Antezen – Networking Platform that brings together workers, coworkers and a strong referral scheme

Hiring is broken. And while biggies in the industry are busy minting money, there certainly is a bigger chunk waiting for startups and underdogs.

Antezen, a Bangalore based startup has an interesting concept – i.e. to bring coworker’s network and bring automated referrals in the network.

In short, Antezen is a professional networking platform (an online co-workers network) where professionals who have had a significant working relationship at some point in time, connect and interact in a way that mimics their real life interactions (nicely done implementation of Google+ circles).

Antezen is also the place where jobs find you by way of automatic referrals from your current and ex coworkers. Alternatively, if you are a hiring manger, Antezen.com suggests to you a short, precise list of professionals who have not only already expressed an interest in your job posting, but are also amongst those who would have been likely referred to you by your current and ex coworkers. Importantly, all of this happens with complete privacy and zero SPAM.

The networks stands somewhere between LinkedIn and Facebook – so here is a brief QnA with Shashank Shekhar, cofounder of Antezen:

 

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What’s the current market inefficiency you are trying to solve (there are several inefficiencies in hiring business)?

As you indicated above, there are several inefficiencies in the hiring business. Our first solution (the SupeRecruiter app) is trying to solve the pain point of candidate sourcing.
Current methods of sourcing and the associated shortcomings:

  • Organic submission of random resumes on company website – no reasonable expectation of quality resumes
  • Sourcing of resumes from Linked In – keyword based shortlisting moderated with somewhat skewed ‘recommendations’ on people’s profile pages
  • Sourcing of resumes from traditional job portals like Naukri.com, Monster.com – purely keyword based shortlisting, not very effective
  • Sourcing of resumes through in-house or external recruiters hired specifically for this purpose – variable and inconsistent results based on how effective and resourceful the recruiter is, often sub-optimal filtering done by them results in a huge burden on hiring managers themselves
  • Employee referrals – best source of them all with the highest changes of success, but not enough reach within employee’s network and hence not enough incoming volume to service all open positions
  • Candidate privacy severely compromised in almost all the methods above, except recruiter/employee referral

SupeRecruiter benefits:

  • Accomplishes matchmaking between hiring managers and candidates looking out for jobs
  • Matches are made using the same intelligence/metrics that professionals utilize in real life while recommending jobs/candidates
  • A software solution ensures complete candidate privacy as intention for a job change does not have to be revealed publicly so recruiters/hiring managers can find them
  • Keyword searches effected by SupeRecruiter are superior because it has the smarts to distinguish between the semantics and relevance of keywords. Eg. a keyword match on ‘Ruby on Rails’ or ‘HTML5’ is more valuable than say a keyword match on ‘Web design’
  • Due to the above, SupeRecruiter presents a short list of matched candidates to the hiring managers, instead of a huge list purely based on keywords, thus saving a lot of engineering time and money for the businesses

Pi: Networks like these stand somewhere in between Linkedin and Facebook, with a strong chance of losing interest (from networkers) over a period of time. What’s your thought on this?

While our initial pitch is to project our network as an in-between Facebook and LinkedIn, our site actually features a full blown professional networking platform that over time would be a viable alternative to LinkedIn. Additionally, our site serves a very real need for a vast majority of professionals and that is jobs, and it does that in a very unique way.
Today, despite the existence of mammoths like LinkedIn, Naukri.com and Monster.com, there are newer recruitment sites coming up very frequently (Jobvite.com, Indeed.com, Hirematch.me, Branchout.com etc.), each with their unique approach. We believe Antezen.com also has an approach that is differentiated from anything seen before (this video explains the concept):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6yxSqPlQCaA
In my mind, there are two key reasons why professionals will want to keep coming back to Antezen:

A. SupeRecruiter: Our unique, proprietary software solution that cuts down the lead time for sourcing good candidates drastically. For job seekers, it provides a way to seek like minded hiring managers for their next career move.

SupeRecruiter’s approach is intuitive and is an automated implementation of how professionals behave in real life.

Think of it this way. Today, if you have to look out for a job, what is the first thing that you do? For most people the answer is, to approach their friends and coworkers who they trust will recommend to them a suitable job that they might know of. Well, that is exactly how Antezen’s SupeRecruiter works, except that it is automatic, completely private and increases the referral reach to the depths of the network.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76C2Yc4pesI

Likewise, for hiring managers, SupeRecruiter brings them the advantage of word-of-mouth referral way of hiring, with the added advantage of completely automating the process so the employees/friends do not have to explicitly take an action to refer or not refer a candidate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYz2UjivvJ0

B. Antezen’s professional networking platform: Once again, our approach here is novel and firmly grounded in how professionals interact and network in real life. Key differentiators compared to Linked In (most successful professional networking site):

In real life, not all professional contacts are alike, yet they all are just ‘connections’ on Linked In. On Antezen, you have coworkers (hard connections utilized by SupeRecruiter), followers (fans), mutual followers (professional friends) or business contacts (purely a virtual business card exchange).

The differentiated connections make it possible for a less spammy and more personal experience on Antezen as opposed to Linked In.

A vast majority of LinkedIn subscribers utilize it purely as an online address book of professional contacts. Antezen enables that and also provides a Facebook ‘Wall’ like experience via ‘Whiteboards’, thus making it more interactive. In real life, professionals and coworkers do interact with each other.

On Antezen’s ‘Whiteboard’, professionals could ask technical queries, setup polls, share pictures or just gossip. The product provides an ability to create bands of contacts (much like Google+ Circles) and exchange messages within those bands.

In future, we plan to open the development APIs to enable the developers to conceive and sell applications targeted to professionals.

Pi: How do you plan to monetize?

The revenue model is to charge businesses a %-age (varies by number of years of experience of the new hire) of the new hire’s annual salary upon successful placement. We do not charge for posting jobs. However, there is an ongoing nominal monthly subscription fee to use the recruitment platform. We charge the monthly fee because we want to be a long term partner with the companies we are servicing and we foresee them using our service for more strategic hiring (building a team of like-minded professionals) instead of servicing tactical short term hiring needs.
We currently have promotions going on that could basically imply zero hiring cost to the early adopters for the first year or more.

An interesting concept, the challenge however lies in seeding the network. For now, you can import your LinkedIn profile and import contacts, but successful networks need to build the network effect in the product, i.e. inside-out and not outside-in.

In terms of features, the team has very well thought through some of the features like the different categories of discussions one would like to have with peers (Noise, Code, Poll, Quote etc), but I’d urge the team to get the intent first (i.e. ‘why am I joining this nework’) in order to provide a better experience.
Also, is hiring a by-product of the platform OR a stated feature, is the key question that the team needs to look at. LinkedIn has survived because of the focus on ‘building connections’ (hiring is a by-product and not the main product). Naukri and several other job sites simply focus on one thing, i.e. jobs/hiring (and not on connections). Antezen has taken a mixed approach and surely is an interesting startup to watch out for.

If you are a networker, do give Antezen a spin and share your feedback.

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