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Social Impact Hiring in Times of Crisis

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Aanas Ali Devcurate

We talked to Aanas Ali, Founder and CEO of Devcurate about career innovation that Bridges impact-driven talents and organizations and here is what he said about it.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Aanas Ali: Thanks for asking! We are handling these tricky times okay so far, trying to keep ourselves safe and looking at small things in life that can keep us motivated and hopeful. 

Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Devcurate.

Aanas Ali: Prior to starting Devcurate, I spent a decade in the social impact sector, working for the United Nations and several NGOs as Project Manager and Strategist, where I developed the passion for social innovation and saw opportunities that I wanted to address at scale. One in particular stemmed from my frustration with a rather inefficient approach to applying for numerous positions and hiring many others within the sector. I wanted to create a system where talent, including young people, quickly find their niche in their careers and have jobs (and employers) that are aligned with their purpose and value presented to them in a better way.  

How does Devcurate innovate? 

Aanas Ali: Beyond our sector-focused, AI which helps people get exposed to the right jobs and employers get presented with the right talent, we try to maximize the matchmaking activity in a way that creates a positive lasting experience for both the supply and demand side. This means, a happier talent for landing and doing their jobs (and contributing to social causes they’re passionate about), and organizations improving talent performance and retention – well, first of all, meeting the right candidates more quickly.  

In a nutshell, we’re tackling the general lack of “suitability” in skill sets and “compatibility” in human-side of candidates with the help of our video screening and assessment tools. In the long-term we hope to be able to tackle the skills gap crisis in the workforce, matching new skills in demand, which, for better or worse, are being accelerated today at the helm of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?

Aanas Ali: We have been affected since the first wave of the pandemic due to the shift in hiring perception and practice. It was a challenging period, but also a blessing in disguise. The changing employment landscape has given us a lot of valuable insights and feedback from our partners. This allowed us to keep adapting and finding new solutions so that we can continue to add value to the ecosystem, both on the talent and employer side. 

Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?

Aanas Ali: Connected to my previous point, the pandemic has made our team more agile and look at the bigger picture. One of the realizations I had was that nothing is more important than people. Internally, it is about our human resources that ultimately defines both our capability and limitation – how we work together more efficiently while allowing each member to thrive in their own professional journey. But it’s also about who we serve – the people that look for jobs and those that look for talent. If you have to start somewhere, it’s always people.

How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?

Aanas Ali: In our first year of operations, we relied heavily on direct user feedback using tools like NPS or surveys, but as our operations became more complex, we realized that decisions need to be informed by data, and so we adopted more sophisticated tools to help weigh our options. In addition to Hotjar and other data analytics software, we continue using our own Asynchronous Video Interviewing tool (VANDA) to manage our users and collect feedback. 

Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?

Aanas Ali: We were awarded seed grants by Thailand’s Digital Economy Promotion Agency (Depa), National Innovation Agency (NIA) and National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) in our first year which did help us get a headstart with our product development and market testing. As we all know, lack of funding continues to be one of the hurdles that prevent many entrepreneurs from rising to the occasion, to bring new innovation to the world. We appreciate the support received from these institutions. What is refreshing to see is, there appear to be more funding opportunities, including impact funding, since the start of the pandemic one can tap into. So, I hope that this can help more aspiring and new entrepreneurs out there.  

Your final thoughts?

Aanas Ali: The prolonged crisis is ugly and demoralizing. One of the dangers we are facing, aside from the virus, is the danger of losing hope and the prospect of pursuing our dreams and achieving great things for ourselves and others. Since we spend so much time working, either now or tomorrow, more people started to move away from jobs to more meaningful careers that speak to them on a personal level. As an impact-driven startup, I hope my team and I can play a small part in turning this around with our career innovation and ecosystem of supporters around the world. And all is more than welcome to join us! 

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