Ulrike Poley joined Indeed in 2018 and was promoted to Sales Director a year after. She has made a name for herself by bringing Women at Indeed, one of our Inclusion Resource Groups (IRG), to life in Düsseldorf. In this blog Ulrike tells us what drives her forward.
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1. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a doctor – it was crystal clear to me that I wanted to work as a surgeon. However, an internship forced me to confront the harsh reality of working in a hospital. I changed my mind and decided to pursue a career in business instead.
2. What brought you to Indeed?
I was already working in the job board sector for 15 years, when Indeed started building up its business in Germany. In my previous job, I examined the strategies of the market players in the industry.
With Indeed’s technology and its strategic approach, it was obvious to me that it was just a matter of time until Indeed would significantly change the market in Germany. My decision to join Indeed was therefore a logical choice; I wanted to be part of the success story of the evolving leader in the market.
3. What expectations did you have when joining Indeed?
Throughout my career, I witnessed different developments in the online recruiting market. The market was exhausted. However, Indeed gave me new opportunities to bring in my expertise while finding new challenges.
We are continuously evolving and constantly bringing new products and solutions to the recruiting market. I’m impressed over and over again with all employees who bring our mission “We help people get jobs” to life.
4. Your career at Indeed is a success story. How were you supported on your way to a director role by your manager?
Indeed has a transparent team structure that applies to all business divisions, which supports every employee on an individual basis. We champion a culture of feedback to bring each team member forward.
I had several chances to bring in my knowledge and industry experience. In addition to the regular training curriculum, I was able to give the team historical insights into how the recruiting industry has developed – from classic job advertisements in print media to online, from transaction-based business models of our competitors to the performance-based business models by Indeed. That swiftly attracted attention.
The senior management team supported my ambition and gave me opportunities to prove myself. They actively involved me in the strategic alignment of products or sales approaches and asked me to develop concepts, e.g. I have recently taken on the sales responsibility for the Virtual Hiring Days.
When the director position became vacant, I didn’t hesitate to apply.
5. Inclusion and Belonging are core values at Indeed. How does your team benefit from a diverse structure?
My team consists of nine completely different personalities. We are seven men and two women with different cultural backgrounds and an age range of 26 to 47.
It is exciting to see how each team member puts our sales strategy into practice and how authentic and unique they are when interacting with our clients. While some need freedom and individuality to reach their goals, others are structured with an intricate plan that makes them feel secure. We are running best practice sessions in our team meetings, to exchange our experiences, develop new ideas, give and receive feedback and this way we are learning from each other. Putting new ideas into practice also means some trial and error, but we always support one another, try again and celebrate our successes.
Evidence shows us that diverse teams are more innovative and successful. If you are able to look at a challenge from a different perspective, it is easier to overcome it. Our world is constantly changing, now in particular. Relationship management within the role is becoming increasingly important and is an integral part in Indeed’s sales approach.
Having a diverse team means that we can serve a diverse range of clients. Our clients are human beings with different personalities and characters. If you have a client with a creative mind when you have an analytical way of thinking, you can ask your teammates for advice on how to adapt your strategy.
As a growing and future-oriented company, Indeed is fully aware of these facts and fosters our Inclusion Resource Groups (IRGs).
6. How would you like to motivate other women?
I think some women are perfectionists, more than most men, and are eager to fulfill their tasks 100%. That is why female candidates often doubt if they meet all requirements of the role. They wonder if their capabilities, qualifications, and goals fully match a job advert before they apply. These are scientific findings by Iris Bohnet, professor in Harvard University**. The theory also applies to myself. I had to learn how to find balance between the expectations of others and my own expectations towards myself, which were often much higher. My advice is to weigh up the effort with the win. Sometimes it’s better done than perfect.
Only in my early 40s did I develop more confidence in what I was capable of.
I want to empower young women to accept and learn from failure, be self-confident and have the courage to initiate the next steps towards a career early. I want to share my story and encourage women to make their own experiences, learn from them and reflect on their takeaways.
Moreover, I would like to encourage women to keep and care about their passion, whatever they are interested in. Interests and priorities may change from time to time, but your passion is a main part of you. Differentiated people will understand that. They will listen and learn from you.
7. You launched the Women at Indeed IRG in our Düsseldorf office. Which are the goals of the IRG?
I’m excited to be the Site Lead of the Women at Indeed chapter in Düsseldorf and my aim is to support female Indeedians to make them feel empowered. I want to support women and their allies to discuss critical topics and create a safe space to exchange experiences and ideas.
The mission of Women at Indeed is to champion a culture of inclusion by providing a platform for advocacy, development and support for Women at Indeed. The goal is for Indeed to be the model for gender equality, both in its culture and product offering. At the end of the day, it will bring us all forward. This is why I would like to highlight that the Women at Indeed IRG is not exclusively for women, but for allies also. In the spirit of diversity, inclusion and belonging, everybody is welcome to join the group and act as an ally for women.
The contribution and the feedback from men and other allies is explicitly welcome! We appreciate feedback, and would like to discuss that so that we can better understand and learn from each other. We also partnered with other IRGs within the Düsseldorf office and would like to expand our partnership across the region.
The more we understand each other, the better we can collaborate to reach new heights!
8. What does Indeed have to offer as an employer, and what makes working at Indeed so special for you?
Besides all the perks and benefits that Indeed offers, what fills me with enthusiasm is the fact that Indeed is acting fast and professionally in anticipating market demands. At Indeed, we are digital and highly effective. Our leadership team – on a local and an international level – are close to the employees and truly appreciate their efforts. I’ve never been in a company that cared this much about society, the community and its development.
9. How do you stay balanced with your job as a sales director?
I love my job and gain a lot of energy from it. One, because of my team and two, due to the exchanges with my other colleagues. In my day-to-day life, I get energy from running and, just recently, yoga. On weekends, the laptop remains closed and I enjoy trips out in nature, sometimes in my convertible.
10. What are your secret ingredients for an enjoyable professional life?
Be authentic, and elevate your own ideas. Be open to change. Only then can you transform problems into challenges that you can overcome. Eventually this will help you grow.
11. What is your favorite quote?
“I don’t regret anything in my life except the things I didn’t do. “ – Coco Chanel
This quote drives me forward, makes me courageous to try out new things. Even if that means I have to overcome fear and the result of what I’m doing is uncertain. I know, no matter what happens life will go on and all will be fine.
12. Lastly, what advice do you have for candidates when choosing an employer?
I recommend not being shy about what they want to know and always ask all your questions. If something remains unclear or if the candidate feels discomfort with an answer, they should reconsider their decision. Things like that potentially lead to conflicts in the job later.
And always be authentic. Not every job that you apply for is a good match for you. But maybe the next job, you’ll find it at Indeed or on indeed.com
Watch Indeed’s latest commercial “Work Needs Women” Below.
Interested in a career in sales? Check out our open roles around the globe on www.indeed.jobs
Learn more about Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Indeed in our blog.
**Bohnet, Iris (2016): “What works – Gender Equality by Design”, Belknap Press