The journey of RippleHire, an HR tech company, is fascinating. RippleHire first caught our eye in 2016 when they beat 94 other products at Peoplematters TechHR and won startup of the year. Since then, they have evolved to become the category leader in the employee referral space. We recently interviewed their CEO & Founder, Sudarsan Ravi, to learn about their fascinating growth journey. Here are some excerpts from the conversation.
Can you take us through the journey of RippleHire from the beginning?
RippleHire started in 2012 with a simple question: Is it too much to expect one employee to give you one candidate in one year? If this is achieved, it changes the sourcing game. However, companies find it impossibly painful to achieve this. So we worked with several leaders in the ecosystem to understand referral pain points and created a deep product for referrals. We help companies transform their referral program from a reactive channel to a proactive sourcing channel.
Today we serve several large enterprises like Mphasis, LTI, Mindtree, Hexaware, and Indian giants like the Aditya Birla Group, Tata companies, Axis Bank, HDFC Life and several other customers have contributed to RippleHire’s growth.
Today many leading enterprises work with us. And it is satisfying to see them win national and international awards year on year, including Gold in the Brandon Hall Group HCM award for driving excellence through our talent acquisition products.
You are the default in the employee referral space. So what made you dive into a talent acquisition cloud platform? Did you see any specific business & talent challenges among the HR fraternity?
We have been quietly building a TA cloud for 6 years now. But, our customers told us that we had too much depth in just one area of referrals and encouraged us to solve for the entire recruiting funnel. And building an ATS fit very well with our mission of making recruiting effortless, human and delightful.
Recruiters are superheroes. Recruiters help people land their first job. They help candidates progress in life with fulfilling careers. Recruiters change organisation trajectories by hiring great talent. And they do so with minimal fuss. Neither seeking credit nor prominence. They are silent warriors who improve lives daily, making the world a better place. One offer at a time. Presently recruiters are faced with elevated levels of attrition. People are leaving as quickly as positions are getting filled. As a result, recruiters at large are trying to manage a leaky bucket.
We delved deep to understand the reason behind this challenge. Over the past few years, we have seen first-hand the challenges recruiters face with technology. We spotted dissatisfaction with recruiting tools within organisations. We realised that in organisations large and small, the recruiting technology made for them is used by the auditor. Candidates who will be offered are entered into the system, and a series of simulations or checks follow that, so all steps are complete. Bereft of data or support, the ATS becomes a task for the recruiter and TA leadership. This led to productivity loss and a bad candidate experience.
To fill this gap, we built our Talent Acquisition Cloud, aka ATS (Application Tracking System). And we have been quietly working on this problem for five years now. Five years of working with marquee customers with a singular goal - to build a premium recruiting experience for all the stakeholders involved.
Our logo with the embedded flywheel is the culmination of this thought process. Each drop reflects a user group (recruiters, candidates, employees, and vendors) and our commitment to excellence for them. In Talent Acquisition, ‘To create a lasting impact, all these four user groups will have to move in a synchronised manner.’ The better they move in tandem, the larger the impact on speed, quality, and success. That is what RippleHire does. We help organisations create powerful flywheels delivering a powerful hiring engine.
How do you help your client HR teams get buy-in from the leadership for the investment in HR Tech?
We're incredibly fortunate that both our products are ROI positive within the first year. From a pricing model standpoint, we structure our pricing in such a way that we go in there with skin in the game, and as they see success, we benefit as well. This means the cost of the investment is limited, making ROI a no-brainer.
If you look at the flip side of it, how do you convince the leadership, especially in a category-creating software like employee referrals. It’s simple. You’ll have to put the metrics together in the right fashion. Referrals drive 12 to 20 better-joining ratios. Retention is better. They distribute wealth within the organisation leading to a positive cost per hire. It is the best source to hire. We put such relevant data into a simple ROI calculator, which becomes apparent since we are talking of revenue loss or gain. Referral is a strategic channel of hiring which is painful to execute without a tool. Coming to the second facet of the technology, ATS. This is straightforward. We have put the recruiter in the centre and built our product around them and their customers. The least candidate experience score on our platform is 4.5/5. And the final differentiator is a deep understanding of space and adhering to compliance.
When you look at product managers sitting in Germany or the US, are they recruiting the same globally? No. Germany and the US have different recruiting patterns. For example, in India alone, insurance has a vastly different hiring pattern than BPO, IT companies or even engineering R&D companies. So depending on the organisation, the industry, and even within the same geography, recruiting is quite different, and the pain points are different.
And, to top it all, the biggest challenge is that recruiters are not present on all the platforms where prospective employees are present. So there is always a chance of missing the right people to hire. Big brands and reputed organisations have an additional challenge - getting too many profiles who want to join them. Their challenge is to sort out the absolute best.
We don't need a billion-dollar R&D budget when our customer tells us exactly what their problem is. Then you can solve it, and your product gets deeper and deeper with time. To add, we're outstanding in global compliance. We are ISO27001 certified, SOC2 Type 2 certified, and GDPR compliant and are already being used to hire in 30+ countries. So, it's pretty straightforward for us - to compete against the best and win deals against the best.
How do you encourage HR teams to be more data-driven and tech-savvy?
Technology is all around us. We use technology to order food, watch a movie, book a cab and even know restaurant reviews. So, the problem is not that the recruiter is not data-driven. They are tech-savvy and data-driven like any one of us.
The onus lies with the technology they have. From RippleHire's experience, I would say if you have built usable and user-friendly technology, there’s always adoption. You can see people sharing exciting outcomes. However, I do believe that HR has always been a selfless function. The TA function usually carries the can for most problems in an organisation. They enable their leaders to succeed and often don’t stand up and shout for themselves. Instead, we help them showcase the strategic value they bring to the organisation.