What is CandidateX to me?
Rather than wow you with sharp marketing lines, I am going to explain what CandidateX means to me in very simple and direct terms. Simple and direct is how you will probably judge a lot of my blogs!
CandidateX is a social movement that will challenge the bias and unfair nature, processes and propositions within our professional environment.
How will we do this?
We will achieve this vision by building a community (crowd) of substantial numbers. On the 17th February, CandidateX started this journey with the launch of its website, followed by a social media campaign to raise awareness and attract individuals/organisations who share the same values.
It started circa three years ago when Jonathan (co-founder) and I sat down to talk about our business (then a two-year-old recruitment business). We discussed how the journey had progressed, what we had learned, what we liked and disliked. Importantly, we discussed what we could do differently. It was the latter that resonated with us, and we knew deep down that we needed to change.
It was at this point in my career that I started to reflect on my own experiences of how unfair the recruitment process was, and ultimately how this would affect my children (then six and three). If any of you have seen the movie, it was my Jerry Maguire moment… I’d had enough, and it was time to do something about it.
I have personally experienced/witnessed discrimination at points in my career, but on most occasions in my younger years, I just got on with things.
Straight out of education I set upon applying for jobs. Experiencing limited call backs and interviews, I started to play around with my name on my CV. I changed from Sunil to Simon – interestingly, I received a lot more responses. It was not until I was in employment that I started to understand how prevalent stereotyping was.
My name is of Indian heritage. I was born in the UK, lived 8 years in the Caribbean as a child and have been here (UK) ever since. I do not speak another language (unfortunately!), I have my own religious and spiritual beliefs which perhaps do not fit a typical category. I love food, sport etc. That’s me.
However, it was not until my colleagues got to know me that they learnt this.
“Oh, I didn’t know you were like this…your name sounds Indian.” Well, guess what, it is – my ancestors emigrated to the Caribbean over 150 years ago! What does this even matter? I’m not sure what was expected of an individual called Sunil? Unfortunately, experiences like mine are all too common.
Even as I progressed through the seniority ladder, I began to realise that there was an unfair bias and ‘if your face fits’ club. Whether it be gender imbalance, under-representation of ethnic minorities or salary disparities, the world of employment was not a level playing field.
Consider the simple equation:
Skills + experience + drive/passion = success
This did not exist in most cases.
Having set up my own recruitment business, I sadly discovered that this bias was replicated in most organisations. This journey had identified an opportunity, but at the same time how could we as a small team really bring about change to a broken system? As a small, self-funded business, we had to be careful not to bite the hands that fed us – the clients who pay us to find the candidate that match their specifications.
Jonathan and I have invested a lot of our own income, and along with Man Wong (co-founder), a lot of hours, tears, sweat and blood into finding a platform that will allow us to make changes to the process. We have been working on an unbiased recruitment platform to unlock exponential applicant data points which, if used in the right way, could make such a positive impact.
Every door knocked on so far (investors, businesses, etc.) all pointed us back to one main variable: we needed to validate our proposition Although we knew the problems acutely, we had to demonstrate our solution would work… so here we are.
You know what, although it has been an immensely tiring, frustrating, hurtful road, I believe a proposition that is led by a large community of like-minded people can achieve so much more than just change in the recruitment process. Together we can do so much more…
It is now time to make a stand. To join arms with others who are vocal about the open bias we are seeing in the working environment. To no longer feel that you have to be reserved in your words because it might affect the way you are perceived. I am personally tired of not saying how I truly feel because it might affect my business. CandidateX will give me and everyone else who chooses to be part of this community a voice to enable change.
If we can build a movement of people that all believe in the same values and that challenge the status quo, then we can be very influential in making a difference for the current and next generation.
As CandidateX grows in influence, we will develop products and services validated by the crowd to change what is seen as normal today.
I have so much to say and contribute, and I know that I am not the only one.