This interview is in media cooperation with Frankfurt Forward (

We talk to Inga (formerly (, the startup of the month of May 2019. In this interview, we speak with Corinna Haas ( CEO & Co-Founder of HR Tech startup Inga. We talk to her how bots work in recruiting, about vocational training in Germany and how this leads to sought after specialist, Inga is helping to recruit.

Further Links:
• Old interview with Kim Körber, also a co-founder of Inga, dating back to November 2017
• Vocational training in Germany or
• Rhine-Main

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Transcript Below

Welcome to your podcast and YouTube blog covering the German startup scene with news, interviews and live events.


Joe: Hello and welcome everybody. This is Joe from your startup podcast and YouTube blog from Germany. I’m right now here in my very new, very own study. As you can see I’m just moving in, it’s a little bit cramped in the back but we have to make the recording today because today it was announced that Inga 1 is the startup of the month by Frankfurt Forward. We have an unpaid video partnership with them and therefore I had to record today at the last opportunity this interview and I just did it because I was moving house and therefore I do have Corinna here with me, hey welcome.

Corinna: Hi everybody its Corinna from Inga.

Joe: We already talked about Inga in the past and I did an interview with one of your co-founders Kim. We’ll be linked down in the show notes, guys please be forgiving with me. There was a time when I was still trying to figure out how to do live screen from live events and didn’t perfectly match with the screen and all the stuff but no the less we did a very nice interview with him. You guys are an HR Tech, but before we get into the company, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? How did you get by here? How did you end up at Inga? Was there one point when you said, now I want to do a startup or was there one point where you said oh that’s a problem I want to solve?


Corinna: That’s a very good question and thanks for being able to tell you a little bit about my passion. I have an HR background, I started business economics actually and then I worked here in Frankfurt for an American investment bank. Am I allowed to tell where I work? I work for JP Morgan and I did the graduate recruiting part there, so I was trying to find finance student and attract them to become investment bankers here in Frankfurt but also in other locations and I have done that for eleven years. So I learned a lot of processes and structures in terms of recruiting, prior branding and how to treat young people and young talent.

And when I realized after 2008 after the investment banking crisis that several things had changed, my point was that the cooperation world needs to kind of find a different approach on how to attract young talent, how to select young talent and how to then form them during their career. the corporate world was a little bit too slow for me so I left that world 2015, with the eager vision to improve the world of recruiting and work by myself so I found my first company called CO3 recruiting. And the aim there was actually to help young startups with their creative chaos, as I like to call it and streamline that more with the structures and processes that I’ve learned in the cooperative world.

So I worked as HR architect on several projects, sometimes lasting only a few weeks, sometimes up to one year where I accompanied and advised startups and founders on how to professionalize mainly after a big investment PROP. That was a lot of fun, a steep learning curve but I realized that my impact was not big enough, so I was still eager to find a real digital transformative way of recruiting then I met Kim and Francisco my founder from back then in 2017. and we then had the idea to use social media and chat box to have a new approach to attracting talent for employers. And then to almost two years later, we are now, here in Frankfurt in the mind space with a team of 12.

Joe: That sounds very good. Congratulations to that. I got one more question because you said you mainly advise founders how to deal with HR after big financing round. What are the main mistakes you’ve seen there because our viewers and our listeners aren’t all from an entrepreneurial background so it would be very interesting for them to learn from mistakes?

Corinna: Well we might be able to do an own podcast on that actually but ill try to be brief. There are several aspects. First of all the legal aspects in terms of that young startups need to make sure that they are on point with labor contracts, with all the administrative task they need to actually provide and do. So that’s one part that many don’t really understand. For example what the difference between an intern and working students in the German context for social security and stuff like that. And some founders or some teams do not actually care and then it was my task to actually make them aware that they are actually rules about it ok.

The second part is actually the recruiting part. For me its always important that also the young teams, that try to move over ten employees that they have a real structured approach on finding out what kind of talent do I really need for the next, let’s say six months. What does the person needs to bring to the table, how flexible does the person need to be and then to develop real strategy where to find those people and how to interview those people and how to interpret… how to kind of find out what the answers actually means in such an interview . And then the next thing is how to develop them. So to really have a structured approach in recruiting the right people and developing them internally.

And the third part is actually that with a fast growth often the team members are a little bit overwhelmed because they become team leader too quickly without having real training in or understanding what it means to lead other people or to delegate tasks. And also not every found is a good manager, many founders have a fantastic vision, a fantastic idea and are brilliant in a specific product view but maybe not the best managers or bosses. And so that is another aspect that I normally point finger at and I use the phrase, HR Architect, I kind of borrowed that from the software world, because I come normally in as  generalist and then I just point out this is an area where we need to bring in or get another specialist and work on it.

And then my goal is a little bit like development aid, I come in, I show them how it works, I teach them and then hopefully I leave a lot of knowledge and then I go out and the can run by themselves. And then maybe if they grow even bigger, they then reach out a year after again, something like that, but I’m here to then leave again and have an improved company hopefully.

Joe: interesting phrase development aid for HR in Startup, okay. Does Inga1 also do this as well or what is your exact business model? what are you guys doing for your client?

Corinna: we have a new approach to actually attracting talent for companies.

So we do social recruiting combined with chatbot so the first part is we attract people to positions to which they normally might not have applied. Because we target passive seekers or those persons that are not 100% happy in their job and also for my private life and my previous experience there are a lot of people out there who sit in position or a job, not 100% satisfied but it is too hard or too much work to actually find a new possible job and to apply.

And so the whole application process in many companies is way too complicated and not to talent-centric, so that is one part that we have changed.  We tailor-made job campaign,… for the client but with our employer brand which is called in Germany (inaudible 09:24)…   Would be like dream jobs and dream drops engineering, dream jobs human resources so that we actually attract the people, the talent out there with their own passion for what they want to do 8 hours plus a day okay.

Then so we find them by normal targeting, of course, there is like machine learning and algorithms in the background and then we kind of promised them that within three to five minutes within your chatbot they are able to find more about the position about the potential employer and actually leave a short application with us. And then they go into the chatbot which is like mobile optimized of course and then on the go without needing to upload a CD or anything they can actually learn about the position as I said, the employer and then answer questions like what kind of education level you have?  Have you experienced in this that and that?  When will you be available?  And this information including the contact data is what we then provide to the client. So it is a little bit like automated active sourcing for employers.

Joe: So that means that at the end of the day if your clients get the potential employees list, like a list of people with the position with a CV with some background information and you tell them those people are potentially interested in this position.

Corinna:  Yeah yeah. Kind of, so the client gets a list and I would call it like a long list with candidates or with people definitely interested in the position and with a  short summary of talents that they have or skills that they have. The skills have been discussed before with our clients the customers which are the most important skills that the person needs to bring.

We do not provide a CV. That is very important from my perspective at the moment  because that is one of the visions that I personally have and that we at Inga has as well is that within the next five years we want to help develop the whole chatbot on communication so far that we as HR people and employers do not need a standard CV anymore. Because… and that is something that I’m very passionate about in the end the way that we recruit at the moment is digital but is not transformed. Because in the end, we took the old paper CV that people put on there like analog typing writer and us just kind of like put it on a word processor, we send it via email and not via snail mail anymore and in the end many employers print out the CV again to then read through the  whole thing. It is aesthetic….

Joe: And then make physical notes on it and then hand it physically back to HR

Corinna:  Yes exactly. And I have to admit that in the end, it is super efficient because like with the CV with my experience was able to within let’s say five seconds scan the CV and know directly if the person, in theory, brings all the skills and experience that I wanted to see. But I think  nowadays  where we are not necessarily just skill based on the selection process ,we as HR, we as recruiters we need to focus also on other skills and other things that the talent brings to the table like; flexibility, eagerness to learn, to develop new skills, thinking out of the box . Like all the things that actually makes us humans unique, that is also one of the points we at Inga we try to automate all the things that are possible to then make qualitative HR workable again. Because many of my HR colleagues out there in companies or being self-employed they spend so many tasks with a repetitive administrative task that real quality selection meaning the dialogue one to one human, human-to-human, is set aside and we want to bring that back.

Joe: Mm-hmm,  how are you guys making money?  Do you charge the potential employers for the effort you put in or just for the output you are actually delivering to them?

 Corinna:  We charge the client for the work that we bring in. So it’s a little bit… You can maybe compare it all those job boards out there, like Stepstone, Monster,  Indeed, you name it,  where you have like the classical post and pre.  Or even like with LinkedIn,  Xing, or even Facebook jobs or Google jobs where you are able to actually pay for posting for a certain time on your job and is what we do as well. So we developed a completely tailored campaign for the clients for 4 weeks. ideally actually for 3 months because we then have the chance with all the performance tracking that we do, that it’s actually not posted and pre, but it is actually learned and adapt what we do.

Okay so we normally have a campaign ran every two weeks and then we start to adjust it. And so ideally a client would come to us for 3 months with like one certain position and then we can adapt and change the outcome in the end and our approach, and that is what the client pays for. And then in the end we do not and I’m very honest about that and very opened, we do not guarantee a hire  we guarantee contact to talents that might not have applied otherwise that is what we promised and in the end if then a client can hire or fill three or four positions out of one campaign then it’s fantastic and we don’t  charge extra for that.

Joe:  Does your experience so far implies you get a better rate for hiring with your approach than post and pre?

Corinna:  That is… Well, the feedback from our client is our experience with the client is that sometimes they approached us being their last resort and being their last hope. So often they come to us with very difficult decisions, where we also have them to say and they are also very open with that, we are no magicians  and if there are no electricians or opticians in a certain area in like the black forest or in Hamburg or wherever,  then we cannot just meet them  appear but we can at least offer a different approach I’m trying to attract those people out there. Because one of our focus is not necessarily the academic world because for that we have professionals networking such as Sing and LinkedIn,  like we have the head hunter world out there which is mainly focused on highly paid yearly salaries but like a neglected group of talents definitely is (inaudible17:45 ) in Germany. All those apprenticeship specialist where…

Joe: For everybody who doesn’t know this in Germany there is a big system of vocational training where you are trained two or three years to get almost like a Bachelors degree in a certain area like electrician, optician, Carpenter,  whatever is out there. There are several hundreds of them like hair cutter hairdresser and that is basically the people you are targeting and then they can even advanced doing like(inaudible18:24)   which is literally translated into Masters and they are like… It used to be in the past that’s for some certain areas you need it such a certification to start your own business.

Corinna:  Thanks for the explanation I often forget,  that outside of Germany the concept of an apprenticeship or vocational training doesn’t read it exist and I think that is one of the reasons why  Germany has such a big economic success or has had because of that vocational training. Because people doing manual labor are highly and highly skilled people in Germany and fortunately the development that I have seen in the past is that young people are more tending to do bachelor’s and master’s degree at University then actually starting vocational training and doing and learning about Labor like manual labor.

And that is something where Germany still is in terms of Industry small and medium-sized company Mittelstand …..  Those are like many of our clients where there are like world leaders in producing one specific little part for let’s say the automotive industry or paper productions or even machines and no one knows about them in terms of employer brand name. But they are the one big player and like 90% of all the machines producing something around the world is from this one company. And they need specifically skilled people not necessarily as I said academics and that is where are we are really good at.

Because for this talent these people they are on social media more than actually on Sing and LinkedIn so meaning that is why we target specifically at the moment Facebook and Instagram because that is where we can find them, and that is also one of the reasons why we do not target the CVs at the moment. Because these talents normally do not sit at a PC, a computer all day long working with Word or other word processes and they might not have their CVs ready, but they are like super fantastic in what day do in operating a specific machine for example.

Joe:  That sounds pretty good. You are Startup of the month May 2019 for Frankfurt Forward, congratulations to that! That’s a high-end panel that you have to go through it means something if you win this award. Going a little bit back to this… I was wondering why you guys are in Frankfurt and what Frankfurt means for you personally and for the company?

Corinna:  I have to admit that I am originally from the Black Forest that is an area in the southern part of Germany and I then moved to Mines which is a city near Frankfurt and I live there for 15 years. And I actually commuted to Frankfurt for 11 years while working for JP Morgan because I never wanted to move to Frankfurt because the reputation of Frankfurt was not that good  and I mainly only came into the business area and I did not give Frankfurt a chance as a living area

Joe:  I always like to say  Frankfurt is very beautiful, has very beautiful places, unfortunately very good at hiding them.

Corinna:  Exactly!  And then the beautiful places and the beautiful living areas they then started to show themselves to me after I gave it a chance.  Over the last few years because most of my startup clients back then and the startup scene in Frankfurt is, of course, a little bit like the center is in Frankfurt of my startup area. So I spent a lot of time in Frankfurt and I found out that its a real Jewel. It’s a fantastic city, it has wonderful areas to live a lot of parks, a lot of green zones. It is small you can bike everywhere but yet it has culturally and economical everything that you want.

It was like in terms of restaurant scenes, no matter what kind of restaurant type from the word you want to eat you can go there. It’s super International in terms of people, I don’t know how many nationalities actually lives Frankfurt but it’s super diverse, it’s a very open city but it is also super professional. Professional in terms of it has a lot of bankers, consultants and lawyers and in terms of that a very high standard of professional work ethics from like the old school. It is combined now with the new spirit of startups,  a lot of co-working places has opened in the last two to three years I think. Many meetups, many events for startups from, startups but also the city of Frankfurt and official groups have started to support the whole startup system and ecosystem in Frankfurt very much.  So it’s a perfect combination for a startup and also for me as a private citizen to spend time in Frankfurt.

Joe: Well, the only thing left for me to say is thank you very much, appreciate the interview. Everybody who likes… to would like to learn more, sorry go down here on the show notes you’ll find all the links and things we discussed like further readings on vocational training and stuff like this.

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