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Entering Round One!

Finally, you have graduated. So, what do you do next? Obviously, find a job! You prepare an excellent resume and apply to some of the best places that you want to work in. And then comes the waiting. The constant staring at the phone, checking the mail every second and keeping your fingers crossed. After weeks of waiting- Nothing! Then one day your very good friend tells you that his mothers’ late grandfathers’ second cousins’ grandson works at your dream firm. He connects you with him and the grandson refers you to his boss. Instantly, you get an interview call. Sounds like Lady Luck, but that doesn’t happen to everybody. Some people don’t have the much needed “contacts” to get the job of their choice.

Round One is a unique and new venture by Mr. Nishant Mathur, an MBA from INSEAD and an ex-employee of Accenture. It is a one of a kind company which connects you with the employees in your dream firm. You get to talk to them (for at least 30 minutes) and convince them to refer you to their superiors. This very innovative idea helps you to reach out to people and find opportunities which otherwise would have remained out of your reach. Based in Delhi, Round One started almost a year ago. Although it’s a new entry, it has been able to help many jobseekers to get referrals from many companies. “I was highly delighted by the experience and the review imparted by Mr. Saurabh (name changed).He analyzed and articulated facts very clearly. There were lots of positive aspects for me and i am completely encouraged to provide fitting reply in interview,” says Mr.sonu kumar – applicant to an IT firm. Another jobseeker (name withheld on request) who applied to a management consulting firm said “This is the first time I am using Round One and luckily for me it has worked well so far with me. My interviewer Mr. Sharma (name changed) was very helpful and friendly during the interview.”

JAM interviewed the perpetuator of this idea, Mr. Nishant Mathur and this is what he had to say-

1) What was the main idea and inspiration behind Round one?
In 2010 an extremely qualified friend of mine who had come from the US, applied to a management consulting company but did not hear back for two months. She reluctantly assumed that there weren’t any openings or that her profile wasn’t up to the mark.

As a former employee of that company, I knew neither was true. The unfortunate fact is that recruiters in top companies receive so many resumes, that great applicants are lost in all the clutter

Round One was started to streamline this process, so qualified job seekers wouldn’t have to rely on finding a friend’s relative’s friend to refer them, and can get ahead based on their merit instead of their connections.

2) Why the name “Round One?”
The true ‘first round’ of recruitment starts with networks and earning recommendations. If this critical and time consuming part is done right, the other interview rounds will surely follow. Our focus is on this ‘Round One’ of the recruitment process.

3) Do you guarantee referrals?
Yes, we guarantee referrals! If you use Round One you either get an internal referral for the job of your choice, or you are fully refunded.

4) What is the process that is followed?

Step 1- The job seeker needs to first register on our website.

Step 2- Once a job seeker finds an opening they are interested in, instead of simply adding their resume to a huge pile, they select an employee in the company to refer them for that job.

Step 3- The job seeker’s profile is then sent to the employee, who reviews it.

Step 4- If the employee thinks the profile is suitable, the applicant is notified, and the two are connected over the phone.

Step 5- The employee uses this as a chance to clarify any doubts they have and if they are satisfied, the applicant is then recommended for the job, internally.

The job seeker not only receives a job referral from the employee, but also written feedback about their strengths and weaknesses. This feedback goes a long way in helping them develop themselves personally and professionally.

5) Are there any particular sectors that you cover? Like finance, media etc?
We cover all services sectors and are particularly popular in Banking, Technology, Financial Services, Consulting, and Telecom.

6) Why do you think referrals are so important in finding a job?
Research shows that referrals are 10 times more effective in getting a job as compared to simply submitting an application on a company website or job portal.

As a decision maker on recruitment in my own company, I also rely on referrals. I am more confident interviewing candidates that my employees, who know the company inside out, have spoken with and recommended as oppose to one of the hundreds of resumes I receive every month.

7) What is in it for the employee who helps? Also, how are they willing to refer people they don’t know?
Round One ensures that employees get to know candidates before referring them, by speaking with them over the phone. Each employee takes some of their valuable time to carefully assess a candidate and to a degree, stakes their reputation on each referral.

In return for the candidate’s time, we reward them with points (like a frequent flier program) that are worth approx Rs. 300 for each candidate they informally screen. In addition, if the person they refer gets hired, most companies reward the employee with a referral bonus which is often between 1-2 weeks of their pay. This is done because it saves companies a lot of time and money in recruiting candidates. Alternatively, recruitment agencies generally charge about 4 week’s pay of the candidate they place.

8) How has the response been so far from both the sides- the employee and job-seeker?
The response has been great. Thousands of jobseekers join our site every week and employees from over 400 top companies are available via Round One. The reason we are growing so fast without advertising is because both sides have benefitted largely – employees have helped their companies recruit and earned significant rewards, and jobseekers have gotten their dream jobs. Their success has spread largely by word of mouth, which in turn has driven more people towards our platform.

9) How many people have got jobs through Round One up till now?
Almost 50% of the candidates that are referred get interviews. Once they get their foot in the door via Round One, their performance in the subsequent interview rounds determines the final outcome, and that varies from applicant to applicant.

As a benchmark, research shows that people that apply through job portals or company websites have less than a 2% chance of even getting the interview.

10) How do you plan to grow in the future?
Our growth has been driven by word of mouth, and we will continue to focus on ensuring our platform is the most effective way to get hired so that this effect continues. We are also interested in partnering with other internet portals to get the word out.

Our team is excited about our upcoming launch in the US – stay tuned for details on that in a couple of months!

Payment Details- The payment is taken before your call is connected to your interviewer. In case you don’t get a referral, the money is refunded. The payment varies as per your experience.

0-4 years of experience- Rs.500 per call

4-10 years of experience –Rs.700 per call

10 or more years of experience – Rs.900 per call

JAM verdict- We checked out their website and it seems like a different and a good concept. Referrals do matter in getting a job. We see no harm in at least registering (which is free). Also, the money is refunded if you don’t get a referral. So there is very little to lose here. And you never know, you might just end up with your dream job! Do check out their website – http://www.roundone.in/

– Fatema Diwan

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