Episode 2 of Diamondpick’s exclusive podcast – Hireside Chats aired on Valentine’s Day featuring a fitting and heart-warming conversation about successful matchmaking and how it translates to attracting and hiring today’s talent.
Our host SatJ caught up with an industrious leader in his field, Mr. Rajesh Balaji Sathyanarayanan, CHRO of Matrimony.com – a market leader and a trusted brand in almost every Indian household. Mr. Rajesh has over 25 years of extensive experience ranging from Consulting, Banking to platform-based new-age D2C industry.
Drawing from his experience leading a matchmaking business, Mr. Rajesh talks about,
- How an all-encompassing platform-based business has the power to create such a huge impact;
- The importance of data and analytics in making interesting people matches and
- How matchmaking platforms inspire talent acquisition apps to attract today’s talent with a simple and digitally focused experience.
The fascinating conversation uncovered the parallels between matchmaking and recruiting along with the recent market trends in platform-based business success. Be sure to catch all the interesting analogies and theories on the engineering behind successful platforms and relationships.
Mr. Rajesh also spoke about our 2023 Talent Playbook for Enterprises that outlines innovative strategies to navigate today’s changing talent landscape. Download your exclusive copy here.
Hireside Chats Episode 2: From Swipe Right to Hire Right: Matchmaking in the Modern World
SatJ: Let’s kick things off by you telling us a little bit about what you have been up to these days and what you are looking forward to in 2023.
Rajesh: So, a little bit about me, I have around 25 years of experience, predominantly in banking. I was fascinated by the platform business and joined matrimony.com to understand how the platform business operates. I hear the next decade, or two is going to be about the dominance of the aggregators, and matrimony.com is an early bird in this space, and continues to dominate the market.
In my view, around 80% of the workforce globally is in the unorganized sector, and in India, it is about 90 to 95%. Aggregators play a critical role in making things more organized, and the benefit of that is how this organized, unorganized sector will create a future competency for the country as a whole. This is because we have a lot of data, information and trends, that the industry and the government can apply to grow and expand the organized sector. So that was my fundamental interest in joining matrimony.com.
In 2023, I look forward to further consolidation in this space. For example, we recently acquired a company called Shadi Saga that offers wedding services. This helps provide value-added services apart from matchmaking to provide an end-to-end service. We start with matchmaking and move on to offer, Mandap rentals, catering, hiring of a music band etc. There is a huge market for this especially in North India, where the wedding festivities involve a lot of functions and parties. We bring all these people into one platform. We currently have 150,000 service providers in this newly created wedding services platform. So that is what has me excited for 2023 to learn how it grows and how it connects back to talent.
SatJ: Let’s talk a little bit more about matrimony.com. We all know that it is a very trusted brand in almost every Indian household. Now, why don’t you tell us about how this platform has created such a big impact today. And gone on to become the market leader in the matchmaking space. What do you think is the secret sauce behind this unrivaled success?
Rajesh: Matrimony.com is a company that specializes in matchmaking as you know, empowering people to find their own partners. So the main purpose of the company is to create a better society and, ultimately a better world. For example a better society is created by good citizens, and good citizens are created by good parenting, good partners produce good kids and if they parent their kids well, they create an evolved society and these evolved societies will contribute to an evolved world.
Keeping this purpose at the core, we have created a platform where potential people look for partners. They are given an enormous amount of choices where they are empowered to choose like-minded people. Our platform is supported by solid fundamentals or a vertical of product, technology, data sciences, and great customer service.
So to sum it up, we have a purpose and a vehicle to drive our purpose – our platform. This platform is supported by enhanced technology, a great product, data sciences, and unparalleled customer experience.
Everything we do will ultimately connect back to our purpose. For example, in this room, both of us have apps like Swiggy or Zomato or Urban Clap. Similarly, in almost every Indian household where there is a potential groom and a bride of marriageable age they will have matrimony.com or Bharat Matrimony apps. We integrated everything from matchmaking to wedding services into their mobile phones. So that every household that is looking for a groom or a bride, will have our app on their phone. So we take a lot of pride in that particular aspect.
SatJ: In a high touch industry like yours how do you think technology integrates into the product to create an enhanced user experience? And just as a follow on to that, we know that analytics and data play a very critical role in matchmaking success, like you rightly described in the verticals that you have. But can you tell us a little bit about how you leverage data and knowledge to deliver an enhanced product?
Rajesh: The fundamental function of data and knowledge in our platform is to protect our customers. Safety of the customer from fraudulent activities is our primary goal. We integrate data sciences and technology like photo intelligence to pick out and reject fake photos like that of celebrities to avoid any deceit.
Secondly technology and data helps us to identify and track trends in terms potential bride/groom likes and dislikes, interests etc. Gone are the days when people were only interested in financial status and profession. Today it is all about similar interests like traveling, hiking, cycling etc. So data and technology enable that kind of evolving personality match.
Thirdly, to craft the future business models. Trends are identified to help craft a product or a service as an extension of our existing services.
So data and technology helps us in these three ways. We have 3 very clear models of revenue. First our breadwinner of the family – the matchmaking business which brings in revenue for the organization. The next one is our teenage kids – who will be future breadwinners – the ground-breaking value added service like Jodi which reaches out to the urban society to make matches at a more vernacular level. Jodi is a product, which is our future or a cash cow. And third our babies – new ideas powered by AI that have the potential to germinate to a future business model. So technology, AI and ML helps to keep our business robust.
We at Diamondpick are also in a very similar business. We do matchmaking, but between employers and employees. This idea is inspiring us to start looking at the next generation of potential employees and employers and start building products and solutions to suit that population.
SatJ: What are some of the other interesting and unique people matches that you have come across? Share some examples of some very unique things that you are doing at Matrimony.
Rajesh: Interestingly India is still a country run by community, caste, religion etc. but there are certain segments who cut across all these, and they are communities of their own. For example civil services – they don’t care much for caste, community or religion, they are a community of their own. Similarly LGBTQ platform is one that we recently launched which was a runaway success for us and no other organizations have launched this from the matchmaking point of view. Divorcee match is another interesting product which comes under the top two or three line items for us from a revenue and a business point of view. Another interesting one is doctor matrimony with a community of their own who understand and value each other.
So these are the interesting people matches, and going back to your previous question of how we arrive at these platforms – through data analytics that keeps feeding in information that helps us curate and build specific micro-platforms.
SatJ: I recently read, and I’m sure you read this buzz online about how this new grad ended up pitching for a job to his match on a popular dating app and actually landed a job interview. It has sparked quite a chatter online and people are calling dating apps the new LinkedIn. These uncertain times call for innovative and new ways for employers and employees to find each other. And this sure is an example of recruiting out of the box. While it is unique I think it’s an underutilized equipment strategy that is certainly worth exploring. Don’t you think so, Rajesh?
Rajesh: Definitely. It is an evolving model especially when it comes to organizations which are into platform D2C businesses. When you have a platform that so many people use, the people themselves become potential employees for us, especially when you carry a brand in the market.
During the recent great resignation, we tried every possible way of hiring, one of them was banner ads with our platform. We have 4 million active users on our platform, many of whom are technology people, data experts, doctors or engineers etc. We created advertisements that received an average of 1000-1500 impressions of which around 10% of them sent their resumes to us. So we used our very own platform and audience to hire talent.
SatJ: It’s no wonder matchmaking platforms have inspired job hunting apps to incorporate very similar functionality. To attract and hire the new generation talent we probably need to meet them where they are at, on their phones, with a very simple and digitally focused job application experience.
SatJ: Recruiting and matchmaking, seem to have and share much in common. Employment is also a relationship that requires some level of courting, intimacy and trust that needs to be developed and compatibility tested.
Let’s quickly shift focus to talent. As a CHRO, I know you’ve worked in multiple businesses, multiple corporations, and you have a lot of experience to share. So can we capitalize on the best practices of matchmaking to enhance our recruiting efforts and create the perfect marriage between talent and employers? Is it as easy as it sounds?
Rajesh: It is definitely not easy. The market keeps evolving and changing and so does our talent strategy. We have seven mantras, in talent strategy, and everything revolves around that. Be it the tools or technology that we introduce, or new policies and processes that we launch.
So the first one is clear that talent creates value and not money. In business or in the HR function, having the right recruiters is key, because separation is very painful. If you hire right, you don’t get yourself into a painful process of separation. So when in doubt hold off any hiring decision making do some further search to find the right candidate. Product companies have the luxury of choosing the people they want. Service companies on the other hand, where the headcount matters, every hire requires careful decision making to hire right.
Another important mantra is that promotion is a serious activity. We don’t just promote people based on time or tenure. We spend time managing succession plans for critical roles only, we identify critical roles and then spend enormous amounts of time in creating a succession plan. So if you look at, at any given point of time, we have three layers of succession ready to roll at any point.
And then as a culture questioning the status quo we question everybody from the CEO or the CFO, or a data scientist, or even a process.
And lastly we are very good at embracing tools in the market to enhance the employee experience. Like our entire increment and appraisal process which is an automated tool with no excels, or standard ERP etc.
SatJ: The mantras and the philosophy that you articulated can be a perfect template for most organizations to follow, because these are simple yet very impactful.
My last question to you is with regard to your comments around the recent market trends in the platform based hiring and talent solutions, what are your thoughts about it?
Rajesh: The interesting market trends revolve around how talent will look like in the future. The current trends, tools and technologies will become redundant, looking at the way talent is evolving. For example, after ChatGPT being projected as a huge game changer the role of technology and the role of technologists will have to be redefined.
We will all have to go back to the drawing board to re-look our whole talent strategy and solutioning for the future. Recruiters will become very precious and their time even more precious. We need to adopt tools which will actually shortlist, automatically and throw only the fit profiles in line with organization requirements and future goals. I’m going back to the painful separation part, it’s important to be conscious of how we hire.
Also referring to Diamondpick’s 2023 Talent Playbook completely aligns to the thoughts of how a platform led approach should be end-to-end integrated leading to enhanced candidate experience that is here to stay. The technologies, the tools, the solutions will keep changing, but the concept is not going to change. So that is how I would look at the solutioning and the future trends and our adaptation of it.
SatJ: Those are some very interesting analogies that you made between matchmaking and talent acquisition. Recruiting today’s generation of talent is definitely more of a courtship than a resume ranking exercise, and the use of data and technology is critical to elevate candidate experience to attract today’s talent. And of course, finding, retaining and developing talent, like you rightly said, in this uncertain landscape, is very critical as competition for star candidates remains high.
In closing, what do you think is a secret to successful relationships be it at businesses or in our own personal lives?
Rajesh: The world is changing, as we speak, aspirations are changing, our kids are growing up faster and going through a lot more disruptions. Similarly at work, things are changing with new technologies like ChatGPT, and Google’s AI putting forth a question – what is the future looking like?
So to be successful on both fronts is empathetic connections. The world is moving at a pace that we can’t keep up, empathy becomes very important. Connections without empathy are no good. In my view, creating empathetic connections is going to create a successful society. That includes work and family.
If you enjoyed this episode, please leave a review or share this on your social. For more details, listen to the Podcast – ‘From Swipe Right to Hire Right: Matchmaking in the Modern World, available on all your favorite podcast platforms.
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Also don’t miss Episode 3 – Embracing Equity, an IWD special that features a stimulating conversation with 2 very powerful women in their fields.