Business Leader recently sat down with Razvan Creanga, co-founder and CEO of recruitment platform hackajob, to discusses the importance of considering ‘impact’ as a business leader, how tech is revolutionizing the sector, and the digital skills gap.
Razvan founded hackajob to promote meritocracy in recruitment, matching candidates with roles based on skills rather than CVs. The hackajob platform measures applicants based on their competency after they complete practical tasks such as coding. It has worked for the likes of Apple, Argos and KPMG, and more than 65,000 highly skilled technology experts have signed up to the platform.
After starting a number of businesses prior to hackajob, Razvan now considers the impact of his work to be the ultimate measure of success, as opposed to financial success or gaining market-share being the primary yardsticks for hackajob..
Can you give me an overview of hackajob?
hackajob was borne out of frustration with the traditional recruitment agency approach. This industry needs to change as it is incompatible with hiring top technical talent and clouded with unconscious bias. With a focus on meritocracy, hackajob reimagines the recruitment process by delivering a platform that recruiters can use to assess the tangible skills of candidates.
How do you differ from other recruitment companies?
We’ve spent the last three years trying to change the way people think about tech hiring. We have encouraged recruiters to focus on the skills applicants need to succeed in the role. The hackajob platform was built around translating those skills into something quantifiable so companies can find the most suitable expertise to fill a role.
Despite the very best intentions, hiring can be biased, from very obvious flaws to subtle imperceptible biases. Humans are programmed to look for traits that we find desirable, regardless of the bigger picture of what skills are actually needed.
This is where we differ from other recruitment companies. We are the only company to look at more than a candidate’s CV, where they studied or who they know. Instead, we focus on an objective factor – a candidate’s skills. Our proprietary platform analyses candidates code through their previous projects or their performance in our coding challenges to understand their overall coding competency.
Our AI algorithm then automatically curates a selection of roles that are most relevant to their skills. Companies can reach out to the candidate with a salary up front, knowing that this potential employee has the perfect combination of skills and expertise required for the role.
Who are some of the major companies you have worked with and why did they choose your platform?
More than 1,200 companies of all sizes and from a variety of industries trust hackajob to help them find the best technical talent. We’ve worked with start-ups like Bloomsbury AI, which was recently sold to Facebook, to global leaders and legacy brands such as Apple, Sky and Vodafone.
Their reasons for choosing us vary, but primarily these companies are seeking to remove bias from the hiring process by looking at candidates’ skills.
Other factors that influence their decision include the distinct time- and cost-saving benefits of hackajob, such as our higher engagement rate and rapid ‘time to hire’ at just 17 days on average.
Further, hackajob offers a unique talent pool, with only 3.4% of candidates listed on other recruitment platforms. This means more than 95% of the job seekers on hackajob are exclusive to the site and can’t be found elsewhere.
What does the future hold for the company?
We’ve spent the last few years learning from both clients and candidates to refine our platform to genuinely solve fundamental issues in the hiring space: how to hire fairly, unbiasedly and quickly.
Our data validates that we have achieved these goals, however our work is never done. We will make it a focus to continually improve hackajob, from adding new support languages to updating our matching algorithm to make it even better. We constantly speak to our users to build our development roadmap around their needs.
We are also focusing on expanding both internally and externally, and have raised £5 million Series A funding to help us achieve these goals. We are focused on international expansion and opening offices in major tech hubs around the world to help more developers, architects and engineers find their dream job while assisting employers to find talent that suits their specific needs.
Internally, we are also looking to expand our team by hiring the best talent in all areas of the business, including product, sales and marketing.
More broadly, we endeavour to solve the digital skills gap by expanding the potential pool of candidates that companies look at when hiring and ensuring companies focus on experience and skills that might not normally be identified during the traditional recruitment process but will be fundamental to success in the role none-the-less.
How has tech changed the recruitment sector?
When I started out, I looked at the main pain points hiring managers and recruiters faced and built a platform to address these concerns, facilitated by advanced technology.
Many recruiters are troubled by candidate engagement, and this is difficult to guarantee. However, algorithmic matching is based on a thorough understanding of each party and facilitates an effortless introduction between companies and candidates who are a much better fit.
By focusing on the above, AI, machine learning and objective code review allow companies to remove a lot of the initial human intervention which can be inherently biased. This is where our technology shines, as it works to eliminate unconscious bias in hiring and offering fairer opportunities regardless of gender, minority or experience level.
With the world facing a major skills shortage, it’s important to look at candidates based on their ability and not their background.
Technology will continue to play a pivotal role in the transformation of the recruitment space.
Can you tell me about your entrepreneurial history?
I have been involved in many online projects since 2002, but my entrepreneurial story began in Romania in 2007. At the age of 16, I built a digital agency with seven employees. This business gave me exposure to international clients and highly scalable projects.
The second business I started was an online platform where people could share natural remedies for different diseases. It was a great learning experience on how to build and run an internet company. Following this, the third business was a Deliveroo-like platform, which I launched in my hometown. The business was shut down when I relocated to London to start university.
In London, I built three start-ups. BackersClub is a global business network for investors (private and institutional) and entrepreneurs. 3D Ventures, my second start-up in London, built a 3D food printer called Candy. And in 2014, I launched hackajob, which aims to become the number one recruitment platform in the world by driving the industry’s transition into unbiased hiring.
Why should business leaders consider the impact of their company as a measure of success?
Most CEOs look to increased market share, growing revenue or expanding as their indicators of success. While the bottom line will always remain a fundamental measure of any business success, and rightly so, as this determines viability, I urge all founders, entrepreneurs and business leaders to consider the impact of the company as the most valuable measure of success. Does your business have a tangible, positive impact on the sectors you operate in? This determines your legacy.
As our time on the planet is limited, I believe all business leaders have a responsibility to consider their impact on humanity. You might find you are endlessly inspired by the possibility of realising your true potential and making a difference.