[00:00:00] ABHI: I think most of the non-creative jobs today would be automated in a decade or so. So, the next, bigger problem that the tech vault is trying to solve is to find people who are not just problem solvers and find people who are creative problem solvers.
[00:00:14] RENATA: in this episode, we chat with Abby about the future of tech recruitment. And if you have been job hunting recently, you will know that you can not avoid technology anymore in the recruitment process at every professional level. It's all-encompassing. And it's important to understand preparing for those conversations that are happening online and the digital and virtual world.
[00:01:09] RENATA: And Abby is passionate about first principles in helping answer problems, and job interviews are all about answering questions, So it will be interesting for you to have a listen. I also like his stake about self-learning and professional development in these times of change and the importance of just being creative and having.
[00:01:30] RENATA: Creative solutions, not only for your own problems but for your future employers as well. I hope you enjoy this episode and this interview with Amber shake Kaushik, and please listen to it now. I'll see you later.
A good place for us to start, Abby, would be for us to tell the listeners a bit about your career story, you know, and, I'd love to hear about your background and what took you from.
Let's say a high school student to somebody who is now opening up and co-founding a business. How did that happen?
[00:02:05] ABHI: All right. So, I started my college in India, from, it's national Institute of technology, or just started, in all my. education there after school and, you know, learn to program and, used to do a lot of coding with my roommate, participating in.
[00:02:21] ABHI: On tests, et cetera. So I had developed programming skills in my university. And then from there, it took off, thinking about problems, solving them to tech. That's how we got more exposure and, you know, got a chance to work with Google in. and my summers and then, you know, had some job offers vetted from Microsoft and companies in Dez about it.
[00:02:41] ABHI: But then, was always passionate about building something on my own, and then, it was just fun. I didn't know what business is, what companies, what does it mean to start a company? Just, just game on the Wii, but I just, just wanted to do something on my own, create something build.
[00:02:55] ABHI: So, you know, eager to build, you know, things or actually took me ahead in the Korea. Yeah,
did you end up turning down those job offers, or did you take them and, you know, experimented having employee at first and then decided to open up your business? How did that happen?
[00:03:12] ABHI: For companies, the offers that I got from us, I turned them down. And then, when I worked for one company in Bangalore, just to survive for the initial few months, just a very big period of time. I did take a walk, but then I was inside. I was doing my company as well, so, pretty much, barely, you know, I started up didn't work.
[00:03:32] RENATA: Was it hard to make that decision, like, you know, with parents, was there any pressure for you to take a job instead of opening up your business? Or did you have a supportive community of people and family behind you and your ideas? Cause it has always been tricky for me. How has it been for you?
[00:03:51] ABHI: Yeah, no, it was all supported. In fact, like, you know, there was no problem at all because, I think I never thought about like, what he, what will I do walking and what will I do with the money, et cetera. So there was never concern, neither with the problem. Neither. That was depends on my family because we live a very minimalistic life.
[00:04:11] ABHI: So, we had zero aspirations as such, but then, and also that thought, and I was struck by, Hey, if I lose a job, you know, something is going to happen. So that was never a. taught right in my family or, in fact in me as well. So it was just, just fun. I was just enjoying and, and when my patrons used to ask, Hey, what's going on?
[00:04:29] ABHI: Catch-all right on. I used to be like, Hey, it's all good. I'm doing, I'm writing this, I'm building this so pretty much. And then, finances were not a concern because. I did my internships, where I, you know, I got some good salaries, et cetera, and then used to win, participate in some contests.
[00:04:47] ABHI: So get some prices, goodies, et cetera. So like really able to realize that, I was gonna go down. if I lose a job,
[00:04:55] RENATA: That's interesting. You know, I, I think that the best time to stop business is when you're very young or when you're like my age, it's easier to manage, the finances, And also your time, because you want to dedicate that time to build your, business.
[00:05:10] RENATA: And let's say if you're in your thirties and you have like kids and family and bills to pay and all of that, then it's much harder I have found. so, you're doing it right now. we know you're an entrepreneurial person. Why recruitment?
it just happened.
recruitment just happened. there was no as such plan to get into
[00:05:31] RENATA: recruitment because you could have done anything, right? Like you could be coding, you know, in any sector industry area, like what was the spark that made you choose? Okay. No recruitment needs my help. I need to be in this, type of.
[00:05:46] RENATA: What happened?
[00:05:47] ABHI: So I'm like I said, it just happened. And then, you know, before building a recruitment tech, actually, I built, a couple of products in developer tools, built a few things around, you know, automating,the jobs for developers, et cetera. So, definitely there was a alignment towards, So solving problems for developers, but, because I was a developer and most daily problems in common problems that I would have is lady too, you know, programming and, you know, solving, repeated problems in that happens to developers, et cetera.
[00:06:15] ABHI: So before recruitment, I was most into developer tech. but then. well, I continued that the group went because, I had, you know, customers, who were ready to pay who express their problems very clearly to me. And then, we decided that, Hey, look, let's not get into shiny objects, you know, building something which, which might take some time to get a product market fit.
if we have this, BMF done for, initial customers and then they're like global customer, so let's just solve the problem for them. And we continued, solving the recruiting problem, for people who believed in us. So like, yeah, this is how VCP came up. just, just to, you know, if the next question is about, you know, why this name, we create problems.
[00:06:53] ABHI: So just, just want to say, we used to design programming problems in my, universities. so, programming problem was, like, Those problems, questions for hiding contests. and that sparked, you know, starting the group men. So we asked ourselves, Hey, what do we do every day?
[00:07:09] ABHI: So we answered for us that if we create problems,
[00:07:13] RENATA: It's a very cheeky name. I mean, we create problems, the name of your business. It is a very cheeky name, but it works for you. Doesn't it? It makes sense.
Yeah. Right, right. And then we need to build our own software, and you know, problems in our software.
[00:07:26] ABHI: And then now, you know, full-fledge software for vetting programmers against skills in production.
[00:07:32] RENATA: Okay. Now, before we deep dive into recruitment and recruitment tech, what has been the key strength that has helped you build your business, you know, achieve the goals that you are achieving now? What is it that you are very good at that has helped you in your?
[00:07:51] ABHI: Right. I think I never thought about it so much because he was what my spans are, but I think what works for me is never giving up and or empathy for others. Because I never gave up, I could keep myself going, and because Betty, for others, I can keep others going.
[00:08:10] ABHI: So does this tart has a, well, for me always and pretty much. that's what I see working for
[00:08:17] RENATA: me. Great. Well, Abby, you have the strength of perseverance. My father would call it stubbornness, but yeah, know that you need that as a founder and an entrepreneur. You have to have that never give up mentality.
[00:08:30] ABHI: Yeah. I also want to add one more thing. So in the, you know, career, when I started up, I feel like no, when you start up any business or any career, you undergo three stages. So say when you have, so for me, when I had no product and no customer, You know, I needed to learn perception management, which is, you know, Hey story, setting the right perspective about yourself.
[00:08:54] ABHI: So you know that I had to learn that, Hey, how do I tell my story to the world so that people believe, and you know, I can get a customer. And so, perception management is the first stage. So, it goes in until you find your first customer, then the moment you see a customer. and you don't have a product then, there'll be a lot of panics because they're panic inside your internal team and panic, you know, among your customers.
[00:09:17] ABHI: So then you need to learn panic management. So that's the second stage
[00:09:21] ABHI: then you need to tell to your customers, Hey, look, we are solving this problem. Don't worry. This will get solved. And then your employees as well. And then, you know, as a leader, you need to learn panic management. Then your productive fixed, and you've got a customer in a burdock boat, then you need to learn people management.
[00:09:40] ABHI: So exception management, panic management, and people management are the three stages that, you know, helps you navigate your journey better.
[00:09:47] RENATA: I've never heard of these three PS. Abby, did you come up with that or did you find that in a book or somewhere?
[00:09:53] RENATA: I love it. Yeah, no you've described, very succinctly, the beginning of a startup, right? Because you always start with zero, clients and products and you have to build it up from there and no wonder so many, Companies fail in that first year. It's because it can be really difficult go from zero to 100.
Where are you now with, your business? We create problems. I mean, tell me about, your clients and the sort of work that you're developing in 2020.
[00:10:27] ABHI: So, um, VCPS, you know, as, quite as leader in the market, we trusted by, like many fortune 50 companies.
we, a lot of, global system integrators is our customers, large enterprises, our customers, We are fully bootstrap company and we are roughly a million dollar head in our revenue. and that too, we hit the 71, nearly 16 to 20 months. and we are roughly 20 plus people around,you know, for diamond, many, many others, like who works with us remotely and part-time as well.
yeah. Where, the global now and we solve customers in us, UK, India.
[00:11:02] RENATA: Wow. Okay. Excellent. Well, congratulations. Tell me about the service that you provide. So when one of those, you know, global companies come to you, what is it that they want you to? What problem is it that they want you to solve?
[00:11:17] ABHI: Right. So one of the key step in technical hiring, or for that matter, any hiding is the candidate screen. So, if I had to describe you the talent acquisition process in simple four steps, the first step is called Dallin sourcing. The second is called talent or screening. the third is called talent interviewing and the fourth step is called talent onboarding.
[00:11:39] ABHI: So, the second and third step is. So, you know, we give a tool to our customers where they can screen a candidate on their skills and productivity, and they can also, interview them face to face, and, you know, judge their attitude and just their soft skills. So these are two integrated in one tool and, And customers can, no perform these two vital steps in their talent acquisition.
[00:12:05] ABHI: Now the first step in the last step, which is talent sourcing and talent onboarding respectively, there are different, different tools that integrates with our product. So sort of like it builds a workflow for, you know, recruiting leaders. There's a one tool where you can, you know, source all the candidates, screen them, interview them.
[00:12:24] ABHI: And in one click you can onboard them to your payroll and other systems. So that's what vis-a-vis does. And we save enormous amount of time and cost so, in terms of, the sort of candidates that would go through. Your system, what sort of talent, these organizations that are clients of yours are trying to source in the market?
[00:12:46] RENATA: Are they like most mainly developers? Are they tech professionals or any type of professionals?
[00:12:52] ABHI: Yeah, it is. It is mostly tech professionals. So there are three categories of, you know, people who are judged on our tool, and all of them are taking so well when it's entry level. but you just look three years of experience.
[00:13:05] ABHI: And the second is mid level case, which is three to five years of experience and then senior tickets, which is five plus years of. And so these three, you know, age groups of people are, screened and vetted on our two.
[00:13:19] RENATA: Yeah. All right. Now I think that, you know, I used to work for university and we had a very big incubator program and I was fascinated by startups and tech, you know, at the time that was 2017, 16, 17, 18.
[00:13:36] RENATA: I was really into ag tech, you know, agricultural technology and health tech, all of that. When I stepped out of that row and decided to start my business as a career coach, I became more and more fascinated with recruitment tech and job portals. And in the way that we can integrate talent with people that need.
[00:13:58] RENATA: You know, be it companies or be it other individuals, you know, I think it's fascinating that we have places like five, or freelance.com or, you know, those marketplaces where you can just acquire talent for hours or minutes or, you know, short-term contracts all the way to something like what you do with your business, which is onboarding.
into large organizations find it fascinating. And I think there's such great potential for growth in, in all of that. But for the job candidate, there's just so much challenge for them, right? Like maybe not so much for. The technologists, that you are screening and interviewing. But in general, I find that my listeners really crave to learn more about the future of recruitment and what it will look like in the future.
[00:14:53] RENATA: I'm hoping that. Having a business like yours, you would have thought and reflected about that feature. You know, if they're trying to change jobs and they're going to be screened, you know, evaluated, do you prepare for all of that technology?
[00:15:09] ABHI: Hey, there's this great question. so, I think most of the non-creative jobs today, right.
would be automated, in a decade or so. So, you know,the next, bigger problem that the tech vault is trying to solve is, you know, find people who are not just problem solvers, find people who are creative problem solvers. Right? So you kind of like the entire tech world is looking for people who can do creative.
[00:15:34] ABHI: Creative problem-solving, you know, simply solving, problem, creatively, which is otherwise not possible to do it conventionally. so I see that, you know, most of the job hunters would see this, that the employers. especially in the tank world or the embroiders world, not just look for problem solvers, they will look for creative problem solvers because, you know, conventional thinking has a definite, you know, and then, that's why creativity or, just enormous potential comes into the picture now.
[00:16:03] ABHI: I feel, I feel creative thinking can be self-taught like people say, Hey, creativity is, is a natural skill. You know, how can this come? And, you know, people are knowledge workers, et cetera, but I feel creativity can be self-taught at this creative thinking, not creativity or what I mean is creative thinking can be self-taught if not implement.
[00:16:23] ABHI: Yeah, be great at implementing the creative or, you know, outcomes that you, that came up from a brain, but you can definitely do creative thinking and that can be self-taught. And I think the best tool to, you know, or develop creative thinking is to think through first principles. I think that's something always works.
[00:16:42] ABHI: And, yeah, I think, If you see today, job functions like marketing or seals, right? The conventional methods have failed miserably. The only ways that volts in today was in sales and marketing's or creative base. You'll see companies trying to find different creative ways of marketing and doing sales because the conventional methods have failed and behind the scene, engineers are helping them a lot.
[00:17:09] ABHI: Right. Yeah. So if you see their tools are coming over, which engineers are writing. So engineers are also participating in creative thinking along with marketers and this. So I think the other job, for instance, as well, like engineering, customer success, and no similar job functions would demand a lot of creativity.
[00:17:25] ABHI: Like even if you're programming or building a website, you need to do creative thinking. Now you can't just, yeah. then, you know, build the landing page. You need to do a lot of creative thinking to be able to, you know, build such, systems and
[00:17:37] RENATA: yeah, I really like what you've just said.
I like this of Being self-taught because especially if you're a job hunting and if you're looking for work on a tight budget, you know, that there's this, old fashioned view that you need to go back to you and then you to do another master's degree. When in fact there's just so much that you could do, that is, self-learning and, personal development.
[00:17:58] RENATA: And the creative thinking is, an important part of that. You mentioned first principles, Been listening to podcast on, different ways of thinking and how to use that to make better. Decision-making, I'm finding it very hard to listen to that episode. I've told my son, you know, I've had to listen to it a couple of times we were joking about that, but I think this idea of.
[00:18:25] RENATA: Thinking in first principles. Really interesting. We haven't discussed that in this podcast, before, do you mind spending a little time explaining that a little further?
[00:18:36] ABHI: Yeah. Yeah, sure. I think first principles, are in simple words. First principles are undeniable, right? You know, like if you look at divide in Congress strategy of, you know, thinking and solving problems, see you need a basic assumption, you know, to, to be able to answer anything.
[00:18:53] ABHI: Right. So I always think you can answer only by two ways, either, you know, the answer or you assume the answer. And, you know, knowing the answer is not possible because there are million questions you can't just go in alone as to all the questions. So what do you need to do is like, get better, zooming the answer, right?
[00:19:10] ABHI: the more you do first principle thinking the better you get at assumption and the better you get it, predictions and the better you get at, you know, decisioning and resolving problems. So in nutshell of first principles, Thinking is about knowing the undeniable threats and that comes mostly by, you know, introspecting yourself.
[00:19:29] ABHI: learning from life experiences, you know, talking to, people who have a lot of experience reading books, you know, as well. Excellent advice, especially because, you know, as you walk into a job interview or you log into a job interview these days, it's all online.
people sometimes, are feeling quite anxious and nervous flooding their bodies with stress hormones, and then they end up perform because they are trying to practice, you know, the day before. And it's all very last minute. Whereas if you're working from first principles and, working from assumptions that, you know, you have a problem at hand, they will be providing you as the question is a problem.
[00:20:12] RENATA: And the answer is. work, experience your skills, your traits, and the way that you produce your work. And you can just recall that much easier, right? Like, rather than just trying to. remember things you've practiced for,that's my view as a coach, as well as almost to make sure that people, remember that they are good at what they do.
[00:20:35] RENATA: And it's just a matter of bringing that out when you're asked, for those who want to. learn more about, first principles and all of that output, a book and the podcast I was mentioning before, in the episode show notes. So the podcast is from. The jolly Swagman podcast. And that will be listed below it's the most recent episode.
[00:20:58] RENATA: And then, the book, is, one of my favorite books called shop class as the soul craft by Matthew Crawford. And, again, a great read by somebody who went back to university only to realize that he had all the answers all along. By being an electrician and always thinking, you know, what's wrong with.
[00:21:19] RENATA: Best of engine and how can I fix it? and, you know, basically that's the best way to solve any problem is having those hypothesis and then going through the problems that may step. All right. So that's such an interesting take. I wasn't expecting us to go there, but going back to recruitment technology and what the job hunters will have to get ready for, do you feel.
[00:21:44] RENATA: The pandemic and the lockdowns only I read this morning that apple has once again, delayed it's returned to office, plans because it's, you know, they just can't do it yet. They they're a bit desperate to go back to the office, but they had to delay it once again. It's not the first time that they have announced a delay.
[00:22:04] RENATA: Do you think that with the pandemic. Accelerated the investment in technology and maybe the haphazard adoption of things. So I'll give you an example, Abby, I have clients that have been interviewed by Checkmarx interviewed by bots on the phone, you know, that call the person, the robot, calls the person and asks the person to answer an interview questioning three minutes, and then that every minute.
[00:22:35] RENATA: the robot will say you have two minutes left and that is so disconcerting and so hard for the candidate to, you know, feel comfortable doing it. We haven't really normalized it yet. Yeah. How do you see that? normalizing in the future?
[00:22:52] ABHI: I think, yes, you, want to.
[00:22:54] ABHI: Correctly. COVID definitely had, you know, like companies like streamline their recruitment and I feel, the use of, you know, recruitment tech or during COVID accelerated and, you know, just like companies realize the value of,screening people. Remotely, interviewing people remotely instead of wasting time needing walk-ins.
[00:23:15] ABHI: So. it was, you know, for many of our customers, that's a good relation. but then, you know, complaints coming to back to office, is like, you know, the time has to see, what's going to happen. So normalizing Of things in recruitment of, I don't expect that to happen because once you shift to a tech and you realize the value of, you know, and then it's very difficult to leave that deck.
[00:23:38] ABHI: Right. So I don't think this would, would be, going back to conventional way of hiring. I feel, the tech has evolved much now. you know, number of walk-ins will definitely decrease. Companies will try to vet candidates before talking to them before putting them in live interviews. but I do see that like, you know, the face to face interaction will, you know, they're done back because, companies would still want to, personally meet and shake hands.
[00:24:06] ABHI: And then, you know, see, and be more close to the candidates and I think will
[00:24:12] RENATA: happen. And in the technology that you're developing for your product, what are you foreseeing for the interview? Part of that, for a stage recruitment process.
[00:24:23] ABHI: Yeah. See, we already have our interview product, which is, you know, quite,like evolve now, in last two years we evolved so much into making, interviews more posting.
is it direct to camera interviewing or is it, a platform where they see the employer or the recruiter on, screen as well?
[00:24:43] ABHI: Yeah, they see on screen. So it's like face to face interaction. So it allows you to do face-to-face conversation as well as you can do white boarding, you can do coding, you can do, you know, chat.
[00:24:55] ABHI: And, so a lot of those, small, small tools that, you know, gives you more, personalized feeling. Now, one of the things that we worked on improving our interviews with, Hey, how do you make candidates feel, more, relaxed because you know, like icebreaking is easier in physical offices, but not on remotely.
[00:25:14] ABHI: Okay. In the physical offices like you, the person has to look around and, you know, gets, and there's some informal chats that happen before you actually start the interview. You go and meet other people, but in remote, you know, set up the candidates are quite novice and then the field, Hey, what's going to happen next.
[00:25:30] ABHI: So What are the problems that we trying to solve here? If a candidate comes in, how do we break the ice and then how we meet them comfortable with it before the interview walks in, or either, you know, that is true for interviews as well. And how do we make both these people very comfortable?
[00:25:44] ABHI: So you know, we are doing some psychological things there. We are trying to do, you know, put some tools, we're trying to, so for example, You know, V send a notification to interview her and we send a notification to Canada. This is the icebreaking, there's no interview going to happen in the next two minutes.
[00:26:00] ABHI: Right. And, this is what he likes. This is what you like, et cetera. So we're trying to experiment around, make face to face interviews more, more physical, family, so that see what happens, but that's one of the problems that we're trying to solve.
[00:26:12] RENATA: That's very interesting and very nice of you.
[00:26:14] RENATA: Thank you for, for doing that. what are your best tips for professionals that are willing to do to become better leaders and better, you know, colleagues in 2022, in terms of using and adopting technology and making people feel comfortable, in sort of online, interviews and online meetings, how do you think people can help others feel comfortable in those difficult situations?
there are two parts to the question. The first is how do you, you know, get better in your career, you know, and become a better professional or a better leader. and the second is how to get comfortable during interviews. And, so I think the first,
[00:26:55] ABHI: Like there is no defined, answer to how to become a better professional, a better person, or a bad leader. I think it's, it all comes from within an, your natural skills should not get swamped by the noises around. So I feel,you know, Do you feel naturals? Cause I'm dead and, and try to like, everybody's born in Nashville, right?
[00:27:16] ABHI: It's a noise around us, around the world that changes. A lot. So I think, build on top of your natural, skills and, and try to do introspections every time. not do the copycat thing in the world because it's too much of noise around,due to becoming best of best, you know, a leader or to be best professionals, you know, You just need to start doing good today.
[00:27:39] ABHI: That's all. And, I think you just need to introspect a lot, ask yourself more questions. and then, don't just, just, you know, get into the noises around the world to just focus on more. You want to achieve and focus on doing things.
[00:27:53] RENATA: I think you're, you're much younger than me.
[00:27:55] RENATA: I'm assuming. And. You know, for professionals my age, having to transition into this digital. Environment changes. The social contract changes. the, I mean, you mentioned before, you know how you're trying to make the interviews more friendly and less stressful specialty because they are done online. So all of these things are of huge interest for myself as a coach coaching clients who are 40 years.
[00:28:26] RENATA: Or older, And that transition into that digital space and leading in the digital space and operating and managing projects in the digital space, or just being part of a team, when two years ago that wasn't the way that you connected with people, you know, it's all very different, but for you, I think not only.
[00:28:48] RENATA: know, I'm the hybrid generation. You are just in the thick of it. Like you are born digital and also because you operate so globally as well, right? that remote work is, very common for you. This is not a question. It's just a reflection. Do you have anything that you would like to add to what I've just said or correct?
[00:29:07] RENATA: Yeah.
[00:29:08] ABHI: Adapting to the change in the world is, so you can adapt better only when you, have your funders, you know, otherwise you'll get into state of Inaki, right. You will get into a state of chaos. You know, you get better at adapting to the change only when you have your foundational understanding about change.
[00:29:26] ABHI: Like, you know, pretty much there. So I feel, you're right. and generations have changed, for example, most of the lenses are today sitting on social media. So recruiters go and hunt on social media. they actually hired people from Snapchat and Instagram. Yeah. So, the times are changing and change is constant.
[00:29:41] ABHI: So what I think is, you know, you have to be connected to the world, or you need to have confidence. You need to have conviction in the change. you need to also develop clarity, a lot of clarity among yourself. So it's just, everything's a learning. but don't get too much into it. belief, in your strands, believe in that first principle, believe in the fund funders, you know, which can help you stay, you know, better and then,performance into best city by adapting to the change.
I think you're right that, you know, our generation is different from what yours is. The problem is. Different perspective towards looking at the problems are different. for everyone, you know, there's a chance to perform better, you know, when the change is happening.
[00:30:18] ABHI: So,
[00:30:19] RENATA: yeah, absolutely. I'll be thank you so much for your time. And for this interview, it's been a pleasure talking to you and, I hope that we keep in touch from now on and I will be watching, WCP. We create problems, love that name and making sure that the audience also knows how to connect with you.
[00:30:40] RENATA: Thank you for sending me all of your links to your blogs and your Twitter and your LinkedIn. So I'll make sure to share that with the listeners and the episode show notes
[00:30:49] ABHI: that you're in at all. Thank you. It was pleasant to meet you and speak to you.
[00:30:54] RENATA: Thanks. Bye.
[00:30:56] RENATA: Thank you for trusting me with your time and listening to Abby and I discussed the future of recruitment, and I hope you found this super interesting. Don't forget to check the episode, show notes. If you're interested in some of the things that we've mentioned, I've mentioned the book. I've mentioned another podcast you might want to check it out.
[00:31:14] RENATA: I will also put the links to, Abby's, Twitter, LinkedIn, and accompany. In case you want to reach out to him or want to be a client, or want to find out, you know, if you can apply for jobs through the. Systems. So have a look at those links. They will be in the episode. Show notes. If there's anything I can help you with, please don't hesitate to check my website.
[00:31:36] RENATA: Renata bernardi.com, R E N a T a B E R N a R D e.com. I have coaching services there and it may help you in your job hunting process. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.