.
Will the service be expanded to include more industry sectors?
Yes, the concept is scalable and transferable.
When did you first visit Adlershof?
When I first went to the Long Night of the Sciences a long time ago. That was the first time I got in contact with Adlershof. Then I wanted to rent office space for optinoo at the Charlottenburg Innovation Centre (CHIC) last year, which was fully booked, and that’s how I got in contact with Adlershof again. My business partner Robert Heim and I pitched our idea at the Adlershof Founder's Lab and no receive a grant for our start-up.
When’s the last time you tried something new?
I try new things every day. Now and again I also enjoy having a few much-loved routines.
What do you do in your spare time?
I have little spare time because my sons are only 11 and 15 years old. I go running on Sundays and indulge in a yoga retreat now and again. When I was younger, I was an avid dancer, particularly salsa and tango. Before I founded my own company, I hiked the Portuguese section of Path of St. James from Porto to Santiago de Compostela. That was an incredible experience. Being back on the road reminded me of the time I travelled the world for 18 months with a backpack.
Interview by Sylvia Nitschke for Adlershof Journal