Finding the right needle in a haystack

Focusing on a niche: Wang (left) and Liau of CrowdSourceHire. Liau says the company plans on assisting recruitment agencies and businesses.

WITH great talent and ideas, comes great responsibility.

It all also depends on how much the individual wants to use his or her talentsfor the good of society.

Many talk about starting businesses, but to most, it’s just an idea or an attempt that ends up in vain. After all, working for someone and earning a stable income is always the safer option.

Ben Liau, Des Wang and Rajnish Kumavat united (like the Three Musketeers, in a business sense) and fulfilled their entrepreneurial calling by building their crowd-sourcing business, CrowdSourceHirelast March.

The trio started the company with a specific vision in mind: to assist in the arduous hiring process for businesses that need to analyse and verify the skills of their potential or short-listed recruits.

Not to be mistaken as a recruitment agency, the business that operates in Melbourne and Sydney, has positioned itself within a niche of needed services. It crowd-sources industry experts in the software development field, who design customised assessments for businesses, based on their specific recruitment needs.

The potential candidates are assessed and given a recommendation on whether they have the right technical skills for the specific job.

CrowdSourceHire then merges this data with the candidate’s social footprint, to produce a candidate profile that the business can refer to, to make an informed decision on which candidate has the right skills for the job.

Most recruitment agencies don’t put their candidates through such a thorough and proper testing procedure before presenting them to clients, for several reasons mainly to do with saving time and money, and this results in the wrong hires being made.

“We plan on supporting this industry and assisting recruitment agencies and businesses, with a detailed recommendation on whether this candidate has the holistic set of skills that’s right for the job,” said Liau.

Why so specific? Aside from filling underlying but critical steps in the hiring process, Liau and Hang, also paid the price for spending too much time looking for the right technical person in their own previous businesses. This time delay also costed their businesses money, and they discovered that other businesses also had the same problems.

To put things into perspective, Liau explained: “Did you know that 11% of new hires fail in the first 18 months due to technical incompetence. But this also presents more problems because even if you replace the candidate within six months, the process can cost you 2.5 times that person’s annual salary. So someone who earns A$100,000 (RM292,000) a year could cost you A$250,000.”

Despite these huge disadvantages, it’s not an uncommon issue because many companies are unable to dedicate enough time to implement an effective hiring process. Furthermore, while having the right technical skills is important, Liau stressed that candidates must have the ability to apply and articulate these skills and knowledge.

With this in mind as well as the application of in-depth research, CrowdSourceHire uses a vigorous three-stage, pre-hire assessment process that they put candidates through to ensure that they have the right skills for the job and then some.

“Stage one consists of open-ended technical questions to test their knowledge. Stage two tests the candidates on the application of their knowledge through a virtual environment where they have to code a solution to a specific problem that they may encounter in the job they applied for.

“Stage three sees the candidates doing a video interview and are required to answer a number of pre-recorded interview questions that evaluate their ability to communicate ideas effectively. This test also helps to ensure that the individual taking the assessment is really the same person who took the previous two tests — something that existing online tests often fail to do,” explained Liau.

The 33-year-old graduated with a bachelor’s degree in software engineering in Australia’s University of Southern Queensland and a master’s in marketing in Queensland of University of Technology.

He and his team have already achieved many milestones with the business. The company is currently funded by Australia’s largesttelco, Telstra, and is part of its Muru Digital accelerator programme.

This month, CrowdSourceHire is teaming up with Microsoft to run the first Code4Goal Coding Contest, a competition that will showcase how businesses can drive innovation by hiring programmers with original and innovative ideas.

The challenge that’s sponsored by Microsoft,is for programmers who want to promote their coding skills and solve issues that exist within businesses in various industries.

While these collaborations with large companies can be defined as “success” Liau sees it as part of a longer journey.

“I think we’ve been very successful in what we have achieved for the business in such a short time. But the best is yet to come, and 2015 is going to be a great year for us.

The enterprising trio hope to expand their existing services from IT and software development to engineering, digital marketing and analytics. “Some have suggested that our model could work in the service industry, so the sky’s the limit,” said Liau.

For more details about the Code4Goal Coding Contest, visit:

¦ Karina is a former writer for The Star who now resides in Melbourne. She talks to Malaysians who have made a life in the most liveable city in the world. She can be reached at 

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