A lot of clients and candidates have asked me why I started mathilda®?
Different from how Progression was started, the idea was borne out of frustration, on our part, on part of our in-house TA clients and mostly of/on our candidates.
As an agency, we are tech savvy from day 1, out of necessity really. We have tried a lot of software, anything that can help us work anywhere, access the data wherever, a robust CRM that supports a good search algorithm, record assessments and share data with each other securely. But over eight years of testing all the software, tools, gadgets and apps available in the market, we still face hiring efficiency issues, quality of feedback issues, getting all stakeholders to align their requirements, poor candidate experience and as a result of these, poor applicant rate as the employer brand goes south. Most Applicant Tracking System or Candidate CRM are built from a process perspective, not from how a user will use the software based on their roles and behaviours, hence it assumes certain human behaviour of the hiring team that is not necessarily the norm. So the question is how far do standards have to slip before we address gaps like too tardy to provide meaningful feedback from an interviewer, having no closure leaving a candidate hanging indefinitely? People have come to accept this state of affairs - no news means closing the door and many other idiosyncrasies.
As an agency, we sometimes help to buffer these problems but it is frustrating. One day, we lost a A candidate in a very hard to fill position. We spent quite a lot of effort on this role, mapping the potential candidates out to be about less than 100 people. The job we needed to do was to offer the attractiveness of the job to the right person. Our HR client could not get feedback from her hiring manager for 6 weeks - this was after scheduling took 4 weeks. When we finally got the feedback and it was positive, the candidate was disappointed with their impassivity and wanted to withdraw. Our TA client was extremely frustrated and so were we, as we had combed all the specific companies in that space yet the hiring manager was unwilling to loosen up the criteria. She struggled to escalate these issues (not the first time) to the management with little data or hard to find data to show the impact of these actions.
I remembered I was sitting in a taxi, listening to my colleague venting her frustrations. We could walk away from this client...but it’s not really the fault of the internal recruiter. Companies like this and recruiters like her face the issues everywhere, everyday. Why is it so hard? That moment, I thought, it can't be this hard. Surely, we can do something about it. Surely, we can make use of tech to make it more clever to address these issues. Management employ sales ops team to dig insights out of Salesforce and sends threatening emails out highlighting negligent actions. Recruiters have no such luxury, they need to fight their own wars...and fill those seats too. I decided...let’s do something to fix this. Even if we fixed these problems for a small group of companies, we would have done our bit to make hiring efficient, respectful and effective for our clients and candidates.
18 months later, we roll out our 1st beta in Dec 2018/Jan 2019. Some of the issues we address via mathilda® includes:
- Addressing the time taken to arrange interviews, esp multi-interviewer session, mixed interview modes and cross time zones with Candidate Self Service Scheduling. It will show recruiters a red flag if the interview is not scheduled in 3 days.
- Addressing the need for recruiters to intervene in the process to progress candidates via Automated Workflow where as long as the assessment scores pass a minimum, the candidate is automatically progressed to the next stage, whether it is a pending offer decision or a subsequent interview.
- Encouraging interviewers feedback to be on time and meaningful with the ability to rate the quality of their feedback by recruiters and even supporting agencies, receiving Experience Scores by candidates themselves telling them how well they did as well as having these accolades on a Leaderboard where it offers gamification amongst the hiring team.
- Improving candidate experience not only to have a voice via Experience Scoring, they are engaged throughout the process knowing how many rounds, who are they speaking with and what will the content be about. Afterall, how many times have you gone for an interview where the interviewer talks about areas you didn't have expected and prepared something else instead?
- Overcoming the lack of granular hiring data especially between recruiters, hiring managers and candidates and presenting those pertinent data for all stakeholders, even the management via the ability to see at a glance which roles have Red Flags and who is sitting on them so that everyone (management, recruiters, agencies, hiring managers) can see the answers to the infamous question of “Why is this role taking so long”.
So yes, we have invariably developed an ATS - Applicant Tracking System and...fighting with the big boys. It didn't start out that way, it was to...just solve a problem, make it easy for everyone to be accountable and automate things that should have been automated a long time ago. We are lucky to have garnered a few supportive clients to be on this and also won the pitch festival despite doing it for our first time. One of the judges asked, “Of all the things you can do, you built an ATS? The market is so competitive?” That was a good question actually. But even with many ATS’s in the market, the truth is the bad candidate experience and low hiring efficiency are still abound. It reminds me of when we started Progression, where many people asked “There are at least 200 agencies here, the largest in your technology space are agencies who are top 10 in the world...you are not very smart to do this?” But yet, we survived and outlived many other agencies these eight years...We listened to these comments, smiled, went away and worked dang hard. That was it. I hope that with the same attitude, we can do something worthwhile, especially help our local SMEs crave a better employer branding from mathilda® - they need all the help to compete for good talents. I also hope that with mathilda®, good interview experience will be available for everyone, where they get an answer, a closure, or constructive feedback, even if they don’t get a job.
If you know any companies who will benefit from this, do reply to this email, we’d be happy to do a demo. Our team has survived and grown over the years simply with a good word of mouth - unlike fancy startups and large MNCs with deep pockets, we are entirely bootstrap. Every referral counts! Our sincere thank you in advance.
Written by: Josephine Chia