Hello, Folks. Welcome to the 5th episode of ‘Future of Work’.
In our earlier articles, we have talked about the gig economy, AI in recruitment, and outbound recruitment. Today, our focus is on Employer Branding for Tech-hiring.
Any of you who has hired a developer must know the struggles that comes along with it. It’s a herculean task to search for that ideal guy, assess him through 3-4 rounds, and then convince him to join you when he is already holding 4-5 offers from different companies!
The question here is, why should the person choose you of all the options that he has?How are you different?
For those who have a fair idea on Indian Startup Ecosystem, the name Wingify shouldn’t be new for you. They are well-known for building awesome products and hiring great engineering folks. In this episode, we have with us, Ms Nupur Jain, the HR Manager of Wingify, who talks about how to build an employer brand for building a great tech-team, and the future of work in general.
Given your wide experience in the HR domain, how would you describe your view of the future of work?
In terms of future of work, I believe that today workplaces are becoming more human-centered, in the sense that the best of organizations across the globe have their focus on delivering a world-class employee experience.
To create a distinct differentiation, companies are striving to deliver an experience to their employees which is tailor-made for them. So, when we talk about the best of workplaces, we are talking in terms of the differentiated experience that they are providing to their employees.
A research stated that almost two-thirds of the workforce today comprise of millennials (people who reached young adulthood around the beginning of the millennium). This is a group which is driven by the idea to build their careers around learning, not jobs, as compared to the earlier generations. As a result of which, even employers are focussed on developing meaningful jobs which provide a greater opportunity to learn.
I also feel that technology is at the core of how the future of work will be. Flexibility in a job role is no longer going to be seen as a perk, in fact, it would be considered good business. You already have employees working on the go with a number of tools such as Slack, Jira, Google Drive and more. The advent of newer, more efficient technologies is fundamental in enabling all of this.
Workplaces I feel are evolving in a way that they have empowered their employees like consumers. Hence, it’s the employees who are driving the talent market, and not the other way round.
We often find recruiters complaining that it’s getting more and more difficult to onboard tech-candidates, and this phenomenon has increased since the last 3-5 years. Where do you think is the gap?
Honestly, I don’t think there is a gap. Rather, this is a very interesting time in history where the entrepreneurial ventures such as Flipkart, Ola, Wingify and others are competing head-on with the global corporate giants for the job market in an almost David v. Goliath setting. There are no two opinions about the fact that organizations which will offer the most meaningful and fulfilling work will take home the best of talent.
In my experience, this is what I have seen emerge in the last 5 years, and I feel it is here to stay. With technology empowering a workforce consisting of millennials, the talent pool has a strong desire for work that challenges them.
The whole idea is for an employee to add value to the work they’re producing, especially tech candidates who want to work on cutting-edge technologies with top product companies. Only the best of engineers will be able to bag such offers, since getting into a product company is not that easy.
It’s about the survival of the fittest, and demand and supply since there will always be a dearth of good engineers. Hence, the demand for such talent will always be high, not only in India, but across the globe.
Most of the recruiters are using sources like Naukri or Shine to source tech candidates, but most of these guys are not even present there. Thoughts?
One of the best ways to go is to create a good employer brand. By employer brand, I don’t mean putting up fancy advertisements that go onto employer pages on job boards, rather, showcasing your culture in innovative ways.
Just to give you an example, we have an engineering blog at Wingify, wherein our engineers regularly post about the work that they are doing, open source contributions they are making, and so on. We also do a lot of hackathons in our office.
Team Wingify at Pydata Event
Some are intra-office, and for some others, we invite tech enthusiasts from outside to collaborate on projects, share their experiences, and more.
Team Wingify at SeleniumConf
So the entire thing depends on how you showcase what you’re doing to the talent pool out there. This is essentially what matters the most.
So, drawing your previous points, a LinkedIn study shows that with employer branding, firms can save 28x of their cost per hire with employer branding. Does that happen in practise?
For us, I think it’d be safe to say that it has been the case for us since our inception. Over the past 7-8 years, we have invested a lot of time and effort in maintaining our team blog, and it rightly showcases our culture.
A lot of the initial hires we made when we were a pretty small, a young company of about 15-20 people were made possible because people were attracted to the kind of talent.
The best part about our team blog is that it’s very real. We are just capturing the way we celebrate the way we work, and how we have grown. Anyone who looks at our team blog will be able to have a first-hand experience of our journey over the last 8 years, and I think that really clicks!
Just as I mentioned about our engineering blog, our engineers are also quite active on public forums such as Product Hunt and also share whatever small products they build with the larger community to take a look. They take lot of actions, and that’s how we are trying to create a brand which is authentic. That’s how we are trying to showcase what Wingify really is.
I’d like to mention one interesting stat here: about 75% of the hires we made in 2017 were through organic applications and employee referrals. That’s largely attributed to the fact that we have always believed in creating a healthy culture to attract talent, and not the other way round.
What should be the employer branding strategies for small startups?
I don’t think that employer branding need huge spends, at least while a company is lean. Like I mentioned about our team blog, it doesn’t cost anything. Our CEO made collaterals, wherein he highlights his journey as an entrepreneur, Wingify’s journey, our core values and more.
So, I think every startup founder first needs to contemplate and identify what kind of company they are trying to build. It’s essential since millennials would prefer companies that they admire and whose core values resonate with their own.
At Wingify, when it comes to hiring tech-talent we have a structured process where the candidate goes through multiple rounds. Initially, we give them an engineering problem to solve which is a qualifying criterion.
The subsequent interactions are with the existing engineers in the organization. The idea is to understand the approach of the candidates in solving a problem and not really evaluate them on their experience on a programming language.
For us, the candidate knowing a programming language is secondary and the ability to solve an engineering problem is primary. That’s how we differentiate between the best and the rest.
For cultural fitness, we have a bar-raiser interview. It is an extension of the CEO doing a final check on the candidate.
Now that we’ve grown, it is not feasible for the CEO to meet each candidate, so we’ve adopted the concept of a bar-raiser.
We have identified employees from within the company who would interview the candidate on their cultural fitness. These are cross-functional interviews, which help us reduce the bias for the technically and functionally strong candidates.
2018 is going to be the year of artificial intelligence & chatbots impacting all domains including recruitment and HR alike. Do you think organizations should implement Automation and chatbots in their recruitment process? If, yes, then how?
In fact, we are doing it ourselves. It’s something that becomes imperative if organizations want to improve the efficiency of how they screen applications.
The best of companies are already using savvy Application Tracking Systems which use AI to eliminate candidatures that do not fit the requirements, saving a lot of time and effort on the recruiter’s part.
Using one such ATS has automated our processes quite a lot, coordination efforts have reduced and the communication with candidates has also improved. It’s a very efficient CRM with analytics around the sources that the applications are flowing in from, the interviewers response time and many other features. So, it helps in improving the processes, analyzing the quality scores, measuring the turn-around time et al.
Regarding chatbots, we have built a chatbot for Skype that we use internally to answers repetitive questions.
As an HR, you have a lot of questions from the employees, most of them being generic ones. This process can be made easier with the help of chatbots.
Jobs are shifting from repetitive to innovative. How will the job market be affected?
The job market is in a flux and almost one-third of the jobs that have been created in the last decade have never existed before. We are now talking of engineers in AI, self-driving cars, space travel, electric cars and what not. It’s very hard to predict exactly, the kind of jobs that would originate going forward. Technology is one sector which will see a lot of change in the kind of jobs that are created.
We will have more specialized roles, the impact of automation can be seen in every aspect, it does improve productivity and efficiency. We might have the notion that automation and emerging technologies will take away some jobs, but I am very certain it will also bring in new opportunities.
That one mistake that a recruiter mustn’t do.
I think a recruiter shouldn't ever make any claims that are misleading. Throughout the hiring process, a recruiter must be transparent. A recruiter is the face of the company and their job is to educate the prospective candidates about the role being offered, the company and the culture.
Recruiters play a role with high accountability, which not only impacts a company’s top-line but also deals with people’s career and future.
Mantra for the future recruiters/HRs?
It’s a great time to be an HR professional since there is a lot of interesting stuff going on. The way we are looking at HR right now is completely different than how HR was formerly looked at. Today, they are seen as a revenue enabling function. They should try and understand the know-how of business as much as possible They should be quick in adapting to new technologies, and they should look at HR problems from first principles.
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