CEO INTERVIEW -impress.ai - Your new AI powered recruiting solution.
Please share with us briefly what you do.
I am the CEO and Co-Founder of impress.ai, a platform for enterprise recruitment teams to add AI capabilities to their Applicant Tracking Systems. I spearhead all sales functions and fundraising initiatives, drive the business strategy and company vision, and lead the scaling of the company’s enterprise customer base.
What were you doing before this?
Before co-founding impress.ai, I was an Associate at the Monetary Authority of Singapore, where my team was responsible for the regulation of equity markets and clearing houses that were operating in Singapore.
Describe your product. How does it work?
Launched in 2017, impress.ai is an autonomous, AI-driven Recruitment Automation platform that delivers unbiased processes for fair and efficient hiring. Based on the principles of Industrial Organisation (I/O) psychology, impress.ai incorporates Artificial Intelligence for scale, machine learning for adaptability, and data and analytics for predictive decision making. The platform utilises chatbots that autonomously interview, engage and shortlist candidates at scale, 24/7.
What are the key benefits?
impress.ai’s AI-powered no-code solution increases an enterprise’s candidate reach by 5 times and reduces the candidate screening process to 30 minutes, instead of the typical 7 days. HR professionals and recruiters are able to conduct higher-value tasks such as meaningful candidate engagement and manage the growth plans of current employees. The platform is adaptable and offers integration with many assessment tools and ATSes.
Who is your first customer and how did that happen? What were they using before this, and why did they switch?
DBS was our first enterprise customer. impress.ai was onboarded to reduce human effort, and we did not replace any platform. We added AI capabilities to their processes on top of the ATS and assessment tools they use. In the past, candidates’ answers to job-related questions, the assessment results, and candidate profiles would be evaluated manually by the recruiters. They adopted impress.ai because we were able to help them realise their vision of allowing recruiters to become talent advisors rather than spend most of their time on manual tasks.
What motivated you to start this business?
In our previous business, Ideatory.co, we worked with many large enterprises on identifying or building teams for high-tech innovation projects. This gave us the opportunity to work closely with enterprise recruitment teams, helping us understand their challenges and how complex their job is. They not only have to handle many sources of data on candidates and understand diverse job roles deeply but also manage relationships with hundreds of stakeholders– including candidates. Having been job candidates in our early careers, we understand the candidate-experience side of this as well. We saw the opportunity to build software that could scale up recruiters’ ability to do their jobs much more effectively and efficiently.
What is your biggest sacrifice to make this work?
As an entrepreneur, there is an untold number of sacrifices one makes. The sacrifice that I think more often about is that of a predictable career.
How did you get funded?
We got funded when we were able to show that large enterprises were interested in using our software. This made the value of our software clear to investors.
What has been your most successful form of marketing?
Customers speaking about the benefits of our product in the news has been the most successful form of marketing for us.
Describe a typical workday
There isn’t really a typical workday, however, weeks have more of a pattern. I start my week with status updates meetings with my customer success and sales teams. That is followed by a discussion of the week’s priorities with my management team. Every week I have a 1-on-1 with team leads I work most closely with. The rest of the space in the week is filled with meetings on strategic projects, adviser catch-ups, partner catch-ups, and several customer pitches.
Who has been the greatest influence in your business and why?
My wife. She is immensely knowledgeable in the software startup arena and asks me the toughest questions without even realising it. That keeps me honest.
What has been your proudest moment in the history of your business and why?
When we got mentioned in the Singapore Parliament during the MOF Committee of Supply Debate 2020 by Second Minister of Finance Ms. Indranee Rajah. When she mentioned how we reduced the time taken for Ngee Ann Polytechnic to review over 4,000 applications from 470 hours to a mere two hours, it really just reaffirmed all that we were trying to achieve in this company.
If you could go back in time to speak to your 20-year-old self, what would you tell him/her?
Travel as much as you can, do many internships, and nurture hobbies.
What’s one productivity hack you can’t live without?
Speed reading. I listen to the Economist at 2x speed.
More about Suhanshu:
- First job – Associate at the Monetary Authority of Singapore
- Someone you admire – Joe Biden
- Favorite book – Thinking Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman
- Favorite Music – Heroes, David Bowie
- Favorite author – Cixin Liu
- Favorite Gadget - Roborock
- Last holiday - Tasmania
- When you are not at work, where can we most likely find you? – Out for a run
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sudhanshu Ahuja: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sudh8/
Also available on the SAP app centre, and to find out more about impress.ai and its integration within SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting, kindly visit https://store.sap.com/dcp/en/product/display-0000059856_live_v1/impress.ai