A Leap of Faith with Urban Company

By — Aayushi Vohra (Human Resources)

The year 2020 was supposed to be a landmark year for most of us in some or the other way. For some of us, it meant the start of a new journey, a new venture. While for others like myself, 2020 marked the ringing of graduation bells and a subsequent entry into a dynamic labour market — one that had been rendered severely impacted by the pandemic. In this backdrop, the uncertainty of landing in a secure employment was at a peak for me.

Back in 2018, I interned in the Customer Experience team of Urban Company (while it was still called UrbanClap) to gain some work experience during my bachelors. Two months of internship, but so much to learn — I knew how much I wanted to be back! This internship was my first exposure to a corporate work setting and hugely impacted my perception of an ideal work culture. I was inducted into the organization by the very bold and charismatic HR queen — Bipasha Talukdar! She still remains pretty much the reason why I chose HR as a career! :)

After many failed attempts in trying to obtain employment during my Masters in the UK, I was not too hopeful about getting a job in India. Yet, I continued to apply — investing a significant amount of time and energy into the job search process. But somehow all through this journey, I always knew where I wanted to be. Since 2018, a lot had changed. UC had gone international and had become a bigger brand. During the pandemic when our government had lifted restrictions on some essential services and while the economy was in a flux, Urban Company’s services were everything that people around me talked about. This was also the time the company was leading news headlines for the support that they were providing to their service professionals.

No matter who you are and where you come from, you cannot deny the desire to be a part of an organization that creates the kind of impact that UC has. So I reached out to the Talent Acquisition (TA) team of Urban Company. Then, on one lucky day, I got a revert from Surbhi Takkar (my recruiter, and later my first manager) with a 3-month internship offer in Talent Acquisition. By that time, I had managed to secure two full-time offers by fairly good organizations, but since the opportunity felt like a heart’s calling, I agreed for an interview with Suhail Vadgaokar, Director -HR.

After almost an hour of one of the most engaging conversations, Suhail, as rational as he could be, told me that if he were me, he would take the full-time offer over this internship. I remember feeling confused, but I did not want to give the internship offer up just yet. It was all I kept thinking about for the next two days. Just when I was about to accept one of the full-time offers, I received a call from Suhail, telling me that they would need a full-time recruiter in the coming months and therefore, based on how I perform during the internship, I could be considered. Nothing had felt more right than this decision in a long time and so I accepted the internship offer the same day. Since then there has been no looking back!

Working at UC is like building your own company. You own what you do and it is this ownership that decides your growth path. All throughout my internship, I never felt like an intern. From very early into the function, I was given important responsibilities and tasks that helped me learn the processes faster. I was given end to end hiring for a marketing role, sourcing for a Finance Controller, offer process for Customer Experience team, and internal job postings. The delegation of such functions motivated me to work harder and become better each time I fulfilled a task.

Further, with a bottom-up approach to management, it is very much possible for you to have a regular, direct and almost immediate contact with senior managers, directors, VPs or even the founders! Each time I got stuck, I never felt hesitant in seeking help from my managers — Shalini and Surbhi — from whom I have learned everything I know about recruitment today. Engaged in work from home, I would call them multiple times a day (weekends included) to get advice over how to go about doing different things.

As helpful as my managers have been, the comfort that I have felt with Sana (VP, HR) and Suhail has helped me express myself candidly to them. They have been extremely welcoming and open to new suggestions and improvements in processes. So much so that while still an intern, I was made to lead a discussion on how to improve the company’s lateral hiring process with them!

I had known many stories about UC’s strong mentoring culture. It was only after I joined again that I experienced the impact of mentoring. In the second month of this internship, I was shifted to tech recruitment. Having no prior experience or knowledge of tech hiring, I was introduced to the fundamentals by my manager, Shalini — who has truly been a force in my personal and professional growth. She took me through different concepts like the software development cycle, levels of engineers, and their growth path. She allowed me to shadow her calls where she would pitch the role to potential hires and explain to them about our selection procedures. I was fascinated by the ease with which she answered candidates’ concerns and catered to their apprehensions!

After a week of learning, I was handed end to end hiring of various positions of a single engineering vertical. As challenging as tech hiring was, I found myself to love pitching to the candidates and handling the entire recruitment process. With Shalini’s support and constant encouragement from the team, I was able to bring a considerable number of candidates to the final rounds. This development led to my first offer closure for a Senior Android Developer. This was the defining moment of my career at UC — I was offered a full-time position ahead of my internship completion!

Even though my experience like everyone else’s has only been virtual, I have been able to form some very meaningful relationships with my team members and beyond. I have been fortunate to find friends and mentors in the same people. I won’t say it has been easy but it has definitely been so worthwhile! We all engage from time to time to remain connected. For instance, on our ‘No Meetings Wednesdays’, the entire team sits together and interacts aside from work — it is what I look forward to the most every week!

It’s been exactly a month of being a full-time Talent Acquisition Associate at Urban Company. Today, I own company-wide internal job postings and have been able to close some critical external roles. I have been able to grow and achieve so much in my little time at UC and I am very excited for what is yet to come!

Three months in the company and yet a lifetime of learning and adventure! I took a leap of faith with UC and today, there is nowhere else I’d rather be! :)

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