Journey of Aadil Bandukwala — The Social Talent Evangelist of Belong.co
Recruitment is such a game where the victory of the player cannot be determined overnight, it can take days and weeks to discern if the right one has been brought in. In such tough times, where the average response rate of a candidate is just 15–20%, recruiting calls for innovation and an entirely new strategy. Very few recruiters can actually comprehend the right blueprint with powerful methods. Aadil Bandukwala, Belong’s Evangelist talks about how Belong plans to disrupt the current recruiting practice at large by embracing outbound hiring as a philosophy.
In a candid conversation with Aircto, Aadil talks about the shifting of paradigms in the current recruiting trends and how outbound recruiting will help win this game. He also provides a glimpse into his passion for employer branding, candidate experience and the steps that have helped him master social recruiting.
The Outbound Hiring Maven
As Social Talent Evangelist at Belong.co, Aadil works with multiple teams to solve problems that recruiters are struggling with so that the voices of the recruiting community at large are heard. It involves networking, understanding what is happening in the community and adding value to it by running insightful webinars, participating in twitter chats, speaking at conferences and community events, publishing videos on customer perceptions and explaining how they are solving complex recruiting problems at large. He takes care of collaborating all these complex cross functional tasks and bringing them to life.
Bringing about a Disruption in Recruiting
On describing the present scenario, Aadil says “A lot of recruiters get into this domain by accident; in our school days did anyone of us dream of being a recruiter? A lot of us dreamt about being doctors, lawyers, businessmen, formula one race car drivers even. None though ever wanted to be a recruiter. Quite a few of recruiters are amazing at what they do but a large chunk struggle with burning requisitions and coping up with pace.” He further talks about disruptive business models like that of Uber and Airbnb which revolutionized the entire domain that they are operating in. Further, with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning taking over, a lot of tasks have been automated. As a result of these megatrends, recruitment is also changing.
“Harvard Business Review did a case study — Is the recruitment market candidate-driven or recruiter-driven? 5 years back all the recruiter had settled on a 50–50 ratio. They were asked this same question for every five years and in 2016, 90% of the recruiters agreed that it’s a candidate driven market. Its imperative that firms take note of these and start designing candidate journeys just like customer journey maps. For any two people to work together, either on a hobby project, in a company, at an event or even to create a movement for that matter, they need to align beyond just tech skills. Their cultures, values, ethos must align. Essentially, they must Belong. We want to help make people Belong, therefore the name — its beautiful the way the founders of Belong have thought about this and come up with.”
How has Belong smoothened it’s own Hiring?
Currently, Belong scans over 80 million profiles of white collared individuals from all over India. These professionals hangout at communities like Github, Stackoverflow, Twitter, AngelList, Behance, Dribble, the works. Belong aggregates all their profiles together to provide a holistic view of a candidate and generates contextual insights from social data. He adds, “The challenge today is not to find passive talent, but to convince passive talent. There are two part to this; firstly, at Belong, we use predictive analytics to depict at what stage of his / career a candidate is at. We’re able to predict using data science modelling whether a candidate is looking out for a job or not using two axis: market volatility and candidate sentiment. Secondly, basis the industry trend, out of every 100 guys you pitch to, 15–20 respond. The number of positive response being no more than 6, which boils down to 3 eventually interviewing. Thus the entire hiring funnel is messed up. The solution is super personalization and using automation to beef up not only the top of the funnel but also increase conversation ratios across the top, middle and bottom of the funnel. Whenever we like a profile, we shortlist and the machine sends a hyper personalized mail automatically at the time when the candidate is most active; with the help of AI and big data. This personal engagement system has resulted in increase of 3X increase in response rates — thereby creating massive impact.
His passion for business
SCMHRD is indeed a dream college for any MBA aspirant. Very few can make it there and dropping out from such an institute to pursue one’s passion requires a bold heart and a clear mind, and Aadil had both. He says, “Since I was hell bent on starting my own business, I joined EDI. It was a great experience, given the diversity of the batch it gave me a strong perspective of business challenges both on the new enterprise creation front as well as managing complex and large existing family businesses. Besides, I got a chance to build a great network.”
Talent Onions and Leading Minds
Aadil started Leading Minds in 2005 when internet revolution was just starting in India. He started bidding for projects online which included building Google Adwords Campaigns, SEO campaigns, eCommerce websites based on Open Source Frameworks, Flash Animations, and the likes. His ingress in the recruitment domain happened after he received a call from Dr. Ranjit Nambudiri, his professor in EDI whom he highly adores.
Dr. Nambudiri requested Aadil to help him in hiring for voice talent in Genpact, and he successfully gave Genpact twelve hires in his first event. He was a one man army till he got a contract from Ambuja cement which was followed by Renuka Sugars and Siemens. With his list of achievements, Aadil truly has brought fame to his city, Belgaum.
Social Media Guru
Aadil puts up a great point, “Great talent will never apply, they are happy working with companies they admire”. The time has come when firms need to shift from Inbound to Outbound. In Inbound, the funnel is like a “V”, on the top is applicant tracking systems, social media sites through which people apply via jobs posted. This is often followed by countless hours spent on screening, running interview follow-ups as most candidates don’t show up, and eventually, a very finite amount of people are offer finally join — if they don’t drop off that is.
In the case of outbound, one needs to just flip the inbound model. You go after the best and precisely the ones whom you want. Embracing new age tech like Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Personalization is the key as these eventually lead to higher response rates, which in turn beef up engagement, where the focus is to render candidate delight by virtue of which interviews close faster and offer conversions whose yield is unparalleled. By doing less, you are actually getting more. Be the like yoda!”
Mantra on work-life balance
“It is very important to enjoy your work, do stuff that you are passionate about. I love food and travelling and that keeps me happy. Whatever you do, it should provide you contentment. Therefore, clarity of thought is very important in life.”
Message for Aspiring Recruiters
“Before joining the recruitment domain, go and meet some of the best recruiters in the industry today, understand what they do and figure out if you want to do stuff like that. It is an amazingly noble profession and it involves networking, speaking to amazing people and helping them belong. However, it’s important to understand if this is the life they would like. Besides, read a lot of online material to learn about new trends. Some websites to follow are Ere.net, Belong’s blog; Alltop is a fantastic resource as well.”
Aadil’s thoughts are truly unique and together with Belong’s Outbound Hiring Philosophy and Powerful AI, Big Data and Machine Learning Platform, the world is truly witnessing a disruption in this domain.