Ashkan Rajaee, CEO & Founder of TopDevz joins us in this TecHRseries interview to share his thoughts on building, hiring and developing teams in the B2B/tech industry while also talking about the biggest challenges in tech recruitment.
Catch the snippets:
Hi Ashkan! It would be great to know a little about your experience in the staffing and recruiting industry so far, especially your biggest entrepreneurial takeaways from being a partner at your previous company to launching the current one- TopDevz!
My experience in staffing and recruiting so far has been a roller coaster. There’s all these ups and downs, very large disappointments and also very big milestones and successes. But overall I’m extremely pleased and satisfied with the experience so far. I believe it’s an under-served market. One of the biggest takeaways from my previous company is that the manual process of staffing and recruiting is primed for change with innovation and technology. How we recruit and how candidates are being processed and informed in a timely fashion is an area where technology can greatly improve the process.
Could you talk about some innovative ways some of your customers have used RecruitHub software to drive better HR processes?
By eliminating the scheduling of interviews with candidates and companies, our clients have been able to use RecruitHub to drive faster responses and get more accurate answers to their questions. Scheduling interviews can be a bottleneck, trying to nail down a time with multiple people can be very limiting. Candidates can now interview on their own time, at their convenience and the hiring team can review the answers at their own time. RecruitHub allows you to process candidates up to 10 times faster than a manual process, which also improves the applicant’s experience as well. RecruitHub offers one-way video interviews, you can have all the data transcribed so it becomes a searchable database. So not only are you getting the candidate’s profile and resume, but you can also search there spoken words and refer back to them or share them with other decision-makers at any time. This is especially useful if a candidate is not a good match today, but might be the perfect fit for a project down the road.
What according to you are some of the biggest flaws in recruitment within the B2B/Tech marketplace today? How would you advise teams to optimize their HR Technology Stack to address them?
I think the biggest flaw is the manual process of recruiting, such as using LinkedIn to send hundreds of messages, putting out ads and then handling the inbound traffic that comes with ads. That process and cycle are frustrating not only to the hiring team but also to the candidate. Technology like RecruitHub will automate some of these manual processes allowing for productivity to skyrocket while simultaneously improving the overall experience.
The next step in this innovation would be introducing chatbots to schedule interviews with the candidates you choose to move forward with. Chatbot technology in scheduling would eliminate that gap as well.
Given the evolving software development space and evolving skills requirements for these roles and similar associated roles in B2B, what are your top tips of advice for teams/organizations specific to these roles- what are the changing dynamics that should now be taken into account when filtering/ acquiring talent for these roles today?
In a nutshell, you have to speed up the way you process candidates. Great developers, especially in the software development space, are in shortage right now. Companies are competing with another for the same pool of candidates, so being able to process them quickly and provide a great experience is a key differentiator. In this space, it is key to be able to offer remote work, if you don’t then you severely reduce your candidate pool. A remote work set-up requires great technology to be successful.
What are some of the most under-utilized capabilities of HR Tech that you wish companies would optimize more or extract more value from?
The most underutilized capabilities of HR tech is basically everything from a SAS perspective. A lot of SaaS companies are selling large platform solutions that most companies can only use 10-15% of their capabilities. That obviously hinders a lot of the recruiting. These companies don’t have the resources to train and upskill their current process and workforce in order to fully adopt that capability. It could take years to fully train everyone on such a large SaaS platform and because technology changes so rapidly, it could be obsolete before you ever see the value in it. Having simplistic technology that you can use that will achieve one outcome per task would be much better served. That kind of what we do at TopDevz, through the four different products in the SAHRA program. SAHRA is a suite of SaaS products, so you get a customizable platform that serves the purpose that you need such as, recruiting and candidate processing, document management, training, performance management, etc.
Given the influence of AI and automation, what do you think will the HR Tech landscape look like in the future? How would companies cope with the accompanying changes and challenges?
I think companies are going to be forced to cope with these changes. AI is obviously a very real thing in the market, and so as we progress and automate, the technology is only going to get better at speech detecting, optical recognition and translating allowing AI to make decisions based on that information. The changes are going to be somewhat painful for bigger companies, and the challenges are going to catch up with them, but in order to compete in that space they will be forced to implement and embrace the technology.
How do you see the role of HR Technology/AI in HRTech change how companies recruit/manage and retain employees in the future?
I think it’s totally going to be incorporated, we are living proof of that. In terms of how we recruit, deploy, manage and retain employees.
What is the best recruitment/leadership/entrepreneurial advice you have ever received?
I think the best recruiting leadership advice I have received is making sure that I have a very sound understanding of other people’s perspectives. Whether I agree with them or not is irrelevant, but I need to understand from their perspective how they view things. It’s important to understand what is important to them.
We’d love to know some of your future plans for RecruitHub?
The next version of RecruitHub is actually very exciting, we will be using all of the data we collect to run analytics. For example, right now we can see that the average software developer stays at a company for 1.8 years with the two-year mark being the threshold, which is an interesting metric. We will also be adding the ability for team recruits so you will be able to send the recruiter a video profile instead of a resume. The software will take the answers to your questions and automatically assembling a video with transcribed audio in a very nice video format to view across multiple devices.
As a former basketball athlete and foundational entrepreneur – leadership, development and teamwork are qualities Ashkan is proud of.