Hackazuok is an HR Tech company that operates official-alumni.com, an alumni relationship management system in Japan. Its team in the Philippines are the ones responsible for building the company’s HR Tech products needed by its Japanese Clients.
Zuitt’s Financial Aid by Employers program helped Hackazouk to find developers who match their organization’s criteria with ease. One of their main challenges is to look for a skilled developer whose skills are aligned with the Tech Stack that they use. Zuitt has successfully endorsed a good candidate and was able to provide a curated training program for their sponsored trainee.
In this article, we interviewed Paolo Agloro, President of Hackazouk, to share with us how Hackazouk’s partnership with Zuitt helped their organization with recruitment and training.
(Interviewed by Adrianne Saldua)
How Hackazouk and Zuitt’s partnership began
—— Tell us more about Hackazouk.
In Hackazouk, we believe that the lifestyles of people change. We also believe that organizations are currently set up in a way that lacks the flexibility to handle such lifestyles. Hence, there is a gap. Our main goal really as a company is to fill that gap and to make seamless relationships between employees and their organizations.
I know it’s kind of broad, but basically, that’s the idea. So having said that, what we are getting into right now is this concept of alumni. Currently, we promote having corporate alumni networks. Although currently, it’s not yet open to the Philippines. All of our clients are in Japan. We promote corporate alumni networks by meeting the client where they are.
The Japan side of Hackazouk is the consultancy business. They are basically the alumni relationship partners. On the other hand, we, here in the Philippines are the ones who are essentially maintaining the platform to manage said networks.
—— So Hackazouk is acting like the bridge for the alumni and the possible hires?
Hackazouk helps companies maintain their alumni network. In a company setting, an alumnus is anyone who used to work for a company regardless of how long. We help companies keep in touch with them and maintain a relationship with them.
There is a lot of value in keeping such a network. For example, having an alumni network allows companies to do re-hires — which has some practicality because they are already familiar with the company. Another example is that alumni can also be a link to a different industry that a company wants to do business with.
Really, this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are still so many things that can be done with an alumni network.
—— So in that situation, how did Zuitt enter or take part in that business?
In terms of setup, the business side is in Japan, and then the Tech side is in the Philippines. Having the tech side in the Philippines, we needed more developers. And so, the first contact we had with Zuitt is when we hired one of our first developers – Ruby. She did the bootcamp in Zuitt. I remember when I was interviewing her, she said that her previous career had nothing to do with Tech and that she was a Nutritionist. She decided one day that she did not want to do that anymore and that’s why she took the Bootcamp with Zuitt. When Ruby applied to Hackazouk, that’s how we sort of learned about Zuitt.
Hackazouk’s need for Developers backed by Zuitt
—— In Hackazouk, you said that you needed more developers. So did you experience any challenges in recruiting and training members?
In general, it was hard to look for developers. Let me put it this way: There are many developers at different levels with different skills – you have the rockstars, and you also have the beginners who are just trying to gain some experience. It was hard to look for developers who would match the current need of the organization at that time.
—— And was Zuitt able to provide the matching, the recruiting, and the training for Hackazouk?
Well, with Ruby, Zuitt was able to. I guess whatever skills she learned with Zuitt, it helped her do well as a developer in Hackazouk. She was, so far, very good as a developer. In the beginning, of course, there were learning curves but by the time she got used to it, it was all good.
In that way, with Ruby, I think Zuitt was able to help us. And with the recent program with Zuitt, where we sponsored a training, it helped us also to find John.
—— We know that it was Zuitt who approached Hackazouk. Why did you say yes to Zuitt? Why is Zuitt your Bootcamp of choice to have this kind of partnership?
For me, it’s simple. It’s based on track record. The bar set by Ruby was really high, so in that way, we trusted where she came from (Zuitt). A big chunk of it is because of Ruby. In the end, she was equipped with the necessary skills to start it off with us. Now, it’s the same with John. So far, John is okay. In the end, it’s really the track record of Zuitt.
—— What was the goal of the partnership of Zuitt and Hackazouk?
To hire developers. Zuitt approached us with it. Zuitt asked if we were interested. Our team at that time was working twice as much, which really meant that I was looking for developers more aggressively than I would typically be looking. With this one, I saw it as an opportunity for a more long-term type relationship because Zuitt had a good track record with us.
With Ruby and John, I would say that there’s a safety net. The relationship will be good. We would be able to get a good developer who will be a good match for our team. And so that’s how the partnership started and how it went. We tried it out. Personally, the goal is really to have a way to regularize this type of partnership and John is kind of like our test bed.
—— And with John, how did Zuitt help you achieve that goal?
So with John right now, for the first one, essentially with the program, you get to pick or you get to choose – at least from a personality or work ethic type of standpoint. Initially, you will be able to choose who will be a good candidate. And then, because Zuitt has a good track record, we were confident that after the Bootcamp, John would have the necessary skills to at least start working with us as a developer. Originally, there were parts of the curriculum that were not in sync with our tech stack. Zuitt did a Zuitt basically curated a curriculum that aligned with our tech stack so that John would be a good fit skill-wise. Fast forward to now, John is now working with Hackazouk.
—— Did you have any expectations for the project? And were your expectations met?
I would say that I was expecting it to be at least comfortable. The way it was conducted was comfortable, especially with the interviews and the discussions. I felt that Zuitt had their full attention on us and I think it’s a very good service. And basically, the whole partnership was not stressful. Honestly, it’s hard to recruit and it’s hard to look for talents. I think that is one thing about the whole program that really sticks with me.
—— What’s the best thing about partnering with Zuitt?
Well, I think it’s really the sense of being taken cared of especially with this type of program. Initially, one of the biggest things that we were nervous about was – What if the candidate did not push through with the deal? We are confident that in case that happens, we know Zuitt is committed to Hackazouk’s success which is something that is very valuable to me. If something screws up, I know that Zuitt will take care of us. I know that Zuitt will still help us out to achieve what we set out to achieve. Thinking along those lines, that’s the best thing for me.
More Developers are needed to support Hackazouk’s goals
—— Let’s now talk more about Hackazouk. What is the goal of the company in the next years? Is there anything that Zuitt can be of help for Hackazouk?
Eventually, we would want to sell our services globally. Not just in Japan because that’s still a small market. So hopefully, we want to be able to sell it here in the Philippines and try to see how we can adapt our product here. At its core, the whole alumni thing is adaptable anywhere. That’s what we’re doing next!
Now, as far as how Zuitt can help us, I really think it’s more about being a source of good developers. Regardless if this is through the program (Financial Aid by Employers) or through anyone who carries the Zuitt name when they apply. With that, I think it’s something Zuitt can help us with.
The other one is, since we are a Technology business, even as a startup, we also have to take a look at what technologies can be used. Right now, one of my needs is to look for Flutter Engineers. If there is a Bootcamp for Flutter, it will be of great help to the company.
—— Any thoughts that you want to share with us?
Keep up the good work. Let’s keep in touch if there’s anything new.
—— Thank you again for your time and for answering my questions. We really appreciate it.
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