Mumbai-based Gradlimited is a platform that helps college students with the career counselling and mentoring they need to find jobs they are best suited to do.
“I want to be a firefighter when I grow up,” said a six year old; his mother watched him climb a wall and indulged him with a smile. It’s a common enough sight. As children, we have several imaginative career choices and goals, but with experience, age and exam performance, the path starts to get a little hazy, clouded by advice, suggestions and expectations.
It was a dilemma that Avinash Rogye and Abhishek Mehta also faced. As HR professionals, they believed this was a real problem that needed to be resolved if India is to make the best use of its demographic dividend.
Their common professional background with complimentary experience made for a perfect team–Avinash has experience in HR, talent development and financial services while Abhishek has worked in domains like education, assessments and HR.
The result was Gradlimited, a platform that helps students and graduates get insights into their inherent personality and explore the careers that are best aligned to that personality.
“The idea is to make mentorship scalable. Using existing technology, we direct our efforts towards ensuring that every student in the country can have access to the most relevant opportunities for academic and career progression at the right age.”
Once a student logs on to Gradlimited, they are put through a set of assessment tests to determine aptitude and interest, and other behavioural traits. The results of these are analysed and shared with students to help them understand their strengths and interests. The platform tracks the candidate’s social media activity too. Gradlimited believes that a digital footprint report is the best way to validate a candidate’s psychometric information as it is based on their actual behaviour over a prolonged period.
On the basis of this information, a matchmaking engine recommends the most suitable jobs, courses, internships, and scholarships to a student. The student can browse and apply for relevant jobs, courses, and internships on the platform. Meanwhile, the employer can use the personality details for each applicant from an employer’s dashboard to make an informed hiring decision.
Avinash adds that having worked with students and fresh graduates for most of their careers, the duo had realised the flaws in the conventional decision-making process.
While many corporates do use personality assessment to ensure fitment and alignment to work, Gradlimited wanted to infuse a culture of assessment-driven decision making early on and at an individual level: students can themselves use these tests in a do-it-yourself (DIY) format. The purpose is to aid them with the exploration of avenues at the right age.
“We believe that most students lack appropriate mentorship at critical junctures in their careers, which leads to arbitrary decisions with regard to education and career avenues. As a matter of fact, over 25 percent of students leave their first jobs within six months of joining, as their personality traits are not aligned with the work they were doing,” notes Avinash.
The major challenges were not just setting up and scaling the idea but also creating awareness. Personality-based career exploration is a relatively new concept in India and hence people need to be educated about its benefits.
Avinash adds that they tried to overcome this challenge by using social media to educate their target segment. “Most of the student population spends a lot of time and attention on social media. Even though we believe that offline seminars and one-on-one interactions are potent platforms to spread awareness about the concept, we chose social media to establish thought leadership owing to the scale, reach, and engagement it provides,” says Avinash.
The team got a boost in mid-2016, when they were incubated by Young Ideas Ventures and also roped in seasoned entrepreneur Gaurav Assomull. Gaurav is co-founder of Intergen Energy, an infrastructure company.
Currently in pre-revenue stage, Gradlimited aims to get its revenue from corporates that intend to hire and source entry-level talent. The team is looking at a subscription-based revenue model. The platform has been live since January this year and claims to have over 4,000 students as users.
“We also have thousands of jobs, internships, and courses listed on the platform from multiple companies and institutes to source the right talent. The platform also provides students with access to scholarships worth over Rs 2,500 crore,” says Avinash.
The need for upskilled fresh talent has become a necessity. According to a LinkedIn India report, close to 80 percent of fresh graduates cannot be recruited. Therefore, over the past couple of years, several platforms and startups are working to upskill people, including education-driven platforms like Simplilearn, UpGrad, Edcast, and GreatLearning.
Apart from platforms that focus on upskilling, there are also several recruitment-driven platforms which work towards ensuring that the right people get placed in the right jobs. The obvious ones are Belong, Hiree, and the biggest in the market: Naukri.
But the focus on fresh graduates is a new concept. There is another platform, Intern Theory, which helps students find internships in the kind of jobs they want to do after graduation. In the case of Gradlimited, the team aims to expand pan-India from Mumbai in the next few months. They are also working towards reinventing the way conventional campus recruitment drives are conducted, which are time-consuming and require a fair amount of planning and effort for recruiters.