When it comes to hiring, employee referrals play a huge part. Most companies offer big incentives on employee referrals but the main challenge lies in the fact that most employees may not know the right people to refer. Rashmi Nandan decided to capitalize on the problem and sought to connect job seekers with employees who can provide referrals; thus creating a win-win situation for both job seekers to get an interview call and for existing employees to get the promised referral bonus.
It all started when Rashmi, an engineer from MSRIT, who was working in HCL Technologies, started getting mails for referring employees for openings in HCL. And he decided to experiment with it.
"It struck me that I could create a group and ask my friends to join so that all of us could share job opening details in each other's companies. I wanted it to work as it could help my friends who were not yet placed or who were looking for better opportunities. I was able to collect contact details of friends working in more than 100 companies by April 2012. I soon realized why not extend the service to others too?" says Rashmi.
At present, ReferMe is a five-member strong team; while four of them are batch mates from MSRIT, one is from IIM Indore helping with business development.
Launched in June 2013, what made ReferMe exceptional was the fact that they had jobs not only from the IT sector but from the electrical industry, oil and petroleum industry as well. Advertising via Facebook and LinkedIn got them good response from job seekers, and as a result Rashmi quit his job to work on it full time. But they had their own set of challenges waiting for them.
"I started just one year after college so it was really difficult to get a proper technical person who could convert the idea into a high quality website. Organizing funds was a big problem in the early days and so we started investing our savings and collected some amount from our college friends who were employed. Handling relationships with employees in the companies and winning their confidence while referring a new professional was the biggest challenge in the initial days," adds Rashmi.
How it works
An employee can post the openings in his company on the site and job seekers pay to register on the site. The registration fee depends on the current CTC of the job seeker (for freshers it is INR 350) in case they are working. What is unique about them is the fact that if a jobseeker is unable to find any job matching his requirements in three months the registration fee is refunded, unlike any other job search site.
Talking about his lessons from his journey, Rashmi says,
"People take some time to understand, especially if you are introducing a new kind of service in the market. You may feel frustrated in the initial struggling days when you run out of funds, or you are unable to arrange resources on time, or people around you take your initiative casually. Maintain equanimity in temperament and don’t lose self-confidence. Planning of budget, time management and proper utilization of resource skill is necessary."