How Flipkart Organized a Recruiting Hackathon

December 24, 2014

If you think hackathons are just for technology geeks, think again. No matter which industry you belong to, hackathons are a fun and effective way of getting the team together and solving issues that you may ignore during the daily rush.

The team at Flipkart, India’s biggest e-commerce company, partnered with LinkedIn to host India’s first recruiting hackathon in Bangalore. The hackathon was part of Flipkart’s effort to look for innovative ways to make recruiting more scalable, effective and fun.

The hackathon had three objectives:

-        improve talent acquisition processes

-        create talent pipelining strategies

-        source for open positions

To make the even truly successful, Flipkart put together a crossfunctional team for the hackathon -- 25 recruiters, 4 senior leaders from HR, IT managers, hiring managers, as well as a team of 6 from LinkedIn.

The 3 steps of the recruiting hackathon 

1. Process & system improvement (2.5 hours)

The team identified problem areas for recruiters and hiring managers and created a plan to overcome those. A few recommendations focused on the short term – for example, ensuring faster responses when it comes to interview scheduling, or building an interview process management tool. Others dealt with long-term projects like running unified talent search across multiple platforms such as job boards, social recruiting and ATS.

The team here came up with seven and three of them were moved into incubation for the next quarter.                                                                          

2. Future gazing: Formulating talent pipelining strategies (2 hours)

In this section, recruiters conceptualized and built hiring strategies to engage top technology talent in India. They discussed how to identify talent pools, how to engage candidates though frequent online conversations, and develop a strong talent brand. The presence of business leaders from various functions led to holistic discussions and identification of ideas where IT can quickly help. This tweet by Mekin Maheshwari, Flipkart’s Chief People Officer, captures the spirit of this section:

3. Recruitathon: Sourcing & interacting with potential candidates (5 hours)

This section was the most action-packed. The teams sourced candidates for open positions through tools like LinkedIn Recruiter. The objective was to create a talent pipeline and gauge candidate interest levels for various roles: Architects, UI managers, Engineering Managers, Data Scientists, Product Managers, Directors, SDETs and Test managers. 

The hiring managers came in during the latter part of the day and shortlisted candidates after scanning resumes and viewing profiles on LinkedIn. The selected candidates were eligible for the next round.   

Like they say, it’s all in the numbers. Here are the results of the 5 hours of sourcing and interacting with candidates:

  • 224 Candidates were sourced and validated across different roles at Flipkart.
  • The hiring managers reviewed 76 candidates and moved 69 candidates to the first round of interviews, all in a day’s work. That’s 91% acceptance rate. The remaining candidates were to be reviewed later.

The hackathon at Flipkart touched upon both strategic and transactional areas of recruiting. It allowed cross-functional teams to come together to solve process problems and also for recruiters to pick the minds of key stakeholders like hiring managers and HR leaders. The business results (number of sourced candidates and issues fixed) speak for themselves as to how effective this day was.

When are you planning a hackathon at your organization?

Guide to Recruiting on LinkedIn Modern Recruiter