Picture this: You get an email from a recruiter asking about your passion for movies because they saw an answer on Quora. Sounds unlikely? But this Bangalore startup is looking to go beyond the traditional CVs to find the perfect candidate for a job.
Belong was started in 2014 by four people Vijay Sharma, Sudheendra Chilappagari, Rishabh Kaul, and Saiteja Veera. Data analytics and Big Data were hot words in that phase — these are still rising sectors. These co-founders wanted to use the technology to enhance traditional hiring processes.
"Hiring has been very cliched in India since ages. You give your resume to a friend or post it on the portal. Companies hunt specific matches through the listed tags and skills and maybe the LinkedIn profile. But we wanted to highlight aspects of a candidate which one doesn't write on a CV," says Kaul.
"When I was working in a startup, I found that taking a more personal approach to recruiting people works the best. You also have to look at how they have contributed to their different social profiles," he adds.
Belong's algorithm scrapes through multiple profiles in one go. Once the job description is given to the startup, it scrapes through almost every social network to get information about potential candidates. It also searches for the candidates who are spending more time on websites related to jobs or are accessing material related to change of job.
You'd be amazed how much the public APIs of social networks can reveal about yourselfRishab Kaul
"In this age, it is important to know how much a developer has contributed on StackOverflow, Github, or Reddit. What kind of tweets she posts on Twitter, what sections are the potential candidate's favourites on Quora? The talent is not always in CVs," Kaul says.
There are a lot of instances where a recruiter is impressed with a particular blog post or a contribution on a social network by the candidate. So, while a potential designer or product manager may not have the conventional listing or experience matching a job description, a person who talks about products on forums or design ideas can still make for a great candidate.
The company has a meter to measure how likely a candidate is to join a job or looking for a job. This is displayed against the candidate's profile. When we asked Kaul about the legality of scraping a profile through Internet, the reply came promptly.
"You'd be amazed how much the public APIs of social networks can reveal about yourself. Some social networks even reveal what apps you're using on your phone. We have a legal team who is working with us. We make sure that we are not stepping on a fine line," Kaul says.
Founders of Belong also believe that recruiter emails need a personal touch. Most of these emails are too formal and could be ignored. But what if the subject line talks about the company — and candidate's — favourite football team? Then the recipient would surely be inclined to take a look at it.
"If someone is looking for a job, or even thinking about it, they would be looking at same kind of emails every day. You need to make it conversational. So even though she doesn't accept the job, there is a satisfaction of a good conversation or even a consideration for the job," Kaul says.
"Most of the young people like to have a casual tone in the email. And startup culture is boosting this [attitude]. It is always beneficial when your recruiter wants to go get a cup coffee with you rather than taking an interview," he adds.
Belong has an easy-to-manage dashboard for customers where they can drag and drop candidate profiles into categories such as under consideration, contacted, replied, offer made, and more.
It also has an impressive portfolio of the customers that includes Xiaomi, Ola, Snapdeal, Urban Ladder and Practo.
Kaul says the ultimate aim for Belong is to make recruiting as easy and intuitive as adding a friend on Facebook. You never know, a tweet can earn you a job!