These HR Startups Are Using Tech To Optimize Recruiting For Some Of India’s Biggest Companies

India is one of the fastest growing nations in Asia, with a burgeoning workforce to match. According to the India Employment Report, more than 460 million people above the age of 14 years were employed in 2015-16, which is nine million more than a decade ago. India alone produced 6.3 million graduates and 1.4 million post-graduate students in 2015.

And those numbers are only increasing. In the next decade, India will account for more than half of Asia’s workforce. So how do corporates cope with this ever-increasing influx of skilled candidates? Are these skilled workers landing jobs that are suited to their skill sets? A wave of Indian startups are tapping into technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and predictive analytics to build plug-and-play platforms for large companies with the aim of assisting large companies to address their recruitment needs and simplify complex hiring processes.

Customizing the perfect job for the perfect candidate, a Bangalore-based SaaS startup is bullish on outbound hiring, which taps into social talent data and predictive analysis to engage the right candidates for a job, flipping the conventional way of hiring where recruiters wait for the most suited candidates to apply. Co-founder Rishabh Kaul says, “There are some broad trends we have witnessed in the market today and one is that people are not reliant on job portals as much as they were earlier. There are more choices available while job hunting and the main question is–can someone find a job that they actually like? This has led to candidates having varied expectations from jobs.”

Belong’s machine learning algorithms analyze publicly available data of talent on online community networks and social media to intelligently match candidates to relevant opportunities. Being data rich, Kaul hopes to bridge the gap between human resourcing and business goals. Belong works extensively with enterprise companies such as Cisco, Paypal, Adobe, ABB, Tesco, ThoughtWorks and Tavant Technologies among others. Some of their other clients include Flipkart, Myntra, Ola, InMobi and Directi. “Initially, we started hiring in product management, IoT and data science streams. Now, we have moved on to hiring for larger engineering roles as well as sales and marketing,” says Kaul.

Since 2015, Belong has doubled its number of mid-market and enterprise customers, and has seen a 411% year-on-year increase in the number of offers generated on its platform.

Hackathons have proven to be an unbiased, and skill-driven method to hire quality coders for large enterprises. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Another startup that exclusively taps into advanced HR technology to make precise recruitment decisions is Darwinbox. According to cofounder Jayant Paleti, technology can be used for more strategic business purposes such as understanding human behavior, seeking talent and overall, driving a workplace culture. Paleti says, “We have been able to develop multi-layered insights to employee behavior based on the immense amount of data analyzed on our platform. Our AI engine allows a recruiter to analyze a job description and employee profile, and picks keywords to arrive at a certain ranking metric. So, if there are 400 applicants for a job, the system will shortlist about 10-15 applicants for the recruiter to talk to. Cost saving, increased productivity, better talent acquisition and higher talent retention has resulted in 40% RoI for our clients.”

Darwinbox, an end-to-end HR technology platform, serves more than 100 clients, including PayTM, Nivea, Myntra, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Swiggy, eKart and Times Internet among others.

Grooming coders for India’s technology needs

Given the critical and centralized role played by technology in companies today, there is a growing need for qualified coders and software engineers. This is where Hackerearth is making a difference in an unconventional way–by inviting coders from across the country to its hackathons to display their skills. This has given rise to a pool of highly skilled coders, many who have been recruited by companies based on their most relevant software skills.

The idea for Hackerearth originated in IIT Roorkee, one of India’s premier engineering institutes, where Sachin Gupta and Vivek Prakash, cofounders of Hackerearth, were students. “Campus recruitment in India can sometimes be subjective and biased, which is detrimental to technical hiring. If you’re a good coder and can prove what you know theoretically, it doesn’t matter where you study or how you come across during an interview at a certain time. Technical hiring has to be bias-free and skill-driven,” said Gupta.

This led Gupta and Prakash to create a platform that allows coders to develop a browser, whose codes could be evaluated by a skilled hiring panel based on a SWOT analysis. This automated skill assessment is intended to reduce hours spent by recruiters manually searching for coders, and screen the right candidates for companies based on their requirements. Hackerearth has helped companies like Amazon, Intuit, Walmart Labs, Honeywell, IBM Nasdaq OMX and Societe Generale. Recently, the company initiated a platform called Startup Connect that connects early stage startups with large companies in a bid to foster innovation and help enterprises solve business challenges. Currently, more than 500 startups have signed up on this platform and Hackerearth aims to have around 50 companies on its platform by the end of 2018.

Keeping the “human” in human resources

While it may appear that these hot tech startups could quickly replace the role of a HR professional, the three cofounders strongly disagree. Paleti says, “Research has shown that recruiters spend 38-40 hours per week just to schedule interviews. With big enterprises, this is a mammoth waste of time. Since our platform computes a lot of data quickly, recruiters feel their productivity levels have gone up by 30-40% and incidentally, they are able to spend more time being more human on the job, instead of wasting precious hours chasing operational tasks.”

Gupta believes that technology has played a huge role in identifying the right employees for companies, and eliminating poor fits as well. This results in better employee retention, reduced attrition and improved company morale.