22-year-old undergraduate student Nicholas Shekerdemian has celebrated massive success and has been named as one of 2017’s ‘most exciting young entrepreneurs to watch’ in several reports, after his ground-breaking Headstart app was a finalist and award winner in the ‘Disrupt HR’ competition at HR Tech World in Paris. Signing up over 20,000 students in just 6 months, the app which he co-founded and launched with experienced tech entrepreneur Jeremy Hindle has been named as one of the 50 most disruptive companies in 2017.
The Headstart App is being widely touted as the future of entry-level recruitment. A simple, automated, one-stop solution, the innovative platform integrates with existing corporate recruitment systems and ensures accurate, non-discriminatory job matching.
In the six months since this innovative new student recruitment system went live, nearly 20,000 students (circa 56% female and 50% STEM) have signed up to use Headstart App and the company has grown a loyal network of student ambassadors in over 100 universities across the UK.
Accessing an untapped talent pool
Clients such as RBS, BP, Expedia, Accenture and the Financial Conduct Authority have joined the likes of Vodafone and L’Oréal in using the system to help ensure truly diverse, talented and suitable entry-level intakes. Hundreds of start-ups have also started using the product as a means of accessing a previously untapped talent pool.
Head of Marketing and Attraction for Early Careers at RBS, Katie Cripps, explained what it was that drew the banking giant to Headstart App.
“The Headstart App system is an innovative way for us to combine our assessment criteria with our attraction messages through a mobile platform – unique in today’s market. It provides us with a simple communications channel to reach potential candidates beyond the normal methods.”
Unparalleled levels of diversity
Unlike rival platforms, Headstart App – which has attracted significant industry support and seed funding – doesn’t rely solely on qualifications and work experience to filter applicants. Rather, it is a unique and innovative Applicant Matching System which creates a detailed ‘fingerprint’ for every applicant utilising neural networks and machine learning. This ‘fingerprint’ considers personality, interests, skills and demographic background, as well as traditional criteria such as qualifications and experience. Headstart App’s learning algorithms continually work to match applicants with the best ‘fit’ roles, pulling data from multiple online sources and significantly reducing unconscious bias.
Vodafone is one company expecting to reap the benefits of this innovative recruitment tool to help ensure maximum inclusion of all underrepresented demographics.
“Effective applicant matching will continue this process,” says the company’s Global Head of Resourcing and Employer Brand, Catalina Schveninger, “by helping to educate and guide our recruiters to reduce subconscious bias utilising contextual algorithms to make the process fairer and more inclusive. In this context, the focus is purely around determining and identifying suitability for a role. Real time analytics mean that we can tailor and amend requirements as the cycle progresses to continually ensure a best match.”
Echoing those sentiments, BP’s VP HR, Simon Ashley, said:
“Diversity and inclusion is one of our core objectives as a business and we believe that Headstart App will help build our brand awareness with diverse and different groups of students who wouldn’t normally think of working for BP.”
New event-based engagement platform
BP is one of several organisations that are also interested in the latest offering from Headstart App; a targeted, event-based engagement platform that complements the Applicant Matching System. Clients can now use the system to not only identify best-suited candidates online using Headstart’s Applicant Matching System, but can also engage students ahead of the recruitment process, on campus.
This new dimension to Headstart’s platform is a revolutionary answer to campus recruitment inefficiencies; especially for those organisations with a focus on engaging with a broader range of students from underrepresented backgrounds. Using predictive algorithms, as well as an extensive network of student societies, it helps companies find well-suited candidates quicker, even before an application is made.
Companies can now engage directly with students across the UK by running highly targeted events for candidates who fit both the recruitment criteria for a role and the culture of the organisation.