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CEO INTERVIEW- Urbanhire: a recruitment and assessment platform

New Success Stories - Asia

CEO Interviews - Exclusive for HR Digital Today with market-leading HR Tech pioneers - Urbanhire

Benson Kawengian, CEO/Founder at Urbanhire


Please share with us briefly what you do.

I am the founder and CEO at Urbanhire.

Urbanhire is an HR technology platform that helps large companies in Southeast Asia unite all their recruitment and online assessment drives on a single platform. Our platform helps employers post jobs to 50+ portals including Google, LinkedIn, and Line; filter and track candidates, and deploy online assessments so recruiters meet 100% of their hiring target plans.

My job as the Founder and CEO is centered around strategy, team leadership, and business development. I am blessed to be supported by strong department heads and team members.


What were you doing before this?

I have been an entrepreneur for 10+ years, please refer to the brief bio written at the end of this post


Describe your product. How does it work?

Large companies can have full visibility of their hiring and online assessment initiatives on a single dashboard. Our platform helps employers post jobs to 50+ portals including Google, LinkedIn, and Line; filter and track candidates, and deploy online assessments so recruiters meet 100% of their hiring target plans.

The company works with large established companies like AON and Mettl to deploy online assessments so companies can filter their candidates or profile their existing talent pool.


What are the key benefits?

•    Distribute your jobs to more than 50 distribution channels

•    Find the most suitable candidate in more than 1 million active job seekers profile

•    Share your jobs through social media

•    Attract talent through Employer Branded Career Page

•    Source through Employee Referral Program

•    Filter out irrelevant candidates with Pre-Assessment Questions

•    Save time with a video interview feature

•    Profile your candidate efficiently with online Psychometric assessment

•    Manage communications with your Candidate and your hiring team in one platform

•    Make informed hiring decisions with well-documented hiring team feedback

•    Have a quick overview of your hiring current status

•    Recap your applicants' details with a click of a button

•    Generate a report of hiring performance

•    Analytics insight on how your hiring team is performing


Who are your closest competitors?

We don’t have a close local competitor. Most of the recruitment businesses in Indonesia are still job boards and headhunters. Other HR technology companies are working on solving payroll pain points. We are comparable to companies like Greenhouse, Lever, Success Factor, Workable in the US.


Who is your first customer and how did that happen?  What were they using before this, and why did they switch?

I couldn’t remember our first customer, but I can share that currently, we are serving many multinational and international banks such as UOB, CIMB, Maybank, Bank Sampoerna, Zurich, and many others. Before Urbanhire, they were relying on many job portals that were not yielding good results and managing them with excel spreadsheets. Many of them would use paper-based personality and aptitude tests that were very expensive to deploy. We switched all these processes online, so they became frictionless.


What motivated you to start this business?

I realized that hiring in Indonesia was behind other more mature countries. People were relying on ineffective job portals. These media channels, on their own, had become outdated. Companies face hiring bottleneck and they started engaging headhunter services for junior and mid-level positions.

Furthermore, administration, assessments, and tracking were done manually with spreadsheets. These processes can be made frictionless with mobile and software applications.

We saw this both as a business opportunity and a chance to impact the market with the forward-thinking disruption that will encourage and promote growth in Indonesia and hopefully in the region.


What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?

I would say time away from the family.


How did you get funded? This was the story behind our seed investment round


What has been your most successful form of marketing?

The most successful form of marketing is our relentless attempts to educate the market through Urbanhire Insights. We hold classes like Urbanhire 101 at our headquarters. We publish a blog and knowledge-based content for our users. We engage communities of HR practitioners to help shape our thinking.  When users get on our platform, the product speaks for itself and we rely on peer-to-peer referral. thinking.  When users get on our platform, the product speaks for itself and we rely on peer-to-peer referral.


Describe a typical workday

6 am - Start of day 

6 am - 630 am - Gratitude list and reflections

630 am - 715 am - Work out

730 am    - 830 am - Take kids to school

9 am - 930am - Day planning on my desk at the office

930am - work day

Mondays are filled with leadership and team meetings (office full day)

Tuesdays and Thursdays are filled with client or stakeholder meetings (out of office)

Wednesdays are more strategy and product work (mixed/alone time at cafe/office/ outside)

Fridays are administration work (office full day)


6 pm - Home for dinner and play with the kids

8 pm - Kids asleep

8 pm - 9 pm Emails and planning work

10 pm - Reading and sleep


Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?


My wife. I discuss with her what would make sense in our season of life. She keeps me grounded.

Beyond that, I would read online materials, books, and occasionally discuss ideas with my partners at


What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?

For Urbanhire, the first time a client gave us a single contract of above US$100,000. We framed it. It was validation that we were building something people wanted. We have found the product-market fit with companies employing 500 people that are growing.


If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?

Don’t try to be anyone else. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, and run marathons. Go long, keep it simple, learn from others, listen more than you speak, and go deep in cleansing your inner wounds. Oh, and lastly, don’t forget to rest. Recovery brings clarity and gratitude.


What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?

Starting the day with a gratitude list


Where can people find out more about your product offerings and you online?

More about the product on


More about Benson:

•    First job:  Analyst at Bloomberg LP

•    Favorite book: 12 Rules for Life, by Jordan Peterson

•    Favorite Film: The Godfather series

•    Favorite Music:  Hillsong

•    Favorite Gadget: Amazon Kindle

•    Last holiday:  California

•    When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you: Traveling


Benson Kawengian


An article in Prestige magazine:


Benson Kawengian is a forward thinking and disruptive entrepreneur based in Jakarta, Indonesia. He is on Prestige Magazine's 40 under 40 lists (The Vanguards, 2018), and was included on Tech in Asia's Top 40 Indonesian Startup Founders (2016).


Known for disrupting two industries, he is the owner and CEO of Datra Construction (PT Datra Internusa), a leading general construction firm focused on creating inspiring public spaces and productive environments. The company worked with State contractors to deliver renovations for the Asian Games 2018. Datra is well considered a thought leader in stadium-related construction.


In 2016, Benson founded Urbanhire (www. - a Human Resources Technology company that empowers large companies to manage their recruitment and employee benefits. The startup is venture-backed by renowned funds: KK Fund, Convergence Ventures, Social Capital, and 500 Startups; and it is serving leading companies such as CIMB, Pertamina, Pegadaian (hundreds more).


As an investor, Benson is partner at RMKB Ventures ( and investor/advisor at Tokenomy ( - the largest ICO from Indonesia.

Relentless in creating impact, his community roles:

  • An active member of TED
  • 2018/19 Integration Chair - Entrepreneurs' Organization (Indonesia)
  • 2017/18 Learning Chair - Entrepreneurs' Organization (Indonesia)
  • Member - International Association for Sports and Leisure Facilities
  • Former Curator of TEDxJakarta and former exec TEDxSingapore
  • Former organizer - TechCamp Jakarta


He earned his MBA (High Distinction & Dean's List) at the University of Queensland. His undergraduate studies were at the University of Canterbury & the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to being an entrepreneur, Benson was an analyst at Bloomberg LP.

He is a distance runner.


Specialties: Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Tech Startup, Construction, Stadiums, Blockchain & Crypto, Indonesia, global economics.

Get in touch via Veronica Thiodora (