Article: We are constantly innovating tech solutions to enable talent leaders to hire more holistically and accurately: Unstop’s Ankit Aggarwal


We are constantly innovating tech solutions to enable talent leaders to hire more holistically and accurately: Unstop’s Ankit Aggarwal

In this interview, Unstop’s Ankit Aggarwal shares how they empower organisations to lead skill-based hiring with innovative recruitment methods and technologies.
We are constantly innovating tech solutions to enable talent leaders to hire more holistically and accurately: Unstop’s Ankit Aggarwal

Ankit Aggarwal, Founder & CEO of Unstop, is not your typical engineering plus MBA guy. From opting out of his MBA summer placements at IMT Ghaziabad to getting a 100% tuition scholarship from Harvard Business School for a coveted leadership program, he has done things differently. He has worked at Deloitte, Sapient, and spent 3 years with Teach For India (NGO) to understand the educational inequity from the roots of India.

Through Unstop, he wants to connect STUDENTS across domains in BHARAT to a world of opportunities across the GLOBE. This enables students to learn & upskill, showcase their talent, and gain CV points while getting rewarded and hired by their dream employers & ultimately, #GoBeyondResumes. All of this helps companies to brand, source, engage, assess, and hire the right talent through gamified engagements and #GoBeyondBoundaries. Unstop is the category creator and serves more than 45 Lakh students and early talent across domains from 42,000 colleges and companies.

In conversation with People Matters, Ankit shares some incredible insights on building successful and sustainable hiring models, how Unstop is empowering organisations to break away from traditional hiring practices and leading the recruitment revolution and more. 

As Talent Leaders brace themselves for the coming year, what challenges do they need to urgently overcome to build successful and sustainable hiring models?

We at Unstop strongly believe in treating every challenge like it was the next big opportunity we were waiting for. The golden triangle that every Talent Leader must visit and explore is made up of Diversity hiring, #GoBeyondResumes, and Year-round engagement and hiring strategies. 

Hiring for diversity:

Diverse teams are known to produce better results than cookie-cutter teams. The gravity of diversity can be realised in the mandates that most leading organisations have in place. Walmart, for example, wanted to do right by their teams and hire female coders. None of the widely used sourcing and hiring channels would have given them the results that 1 online hiring challenge was able to give. They received over 51,000 female coder participants and hired 4X of their initial target!

This is one of the trickiest segments in the hiring space. Now imagine what online recruitment tools and solutions can do for you. The scope and impact are unparalleled. 

Hiring skilled talent #GoBeyondResumes:

Interestingly, the first resume appeared over 450 years ago. It has gone through a few iterations, but the concept continues to be the same. Ask yourself, do you want to base your hiring on something that is almost half a millennium old? 

Look at it this way, talent and skills that are needed to traverse today’s working world simply cannot be justified on a piece of paper. To truly test a candidate for real skills, one needs to #GoBeyondResumes and if you are wondering how let's look at something that Flipkart does. 

Flipkart is a leading e-commerce platform in India and is credited with many industry-first tech solutions. They conduct Flipkart GRiD every year, where multiple tech talents on campus get to compete in various challenges under a single hackathon. 

To engage talent from B-Schools, Flipkart WiRED is conducted every year. Along with these, other engagements such as Flipkart Runway and Flipkart GirlsWannaCode allow them to engage with the audience more intimately. Through such engagements, company fitment and other aspects that are lost in CV-based hiring shine through and more accurate hiring decisions are made. 

Engaging with the talent pool:

Leading brands these days organise and conduct multiple challenges and engagements to ensure that the audience as a whole is involved and that there are multiple touchpoints. Homemade giant, Reliance organises TUP as well as Quizathon to brand and engages with fresh talent, and Spectrum to engage employees. 

Similarly, leading FMCG global giant L’Oréal organises L’Oréal Sustainability Challenge, L’Oréal Brandstorm and L’Oréal on Campus. These custom-curated, audience-specific engagements enable brands to say the right thing, at the right time, to the right audience to build a strong employer brand and acquire the best talent in the market.

Winning on talent calls for breaking away from traditional hiring practices, one of them being resume-based recruitment. What is the philosophy behind Unstop’s #GoBeyondResumes and #GoBeyondBoundaries? How are you putting it into action?

Our endeavour is to democratise hiring. Currently, the hiring space is deeply segmented, wherein certain companies go to a set number of colleges every year. With the proven impact of diversity and inclusion, we must look at a more skill-based hiring approach to cover as much ground as possible regarding where we hire from. 

In fact, I want to go so far as to say that “Where do we hire from?” should become obsolete very soon. And this is what we mean when we say #GoBeyondResumes #GoBeyondBoundaries.

At Unstop, we constantly innovate new recruitment methods and technologies that enable talent leaders to assess candidates more holistically and accurately. Through hiring challenges, engagements and activations, you are building a talent pipeline that is devoid of all the usual perils in this space, such as gender, region, and college biases. 

Now when you come off as an organisation that is hiring skilled talent irrespective of the campus brand name, you become that much more aspirational. Look at Google, for example, they do not require a degree but the right skill set to get hired. Google is one of the most aspirational brands in the market today. This is one of the reasons why you want to come off as a brand that values skills as opposed to the address or college name.

Today, hiring challenges in the form of hackathons, case study competitions, gamified opportunities, and more are transforming the way we recruit. How has Unstop led this wave of recruitment transformation, and what have been some of the benefits of this new-age recruitment process for organisations today?

Gamified assessments and hiring challenges have enabled organisations to hire skilled candidates and assess talent faster and easier than ever before. Just for reference, Walmart was able to increase female coders onboard from 35% to 56% in under a year through just 2 runs of the Walmart CodeHers Challenge. This just goes to show how a wide net hiring challenge can help you cast and that you can end up with the most premium catch. So if you look at it closely, organisations stand to save time, money, and resources, and they get to hire the best talent that's out there. 

Continuing our conversation on hiring beyond the resume, could you share stories of some successful partnerships with us? What have been some of the exciting takeaways, learnings and outcomes that our community could carry with them?

We believe that all our partnerships are a success. We are what one may call industry initiators and builders. We understand the outcome one wants, and then we create a custom plan that meets the objectives. Speaking of projects that delivered more than expected on some of the parameters, Tata Imagination Challenge 2022 received 2.3 Lakh registrations. This is 4X growth from their 2020 edition. The impression that Tata was able to make here is unparalleled by any other activity that can happen. Their branding and recruitment process witnessed democratisation. All this has happened virtually, with minimal use of manpower on their end. 

For brands looking at expanding their footprint on campus and with early talent or even changing their narrative in the industry, gamified assessments and hiring challenges is the way forward. The momentum that online modes of things have gained due to the past few years has further cemented this concept. 

Finally, as our presenting partner for our Talent Acquisition Conference this February, what are some parts of advice you would like to share with Talent Leaders on ‘Getting their A-Game On!’? How can they craft winning, impactful talent strategies? 

One sure-shot way to get your A-Game on is to rely heavily on technical solutions in the hiring space. Over the years, we have seen great disruptions in the assessment process, sourcing and even onboarding. What we see being the future of hiring is a super-app for hiring. Unstop is just that. You get on to just a single platform to Brand, Source, Engage, Assess and Hire early talent. This streamlines your processes and reduces the loss of time and money spent on manual tasks such as dishing out assessments or following up on assessments etc. 

If you want to craft a winning hiring strategy, engagement-driven and skill-based hiring is the way forward. 

Think of it yourself, what would drive you more - if I ask you to sit for a test or if I give you an exciting problem statement of an industry that you are passionate about? And there you have more of an answer than a piece of advice! 

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Topics: Recruitment, Talent Acquisition, #PMTAC, #Hiring, #HRTech, #FutureOfWork

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