Razorpay, one of the major players in India offering fast payment solutions to many businesses and companies such as merchants, schools and the e-commerce industry, has a robust and very untraditional way of sourcing tech talent.
Generally, campus hiring forms the major part of the talent-acquisition strategy in the IT services sector, which demands the maximum tech talent in the country. Companies such as Wipro, Infosys and TCS identify the talent at a very early stage and hire in thousands from campuses.
However, this is not the case with Razorpay. Speaking exclusively with HRKatha, Chitbhanu Nagri, SVP-people operations, Razorpay, says that most of the Company’s tech hiring happens through employee referrals. “Almost 40 per cent of our tech talent comes from employee referrals and the larger part of our talent-acquisition strategy focuses on hiring laterally,” shares Nagri.
Employing about 1800 people in India, working from various locations, Razorpay has been very particular about having in place a robust talent pipeline.
When Harshil Mathur and Shashank Kumar founded Razorpay, they were well aware that all companies run on the sheer talent of their people. And therefore, from the very start, they have been particular about getting the right talent in the Company. While most founders and start-up entrepreneurs focus majorly on attracting investors, Mathur and Kumar, from the very beginning, considered people as the most crucial part of the business. “The 10th employee of Razorpay was an HR manager. Many firms follow the practice of hiring an HR person only when they reach a considerable number of employees, say a 100 or 500,” mentions Nagri.
With the source of talent at Razorpay being employee referrals from the very beginning, the Company has constituted a central referral body, where employees can refer candidates who can be further explored and evaluated for hiring.
“I have seen many candidates get frustrated when they come to know that they are being evaluated on skills which they do not really require at the job”
Chitbhanu Nagri, SVP-people operations, Razorpay
When employees refer someone, their own reputation is at stake. Therefore, if the experience with a referred candidate turns out to be bad, the employees themselves are de-motivated to refer any of their contacts in the future.
So the Company ensures that the candidates get a fast feedback and as Nagri shares with HRKatha, if they are found to be fit to work for the Company, they are given an offer letter within five to six days.
Additionally, to make the hiring process more transparent and fair, the Company hires people for tech roles basis the skills they bring to the table alone.
For this, Razorpay has designed a skill-based assessment process and every tech talent is assessed on the basis of their skills pertaining to their role and job profile.
Nagri shares with HRKatha that generally Razorpay looks for tech talent in the form of front-end developers, back-end developers and Devops individuals. At Razorpay, for each of these profiles, one is not required to know all kinds of programming language. The coding language that back-end developers would require to know as part of their job profile would be very different from what front-end developers or Devops individuals are expected to know. “I have seen many candidates get frustrated when they come to know that they are being evaluated on skills which they do not really require at the job,” observes Nagri.
The Company has also designed a full-stack hiring guideline handbook for all hiring managers, which lays down the manner of approaching candidates while evaluating them. As per the guidelines, all candidates and potential employees are made fully aware of the skills they will be evaluated on and what they should expect as part of their evaluation assignment. Nagri recalls an interesting incident, where one of the candidates had shared his experience on social media, saying that even though he could not make it to the merit list, he was very impressed with the evaluation process. This candidate was appreciative of how the Razorpay team had given him a feedback on why he was not selected for the job.
“Many a time, when candidates appear for an interview or an assessment, they are clueless about what is going to happen,” mentions Nagri.
Yet another unconventional way of sourcing talent for Razorpay revolves around building networks. Many of the tech engineers and developers make connections in the respective coders’ community, such as Github. If they like the coding samples of the others, they extend them an invitation to join Razorpay. If the prospective employees are found to be fit to work for the Company, they are hired.
Why would employees take the trouble to look for talent in the market? After all, it is not their job, and many people are very particular about not doing anything beyond their KRA. The referral awards, as shared by Nagri, are also not that lucrative. The amount is minimal. However, it is the culture at Razorpay that motivates employees.
One of the tenets of the culture at Razorpay has been ‘Razorpay grows with Razors’, which means that the Company admits that it can only grow and reach new heights with the help of its people (razors). “Going out of the way has always been part of our culture and employees take this onus and responsibility on their shoulders,” points out Nagri proudly.
“Moreover, such a quick and smooth process of hiring and inducting talent empowers our existing employees to give more referral,” adds Nagri.
With a smooth hiring process in place, Razorpay has managed to take on the best talent so far. Nagri, however, does not shy away from admitting that as a tech product based firm, they also face various challenges in attracting the best of talent in the market. The demand is always high and every company is targeting the same talent pool to fulfil its resource needs.