How Belong Is Helping Recruiters With Its AI Tools

by Sohini Bagchi    Apr 27, 2017


The world of recruitment has undergone tremendous changes in the ‘digital era’ obscuring the lines between the physical and digital. Today, recruiters have limited time to sit and sift through resumes, as the process not only becomes cumbersome for them, but also multiplies the chances of error. This is where Artificial Intelligence [AI] has come to their rescue. 

Recruiters shifting to AI-led tools

Belong, a predictive outbound hiring platform provider believes a shifting focus to analytics and Artificial Intelligence is redefining the future of hiring. The Bangalore-based startup helps companies discover and share crucial information about target candidates through data science and predictive analytics.

“With the help of our search and recommendation technology, we analyze millions of profiles across social, internet, and public sources to help companies discover potential candidates who best fit their culture and skills requirements, while at the same time gain verified insights into whether they are open to new opportunities,” informs Vijay Sharma, CEO and Co-Founder of Belong. 

Sharma believes as companies are looking at faster recruitment and better hiring conversion rates, AI tools and software support recruiters maintain more reliable communications with the candidate. From a screening perspective, AI has the capability to close the gap with potential candidates [that otherwise exist in the manual process], resulting in more productive interactions and faster hiring process.

Connecting recruiters and candidates

The journey has been an interesting one for Belong, states Sharma. Founded in 2014, in less than a year of its operations, Belong raised USD 5 million through its Series A funding in June 2015. The company has doubled its number of SMB and enterprise customers, and witnessed over 400 percent year-on-year growth in the number of offers generated through its platform. Currently, Belong works with tech giants such as Amazon, Reliance Jio, Cisco, and ThoughtWorks, bringing value to these enterprise.

Ask him why the name Belong justifies the kind of activities the company is into, Sharma quips, “We all ‘belong’ somewhere. In this case, our work is to ensure that the candidates ‘belong’ to the right place or in other word, companies get the right candidate for the job, who in turn can believe that they are adding some value to the recruiter.”

Read more: AI Will Create A Human-Like Customer Experience: Study

In February this year, Belong raised USD 10 million in Series B funding led by Sequoia Capital India, with participation from existing investor Matrix Partners India. “We are using the funds to accelerate product development, expand sales and support operations, and hire new talent across engineering, data science, enterprise sales and customer success,” informs Sharma.

The company also launched Belong Experts, a platform-based solution that connects employers to a verified network of independent talent experts to offer end-to-end hiring support from domain-specific talent experts, including candidate engagement, interview scheduling and coordination, and offer management, he added. Launched as a pilot last year, Belong Experts is being leveraged by Uber, LendingKart, Xola and Postman.


Outbound hiring on the rise

On the verticals where AI-based hiring is seeing a great momentum, Sharma says, “While there is always a demand for candidates in the IT and ITeS domains, BFSI, retail and healthcare too have immense potential. Thanks to the digital shift that’s already underway, from various online platforms, one can get a lot of information and insights on their career preferences and aspirations.”

“The company has also moved away from the ‘spray-and-pray’ methods of traditional recruiting, so as to ensure that the hiring efforts be personalized and enjoyable,” he says.

Read more: 3 Key Trends Shaping The Future Of AI

In this context, Sharma explains that outbound hiring market is growing fast and is seeing a huge demand as it is primarily driven by the candidates, unlike inbound hiring where companies are not seeing much RoI today. “In Belong we are bullish about the outbound hiring space. With the help of machine intelligence, we are helping recruiters to target new and relevant candidates. Going forward, the growing adoption of AI software will have a decisive impact on hiring both in mid-sized and large enterprises,” he mentions.

AI doesn’t spell death of the recruiter

The growing adoption of AI software will have a decisive impact on the recruitment process on the whole, and with automation of any kind, there is also the fear that people are often removed from the process. However, Sharma assures that AI software may push more recruitment back in-house, even though agencies will still have their part to play in hiring. 

“For example, rather than having 10 people reviewing and evaluating CVs, it’s increasingly being put in the hands of screening tools. The benefits of this approach is possibly cost reduction and efficiency gains,” he says, adding that “Software will free people up to do more talent planning, but it’s never going to understand culture or see if a person fits into that culture. We need people to do that,” Sharma sums up.