HackerTrail in conversation with RI

Last year around the same time I was interviewed by Recruitment International (RI), this was the time when we had just launched HackerTrail.

For those who don’t know RI is a digital magazine with its presence in Asia, Australia and UK.

We discussed many things like, recruitment industry its future & challenges, how technology will positively disrupt the way the recruitment industry operates, for recruiters, employers and candidates.

Read the full article here

I would love to know,

1. What are the recruitment challenges you are facing these days?

2. How are you attempting to solve them?

3. Do you use social media for recruitment?

4. Have you explored the social recruitment tools so far?

I will be happy to help you solve your challenges and share my experience and resources.

Looking forward to hear from you.

10 Ways To Mess Up Your Salary Negotiation

I was so nervous when I collected my first car.

It was the first time I will be driving without an instructor next to me. I don’t even dare to take the highway since that wasn’t covered during lessons.

But I survived, albeit the same feeling came back the first time I drove into Malaysia.

Now I could drive with two fingers and my eyes closed. (To the Traffic Police reading this, it is just an analogy)

Why are we nervous?

Any form of negotiation can be nerve wrecking. Professor Maurice ­Schweitzer at Wharton did a study that examined the effects of anxiety on negotiating in more than 500 research participants.

Anxiety triggers the flight response in negotiators, causing them to make lower first offers, respond more quickly to offers and exit negotiations earlier, resulting in worse outcomes, explains Professor ­Schweitzer

And involuntary nervousness during negotiations can induce a variety of symptoms such as increased heart rate, impaired information processing and decreased self-confidence, says Alison Wood Brooks, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. student at Wharton.

What can I do about it?

Beside the obvious practice-til-you-are-numb to it, there are many other things that you shouldn’t do to provide the outcome you are looking for.

Here are 10 common mistakes that jobseekers usually make and screw up their salary negotiation big time.

1. Settling/Not Negotiating

Taking the easy way out and simply settle and accept whatever is on the table. Many people do this because they don’t really understand the complete negotiation process or simply do not feel comfortable doing so. But the repercussion can be huge.

It’s like not sorting out differences before going into a marriage. A divorce will end up becoming more torturing for both parties eventually. At least you could bring that conversation as and when in a relationship. In your company, you probably need to align with their performance review cycle. That could be a long long wait.

2. Revealing How Much You Would Accept

Show your fellow poker players your cards and you are guaranteed to lose every single time. Sometimes it is hard not to offer this information especially if the employer asks for a salary history or salary requirement.

If you are driven to a corner, always try to remain noncommittal on the pretext that knowing more about the demands of the role might affect your salary expectation.

3. Focusing on Need/Greed

One of the most common salary negotiation error is focusing on what you feel you need or deserve instead of your value and the value you being to the prospective employer. Employers really don’t give a damn that your salary won’t be able to cover your Mercedes, mortgage or simply your weekly clubbing expenses.

Look at what the market is offering based on factual research (Salary.sg, Glassdoor, Kelly Salary Guide) and clearly demonstrate your value to the organization.

4. Weak Research or Negotiation Preparation

With the number and variety of salary resources available online there is simply no excuse not know your market value. And you can even go beyond pure numbers.

Head over to Glassdoor to read about the reviews. The part that are listed under dislike could be your salary negotiation ammunition.

5. Making a Salary Pitch Too Early

Many job-seekers tend to ask about salaries and compensation too early in the game. Remember that the longer you wait, the more power you have.

That is why Greece keeps delaying acceptance of the deal given by EU even though they can. The ideal time for talking salary is when you are the final candidate standing and you get the job offer.

It is then you can get into the details about salary, bonuses, commissions, health insurance, and other perks. Much as we all work for money, there is a general perception that you are all in it for money. Weird yes but that is how it is.

6. Accepting Job Offer Too Quickly 

Job search nowadays is taking longer and longer. From application to offer, you could be looking at weeks and even months. I know of a candidate that went through 6 months from start to end.

And HR tend to rush the process when it reach the tail-end so they can quickly wrap things up. But even the best offers should be reviewed when you have clear head, without the pressure of your future boss or HR director staring at you.

Most employers are willing to give you some time to contemplate the job offer typically several days to a week. You only get this power once when the offer is on the table so take your time to bask in that moment and make sure you are getting the best possible deal.

7. Declining Job Offer Too Quickly

Many job-seekers also tend to reject job offers very quickly when the salary offered is much lower than than expected. In most cases you would probably be right to reject it but take time to consider it before giving an official rejection.

You want to be perceived as someone who looks at the full picture and not just fixated on the money, even if you are. Because words can get around and the next application you never hear from probably got wind of your money-mindedness.

Yes all these are supposed to be private and confidential. So are salaries but you still see co-workers sharing them during pantry talks. And you want to take a bit of time to analyse the entire offer. Google do not pay the best in the market but their perks and benefits more than make up for it.

8. Asking For Too Many Changes in Counteroffer

I had a candidate that asked for a counteroffer of 5% after the first offer was given. When they arrived, he asked for another 5% on some reason of his.

It pissed the hiring manager off and the whole offer was retracted. If you really like the role and the company, it is perfectly fine to make a counteroffer proposal.

But you have to pick the specific elements you wish to touch on. Expecting an entire overhaul is just plain unrealistic. Companies also have their own policies to adhere to and it doesn’t make sense for them to offend 50 others just to keep you happy.

If the salary is too low, focus on that aspect in a counteroffer. If you know the firm will not negotiate on salary, then focus on modifying a few of the other terms of the offer (such as additional vacation time, earlier performance reviews, signing bonus, etc).

9. Taking Salary Negotiations Personally

A candidate sent me a hate sms as he thought we low-balled him when we made the offer. Ok we did low-ball him but his reaction was totally uncalled for.

Until today I still remember his name and his application came in again 3 years later. We informed the client about what he did before as we do not want what happened to us to occur on our client.

Needless to say that added a bit of stumbling block to his application.

Whatever you do in this process, always stay professional in handling the negotiations. An offer was indeed given in the end even though it might not be what you had in mind.

And if negotiations break down between you and the employer, move on graciously, thanking the employer again for the opportunity. Burning any bridges is a no-no.

10. Not Asking for Final Offer in Writing

Once everything is said and done and you have received a job offer that you find acceptable, the last thing you should do is ask for the final offer in writing.

No legitimate employer will have issues with putting the offer in writing, so if yours balks at your request and accuses you of not having any trust and tries to bully you to accept the verbal agreement, take it as a MAJOR red flag that there is something seriously wrong.

We really look forward to your feedback, let us know if you liked it/ hated it or want to know more.


Seven worst resume mistakes to avoid

This article has been authored by Adrian Tan a seasoned recruitment strategist, it was featured on his blog in April 2013. This is one of those articles that doesn’t get old with with time instead gets more relevant by each passing day, as we compete for the time a recruiter spends on our resume.

More often than not, a company’s first impression of you comes in the form of a resume, a simple piece of paper that includes your work and educational history, typically on one to two pages. And this is not just in Singapore.

With such limited space to convey such important information, it pays to make sure you get it right the first time.

In our screening of hundreds of job seekers per week over the past nine years, we have identified seven of the most common mistakes people make when writing their resumes. While avoiding these mistakes won’t automatically win you the job of your choice, it will make sure you are on the right track

Mistake #1: Unprofessional/Outdated/Missing Photo

In the era of infographics, anything not presented aesthetically appealing falls short. Don’t be deceived by the so-called experts who deemed it as encouraging unfair employment. That is their practise back in the west. Asians are still a superficial bunch.

Mistake #2: Unreasonable Salary Expectations

Just because your investment banking friend got a 50% pay increment doesn’t mean you go around asking for the same percentage. Different industry comes with different parameters, and you may have forgotten your friend’s 50% increment comes with wearing 3 hats and a 16 hour work day.

Mistake #3: Lapse In Work History

So the last job was from Jan 2008 to Dec 2009. And the current job was from Jan 2009 to…. What the? This is the worst embellishment/oversight one can commit. If one can be so careless over a two pages document, the repercussion when hired would be even greater.

Mistake #4: Spelling/Typo Mistakes

Your résumé is your one chance to make a first impression. A typo or misspelled word can lead an employer to believe that you would not be a careful, detail-oriented employee. Spell-check software is not enough, since sentences like “Managing Steak Holders” would get the green light. Ask several people to proofread your résumé to be sure that it is free of typos and grammatical errors.

Mistake #5: One Liner Job Description

A full-time job that occupies forty four hours a week could not possibly be encapsulated with a single sentence. It reflects the shallowness of work actually rendered over the course of your past employment. And depth will show that you are a master of your trade.

Mistake #6: Hard-To-Accept Reason For Leaving

  • My manager was an idiot.
  • I had been late a lot and they let me go.
  • You pay more money.

Responses like this paint a very negative picture of you. Regardless of how you left your old job, you need to convince your new employer that you are 100% committed to them and if you get the job you won’t potentially cause problems later on.

Mistake #7: Inconsistent Font types/Poor Alignments

While the most important part of your resume is the content, there is no question that the document’s overall look and feel is also important. Illogical order, disorganization, and inconsistent format make your resume difficult to read. Use consistent formatting for headings and bullet points. It will prevent readers from thinking you copy-and-paste your resume.

For more career tips, visit http://www.recruitplus.com/

Do let us know if you found this article helpful and if you would like to read more of such articles or if anything else you want to read more about.

All Work and Some Play

All Work and Some Play: A Guide To Gamification In Workplace Training, was published by Skilledup in March 2015. The article talks about the use of gamification in the workplace. In context of gamification for recruitment they featured HackerTrail, below is the extract. If you wish to read full article click here:

Gamification & recruitment

Gamification has also been used in hiring, although results appear to be mixed. L’Oreal’s game Reveal and Marriott’s 2012 Farmville-style game My Marriott Hotel are attempts at this. While My Marriott Hotel was reported by Forbes to have not produced results and is no longer available on Marriott’s Facebook page, there are other gamified apps that are alive and well.

Case in point: HackerTrail, a business that pits developers against one another in a variety of online challenges. The winners of the challenges receive prizes — points, gift cards and the opportunity to interview with other companies for a job.

The company grew out of founder Tushar Tejuja’s experiences in corporate America.

“Having interviewed and hired over a hundred people in different countries, I experienced an absence of adequate and appropriate tools to tap the millennial mindset,” he says.

HackerTrail is still quite new. Tejuja launched the site in July of this year, and since then about 15 companies of all sizes and a department of the Singapore government have used the site to find workers.

The site allows employers to host their own challenges. They can invite specific candidates or open the challenge to the public. The intent is to sort through job applicants to find the best coders.

Why gamify recruitment? “This goes back to the need of tapping and engaging the Gen Y workforce,” Tejuja explains. “Even personally, thinking back on experiences of recruiting or being recruited, almost always there seemed to be a lack of consistency in the hiring process and a subjective method to filtering candidates. Gamification is a great way to spark interest and engage wider pool of candidates.”


Related Reading: From Zero to Hire in 10 days


Code your way to a new career

This article was originally published on IDA (Infocomm Development Authority) blog in March 2015.

“Technology will positively disrupt the way the recruitment industry operates, for recruiters, employers and candidates.”

Winners of the IDA HackerTrail challenge have the opportunity to play a more active role in the public sector’s digital transformation.

Winning a recent coding competition helped three young software engineers embark on a new career with the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to develop apps for various public agencies as part of the government’s digital transformation.

At the IDA HackerTrail challenge organised by the Government Digital Services division, contestants had to submit their problem-solving codes online timed against the clock. These were evaluated in real time by IDA’s coding engine which assigned a score and rank to each entry. Participants also had to respond to various scenario-based questions and case studies with their answers reviewed by an IDA panel.

Said Mr Mark Lim, Deputy Director of IDA’s Government Digital Services: “Software developers like to be challenged so we made this competition tough. Selecting candidates through a competition may not be new – Google does this – but what we have done is to tailor ours specifically to the requirements of the job, testing not just their technical skills but also their problem-solving abilities.”

Noting that the competition created quite a buzz within the industry, he added, “In a sense it’s a new way to brand IDA. With more than 200 people taking part, it allowed us to select the very best.”

Overall winner Mr Leow Wei Jie (left in picture above, with Mr Mark Lim), 29, said, “When I first heard of the online competition, I thought that I would just give it a try for fun. The competition was tough, quite tricky. Some of the codes I came up with worked in some situations but not others so I had to do quite a bit of thinking and tinkering around with my coding solutions.”

“I didn’t think I would win much less that it would be a stepping stone to a new job but it has all worked out well,” said Mr Leow, a former infocomm officer with another public agency who is now with IDA’s Government Digital Services.

The competition’s runner up, Mr Chong Yun Long, 25, said some time after the contest ended, a few of the participants were called up for interviews. “They showed us around IDA and the development work that it was doing. This was all very interesting and exciting. Everyone here is so professional with a high degree of technical skills. I couldn’t wait to get started.”

Taking third spot in the competition was Mr Goh Yew Tee. He, like the other two winners, joined IDA in February, working with Government Digital Services to provide solutions to various public agencies.

The Government Digital Services division helps spearhead the digital transformation of government by making use of emerging digital technologies and methodologies to develop solutions for citizen engagement and outreach.

Two of its recent innovations which received wide public acclaim for their user-friendly interfaces and appealing designs are the SingStat and OneService mobile apps.

The SingStat app provides convenient access to over 200 frequently requested statistics spanning across 25 data categories, including Population, Prices, Labour, Manufacturing, Services and International Trade. The data is presented in various chart formats and can be drilled down to provide more details.

There’s also the OneService app, which was launched by the Municipal Services Office, makes it more convenient for members of the public to send their feedback on municipal issues in Singapore. The app automatically routes each feedback to the relevant agency so that more timely service and response can be provided.

With the winners of the IDA Hackertrail now onboard, the general public can look forward to even more useful killer apps in future from the Government Digital Services division.

Read the original blog here.

From Zero to Hire in 10 days with HackerTrail

This Article was originally published on TECHINASIA, in Sept 2014.

Hiring is often a sign that good things are happening in a startup, whether it be that they just received funding, or have just gotten the go-ahead to expand their operations. On the other hand, it is also a very tiresome and excruciating process to undergo. An index created by University of Chicago economist Steven Davis revealed that US employers spend 25 working days on average to fill a position. That is essentially a month of under-productivity, and can cause a startup’s progress to sag in the meantime.

That’s not all. According to Tushar Tejuja, who has hired over a hundred people across several multinational corporations in different countries throughout his career, the recruitment landscape is chock full of problems:

“Firstly, candidate resumés look so similar, which makes it tough to distinguish actual skills, leading to false positives and false negatives. Secondly, it can be a very expensive process for employers who end up hiring a recruitment agency and paying them a fee of 15 to 25 percent of the hired employee’s annual salary. Thirdly, the entire recruitment process lacks transparency and engagement for the candidate and the employer, making it a ‘hit or miss’ for both.”

Having faced this problem for years, Tejuja eventually decided that enough was enough. Like many before him, he turned to technology to solve the problem of effectively sourcing and assessing talent – and so HackerTrail was born.

“We believe that one of the most critical challenges in the recruitment process today is the ability to match the right candidates to the right job,” he emphasizes. “At present, there is a fair bit of ‘noise’ in this area that ultimately impacts business productivity. In order to alleviate this noise, our focus has been on sourcing and selection of the right candidates.”

Putting the fun in hiring

HackerTrail is by no means the only recruitment-based startup out there. Locally, startups such as Glints and Ideatory are working hard to solve this issue as well. However, Tejuja says that they have set themselves apart from the rest with an emphasis on gamification in their recruitment process.

Here’s how it works. The HackerTrail team works with clients to translate the typical dry job descriptions into custom, gamified challenges, and candidates are then invited via social media to complete them. By reviewing the challenge outcomes, Tejuja claims that employers will be able to narrow down the right candidates and eventually find that perfect one.

Tejuja calls it a “win-win situation for both employers and candidates”, largely because gamification attracts more candidates to take up the challenges, as opposed to legacy job descriptions. “We focus a lot on the ‘Gen Y’ mindset. If you want more millennials to join your company, you need to get into their heads and see what excites them,” he emphasizes. “You need to find a way to get them interested.”

Here’s a peek at a recent campaign that HackerTrail created for the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA), in which they gave away a MacBook Air to the winner:

“The 15 to 20 percent fee that our clients save on recruitment usually goes into prizes that further entice candidates to give the challenges a shot,” Tejuja reveals with a smile.

At the moment, candidates can be assessed via objective coding challenges and/or subjective scenarios. “We work with our clients to translate a job description into challenges that make sense for that role,” Tejuja says.

From zero to hire in 10 days

Since launching in June, their client list has been growing steadily, including both early-stage startups and established MNCs alike. Their most recent client was the IDA – their biggest catch so far.

Things had initially started off slowly for them, though. Without proof of their prowess, their first clients had to take them on by faith. One of them was Singapore-based travel startup Flocations, which was looking to hire a web developer in Indonesia with a very specific set of skills – Python, Django, and AngularJS. “They had previously tried conventional methods of hiring, such as posting on job boards, to no avail – they had zero leads,” Tejuja explains.

Flocations managed to land a hire in just 10 days using HackerTrail. “Within a week, we had reached out to about 2,200 potential candidates, of whom 181 engaged with the social media campaign we had launched,” he recalls. “Of those, six took up the challenge, and we picked the best one.”

Tejuja adds that the team was able to set up the recruitment challenge in HackerTrail’s Job Campaign platform within just 10 minutes, and he claims that this is the norm for all the clients that they service. “We estimate that it takes about 15 to 20 minutes for recruiters to fill out a typical job description. We want to take even less time than that,” he says.

Creating a self-serve platform

In the near future, Tejuja wants to make this model scalable by creating a self-serve platform for HackerTrail’s clients where they will be able to create and control their own campaigns. For more complicated hires who would need to possess a variety of skills, the team will still have to work closely with the client to create a custom campaign.

Customization necessarily requires a certain amount of labor, and that’s typically hard to scale. However, Tejuja says that the team is structuring their current campaigns very carefully with the aim of creating templates for future clients.

As it is, the solution is tailored to sift out the best technical talent for the respective roles. How about other soft skills, such as communication and leadership, that are becoming increasingly more important in startups where most employees have to ‘double-up’? Tejuja assures Tech in Asia that challenges factoring in a soft skill component are currently in the works, and will indeed be included in campaigns very soon.

HackerTrail currently earns revenue by charging a flat-fee per campaign, or a ‘spec’ fee, which comprises of a lower initial fee with the rest coming in when the campaign is successful.

While the team has picked up some seed funding earlier this year, the startup is looking to raise another round to expand to the rest of Southeast Asia. Tejuja reveals that he wants to expand to Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines first as he sees a lot of opportunity there.

Read the original article here.

How to find a Job you love?

Do you ever wonder what’s the formula to find a great job? A company that does work you love, has office and people you would like, awesome salary, envious benefits work life balance etc etc…..in a nutshell a job that you would love.

The trick lies in knowing about the company, job role, culture, people, facilities and other things that are important to you, before accepting the job offer.

Oh wait! Job offer?? Is there a way to get one, apart from praying after submitting the resume?

“Hell yes! You dont believe me? Alright, spend 2 more minutes and finish reading this, I betcha you will.”

HackerTrail is the answer. But let me warn you right here, it’s not a shortcut it requires work, hard work.

What I can assure you is, it will be work done in right direction that will yield results for sure.

On one hand it will help you shine out from the crowd by giving you an opportunity to do more than just dropping a resume and on the other hand will give you all the information you need about the company.

All you need to do is,

  1. Register on www.hackertrail.com
  2. Complete your profile
  3. Click on hot jobs
  4. Apply by
    • submitting a resume
    • solving the challenge
  5. Sit and relax
    • We will send you all the information about the company
    • You can use Live Chat or whats app us on +6583181901 to get any clarifications you need
    • We will inform you about all the developments and next steps to be taken

Not enough? Alright you demanding fella! You can send us your questions for the hiring manager and we will help you get them answered.

Happy 🙂 ……. What, No!?

Hummmmmm….. ok! There are awesome prizes to be won if you crack the coding challenges. Prizes range from drones to apple watch to macbook and many more!

Know more about us, visit www.hackertrail.com .

Send me your questions, feedback, suggestions, comments, I’m all ears.

Post a comment below or Email: tt@hackertrail.com Tweet: @TusharTejuja

Welcome to HackerTrail’s blog!

Hola folks!

I’m Tushar, hacker turned hustler and part of the founding team @ HackerTrail, a cloud-based recruitment solution. We built this product to solve a very practical problem – to connect the right people with the right opportunity. And we’re working hard towards making IT recruitment as frictionless as possible. It’s a big ask and a big task, and we’re glad to have you with us on this journey.

This blog will serve as our way to share what we’ve learnt about owning and growing a career, and some tips and tricks to help each of us get ahead. We’ve barely scratched the surface with this, so a few questions to help us make this better:

  • Do you like the posts we’ve got on here?
  • What would you like us to cover? Salary reviews? Company highlights? AMA sessions with CTOs?
  • What is the ONE thing that you think will help you with your career?

The best suggestion every month will win a surprise gift, as a token of my appreciation for your effort. Reach out in any way you’d like – post a comment below / email me at tt@hackertrail.com  / or tweet me @tushartejuja

Do you think an Assessment = a Dream Job?

If your answer is No, read on and think again. If it is Yes, this post will tell you how to ace the assessments.

In today’s competitive job space where it might not be so difficult to get ‘A Job’ but is definitely very difficult to get a ‘Good Job’, assessments are playing an important role. More and more companies are investing time, effort and energy to use right kind of assessments to hire right candidates. There are companies that specialize in assessments to help employers hire better talent and for candidates to shine out in the crowd. [ HackerTrail is one of them 🙂 .]

Interestingly, the more senior the role, more likely an employer is to use an assessment. The tools vary from aptitude and personality tests to coding challenges to business scenario cases. Some assessments are in the form of challenges / games to make them fun.

Here is a very interesting article from ‘Harvard Business Review’ on how to Ace the Assessments and use them as an opportunity to shine.

Do let us know if you liked reading it and leave all your questions in the comments.

JavaScript Framework Comparison

Looking for a comparison between JavaScript frameworks? All you need is a simple Google search and the results throw pretty good list, isn’t it?

However, if you want to dig a little deeper and understand how choosing right framework can have a huge impact on your ability to deliver on time and ability to maintain the code in future, or on the other hand, if you want to know origin of those frameworks, the overall features they provide and how they compete for different use cases, it becomes slightly tricky.

This post will give you a few points to start. This is a list of some best write ups that answer such coding challenges, you will need to spend some time to read these blogs but we assure you it will be worth!

  1. An in-depth comparison of AngularJS vs. Backbone vs. Ember by Airpair . It will help you choose the right one for your need so that you can deliver on time and at the same time keep your options open on the forever evolving web. In this blog article Uri Shaked starts with a little background and history of the frameworks and then dives deeper to compare them.
  2. The next one is by Developer Economics, it focuses on comparing key features from some of the leading JavaScript MV* frameworks. If you like this you can go ahead and read the part 2 of the same article that gives insights on market related qualities.
  3. If you are looking for some actual examples, Todo MVC is the place.
  4. Lastly, here is a piece that gives you an overview on which javascript libraries to watch for, in 2015. It gives some direction on where to start and what to keep an eye on.

It is one thing to learn a language but is a continuous process to keep that acquired skill updated so that you can bring it to practical use.

Do let us know if you found this useful to update you skill and what else would you like to hear about? Or if you have any question for us, shoot them through the comments.