The Role of Technology is to Supplement Human Ability, Not replacing It: Vikram Ahuja, Co-Founder, Talent500 by ANSR

In the conversation with BW People, Vikram Ahuja, Co-Founder, Talent500 by ANSR shares about technological development and human reaction to it. How would it impact human professional lives and relationship building in the digital era?


During this disruption everyone is shifting toward technology. Is it the same for everyone to adopt technology? What challenges are you foreseeing during the transition from the traditional setting of acquisition to more technology-based?

Adopting new technologies can be difficult if the problems are not well defined and the role for tech is unclear. We are using technology, specifically machine learning algorithms, to better match candidates with jobs. Our tech solutions complement the roles of talent acquisition teams and client hiring managers. As a result of our tech solutions, we give them a holistic candidate profile, giving them the confidence that only the best talent is put in front of them. This includes the results of a dynamic assessment test, a brief video intro, their core skills and experience. The objective is to represent a candidate’s skill set beyond just a CV.  Since we are utilizing big data, the ongoing challenge is dissecting the data and pinpointing which data metrics are the most important to optimally match the right talent with the right opportunity.

What is the Talent500 offering?

We curate exclusive opportunities from leading Fortune 500 companies and global industry leaders, which offer higher-than-market compensation and provide access to the latest technologies. Our AI-enabled matching service and suite of dynamic assessments allow talent to present their skills fairly and transparently, thereby ensuring a faster and more efficient matching process for recruiters. Our focus is on providing value as a true career accelerator for our clients. Some of the things we are doing to engage top talent include: 

1. Providing insights and information on how to be successful
2. Exclusive access to opportunities and experts
3. Represent their skills better than a standard CV with 360-degree assessments, which we then use to standardize the recruitment process amongst employers and avoid multiple, repetitive rounds.

We currently have 1,000+ open positions at various levels and for various roles at Fortune 500 companies. This includes full-stack engineers, front end engineers - both React.js and Angular, back end engineers - Node.js and Java, quality analysts, data scientists, data analysts and many more. While our focus is on tech roles, we are also recruiting for non-tech roles within procurement, finance and accounting. The majority of our roles require between 2-7 years of experience. However, there are a substantial number of roles for those with 8+ years of experience.

Our clients operate within the CPG, supermarket retail, fashion retail, banking, fintech and automotive sectors. Most of the roles are Bangalore based, closely followed by Hyderabad.

Talent500 derives from ANSR’s 15+ years of experience helping Fortune 500 companies build immensely successful global capability centers (GCCs) focused on technology and innovation. In this era, the shift from the traditional setting of hiring towards technologically advanced system; Tech supported devices or platforms would be high in demand in the specific sector.

Don't you think AI or technological advancements will be a threat to the humane elements or people's relationships?

Technology by itself does not necessarily have positive or negative effects. It is the use of technology that leads to certain consequences. Artificial intelligence has tremendous power and potential to transform how humans work and operate. It can make processes more efficient and access information far better than a human mind. There are many positive use cases of AI in areas like MedTech and data science. It can be misused but that is the risk of any new technology. We, as a community, have the power to ensure it is not misused. Common examples are social media and instant messaging. Initially, these platforms were created for people to keep in touch with family and friends and stay connected to the world around us. The negative side came out when people misused platforms to spread misinformation and false news.

What skills will be in demand once the industry would take a technological shift?

There will be increased demand for full-stack engineers, data scientists and automation specialists. Post pandemic, businesses will need to be more efficient operationally and use tech to do so.

According to you; what is that one value that HR Leaders or recruiters must nurture in these crisis-hit times?

Adaptability. We are living in transformational times where both the business environment and people are being transformed in previously unimaginable ways. During such times, it is important to be aware and empathetic toward the business and candidates and be able to adapt and be agents of change.

Adaptability means being open to new processes, technologies, and trends. It is the ability to react quickly to today’s unfolding events and consequences.

What will be the new definition for the recruiting industry post-COVID?

Recruiters need to move quickly to redefine the process, the role of technology, and function. Luckily the increasing role of AI in standard recruitment processes might possibly be the silver bullet for recruiters to emerge a lot more productive and efficient post-lockdown.

Here is the role AI will play to enable contactless hiring and more in a post-COVID era:

1. Sourcing

The ability to analyse millions of data points enables recruiting firms to quickly identify talented and best-fit candidates from a much broader pool of talent than just job-boards. One of the most lucrative opportunities for recruiters is the ability to effectively and efficiently identify passive candidates (those not actively looking for jobs or on job boards) based on predetermined parameters. Marketing automation allows recruiters to nurture these candidates and convert them at the right time. This would help reduce dependence on hiring drives or in-person hackathons, which a lot of recruiters used to drive volumes at the top-of-the-funnel.

 2. Screening

With the right tools, recruiters can identify the skills and experience of high-performing employees and benchmark potential candidates to these profiles. With deep learning behind this process, the artificial intelligence can then screen millions of profiles for ideal candidates focusing on relevant capabilities and experiences, not keywords.

 3. Candidate Engagement

One of the biggest strengths of good recruiters is to keep candidates engaged through the process. Today, NLP-powered chatbots will allow recruiters to create interactive conversational flows with multiple candidates simultaneously, providing instant answers and creating a strong engagement. This could potentially reduce the dependence on face-to-face interactions and enable more ‘contact-less’ hiring.

 4. Assessment

Stringent testing to failure tells the rank of candidates across different vertices. Every company can assess candidates against a customised baseline score and rank them in the order of weightage and priority. Candidates can now be tested without being interviewed and their assessment can be utilised by not just one company but a roster of companies looking to hire talented candidates from a large talent pool.

Do you think that technology or AI would be a permanent change and would replace humans soon?

In many ways, technology has been around long enough to make a transformational impact on human lives. The role of any kind of tech is to supplement human ability, not replace it. There are many concerns about how forms of AI will take away our jobs and lead to a dystopian future. The truth is that nobody truly knows how far we are from that reality.

The common view is that AI is growing rapidly, we are still very far from it taking over. Ultimately, AI is a human creation and we control it. However, people do have to evolve to a certain level to enable AI to be exponentially more intelligent than it is today. That will not happen as fast as we think.

Bill Gates once said, “We often overestimate the changes that will happen over the next two years and underestimate the changes that will happen in the next ten.”

AI fits into that narrative. Will it have a massive impact in the long term? Certainly. Will it impact us tomorrow? No.

What are those powerful lines which are keeping you motivated and sane?

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.


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