India is currently witnessing a positive demographic bulge even as most other countries including China are hovering in the negative zone. While this bodes well for our future in terms of more educated youth to lead the country through our growth phase and into the next century, we are also grappling with some very high unemployment numbers. As of the start of July 2016, the BSE’s 30 Day Moving Average Unemployment Rate shows urban unemployment above 9% and rural above 8%.
Udaipur-based Zigsaw Consultancy is attempting to improve the prevalent recruitment process with a smart portal to match job opportunities to youths’ available skill sets. They are even beta testing a gamified portal to enhance the process. Vaibhav Chouhan, the founder of Zigsaw Consultancy tells Networked India about what differentiates his company from the other recruitment portal out there and how crucial such technological enhancements are for the new generation of youth entering the work force with very different outlooks on job roles, engagement and content.
Networked India: How is Zigsaw using technology to improve the recruitment process?
Vaibhav Chouhan: We have come up with a smart portal that allows for self-evaluation, peer evaluation and expert evaluation. We are building a product that would automate application sourcing, evaluation, mapping with opportunities and coordination. This will take recruitment from how it is done by isolated recruitment consultancies today to a platform where it can be done by freelancers. Going forward, we intend to integrate assignments that will create a repository of skill specific pre-evaluated profiles. These assignments can be web-based or mobile based; can be monitored through an automated call or on email or on the portal. We intend to integrate social media connections with referral drives on an ambitious #gamifyZigsaw project. A beta version of this is ready and can be assessed using username: demo password: demo
NI: What differentiates Zigsaw from similar competitors in the recruitment solutions space?
VC: We differentiate ourselves with the following solutions:
- A recruitment portal for pre-evaluated profiles + referral incentives for referral
- Evaluating profiles on skills through a smart algorithm
- Gamifying recruitment Username: demo/ password: demo
- Active online community in terms of Social Media groups.
NI: Give us some background on the founder/s.
VC: I, Vaibhav, am the sole founder of Zigsaw. I am born & brought up in Udaipur, from where we currently operate. I have studied Mechanical engineering from IIT Guwahati. I have worked 3 years in Tata Power out of which 1 year has been in the HR dept. where I have taken care of Learning & Development of 350 employees at CGPL. I am an introvert by nature and usually give my 100% only to tasks that I truly believe in. I have a bucket-list centered around bike trips and one day, I would like to back-pack across Europe.
NI: What led to the creation of Zigsaw? Tell us its founding story.
VC: I was preparing for CAT in my final year. All of my scores in the preparatory tests predicted a percentile of 99% in the CAT exam. My exam went well but I scored only 83%. I studied closely the normalization methodology discussed on various platforms. I also came to know that bell curve hypothesis are valid only for infinite data points & would lead to inconsistent results if done on a finite data segment. Even for my friends, the scores were a little unexpected (both ways). On the other hand, scores of my lobby mates for GRE & GMAT were consistent with their expectation. Also, it is a well accepted fact in the IIT fraternity that the IIT’ians of the 90’s were super-brilliant than their counterparts today.
Although, some may argue otherwise, I think it is unfair to take the cream out based on easy/average questions. I think it is of utmost importance that we come up with a smarter algorithm to rate aspirants for every exam. If you are to select the top 1%, this can be only done with tougher questions that draw a clear distinction between the top 1% & the next 1%. We wanted to develop a smarter algorithm so that every smart guy is flagged & no brilliance goes unnoticed.
NI: What challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
VC: Let me tell you starting up isn’t easy. All the more for me because I was handling an independent HR role at my previous organization and by all standards was quite content with my job role. Finding a technical co-founder gave me my first startup blues. I tried finding a technical partner through the existing portals, my personal network, social media & all the ways I could think of. Unfortunately, I wasn’t successful and although it was difficult, I am glad that I started anyways. Honestly, this was a major reason that highlighted the need for a smarter recruitment process and we started focusing on recruitment. I have realised that it is difficult to convince people to experience a new way when they have been using the traditional methods of recruitment for years. We have been stopped at doors and shown out. Not listened to and been dismissed as bogus. But in the end we have always prevailed. I think the feedback from Job seekers has been our biggest strength and has been something that has helped us through times when business wasn’t good.
NI: What are Zigsaw’s various offerings to corporates looking for recruitment and employee engagement solutions?
VC: We offer the following models:
- Pay per hire postpaid model (or intern/permanent hires)
- HR Consultancy (Requirement mapping, Planning, selection)
- Employee Training
- Employee Learning & development
NI: Is this currently only a web interface? Do you envision having an app in the future?
VC: Yes, definitely. Infact, we have already started working on it. It should be out by December this year.
NI: In your opinion, what is the role of technology in recruitment, job seeking and the job market? How can we leverage it to improve the huge unemployment numbers of our country?
VC: I think our basic social values have changed. Wherein our forefathers valued stability, we seek challenges in Job roles. Most of the Job roles are shifting online and technology is enabling us to work from anywhere while making more opportunities available to us on our finger-tips; we will slowly and gradually move towards an open market place where people & organisations can interact freely and jump projects rapidly. I think 2 major reasons for unemployment are A) Lack of a strong network to communicate available Job openings and B) Lack of industry relevant skills for students finishing their formal education. While we are focusing on A) currently, we also intend to gradually diverse to B). If you look closely, you will see a mismatch between industry expectations & delivery of academic institutions and with our entry into L&D section, we intend to bridge this gap.