Projjal Ghatak — CEO & Co-Founder of OnLoop

His Personal Experience

I grew up in India with my family and I got my way out at the age of 17. I got super lucky along the way in getting access to institutions and opportunities that allowed me to discover my potential. This personal experience made me interested in finding pockets of talent who may not be exposed to great opportunities to groom and develop them.

Thoughts On Shortage Of Tech Talent

In Singapore, there’s a shortage of software development talent, specifically those who are hungry and mission-oriented. We have a shortage of folks who want to thrive, learn and grow yet also willing to explore working in a start-up company and the inherent sacrifices, however ground floor build reward that comes with that. The government has invested quite a bit of money in attracting Silicon Valley tech companies that have also set up R&D centres here. This means start-ups like us are not only competing with Grab, Shopee, or Lazada, but also competing with Google, Stripe, Facebook or Twitter, so there’s a highly competitive market for tech talent in general.

Being a good software developer is not an easy thing to pick up — there is a level of critical thinking, problem-solving, and customer / user experience orientation required. Compared to students in China or India, where they often learn programming as early as 7 years old, it’s obviously much harder to learn at a later age. It’s not as straightforward to get people trained.

In hiring talents, I personally do not believe in using recruiting agencies, because it’s hard to justify the cost, and it’s essentially mining public info in LinkedIn. Currently, we hire mostly through referrals and now we started LinkedIn paid ads.

On Being A Generation Employer Partner

I’m glad to have connected with Generation as an employer partner and that’s how we hired Cara two weeks after her graduation from the software development bootcamp. The graduation and employer networking day on 4 March 2020 was planned efficiently and the interview set-up was done really well.

What I like about the methodology of Generation is the dual focus of teaching learners technical skills and the ability to work in a fast-paced and collaborative environment, and the combination of both skills is critical. What got us super excited with Cara during her 15 min interview was that she was an excellent communicator, super drawn to our mission, and was able to point to a specific cultural value of nurture in our organisation and say, ‘That’s what excites me!’. She pays strong attention to detail and has a strong mission orientation that is obviously very important for a young start-up looking to upend a legacy industry with a super new and fresh approach.

Projjal interviewing Cara on Employer Networking Day and Bootcamp Graduation on 4 March 2021
Projjal interviewing Cara on Employer Networking Day and Bootcamp Graduation on 4 March 2021

His Hiring Philosophy

As a company building and developing new products, we believe that people are different and different people bring different things to the table. I don’t particularly care about people’s starting point, like how or when they started, but I want to see the person’s hunger and ability to learn and learn fast, and then be able to execute and get better with the organisation’s mission. We also hire people with very long-term mindsets who want to grow with us in the next 5-10 years and not looking for people who will just stay for the next few months. We are hiring people for what they can achieve versus what they have already achieved.

We hope to bring more awareness about Generation’s programme and attract more folks to make a shift. It’s also good to educate the market on what drives success in a bootcamp, what kind of people can really thrive in it, as well as educate employers on their ability to hire people from bootcamp and grow the talent density in Singapore