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There’s no scarcity of job sites and agencies in our country, in fact its in abundance, but we still have a hanging black truth of the unemployment rates, morons being hired where geniuses were required, uncle’s applying influences to pull in their nephews, and the most dreadful is, the blood and sweat sacrificing employees dying to see a dime of increment in their salaries and stipends.

Do the job sites give their word or pledge to land you in the profile you are looking for? No! they won’t even give you a pinky swear on it. Just fill in the fancy form and wait for the stroke of luck to strike.

Nishant, Ashish and Sahil completely observed and understood the usual process and gamings of these ornamental job sites and planned to cast out something which would actually make sense and be more worthy than just being a recruitment base.

RoundOne, is a job referral platform, which benefits not only the job seekers but also the referrers who are well settled in their positions and are helping out.

How it works is, you sign-up and search vacancies from over 2000 companies. Once you find one, request for a referral, who will be one of the employees at the organization you wish to apply. If he accepts your profile you’ll get an email notification.

Then at a decided convenient time you connect and converse with him over telephone which will be a kind of telephonic interview.

If the employee interviewing you is satisfied, your application is internally referred and that raises your chances of getting more closer to the job than the others.

There’s a small nominal fee which helps RoundOne to accumulate more connections from worthy organizations and deliver more opportunities for the job seekers.

You can read RoundOne’s details on the process and pricing here.

The RoundOne team comprises of 10 startup enthusiasts from top universities and backgrounds in banking, e-commerce and management consulting.

The founder, Nishant Mathur, graduated from John Hopkins and has an MBA from INSEAD with several years of experience as a management consultant at Accenture.  He works with a team of IIT graduates on technology, in addition to managing the overall strategy.

Ashish Aggarwal (SRCC, XLRI, Citibank) heads marketing, and Sahil Gupta (ex consultant) leads operations.

The team is always on the lookout for people passionate about making an impact, and are currently hiring for marketing and technology.

We’ll jump into conversation with Nishant Mathur, from RoundOne and learn more about it.

 How did you come up with this unique idea of connecting Job Seekers with internal employees and getting them referred?

After completing my MBA from INSEAD, I was working with a VC firm when I spoke to an ex-classmate that applied to Accenture but didn’t hear back. Accenture was my former employer, and I knew they needed people like her.  But since the application was submitted through the website, it probably never even got noticed.  I connected her with an ex-colleague, who spoke to her and then referred her based on his evaluation.  She was subsequently called for an interview. This disturbed me.  I realized there are many others like her who know they are clearly qualified, but just can’t find a relevant contact to prove it to.  Round One was setup in April 2011 for that purpose – to allow job seekers a chance to prove themselves.

Does the Employee who refers the job seeker get paid by you or just the referral incentive that he receives from his organization?

We believe employees (referrers) should be rewarded for taking their precious time to speak with candidates. People who interact with job seekers, regardless of whether they refer the job seeker into the company, gets reward points from Round One(similar to a frequent flyer program). They can redeem these points for Sodexo coupons, cash, Taj vouchers or can donate that amount to charity. Currently we are tied with Swechha, which is a youth focused NGO engaged in environmental and social development issues.

Do you have list of organizations and employees whom you connect the job seekers with? How do you get the employees to tie-up? Can you give us a brief on the process of getting the employees to interview and refer job seekers?

Round One has over 2000 companies listed on the site which includes top companies in industries including IT, Finance, KPOs and many more.

We reach out to employees through regular internet marketing methods, but a substantial number have been invited through our current users. The referral bonus that the company provides is an incentive to meet and interact with candidates through various channels like Round One.

Getting a referral through Round One is transparent and simple. Once a user selects a job on Round One, they see a list of employees from a relevant department within that company who can refer them for that job. Job seekers then request an interaction, and if accepted it is fixed between the user and the referrer over the phone. After the conversation, the referrer fills in a feedback form stating the weaknesses and strengths of the candidate also mentioning whether they have been referred into the company. This information is shared with the job seeker.

Every unique idea does face obstacles? What were the obstacles you had to overcome or are there any obstacles you are still fighting to get through? And How has been the response so far?

Online recruitment is an old and crowded space so people have preconceived notions about our model. Our challenge is to have the consumers look at us with an open mind.  We must create awareness about our revolutionary service, which is unlike any other player in this domain.

The response to our efforts has been encouraging. Round One has received a positive response from job seekers who appreciate the efficacy of the idea.  As we are improving our marketing capabilities we are confident that our concept will be understood, accepted, and used by the masses.

If you were asked to give 3 growth hack tips to entrepreneurs who have just started their journey, what would it be?

Each business is in a unique place and therefore different tactics would apply, but the growth hacks that we, as a bootstrapped company in the internet industry with a new idea for a consumer focused business, have found are:

1. Test before scaling – Rather than researching something in isolation and assuming it will work based on your findings, it is important to test it in the market before scaling up.  We would have been burned several times if we tried to scale features and ideas without first getting data from users and analyzing it carefully.

2. Focus on the customer – You can have an amazing platform technically, and make money through different gimmicks, but at the end of the day if the customer isn’t getting what he/she wants, your business cannot succeed.  In addition, customers can be promoters and ambassadors as well a repository of constructive feedback.

3. Do not compromise on your team – Hiring the right people is important, but it is even more important to not hire the wrong people.  This can not only take your company down the wrong path, but dealing with a bad hire will end up taking more time than you would imagine.  Also, as my father tells me – costs come on two legs.

roundone team

From Left o Right – Ashish, Nishant and Sahil – Team RoundOne

Do you plan to launch mobile apps? If yes, How soon? And What are your future plans for RoundOne?

We believe the mobile space is a huge opportunity for any company in India.  Our priority is to focus on the mobile web space rather than apps, although we will be launching apps eventually.

After increasing our presence in India, our plan is to expand globally. We are looking to launch in the US and in the medium term also develop products for new customer segments such as HR and recruiters. In the long term, we will apply Round One’s model, (creating connections) to other sectors such as PR, Education and Business.



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