Gareth Christian Lim of Recii tells us how to qualify candidates at scale with conversational AI.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Gareth Christian Lim: It’s been a crazy 12 months – it’s wild to think we’ve passed the one year anniversary of the first lockdown! It’s been tough, but, business-wise it’s been good for us. It’s allowed us to really assess where we are and where we want to go. The COVID-19 pandemic presented opportunities for growth in ways we didn’t really consider before.
Personal life-wise, it’s been…fun! I have a young family and a wife who also works full-time in an NHS front line role. Trying to juggle homeschooling alongside it all has been interesting, but equally, we’ve enjoyed being around so much, we might not get an opportunity like it again!
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Recii.
Gareth Christian Lim: So, after realizing I wasn’t quite as cut out for professional rugby as I thought, I decided to go for the obvious second choice – software development! I’ve been really fortunate to have a successful career with a real interest in Machine Learning, AI and Blockchain.
During this journey, I was introduced to the recruitment world, where I quickly learned about the industry.
I was asked to present to execs of some leading recruitment companies about AI and the emergence of chatbots. In the end, I threw in a crazy concept on the future of tech and where it can go. After multiple sign up requests for a concept, I decided to research it, raise some money and launch it. Recii was born!
How does Recii innovate?
Gareth Christian Lim: Recii is an automated people engagement platform utilizing the latest voice technology. Our platform is an intuitive Artificial Learning platform that operates in an omnichannel format to allow candidates to undergo a self-assessment.
Each interaction is a confidential two-way conversation across Recii’s Voice, WhatsApp, Text, and WebChat channels to establish a candidate’s suitability for a position. Our innovative voice-driven solution, along with our engagement funnel, significantly improves candidate engagement rates, candidate experience, diversity and inclusion and reduces bias. Combined with increased operational efficiencies by reducing time and costs in the recruitment process, Recii is an essential part of any recruitment process.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Gareth Christian Lim: The pandemic has had a huge impact on our business. With 80% of the market we service grinding to a halt overnight, it really did take its toll on the business. As a result, we had to make some very tough decisions, “hibernate”, and then rebuild. We rebuilt stronger and identified new opportunities, but it is about being able to see the opportunities that have allowed us to sustain and grow in a post-pandemic world.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Gareth Christian Lim: Like a lot of businesses, we, unfortunately, did have to make some tough decisions. We put people first in Recii, and the same rule applied when it came to the pandemic. We wanted to keep people safe and ensure they felt supported. We moved to a WFH set-up 3 weeks before the official government date and vowed to maintain a high level of communication.
Lessons learnt? Maybe we should have gone into hibernation mode sooner. Although we took every precaution to protect and look after the staff, we ran all business functions for too long into the pandemic, when we should have reduced the overheads sooner and raised more money in the fundraise just in case. The big error we made was overestimating the recovery of the economy and the duration of the virus still being potent.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Gareth Christian Lim: Communication, communication, communication! The first couple of weeks into the pandemic, we were really transparent with our customers. They felt nervous and obviously a bit uncertain of the future. We could have gone hard and forced people to remain in contracts or kept harsh SLAs in place but, we didn’t.
We had open conversations with our customers setting expectations and working our processes to help each other out. I think we really learnt that there is no one solution; each customer is different, and so are their challenges.
Thankfully, we’re now getting more inbound queries than ever, and customers that paused contracts during the height of the pandemic are now coming back around.
I think it’s a real testament to the team and a nod to how we want to run our business – fairly and with transparency.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did that help keep your business afloat?
Gareth Christian Lim: We did – I don’t know a business that didn’t!! We had to furlough a few staff members in the early months, and we also received a bounce-back loan that helped. Overall, I think we fared pretty well.
We’re a lean but efficient team, so luckily, we didn’t have any redundancies or anything.
Your final thoughts?
Gareth Christian Lim: I’m really proud of the team and how we coped through the pandemic. We still gained clients, won awards, innovated..!
I think it’s important for people to remember that despite all the adversity, we each managed to persist, survive and find solutions.