CEO INTERVIEW: Callify.ai - Voice powered talent acquisition technology for recruiters
Please share with us briefly what you do.
I run an enterprise SaaS HRTech product company, Callify.ai, that digitizes all outbound human interactions in human voice for working professionals that have to do many phone calls daily to complete their tasks.
What were you doing before this?
Immediately before my current company, I was running a recruitment firm and offered hiring services to startup companies across 9 countries. We specialized in technology skills, especially developers and UI designers. I sold this business to a search firm and started Callify.ai. Before I became an entrepreneur, I worked in the corporate world for about 18 years in the USA, UK, and India with leading It Consulting firms.
Describe your product. How does it work?
Callify.ai is a calling & qualifying software for recruiters, helping them connect with candidates at scale; capture their responses, and screen them automatically without having to make a single call manually.
Callify simulates how a recruiter interacts with a candidate across the hiring cycle. Hence Callify has been designed to work in the following steps:
- Recruiter creates a campaign on Callify and records a message (introduction, job overview, questions) in their own voice.
- Recruiter uploads the data of candidates they want to reach out to via Excel List or their CVs. Callify automatically extracts all the contact data from CVs and Excel using its proprietary parsers
- Callify then releases simultaneous calls to all the candidates and convert the recruiter recordings into a conversational call. Candidates respond to the call and after confirming their interest, answer the recruiter questions. This response is recorded in the form of an audio.
- Callify delivers the responses of interested candidates along with converting their answers in text and also provides useful insights on the responses for the recruiters to accurately shortlist the right candidates.
What are the key benefits?
With Callify, recruiters can eliminate the wrong candidates and only focus on right candidates and engage meaningfully saving huge amounts of daily time. Some of the key ROI we have been able to deliver our users include:
- Save the daily time of recruiters by 70%
- Increase the closure rate of recruiters by 60%
- Reduce the turn-around-time of hiring by 40%
- Increase quality-of-hire metrics by 30%
Who are your closest competitors?
We have not seen any company doing exactly what we do. However, we do see indirect competition from Video interviewing and Chatbot based companies. Some of the companies we admire who can be our competitors are TalkPush (Hong Kong) and Jobalign (USA).
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
While we did have many initial beta customers, our first enterprise customer was Capgemini. Capgemini is a global IT Services company headquartered in France. Their Indian operations were growing at a very rapid pace and they were seeking smart technology solutions to enhance the speed of their hiring. I happen to meet one of their lead recruiters at an HR Event. Although initially, based on what I explained, Capgemini did not seem too keen to explore Callify. Because their belief was that interaction with candidates has to be done by the recruiter and that machine cannot take over this task. But my persistence and constant follow-up with them for over 6 months resulted in a quick demo. After another 4 months, it so happened that they had an urgent need to hire a lot of people for one of their big projects, and the person I was interacting with me, straightaway asked to do a free pilot. We did the pilot and the results were beyond their expectations and soon they signed-up for rolling out Callify to their team of 47 recruiters.
They were not using any technology before Callify and did the work manually. Today Capgemini has been our oldest customer continuing with us for the last 3 years.
What motivated you to start this business?
When I was running my recruitment agency, I observed that most efforts was spent trying to connect and talk to candidates. Because many candidates do not answer their calls, many ask to call later, many are busy, many are not interested and many are not relevant for the recruiters. I could easily see that this was causing our recruiters not only to be less productive; but stressed and de-motivated from time to time. This triggered an idea about automating this task; so that at least recruiters did not waste time on candidates who would not make it eventually.
While the idea was good; we built a quick prototype and tried it. While initially, the results were not very promising, we did see a 20% improvement. As we kept fine-tuning the product and also got a few beta customers to give their feedback, we were able to increase the output by 50%. That’s when I decided to exit from the services business and dedicate full time to building a new product company. Thus Callify was born. Today we deliver upwards of 80% response rates.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
I had accumulated adequate wealth in my 18 years of a corporate career. But when I built a product company, in the initial years, I had to substantially make investments from my own savings. I had decided to be a bootstrapped and not raise investment unless it was needed. So in the last 4 years, I have had to put almost all my savings into the business. While I was doing this, my son was growing up and was in his teenage years. While my wife does support financially and took care of my son’s need, I have not been able to do many things for my son, which otherwise I would have liked to do. While it does make me extremely sad at times, my purpose and resolve further becomes stronger. I feel that is the biggest sacrifice I have made to make this work.
How did you get funded?
Currently, the company is funded via my own funds.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Very early on we realized that for the enterprise market, social media does not provide the necessary immediate returns. Due to my experience as an enterprise sales professionals for many years, my ability to generate an initial set of customers primarily came through emailers, LinkedIn connects, and by networking at events and seminars. I now have salespeople who primarily generate leads via one-on-one emails followed by online demos and free pilots. So our marketing efforts are purely by building our personal brands on Linkedin; at no cost. We would however have marketing budgets when we raise our round of funding for growth & scale.
Describe a typical workday
Broadly my workday starts as early as 7:00 am, where I think about various problems that need to be addressed. I then put down potential solutions on a note pad. I literally tear off those pages, shove them into my office bag, and get to the office by 9:30 am.
- Every morning I have a 30 mins meeting/ video call with my Head of Sales and check progress on leads, planned demos, and likely closures.
- This call is followed by a call with my Head of Product Management to discuss the progress on product development and deliberate various potential solutions I would have thought of in the morning.
- Then I like to be part of at least one customer demo every day to understand why they are trying to implement the technology. Every company has a different perspective and a different challenge.
- I am a very light eater during lunch, so mostly I eat my lunchbox at my desk; listening to an interesting TedX video or some interesting content on current politics. I end up spending about 7 – 8 mins on my lunch
- I like to write blogs and email content for my sales teams. I even like to build and continuously update our sales presentations. At times I even design our UI screens. I do these types of activities between 3 to 5 pm.
- The last 1 hour of the day I spend with my finance manager and others as the need be. I usually leave for home around 6:30 pm
- I do not do any work after I reach home in the evening. It is then purely my personal time
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
As silly it may sound, I think my wife has been my greatest influence. Although my wife’s profession has nothing to do with what I do and miles away from technology (she is an English phonetics teacher trainer and advisor to primary schools), she has indeed helped me transform from a corporate professional to an entrepreneur. Here’s how:
- I have been able to observe and learn the need to have a high degree of rigor and commitment to ones work at all times to achieve success
- Strategy can only help you direct your efforts in the right direction, but massive efforts and actions are the only keys to success
- Integrity, honesty, empathy, and respect towards every team member is far more valuable than salary and financial rewards
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
While we have achieved many business milestones; my proudest moment in the history of my business was when we won the Amazon deal. Here’s why:
We have two large e-commerce platforms in India; Flipkart (India founded) and Amazon (US). While I personally preferred shopping through Flipkart; my son preferred to shop via Amazon. We used to have friendly fights about which platform was better and I always supported Flipkart. Over a period of time, my son started proving to me why Amazon was better than Flipkart and I started witnessing it myself; whether it was the speed of delivery, lower prices or quality of service. So the day when we won Amazon as a Callify customer; I was happy to see my son feeling extremely proud of me and that, in turn, made me feel proud about myself.
What is your favourite business failure (and what did you learn from it)?
I had a failure when I started my first technology company, which did not sustain for long and had to be shut down. Some of the key learnings from the failure were as below:
- Technology is only an enabler. Solving a business problem is far more important than what technology the solution is built on. Know the customer problem deeply; for a good solution
- Build products that are ready-to-use (plug-n-play). Long deployment cycles based solutions are hard to sell, take a long time to close and are not scalable without capital
- Be very careful about team size. It is better to have a small highly competent and committed team rather than a large team with mediocre competence.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
You have a great life ahead; don’t worry!
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
Think, plan, and strategize only between 7 am and 9 am in the morning…rest execute
More about Chetan
- First job: HCL Limited, Mumbai
- Someone you admire : Mr.Shashi Tharoor, Author, Parliamentarian
- Favorite book : Rules for Revolutionaries by Guy Kawasaki
- Favorite Film : As good as it gets (Jack Nicholson & Helen Hunt)
- Favorite Music : Rock (Metallica)
- Favorite author : John Grisham
- Favorite Gadget : Iphone
- Last holiday : Prague (Czech Republic)
- When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you? Home
FOR MORE INFORMATION :
A short product video - https://www.callify.ai/product-video
LinkedIn profile - https://www.linkedin.com/in/chetanindap/