HIREXP: RENDERING QUALITY HR SERVICES THROUGH STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
It is a general notion for many that the field of human resources is quite a modern phenomenon, however, if we look at the historicity of this field, it goes back to the human history itself. Optimizing the worker’s potential and their management has remained a reason for concern since the ancient times. The modern outlook to the domain was given during the early days of Industrial Revolution in 18th century Europe. The earliest precedent of the field’s modern development came with the works of a Utopian socialist Robert Owen and English polymath Charles Babbage. In a further period of time, contributions from sociologist like Max Weber and psychologists Abraham Maslow, Kurt Lewin, and others brought theoretical developments by basing their study on industrial and organizational psychology, organizational behavior and organizational theory. In India, people look up to a treatise Artha Shastra, written by Kautilya in ancient days to trace the historical developments of human resource management in India. In contemporary times, the human resource needs are different, with the liberalization of the economy and boom of start-up culture due to the digital revolution, the human resource needs of the industry are now satiated by the burgeoning private HR services firms. The market size of Indian staffing/HR management industry was ? 26,650 crore in 2014 growing at a rate 10-15% annually. Amidst this Shazam, emerged a name, HireXP that may sound unfamiliar to many but for around 100,000 benefactors the name is a sigh of relief, and sign of optimism. Vikas Kakkar an Information Technology engineer by education and a former professional cricketer founded Hirexp in Feb 2017after gaining nearly a decade of experience in the industry. Vikas started his career as a software developer and later moved into Business and started selling insurance in order to learn the art of sales. He was founding member of DHFL Pramerica (which is formally known as DLF Pramerica) and after this stint, the turning point in his life came when he joined Knowlarity Communications as the Business Head and the place where he would meet the future investors of his firm Hirexp Ambarish Gupta, Founder at Knwoalrity and Serial Entrepreneur, and Marina Zolotoverkh, INSEAD alumnus and investor of British nationality.
The CEO magazine’s editorial team engaged with Vikas to know more about the organization and his aspirations. Here are some of the edited excerpts.
Vikas narrated an incident (a match against the rival professional club) of his good-old district level professional club cricketing days how he turned a lost match into a win. He didn’t continue his career in sports, instead of that, he proceeded on to build a start-up HR tech firm ameliorating the lives of thousands of corporate users. Vikas is a realist in his world outlook when we asked him about the selling point of the firm he replied firmly, ‘The saga of Hirexp is no less disruptive, his team finds the term cliché and refrains itself from using it. ‘We don’t claim to disrupt the HRTech space,’ asserted Vikas. His hitherto experience in various verticals, start-ups, and working closely with venture capitalists provided him a perspective that penetrates the hyped smokescreen of ‘disruption’ created by both founders and financers. Instead of this hyperbole of disruption, he believes building a valuable company requires certain characteristics like paying the required attention to clients, developing something useful and serving the clients with utmost dedication.
The Provenance Tale
The Inception story of Hirexp begins when the upper echelons of the firm noticed a critical gap in the MO of companies recruiting candidates. They found the process of recruitment in Asia is still on the lines of decade-old formulae- when it was employers’ market and not employees’ market. They decided to employ technology like Big data and AI to solve the recruitment problems of the firms by minimizing the time spent in searching, sourcing, and shortlisting candidates along with the mitigating manual errors. Vikas is someone who believes if something works on praxis, it works for him. He told us how his team of interns started their first product.
‘We hire for passion and train for skill. That is conventional wisdom. Just that we believe in it’. Not surprisingly, conventional wisdom doesn’t have takers at times. On asking why with interns, he replied,’ Zeal, passion, and perseverance are the essential ingredients when you are trying to build something out of nothing. With interns, he got a chance to work in 24*7 environment cascade his vision and dream fresh. He chose to bootstrap the firm until they reach the point of proving the concept for genuine value. The idea is to help the HR team resolve some genuine issues using simple ways to solve complex problems which seems to be working very well currently.
Vikas adds further to the conversation that the HR field is devoid of gratitude, even though it is not the core of any organization, still remains critical to any firm. People often do not acknowledge the good work done by HR teams because their work is seen as hygiene needs. The firm is trying to wither out the errors made by HR personnel by using state-of-the-art technology like Artificial Intelligence with a vision of placing the job-seeker with the organization best fitting them and branding the company through exquisite candidate experience.
The Road Ahead
For the coming days, to expand the small team of developers and Sales, Vikas has decided to look for Pre-Series A funding from a strategic investor, so that the investment doesn’t merely remains the flow of funds but also aligns with the vision. His global experience in business and strategy and taking start-ups to the international market will assist him in the pursuit of taking Hirexp international. In its first phase of expansion, it is expected to mark the firm’s footprints in Dubai, Singapore, and the Philippines.
On the line of product line offerings, it is expected that Artificial Intelligence will have more place in the company’s offerings. Chatbots and virtual assistants have already made inroads to become part of Hirexp offerings. The addition of new clients and fresh orders is painting a rosy picture of the inevitable growth of Hirexp. The critical stage of proving the concept has passed already, and the need has been established. Now, the innings of this former cricketer in the field of Human Resources is yet to be seen, whether the victory of that match against the rival club can be repeated or not. His team has full confidence that the history will repeat itself. According to them, He did it before, and he will do it again.
‘Life is strange’ says Vikas then talks about the story of an underdog and inspiration of many aspiring middle-class Indians, Dhoni, who showed the world that a small-town boy could lead Indian cricket and before IPL made it possible for more than 11 players to earn well. I just dreamt of putting on the blue jersey. That was never to be. But I wouldn’t change my story one bit if I had the chance to.’