Interview About The New Norm For The Recruitment Industry

BW People in an interaction with Akhyansh Mohapatra and Vikram Ahuja, Co-Founders, Talent500 By ANSR discussing the changes in the talent acquisition industry.


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How are you able to efficiently manage the COVID crisis situation?

Due to COVID-19, the impact on the hiring process at Fortune 500 companies has been mixed. The belief is that since business is slowing down globally, there is an opportunity to utilize their GCCs in India to be more efficient in the long-term. We are seeing all three scenarios unfold.

Social distancing has created a new norm for the recruitment industry. Many companies have either stopped or paused non-essential hires and adopted a wait and see approach. Other companies view this as a good time to pick up top talent in their main innovation centers. To facilitate a smooth interaction in the time of virus spread, we at Talent500 by ANSR are setting up, organizing and coaching candidates to manage video only interviews. This includes helping them with video-specific skills: communication, presentation, and engagement of interviewers.

How has been your journey in this industry?

Recruitment is a Tier I problem for every company, irrespective of its size and domain. Working in this domain is about bridging a gap in the industry as much as it is improving an existing set of products. We started with an AI-driven recruitment product focused on passive job-seekers. Our primary moat is a model we call “Mercurial” which has the ability to match candidates to jobs based on their work backgrounds and the companies’ hiring histories. We expanded the product's scope to include the active job-seeker market. More recently, we ventured into the consumer internet space with our novel assessment platform - the idea here is to match candidates to enterprises after 2 stages of vetting: one by Mercurial and one via a challenging technical test. The product backed by the ever-increasing demand for solid candidates from our Fortune 500 clients is our recipe for hyper-growth. So far, the journey has been extremely challenging yet fulfilling. It is always great to help a candidate find a great place to work.

What are the major challenges have you faced?

Challenges were broadly two-fold: perception and market realities. But like Nietzsche said, “Whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger.”

The perception challenge came from the market is crowded and non-diversified. Whenever we went to pitch an enterprise, they would have already seen demos from other AI-driven enterprise recruitment tools. We wouldn’t even get an audience because of this. Our counter was simple: AI on day 0. While other competitors would onboard customers saying the AI would only work after they use the product for a few months, we would use publicly available data to build models that would blow their minds on demo day.

The market reality was consumer behavior-oriented. We started as a passive candidate recruitment product. Our core value proposition was to help an enterprise find top candidates who weren't available on run-of-the-mill job boards. The problem there was that the quintessential Indian candidate is extremely polar about their job seeking status. Either they are desperately looking or they are on do-not-disturb mode. This learning made us fine-tune our model for the active market as well, which worked quite nicely.

As a leader what are those points that you always keep in mind to serve your clients better?

Firstly, a candidate representation is key. The most unaffordable candidate is not necessarily the best candidate. Second, supporting them with scheduling, transparent communications and salary negotiations are critical pieces. The last point is to understand the growing needs of the recruiter. Ultimately, they are the most regular users of the product.

As AI is emerging, what are the advantages and disruptions have you faced?

AI has helped the talent recruitment process become more efficient and optimal. With machine learning and AI, we are able to draw a better fit between enterprises’ requirements and candidate profiles. We can also better gauge whether a candidates’ skills match the job requirements and their career growth potential. At Talent500 by ANSR, we are using AI significantly to build dynamic assessment tests based on candidates’ previous skillset. We are using the results of these assessments to qualify candidates’ beyond their resumes.

What are your major goals for 2020 to achieve?

By the end of 2020, we aim to have at least 30,000 pre-assessed, registered candidates. From a tech standpoint, we aim to develop Mercurial further and make more accurate predictions by factoring in more parameters. At ANSR, we want to build the most advanced enterprise recruitment suite. From candidate discovery to candidate onboarding, we want to build products that improve each stage and talk to each other seamlessly, so that the end-to-end process is more streamlined.

What do you feel best about talent acquisition?

We are attempting to solve a genuine challenge that exists for both job seekers as well as for companies. We believe we are in the process of democratizing opportunity – ensuring the best talent has to access to the best and most relevant opportunities. We leverage data for this process and truly understand how candidates and companies match.


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