Friday, May 23, 2014

How startups are helping employers attract and retain employees

A new breed of hiring portals are offering employers a variety of methods to attract and retain employees.

These ventures offer techniques to identify candidates most likely to leave their current jobs, scout for the right hire on social media and aggregate referrals by friends. At least half a dozen such startups have been set up in recent years that are competing with established jobs portals in the fast-growing recruitment market.
"India is one of the few large markets where the notice period for hiring runs as high as three to six months. In the United States, employees are free to go the same day they resign," said Manjunath Talwar, co-founder of MyNoticePeriod, a portal which scouts for candidates who are serving a notice period for final exit.

Set up earlier this year by 38-year-old Talwar who was earlier head of products at Yahoo Travel along with his colleague Abhijeet Khasnis, the company has signed up clients such as Infosys, TCS, Paytm, Flipkart and Myntra.
The Bangalore-based venture charges a flat monthly fee of Rs 5,000 and is planning to raise funding of Rs 1.5 crore this year.

"The recruitment market has evolved. People are far more connected now with social media and know a lot about a company before joining it," said Vivek Madhukar, COO of Times Business Solutions Limited, which runs TimesJobs, an online jobs portal.

Madhukar has started a section Tech-Gig on TimesJobs which runs coding contests. "Recruiters are now able to identify the top 1% of coders in a city through such contests," he added.

To solve the problem of finding an internal referee for a job application, Insead MBA graduate Nishant Mathur, 30, set up RoundOne, a recruitment marketplace. Those aspiring to join a company can ask an existing employee for a referral for a fixed price.

RoundOne arranges a teleconference between the two parties. "Getting a referral increases one's chance of being hired ten-fold," said Mathur who claimed his portal has about 1.5 million registered users. The company counts clients such as Accenture, TCS, IBM, Capgemini, Cognizant and Infosys, who also use his platform to find the right employees.

Using social circles to identify potential hires is another avenue that new hiring firms are exploring. To make the process a fun one, 32-year old Sudarshan Ravi, a former Deloitte consultant has started Ripple Hire, a company that uses gamification for recruitment.

Candidates are set a minimum number of goals, which could be gaining a referral. On achieving the target there are rewards of cash and kind. The company has clients such as Adobe, Real Image, and Social Wavelength. "Gamification is fun, engaging and drives business results," said Ravi.

Source : TOI

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Google to offer store alerts for products you searched online

NEW DELHI: You often look for products on the internet, but soon forget about it. Google aims to change this.

The latest Google Now update for Android will ensure that the app alerts you if a shop around you is selling the goods you searched for on the internet.

With the new update, Google Now cards will show "the product and price to remind you that you wanted them," the company said in a Google+ post. Therefore, you just need to step into the store and see if it is in stock at the moment.

Google Now recently added another feature that users may find beneficial. The digital assistant will use the smartphone's motion sensors to identify if the user has left the vehicle and then keep note of the location you last left it at. Therefore, car owners can easily locate where they parked their cars in case they are unable to find it; Google says that users' parking location data will not be shared with anyone.

However, this feature is not foolproof and if you travel by bus, it will assume that the point you got off is the location you parked your car.

Google Now also recently got offline mode, where the app will show relevant cards even in the absence of an internet connection.

Source: Times Of India

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

With HD Voice, better call quality is coming

Cellphone calls sound terrible. And the quality of the calls over the years has grown worse, in contrast to the evolution of other modern technologies, degrading into bad digital shouting matches, stutter starts and misunderstandings.

The reasons for these bad calls are many and complicated and basically come down to lousy audio technology that breaks up and squeezes the sound of your voice into little bits and pieces. Then, as those bits get transmitted over a bad or congested carrier connection , some get tossed away or lost and what comes out the other side is garbled or incomplete, sort of like a game of telephone.

Hope always seems to be near. In 2010, next-generation phone networks were supposed to route calls without delays and require less of that squeezing. In 2011, those high-speed LTE (Long-Term Evolution, sometimes called 4G) networks were even closer, and they'd be combined with better phones that would, this time, really truly improve call quality.

But all that turned out to be a lot more expensive and difficult than the carriers had anticipated, and so they haven't done it yet.

Now, there's yet another call quality fix looming: HD voice. While the technology has some promise, I'm not sure it will arrive before most of us switch to Skype, Google Voice or give up calling completely.

HD voice is an industry term for a combination of better audio compression (the act of squeezing digital data to make it take up less space), a wider range of audio frequencies and phones meant for better sound and noise cancellation. HD voice expands the sound of a cellphone call from about four octaves to more like seven. That's closer to the sound of an actual human voice and to what we can actually hear, which is about 10 octaves.
The result is better-sounding calls, less background noise and hopefully less delay — quality as good as a landline , or better.

T-Mobile was the first American carrier to introduce HD voice on its network, first announced at the 2013 CES conference. It's running now, but with some major caveats. Both sides of a call have to have T-Mobile service, for one thing, and both must have a phone that supports HD voice. Oh, and it can't just support HD voice, it has to support the specific compression program the carrier is using.

Phones that have all that technology include the iPhone 5 and newer iPhones, the Samsung Galaxy S3 and new versions, the HTC One line and a few others. That's a popular lineup, so if you have a family plan on T-Mobile and you all have newish phones, you can enjoy high-quality calling, and you maybe already have.

Source: TOI

Friday, May 2, 2014

Facebook is new classroom teacher: Study

Facebook may not be all that bad for your kids. According to a study, university students who used a Facebook group as part of a large sociology class did better on course assignments and felt a stronger sense of belonging.

"Although some teachers may worry that social media distracts students from legitimate learning, we found that our Facebook group helped transform students from anonymous spectators into a community of active learners," explained Kevin Dougherty, an associate professor of sociology at Baylor University's college of arts and sciences.

"The study has implications for the challenge of teaching large classes - a matter of growing concern for higher education," Brita Andercheck, a doctoral candidate in sociology at Baylor University, added.

The Baylor research focused on a class of 218 students in an introductory sociology class.

Students who participated in the Facebook group scored higher on quizzes, wrote stronger papers and did better on exams than classmates who did not take part, the study reported.

Both students and teaching staff provided a steady stream of content to the Facebook group.

Teaching staff posted discussion questions, links to relevant online material and photos and videos of in-class events such as guest lectures and themed skits.

Students, meanwhile, posted their own photos and videos related to course concepts, engaged in discussions and sought solutions to questions and problems.

"Again and again, we saw students helping one another on the Facebook group," Dougherty noted.

As final exams approached, students were especially helpful to each other, swapping definitions and examples and organising informal study sessions.

A Facebook group extends the classroom in time and space, Dougherty said.

"It allows students to interact with one another and with the subject matter wherever and whenever they choose. It makes them more active learners," he concluded in the study published in the journal Teaching Sociology.

Source: Times of India