Making the world more human, one question at a time

by Jobbatical September 08, 2016

How one startup is building a global team in Europe’s capital of laid-backness

“Filling out these forms is so much fun, I could do it all day!” said no-one ever. But we could all be saying it soon enough, if Typeform has anything to do with it. Based in Barcelona, this growing startup lets people create beautiful forms that are actually fun to fill out. We had a chat with Vaida Revuckaite from Typeform’s people operations team to learn more about the way this international company goes about their business of humanizing the world in one of the most inspiring cities on the planet. (Oh, and as luck would have it, they’re hiring.)

Typeform’s people ops team. Photo courtesy of Vaida Revuckaite (top right)

What’s so great about Typeform?

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that, used wisely, forms can be incredibly helpful. “People actually hate filling forms,” says Vaida. “But they are everywhere and they are necessary.” Typeform was born out of a desire to make filling out forms more attractive and less of a chore. Driven by a need for a more human approach to information-gathering, David Okuniev and Robert Muñoz co-founded Typeform in 2012.

The same sense of humanity is also evident in the way people work at Typeform. “We feel at home, really,” says Vaida. “You do your job and you work hard, but you also enjoy your day-to-day; you have fun.” The startup takes a lot of pride in a work environment where there aren’t many layers of management, where everyone is welcome to pitch ideas and talk to a founder whenever they want.

“A lot of companies still work in this very unnatural way of someone controlling someone,” says Vaida. “Here we hire people who are self-sufficient and want to do their job.”

For a company that puts so much emphasis on humanity, Typeform couldn’t have picked a better place to set up shop than Barcelona—there’s hardly a city in the world where it’s easier or more fun just to be human.

Oh yeah? What’s so great about Barcelona?

What isn’t great about Barcelona? Catalonia’s iconic capital, a gem of a city on the balmy Mediterranean coast, truly has it all. One of the best things about the city, says Vaida, is the lifestyle. “It’s not just about the beach and it’s not just about the nice food,” she says.

Although it’s also about the nice food at least a little bit! Mouthwatering photo by hlphoto via Shutterstock

“The people, everyone who lives here, they value work-life balance. And I don’t say that in the sense that people work less. People work really hard and you can have great personal challenges in Barcelona. But there’s this very healthy way of looking at work-life balance. There is time for work, there is time to do sports. And it’s super easy in Barcelona — you go for a run on the beach, or you can just go play volleyball with your colleagues.”

From the office to the beach: the team unwinds after a hard day’s work. Photo courtesy of Vaida Revuckaite.

“The city itself is like an open air museum,” continues Vaida. “These kinds of things make your day-to-day really easy to enjoy. You make friends really easily.” During her time in Spain—she herself is originally from Lithuania—Vaida has observed that some people may be hesitant to move to Barcelona, daunted by what appear to be noticeably smaller salaries compared to cities like Paris and London. These fears, however, are unfounded in her experience. “What we’ve found with people who have relocated from these kinds of places is that you can live even better here on a lower salary, because of the cost of living. What you can do with the same amount of money is much more than there.”

“Whatever you like doing, you can probably do it here.”

Another weapon in Barcelona’s impressive arsenal of attractions is a huge international community. “There are a lot of cool events and meetups,” says Vaida. “Not just parties, but also professional events. Some really cool startups, companies that do really interesting events.”

“You wouldn’t deny that it’s probably one of the greatest places in Europe, in terms of weather and having the sea in the city, basically.”

On the importance of having an international team

This cool city/cool company combo has attracted a whole lot of amazing people to Typeform. Their 120 employees hail from all over the world, with more than 30 nationalities represented. “We also do visas, so it’s not just people from Europe, but Australia, the U.S., Russia…” says Vaida. “We all speak English here, so it’s really international.”

There are many clear benefits to building such a team. “Everyone brings different culture and different points of view,” says Vaida. “We value people who speak up and say their opinion. And we try to facilitate this kind of environment.” A team that brings together many points of view from different backgrounds and cultures is a massive asset to any company. “Having this multicultural team really enriches your culture, your ideas. I think it helps innovate as well, and see things differently.”

An appreciation of diversity and the desire to encourage free movement of ideas are the main reasons why Typeform is using Jobbatical to find new adventurous talent. “You seem to be oriented to people who are international, who like to travel and work abroad, who are open-minded and don’t have these borders,” says Vaida about what attracted Typeform to Jobbatical.

On the importance of travel and international experience

As a recruiter for a global company, and having relocated from another country herself, Vaida has seen the issue of international hiring from every possible angle. Her personal experience has had a profound effect on her life. “I can imagine I wouldn’t probably be as brave as I am now,” she says in response to a question about how her life might have turned out without travel.

In a nutshell, there seems to be no good reason not to seek out international experience. “Leaving your comfort zone and moving to another country can be tricky,” says Vaida. “But it makes you a different person, makes you grow, makes you face more difficult situations differently. And in terms of professional experience, it becomes a lot easier for you to adapt to different companies and styles.”

Having seen plenty of cases where people doubt if they should move to a different country, Vaida has her response ready: “Think less about the details and just try, because sometimes that’s just how it works.”

“So be open-minded and flexible. And try to enjoy and make the most of it. There will be some great things that you had at home that you won’t have, but don’t focus on those, but on the other good things that you find.”

Barcelona: sun, sea, and startup paradise. Photo by seregalsv via Shutterstock

Ready to join the quest to make the world more human? Check out Typeform’s vacancies! Got any questions or comments? Leave a response below!

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