Running a tech company with your twin sister without any background in tech and neuroscience; Fleur and Charlotte Melkert did it. Bazaar spoke to Charlotte about their business compensation and their mission to remove bias from the application process. With that, we mention not one, but two this week Women of the week.
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Fleur and Charlotte Melkert are Women of the Week
‘We actually got off to a good start random‘ Charlotte Melkert begins her story about their first company, which preceded it Equality. ‘I was about ten years old when my parents said I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but after that I didn’t think about it for a long time. Until I took the subject during the study in business economics entrepreneurship followed, which in turn made me realize that dream from the age of ten.’
She called her sister to suggest starting ‘something’ together, but Fleur was anything but enthusiastic at first. Charlotte: ‘In the beginning, Fleur loudly shouted no. She studied criminology and was not one to be attracted to business, so I had to keep pushing. Eventually she relented and we started our first business, a recruitment agency.’
beta and alpha
At work, the sisters are completely different. As CEO, Charlotte focuses more on technical product analysis, strategy and data, and Fleur as CCO focuses more on the commercial story and the human side of the business. Their beta and alpha characteristics complement each other professionally and ensured successful collaborations with well-known company names from the Netherlands.
Problems in the application process
But during their time at the recruitment agency, Fleur and Charlotte ran into the same problems every time. ‘Are we going to be able to make a difference with what we are doing now?’ was the question the twins finally asked each other after another frustrating day at the office. Charlotte: ‘On the one hand, we saw that all companies clung very tightly to the CV, while a great many studies have been carried out on the predictable values of education and work experience on a CV. They are just zero; you might as well flip a coin in that regard. But good candidates always fell between two chairs because of the focus on a resume, because they lacked just one year of experience or maybe had a gap in their resume that immediately led to conclusions.
We also saw a lot of discrimination in the labor market. Things like ‘a difficult name that doesn’t work for Board of Directors‘ or ‘women in their early thirties should not be hired for a managerial position because they will become pregnant and want to work part-time’ have unfortunately been discussed several times.’
Apply with compensation
Without a technical background or scientific basis, the sisters brainstormed ways to address these biases and problems in the application process. What if they developed something that ensured that all candidates leave the same information about themselves in a job application, obtained in a fair and objective manner? Based on this question, compensation Born. Charlotte: ‘We entered the world quickly assessments, but as far as we are concerned, these tests are no longer of this time. So we came up with something else to wrap the application in, namely in games. By measuring a combination of skills such as analytical thinking and learning ability, and by discovering how a candidate prefers to do her work and in which work environment she does this, prejudice is absolutely a thing of the past. In addition, the lack of the labor market is a huge problem that forces people to look beyond the CV and focus more on the potential. We’re seeing people who normally were always left off the boat now, we’re seeing with companies using our tools.’
‘Google was our best friend’
Charlotte and Fleur are living proof that a CV does not say everything about what someone can do. Charlotte: ‘We are a tech company with neuroscience as the basis for everything we do, and we have neither experience nor background in this.
In that regard, we are the textbook example that proves that a CV does not work well. We were so blue and naive.’ Four years later, Charlotte sees the naivety that characterized Fleur and Charlotte at the beginning of their venture – Google was their best friend – as the main reason for the success of compensation, which is now spread across 16 countries in Europe. Charlotte: ‘In the beginning we were absolutely not aware of all the bumps we would encounter along the way. If we saw bears on the road at the beginning, we might never have got started’.
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