According to Opground, programmers don't tend to actively look for work or respond to the offers they receive, (photo: ThisisEngineering RAEng / unsplash.com)
The Opground platform carries out a preselection and quickly puts companies and entrepreneurs in contact with computer programmers
Five minutes can be enough for a company to find the right programmers for each vacancy. Professionals do not need much more time, little over half an hour, to improve their position and change jobs. These are the services offered by the Opground platform, an automated virtual recruiter based on artificial intelligence that connects companies and entrepreneurs with the technological profiles they need.
This project, which is already operating in both Spain and Latin America, was a finalist in the ninth edition of SpinUOC, the entrepreneurship, innovation and knowledge transfer promotion programme of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), which is coordinated by the Hubbik programme.
How does it work?
Thanks to Opground, companies can save up to 80% of the time they spend searching for new employees. They just need to use the platform whenever they want to hire a programmer and its artificial intelligence system will preselect and offer them the most suitable profiles in just a few minutes.
The programmers have a single interview lasting an average of 33 minutes with Opi, the platform's chatbot. "The system is similar to a WhatsApp conversation, although we are now planning to add audio and video capabilities to allow professionals to choose the system they prefer or with which they feel most at ease. Opground's strength lies in its artificial intelligence, which extracts information from the interviews, draws its own conclusions and matches them with what each company is looking for," explained Eduard Teixidó, Opground's founder and CEO.
High degree of satisfaction
For the moment, Opground has focused on programmers and, to a lesser extent, software architects and cybersecurity specialists. "We want to tap the potential of one particular sector and achieve a strong position in it before tackling others. We chose programmers because they're professionals who don't tend to actively look for work or respond to the offers they receive, for example, through LinkedIn. We convert them into assets thanks to our interview and the fact that many of them specify a whole series of requirements and we only recommend them to companies if these are met. They're professionals who take great care in selecting a project before switching to it and we take this into account. We know that, for the great majority, there are other factors apart from money which drive them, such as the team, the technology used and the company's working environment and conditions," said Teixidó.
Opground enjoys a high degree of satisfaction among its users, garnering a score of almost ten out of ten from companies and nine out of ten from programmers. Indeed, many of these professionals have been recommended by others who have already used it, and its NPS (Net Promoter Score) is 70%. There have even been cases of programmers believing so much in the project that they have offered to work on it.
Programmers do not pay to form part of Opground, but companies do. "Our goal is to sell efficiency and access to the right talent. We have a premium subscription service which offers access to the technology as if it were a company employee, irrespective of whether one or ten professionals are hired. However, in this initial stage we're willing to accept contracts based on success."
In this last case, if a company only wants to hire one person, they can upload their vacancy and in less than five minutes they have a selection of recommended professionals and can see their interviews and personality traits. They can then send a job offer to the candidate they have selected and that person will choose whether to get in touch and continue with the process.
Teixidó, who studied mechanical engineering, started from his own experience to create Opground: "Both as an entrepreneur and as an engineer, I was aware of the difficulties often involved in searching for programmers and how difficult it is for them to change jobs because, after working all day, the last thing they want to do is to start looking at job offers, which tend to be very vague, provide very few details so as not to give information to the competition, and make it necessary to undergo several interviews, often for nothing."
Teixidó was joined by Marcel Gozalbo and Jordi Vall, a holder of the UOC's Master's Degree in Legal Practice and a student on its Bachelor's Degree in Humanities, respectively. As a team, they complement each other, each being in charge of one part. Teixidó is responsible for product vision, the website and sales, Vall looks after marketing, finance and communication, while Gozalbo focuses on deep tech. All three founders invested their savings to set up Opground.
Help to improve
Opground includes one last service, for both companies and professionals, known as OPI The Coach. It provides personalized and automated advice, as Teixidó explained: "For companies it helps them to, for example, determine whether they are asking for too much in a given profile or whether they need to offer more in certain aspects to attract more candidates. For professionals, it tells them what knowledge or experience they lack to move on to their next professional challenge and for what positions companies are hiring profiles similar to theirs. For this, we analyse the overall market information and not just our internal data, since these are 100% private and confidential. The ultimate aim is to help everyone to improve and achieve their goals."
Opground supports the following Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 8, Decent Work and Economic Growth, and 9, Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.
The UOC's research and innovation (R&I) is helping overcome pressing challenges faced by global societies in the 21st century, by studying interactions between technology and human & social sciences with a specific focus on the network society, e-learning and e-health. Over 500 researchers and 51 research groups work among the University's seven faculties and two research centres: the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) and the eHealth Center (eHC).
The United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and open knowledge serve as strategic pillars for the UOC's teaching, research and innovation. More information: research.uoc.edu. #UOC25years