An Indian internet company older than Google is using Artificial Intelligence to reinvent itself

Info Edge MD and CEO Hitesh Oberoi
  • In an interview with Business Insider, Info Edge CEO Hitesh Oberoi talks about how they are innovating at Naukri with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
  • Info Edge runs Naukri.com, JeevanSathi.com, 99acres.com, and Shiksha.com.
  • On the Naukri portal, they have over 60 million resumes, half a million recruiters and any given day, over 13-14 lakh applicants for jobs.
In 1997, before Google came into being, an Indian internet company called Info Edge launched Naukri.com, which remained a hugely popular jobs portal for over a decade. However, the time has come now to upgrade itself for the next internet era and to take on the likes of LinkedIn, which have become successful in their own right.

In an interview with Business Insider, Info Edge CEO Hitesh Oberoi spoke about how Naukri.com will evolve from being just a jobs portal to a careers platform and how they are working on the current big trend with Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data.

Building on the new trend

Today, it’s the new trend that’s taking over the world by storm – technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Big Data. And this one Naukri doesn’t want to pass out on.

“The truth is every time you figure out these trends, they take your business to the new level. We are trying to invest substantially into these areas,” said Oberoi.

Naukri’s clients – the recruiters have long had the problem of spam. For one job listing, there are thousands of applicants. And here’s where AI, ML and data science will take over.

“We are sitting on tons of data. So much can be done, from matching applicants to jobs, user experience, giving them advice/suggestions, identifying hot skills – everything can be determined with AI and ML. We can transform Naukri from being a jobs portal to a careers platform,” said Oberoi.

The Naukri portal has over 60 million resumes, half a million recruiters. On any given day, they have over 1.3-1.4 million jobs applicants use the site, according to the company.

#Throwback

The company that went public within 9 years of its formation, has survived all the big waves the internet industry has seen – Search, social networking and mobile. The internet as we know today has exploded over the past 20 years and has given birth to several different giant entities like the social media.

But Info Edge came about when nobody understood what the internet was but the founders knew – jobs were the key. Over the years, Oberoi says there have been multiple waves that have hit the industry and each one brings with it a challenge as well as an opportunity.

Discovering Search

“When we there was no Google. In 2002, we launched a database product (which today is over 65% of our revenue) but didn’t exist when we got funded. We were trailing our competitors with respect to the number of CVs on our platform. Advertising in the newspaper wasn’t working for us,” said Oberoi.

It was then that Google became big and suddenly a lot of traffic was out there. “We started search engine marketing in 2003. We were advertising on millions of keywords on Google, there was nobody else back then and it was a bidding model. We put all our resources on Google,” he said.

And within two months, they were getting an extra 400 CVs a day. “That’s how we capitalized on the search wave,” he said.

The networking era

The next wave that hit them was the social media wave. LinkedIn, which was founded in 2002, jumped on the networking train and became a social media giant of its own.

However, Naukri failed to work around it. “We were unable to figure out how to use it to our benefit. LinkedIn got there first. What you need to understand is that the trick lies in figuring it out before the others do,” said Oberoi.

Going mobile

Oberoi lists the next wave of internet revolution to be the mobile generation and this one he said they figured out fast and right. “We realised what works on the desktop doesn’t work on the mobile. Today, 80% of Naukri traffic comes from mobile and when it comes to Jeevan Saathi, it’s 90%,” he said.

Other investments

Info Edge also has other successful portals JeevanSathi.com (a matrimonials site), a real estate listings platform called 99acres.com, and education platform Shiksha.com.

Over the years, they have been investing money into companies that can add on to their in-house businesses. Naukri had acquired consultancy firm Toostep in 2012, hiring startup Ambition Box two years ago, and in May 2019, it acquired rival iimjobs.com.

And they have a plan through all of it. They want to use data to give insights to job seekers on how they can improve their prospects, to produce new products – an insight platforms for recruiters, to going beyond sourcing and building a holistic platform which includes shortlisting of candidates, scheduling interviews and more. They already have a product – Naukri Recruitment Management System.

“Increasingly, all our investments are in the AI, ML space,” said Oberoi.

See Also:
Automation will affect women the most in the Indian job market: Report
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