As Recruitment Director at Antler, Saskia Rademaker is passionate about finding and selecting the best founders. After starting her career with the Dutch Embassy in Israel, Saskia quickly learned she wanted to help individuals take the right step for their careers in a fast paced environment. Her recruitment expertise spans across the travel and retail sectors where she specializes in tech and high volume recruitment.
In your experience as a Recruitment Director, how have digital platforms changed the way HR teams handle their day-to-day processes?
Just over 8 years ago, I began my career with a startup venture that involved recruiting in huge volumes. To keep things going smoothly, we had to hire a large HR team to handle all of the processes and candidates. Although this process of importing people a decade back looked manual, the sourcing systems allowed us to focus more on candidate experience and offer valuable services to the HR team. Back then, I had multiple positions within organizations where I had to either implement new tools or streamline various recruitment processes. With this, I had sufficient time in hand to focus on what mattered. I realized, for my role, the focus needs to be solely on the candidate experience. This is exactly what Antler envisions. Antler is a global startup generator and early-stage venture capital firm that builds groundbreaking technology companies from scratch.
In the last year alone, Antler received over 20,000 applications across 8 locations from budding entrepreneurs looking for the chance to make that dream a reality. For each of the locations, we had set up either a recruitment manager or recruiter in the core teams to offer these aspiring individuals the best experience. This was possible only with the automation of the entire process. Using AI for sourcing was not my first preference because robots tend to discover profiles with an unrelated set of competencies, and that can make the process more complex. Automating and optimizing is all about an in-person one-on-one conversation with the right people, which enables the integration of different assessment tools of a core recruitment system. These conversations also facilitate approaching talent and help us nurture the people who we reach out to.
What are the technologies that can help automate and optimize recruitment processes? What is your approach to finding the right solution or technology?
Internally, our Antler recruitment team keeps up to date with technological innovations in the industry to constantly run customized initiatives. This keeps us at the forefront of what is happening, and this is precisely what we preach to our entrepreneurs—be open, be curious, try fast, fail fast, and move forward. But before we globally implement this vision in our system, it needs to deliver an added value. The automation essentially revolves around how we can efficiently handle the manual processes in the flow that the candidates go through, while not hampering their experiences. This process being faster, gives us more time to interact with people. As a result, we can send out automated emails to ensure the candidate has an appointment with the recruiter faster in the form of a one-on-one conversation.
As we have built an appreciable reputation, our numerous founders refer us across their profound network. Since we cannot interact with each of these founders individually, we use new innovations to nurture our pipeline. At the moment, keeping the people close is our priority, as nothing is more important than the network we build.
Apart from the manual processes, what are some of the primary challenges that HR faces in the current digitally-oriented enterprise arena?
As we need to be exceptionally good at assessing skills and competencies, we constantly have to grow in the field of HR and recruitment. However, challenges still primarily exist where the traditional employer-employee system of putting up vacancies on portals and waiting for people to apply remains the norm across most organizations. At Antler, we assess the drive that inspires people to connect to others. In essence, searching for such people is difficult and the challenge is searching using non-traditional tactics To shed light on this new approach, we believe in finding candidates with an entrepreneurial mindset towards work even as an Antler employee.
Offering job descriptions for a standard job is a bit old school for me. How we search for the right people and how we promote this new approach is the key to survive the fast pace of the digitally oriented enterprise arena. You need to be more flexible in the types of offers that can be sent out.
What, according to you, are some of the best practices for HR teams to follow while acquiring digital techniques to gain efficiency and effectiveness in operational workflows?
My experience at Antler has taught me that a data-driven approach to measure everything every step of the way helps us to make better and more informed decisions. The data can involve the information about our founders, time taken by our processes, feedback received from candidates in the interviews, the candidates who are aspiring entrepreneurs and the ones who get the funding and much more. This data can make the life of an HR department easier with a simpler explanation of the business cases. Besides, the data also presents insights into the opportunities for growth and room for innovation, enabling more fluent discussions among the stakeholders. The more access we have to this data, we should use it more to our advantage.
People are at the heart of every organization; so to have a successful business, you need a successful team that comprises people old or new. If you let the data speak for you, there is an abundance of time available to be invested in innovation.
"I realized implementing the right tech to help manage your day to day process, can ensure better candidate experience which is especially important when recruiting entrepreneurs"
From your perspective, what changes would you recommend in terms of technology being utilized in the recruitment process outsourcing for HR?
It is highly beneficial for any organization to go out there and figure out the sourcing challenges of today by talking to entrepreneurs or business investors. For long, the HR space has been plagued with a lack of innovation. However, times have changed. Today, it is imperative to keep up with the trends in terms of innovation.
Entrepreneurship is shaping the future of jobs. We are creating this future by employing all the true entrepreneurs at heart or by being led by them. Irrespective of whether you are in a leadership role or not, you can always aim to contribute to this future.