Hire & Higher
Jul 30 2012, 14:59 | By Entrepreneur
nmRajiv Vidyarthy, the 30-year-old Founder and CEO of TalentBazaar.com, has always been a people's person. He has a keen interest in problems affecting the masses and is always looking for solutions to these. This has led him to quit his professional career in the IT sector and create TalentBazaar.com. The portal aims to simplify recruitment for both employers and consultants and bring some order to the highly unorganized recruitment industry in India.
Post his MBA from IIM Lucknow in 2006, Vidyarthy joined Savvion, an IT product company building a Business Process Management (BPM) platform in 2007. On a parallel note, he was giving shape to his own business idea.
Finding a gap
Vidyarthy had always believed in the aggregation model and saw a good opportunity to employ it in the recruitment space in India. "By then, BookMyShow and redBus were already functional and serving the important consumer need of ease of booking. There was a need for more such platforms in other verticals," he says. Research told Vidyarthy that the recruitment industry in India was worth Rs.10,000 crore. However, it was highly unorganized with the top two to three players enjoying less than 20 percent market share. This prompted Vidyarthy to launch TalentBazaar in 2009 where he aggregated employers and consultants onto one platform.
In July 2008, BountyJobs.com, a U.S. portal built on the same model, had secured funding worth $12 million. This encouraged Vidyarthy further. He spent that year chalking out the features and functionalities of his product. He was keen to build a software platform that would allow employers to post job descriptions in detail and connect to recruitment consultants, who in turn would source candidates. "We wanted to be the market makers in the recruitment space," he says.
Vidyarthy knew early on that his model looked simple and would appeal to all stakeholders involved; however, its execution was not going to be all that easy. There were a lot of behavioral aspects involved. As far as product development was concerned, he had the platform up and running by mid-2009. The first candidate hired through the portal joined work on December 3, 2009. Between these months, the company was in a pilot phase. It experimented, learnt along the way and adapted its business model in a very interesting way. "We started out by sending consultants and then access was given to two to three employers. Our platform generated a lot of excitement in the market; however, ensuring quality of delivery was very difficult," says Vidyarthy.
When TalentBazaar allowed employers to directly connect with consultants, the results were poor. "On our part, we realized that we had no data points to distinguish or rate the consultants we were working with. That stopped us from identifying the best consultants for each requirement. On the consultants' part, they did not understand complex or technical requirements well and, hence, were not able to source the right candidates for the same. In this whole process, our deliverables suffered," says Vidyarthy.
He realized there was need for intermediation between employers and consultants and, thus, a new layer of Client Relationship Manager (CRM) was introduced in the company's business model in September 2009 as an interface between employers and consultants.
There has been no looking back since. The company today has a consultant pool of over 500 and its total billing for FY 2011-'12 has exceeded Rs.1 crore. Employers seeking candidates post their requirements on the portal, CRMs scan the same and identify the right consultants to work on them from among the ones who show interest, and finally, forward relevant CVs back after an intense short-listing process.
"The new model has worked wonders for us. We now explain profiles in a detailed manner to our consultants. If need be, we also do our own research on the requirements and share it with them on a proactive basis," says Vidyarthy.
It is clear that the CRM layer is helping the TalentBazaar team to keep a tab on quality as the CVs are scanned at two levels: the consultant and the CRM level. Anil Gupta, CEO, Luxus, a specialist wardrobe solutions firm headquartered in Hyderabad, has been mentoring the TalentBazaar team since its inception. Gupta and Vidyarthy were colleagues in the IT industry and the former feels that TalentBazaar's USP is its varied pool of over 500 consultants from across India. "Their bandwidth capability is virtually limitless as they have aggregated consultants onto one platform," he says.
Gupta believes that the quality control executed by the TalentBazaar delivery manager, who is a single point of contact (SPOC) for the employer, helps reduce the clutter in the industry. "The information gaps in the recruitment chain are plugged by these delivery managers. They also scan the CVs that come in which saves employers the effort of going through piles of resumes and talking to multiple vendors before hiring a single candidate," he says.
The TalentBazaar team has helped Gupta hire a production manager for his furniture factory in Hyderabad and also a business development head. "These are positions that require specialized skill sets. TalentBazaar is generally able to offer suitable shortlisted profiles within 24-48 hours."
Fee & fair play
As far as revenues are concerned, the company works on a revenue-sharing model with consultants. "When we started, we had a fixed ratio. We would give 75 percent of the placement fee to consultants. However, we now operate on a monthly slab basis. The figures are revised based on performance and the number of joinees per consultant," explains Vidyarthy.
Siddharth Bhargava, Proprietor, Spectrum Consultants, a recruitment agency based out of Indore, is happy working with TalentBazaar. Bhargava admits that when Spectrum started in 2009, their sources of income were quite moderate. However, post the company's association with TalentBazaar, there has been a continuous flow of requirements and today, Spectrum has three to four dedicated recruiters working just for TalentBazaar.
"We like their working model. Trust is the most important factor in our industry and they make sure that all the information relating to job descriptions is shared with us," he says.
Gupta concludes by saying that TalentBazaar wanted to be different and they have been successful in carving a niche for themselves in an industry dominated by just a couple of not-so-big names. "Although there is still a long way to go, the company is well respected for its quality, speed and dependability," he says. That's as good a start as any.
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