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Hiring at Zomato: How to ensure quality hires in a fast-growing and global team

May 17, 2017

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Hiring at Zomato: How to ensure quality hires in a fast-growing and global team

7 min read

You may have heard of or used Zomato. Zomato is an app lets you search, discover, rate, and review almost any restaurant in the world. You can easily create your own personal networks of foodies for trusted recommendations, with in-depth information covering:

  • 23 countries
  • Over 1 million restaurants
  • Over 90 million visits a month globally
zomato logo

 

Have you ever wondered: What kind of team is behind this great service, achieving success at such a large scale? In the following talk, Ashish Kumar, Global Recruitment & Initiatives at Zomato, shares with Hagi Trinh from Recruitee the secrets of maintaining the quality of hire that propels Zomato to every corner of the world. Some key points of the talk:

  • Internal referrals have proven to be one of the best sources.
  • Taking good care of the inbound applications through Zomato’s careers site.
  • Ensuring your best process to hire folks who fit the organization culture.
  • Having the discipline to complete the hiring process and close all the loops.

Hiring is a puzzle to many companies. Could you walk me through your typical hiring process?

Our typical hiring process starts with understanding the job requirements and the criticality from the hiring managers. Then we create the respective job descriptions following them and then effectively get them live on our careers site through Recruitee. Upon receiving applications, the recruitment team would screen them, call them, and thereby select them for interviews. When we have a high number of positions to fill, we advertise the job openings on various social media channels, such as our respective Facebook page and company LinkedIn page.

It is also very important to encourage those involved directly in the hiring process to ensure that every person within the team spreads the words within their network. We do not proactively work with external partners.

Have you seen many good hires coming from referrals? That’s what we have heard from many other companies.

Yes, we have. We are encouraged to hire folks who resonate with Zomato culture and way of working. Your team is the best judge of it. We consistently thrive to hire folks who are better than us.

Do you have a special referral program for your employees?

No, we don’t have an on-going referral policy. We encourage teams to give referrals as much as possible to build their teams.

Could you share with me how you shortlist candidates?

When we receive resumes, either through referral or through the careers site, the initial screening of all the CVs is based on certain parameters per role – it depends mainly on what skill set we’re hiring for. These parameters are spread across our skills required for the role, relevant past experience, and our operating principles. After a brief screening process over a call, the recruitment team schedules the interview with the hiring manager.

Are there different members of the team involved in every step of the hiring process?

Yes, the roles are assigned to the recruiters who work on them from requisition to closure. A dedicated recruiter managing the lifecycle of candidates ensures a better candidate experience, as well as helping them align well with the hiring managers contextually. The respective recruiters often conduct the initial screening rounds. The selected candidates then interact with the interview panel through consecutive rounds. For most junior and mid-level roles, there are usually three rounds of interviews.

 

Culture fits: deal-makers or deal-breakers

Could you tell me what is the most important thing you look for in candidates? You mentioned skills and culture. Which one is more important?

I would say being culturally aligned is the most important. Skills can be trained to a large extent.

How do you know if someone is a culture fit or not?

We have a certain set of operating principles which we adhere to. The conversations in the interview process are in line with these principles which guide us to broadly identify the right fit.

Could you tell me what is the most challenging element in hiring?

As a high-growth startup in our space, we struggle to find the right talent who fits the culture of the organization.

Because Zomato is so international, how do you decide on culture fit with people coming from different backgrounds?

The parameters of our operating principles are a representative of the organization as a whole, they are not made in a silo. This is the organization fabric that holds us together.

However, each city has its nuances of the local culture which is necessary to adhere to. The local leadership in each city works in tandem with the recruitment team in hiring to ensure that we hire the right fit.

Sounds great! For how long have you had the operating values?

We have had them for a while and are continuously working on ensuring that the principles are cascading across all teams.

 

Discipline in hiring

What is the most important thing that you have learned and adopted in the hiring process?

I would not say in term of learning, but internalizing and absorbing that we, as the recruitment team, are the gatekeepers of the organization’s culture.

In terms of a process, the most important thing is building a sense of discipline, an appreciation for the complete process of recruitment and bringing in a personal touch while handling candidates in the process – being responsive to them is a part of it.

That affects the candidate experience a great deal, right?

I think the candidate experience with Zomato has been extremely good. If a candidate is not a fit at this very moment for a requirement, they could be fit for other roles in the coming quarters – the team ensures that they keep the conversations always going on with them. There have been testimonies to that.

From the time the candidates apply to being interviewed, to being selected or not, the candidate experience doesn’t differ from person to person. It has to be the same. Candidates expect a response when they apply, be it through job portals or through our careers site. We try our best to interact with all applications we receive and close the loop.

That’s really important. I have heard from many candidates that they don’t hear anything from the companies they applied to. One thing I notice here: you have a lot of team members in Recruitee. You are one of the most collaborative hiring teams we have. How do you manage such a big hiring team?

At Zomato, hiring is everyone’s responsibility. Managing the recruitment process is usually a small group’s key responsibility, but hiring at Zomato is every unit and every function’s responsibility – they’re hiring people to grow their teams after all. At Zomato, we’ve always had a collaborative approach. Hence, if there is a requirement within any of these functions, someone from these functions is part of the recruitment process and helps the recruitment team at different hiring stages. Leadership across the board has been part of the hiring process at a certain stage of their career, I think. Hence, there are so many people in Recruitee. So the recruitment team leverages support from Recruitee.

That is really cool. My last question: what is your advice for teams who want to hire and grow internationally?

Stay true to your organization’s culture, and always thrive to hire folks who could be better than you.

Closing all the loops

The way Zomato maintains their high quality of hire can sound simple: involve everyone in the company and close all the loops of the hiring process. But to actually execute that, consistently, globally, takes effort and discipline. No wonder Zomato has been able to expand their service exponentially. We can’t wait to see how much more Zomato will grow in the future!

Hagi is an experienced content professional with a passion for Recruitment and HR Tech. She has written about everything from talent sourcing tips to data security guidelines.
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