Placing hidden candidates on the recruiters' map

HireMee MoU Education Outreach Tier III
HireMee, signing an MoU with the All-India Council for Technical Education. Chockalingam Valliappa is second from left.

A social enterprise app helps companies find the right talent from institutions in far-flung regions

Managers frequently complain that they cannot find the right talent. Meanwhile, job seekers, especially from little-known colleges in remote locations, bemoan the lack of opportunities.

Could the problem be solved by expanding the talent search to the country’s hinterland? After all, recruiters miss out on talent in institutions located in small towns and rural outposts simply because they work on tight budgets that allow them to visit only a handful of top-ranked institutes. If you look at campus placement news today, it’s skewed towards elite institutions and urban centres.

This was the idea behind HireMee, a first-of-its-kind, skill-testing recruitment platform that connects thousands of recruiters with tens of thousands students across the country. HireMee was started by Chockalingam Valliappa, a fourth-generation entrepreneur, as a CSR initiative of Vee Technologies. It was launched after testing the idea with thousands of students and dozens of recruiters over the last year or so.

Toppers from the hinterland

The aim is to break the myth that brilliant students are the sole preserve of the Top 200 institutes. How many national recruiters would have heard of Samrat Ashok Technological Institute, in Vidhisha, Madhya Pradesh? Yet, this is the college that produced Kailash Satyarthi, the 2014 Nobel peace prize winner. Or St. Joseph’s College, Tiruchirapalli, alma mater of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, India’s 11th President?

Students graduating from colleges in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities too deserve the same opportunities as their urban counterparts to realise their potential to the fullest. This is possible only when these candidates are pre-assessed and get connected to the jobs best suited to their skills and aspirations, no matter where they are in the country.

In the first 12 weeks after HireMee’s launch in mid-2017, dedicated teams conducted skill assessments for over 47,000 students in 250 colleges, including from towns in the interior of the country — from Gubbi in Karnataka to Thalaivasal in Tamil Nadu, and Pulivendula in Andhra Pradesh — with populations of fewer than 30,000, without charging any fee from either the students or the colleges.

Assessment process

The scientifically validated assessment, created by a team of testing experts, academics and industry veterans, covers seven parameters — verbal ability, quantitative ability, logical reasoning, computer fundamentals, personality, communication and core technical skills, which are what recruiters usually look for. This was proctored by the HireMee team at over 250 colleges in four States — Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Once tested on the seven parameters, the candidates get a seven-digit score that goes into their profiles uploaded on the platform. After this, the students add a video statement of purpose, comprising three clips of 20 seconds each, to articulate their aspirations, demonstrate their communication skills and share their technical strengths for recruiters to assess their employability. These two features provide recruiters with detailed analytics of each candidate.

The results were encouraging. About a dozen employers shortlisted nearly 200 candidates from the engineering and commerce streams, directly from the website or mobile app. Nearly 45 per cent of those shortlisted went through the interview process and await job offers. The initial set of openings sought candidates to fill such roles as process associates, customer relationship members, software developers and tech support.

Wider reach

In phase one, 10 per cent of the interviewees belonged to Tier-3 cities with populations under 30,000. And 70 per cent were from colleges in cities with populations below 500,000. As HireMee increases its reach to nearly 10,000 colleges, it hopes to reach graduating students of more Tier-3 towns.

The entire investment in the HireMee platform, its maintenance, staffing, travel, and so on, still comes from CSR funds. The service, that is free for recruiters as well, saves the latter the time, effort and resources needed to source, evaluate and match candidates. Colleges, especially in remote areas, are saved the task of organising placement weeks while their students are put in the consideration set at par with their urban peers.

Says Chockalingam: “HireMee is actively supported by the leadership at the All-India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) and Nasscom. This gives us the confidence to meet our aspiration of conducting one million job assessments in 2018 in AICTE-accredited colleges. This could lead to 100,000 job opportunities being offered through HireMee in the coming year and help industry find priceless diamonds that may have otherwise remained hidden.” ​