Community and Communication: Helping Blinkist Become More Connected


Mertcan Uzun is the Senior Manager of People and Culture at Blinkist. Mertcan has been working with Annie Li, our Talent Partner, for the past six months. In that time, Annie has made 14 hires - ranging from Freelance positions to three Director & Head of roles. 

To go past the numbers and learn more about the impact of Annie’s time there, we spoke with Mertcan. Together we discussed the benefits of the embedded model, how it helped Blinkist, and Mertcan’s own impressions of ACELR8’s services. 

If you want a deeper insight into the role of a Talent Partner, Annie also wrote her own account of her experience over on Medium.


“We are a platform for making non-fiction knowledge accessible. By non-fiction, I mean books, podcasts, etc. Our main goal is to give key insights into this immersive knowledge in a short period of time.” 

Blinkist presents in-depth summaries of books in a digestible 15-minute window. With over 5,000 titles to choose from, their focus is on providing excellent, concise content in a variety of formats and subjects. 

Blinkist is growing fast, believing in their own product and ambition by planning to make a large number of hires. To do this, they took several approaches, including subscribing to our services. 

Blinkist before ACELR8 

“So, it wasn’t a sad situation. We were experiencing huge growth, so we had to recruit to sustain the growing demands of the business. To achieve these goals, we trained our hiring managers to become recruiters. This was a very well-functioning initiative, but we had some challenges such as time availability and focusing a lot on hiring instead of leading their functions.”

This is something we experience a lot at ACELR8: a client is growing fast, their recruiting solution worked well, but it can’t keep up with the pace of hiring that would sustain the business needs. That’s why Blinkist’s Talent Acquisition team decided to reach out and ask us to help them keep the quality of hiring high while also increasing the number of hires. 

“Overall, we needed to learn how to make hiring a better experience. We are always focused on growth, always focused on high-volume and high-quality hiring.”

By ramping up their hiring quotas, Blinkist’s team was taking a risk - with huge growth came huge responsibilities. To ensure they could hire and onboard enough people in time to meet their goals, they needed outside help. 

For the next six months, Annie worked with Johannes, Mertcan, and the hiring managers, creating an in-depth recruitment structure. Along with the high-quality hires, Annie also worked with the team to develop workshops to improve Blinkist’s interviewing skills and approach. She also provided a wide-ranging network of connections and advisors through ACELR8’s contacts and Talent Partners.

The Value of Acelr8

“The main reason was that ACELR8 could give dedicated time and focus on quality hiring that the hiring managers could not, as they have a myriad of other responsibilities.“

ACELR8’s Embedded Platform is designed to start working for you from Day One. As Mertcan said, an embedded recruiter allows the rest of the recruiting team to breathe, giving them the time to make the right hires and build a better recruitment system. 

Did ACELR8 Make it Easier to Find Great Talent? 

“What was helpful for us was working with a good recruiter - immediately. Now that Annie left us, we are looking for a new, stellar Talent Partner. Can we put that in this success story?”

(Yes, yes we can, you can apply via Blinkist's career site - here.)

“Having Annie right away was a huge benefit. She had the benefit of learning and developing from and with the hiring manager straight away. For example, if I want to hire someone now, it means that there’s a three month notice period, and then we need to onboard this person and spend a substantial amount of time in training.”

The Benefits

If you need to start hiring today, ACELR8 can work with you to create a seamless recruitment process. Not only can we help you with the immediate hiring, but we also provide workshops and training to help you improve your recruitment processes. 

“The one thing that was impressive was the hiring upskill workshop that Annie helped us build.  This training helps us train our Hiring Managers. That was something I really enjoyed. Also, it was great to see how quickly Annie earned the team’s trust. Building that relationship is vital in creating a productive experience for our team.”

This is something that Annie discussed in-depth in her Medium article, showing how ACELR8 can create long-term solutions to hiring systems while only being involved for a short period of time. 

The ACELR8 team has a strong belief in Systems Thinking - everything in a company is connected, meaning sometimes a small decision can affect the whole system. 

With this, we aim to provide more than just a simple hiring service. We offer systematic analysis and improvement, making recruitment solutions to help you long after our contract is finished. This is why it’s essential for us to be part of the team, to become really embedded in the company. It’s the only way we can fully understand your hiring needs.

The Results

What Stood Out

“For me, it’s the sense of community through ACELR8’s own branding. You seem like a bunch of people with a shared vision and mission, which we resonate with strongly.”

The team at ACELR8 work closely to ensure we have a shared goal when it comes to recruitment and the embedded model. We share ideas, resources, and knowledge regularly - helping us define better standards in the recruiting industry. 

What Sets ACELR8 Apart

I find A8 more revolutionary than other conventional agencies. Before working at Blinkist, I had some other interviews with other companies through ACELR8, and that made me interested in the company; because it’s such a smart approach. In the beginning, when you’re starting a company, it’s hard to have everything ready and productive. Working with ACELR8 allowed us to onboard a recruiter that helped us hire experts quickly, which is a huge bonus.

A startup can have a lot of strong points, but the sheer amount of time needed to find quality hires can often make the company suffer. By being able to hire recruiting experts with no internal hiring needed, companies can save a wealth of time and resources from Day One. 

Not Just A Recruitment Boost 

ACELR8 works as an embedded service, specialising in tech recruitment roles throughout the US and Europe. Being embedded within these companies, our Talent Partners learn a lot. We can discover new ideas about organisation, culture, and even just outside work activities. When this happens, our Talent Partners can share their advice or findings with the rest of the team. For Blinkist, this was a huge benefit. 

“Annie has a network of startups that she could give a pulse check on and provide advice from. We could get inspiration from these companies, which would be completely unavailable without ACELR8. Not just hiring, but also culture, payroll, and other aspects. “

This allowed Mertcan and the Blinkist team to learn from an immense pool of resources. Annie was able to reach out to any or all of our Talent Partners when she had a problem, creating a help service stretching out to tens if not hundreds of experts.

As an Embedded Service, naturally, these contracts eventually come to an end. We asked Mertcan about this, how ACELR8 would help Blinkist in the long term, and he had an allegory:

“Now what I would call ACELR8 is a friend. We were in a relationship with ACELR8, we were dating, but now we broke up, and we’re still friends. I can still reach out to them and ask them for help.“

As said before, if you want to learn more about how we provided a long-term impact at Blinkist, check out Annie’s article on Medium. 

If you’re looking for some guidance on how to improve the quality and equality of your hiring process, reach out to us

Like what we do? Then work for us. ACELR8 is always on the search for new talent to help us create a more progressive approach to recruitment.

Interested in learning more about our success stories? You can find them all here. 

Mobile App
Talent Partner