Natasha Makhijani is an Asian woman business leader and entrepreneur making waves at the convergence between recruitment and technology. As CEO of the Oliver Sanderson Group and the Snapp suite of digital recruitment apps, Makhijani is at the forefront of a sector evolving to meet the needs of a global economy in transition.
It all began on Makhijani’s dining table in 2011. Long before lockdown, Makhijani was a pioneer of the entrepreneurial spirit that has recently seen a surging number of startups launched from home offices around the world. Having established successful executive desks at Hays and Michael Page, Makhijani took the leap to go it alone.
“I come from a very entrepreneurial community, and I always wanted to put my vision into action,” said Makhijani. “I left a great job, sold my car to consolidate my savings, and set up an office in the dining room of my house. It was a big risk, but it has paid off.”
What started as one woman and a laptop has grown into an international business at the cutting edge of recruitment. Oliver Sanderson has built up a strong track record of senior and c-suite appointments at FTSE 100, FTSE 350, and Fortune 500 companies.
Under Makhijani’s leadership, Oliver Sanderson is making important contributions to the interim recruitment industry through its specialist brand Just Interims. Specialising in Board Practice and HR and Business Change, Just Interims has seen a growth in its market this year. Makhijani observed: “Despite some anxieties about the changing IR35 regulations, we have actually seen huge growth this year. Interims are booming because of the transformation piece that is happening in most organisations at the moment. Our clients need specialist interim expertise to manage major change programmes, and we are currently seeing a candidate-led market in this space.”
Another area in which Makhijani is leading change is digital recruitment. New technology has been central to Oliver Sanderson’s journey, and Makhijani is a pioneer of digital innovations in executive search and recruitment. She co-founded Snapp, the world’s first voice-technology enabled mobile jobs platform with exclusive Amazon Alexa integration.
If you ask your Amazon Alexa device to “Find me a job”, the subsequent search will be powered by Snapp. The platform currently has a database of over 25 million candidates in the UK and the USA, with over 250,000 positions listed on its mobile job board. The app was a trending download on the Amazon Alexa platform, with over 90,000 user downloads in two months. A number of high-profile employers have used the software, including British Airways, Aviva, Engie, and Scottish Gas Networks, leaving outstanding feedback. Thanks to this early success, the app has attracted investors and won a series of awards, including Best Tech Innovation at the Global Recruiter Awards 2021 and an APSCo Award for Innovation 2021. Snapp recently featured on the Mayor of London’s TechInvest programme, an initiative delivered in alliance with the UK Business Angels Association to showcase London’s most ground-breaking tech start-up businesses.
Snapp platform provides digital solutions at every stage of the recruitment process. Users can browse for jobs and industry updates, visit employer microsites to learn more about companies, develop their skills and CV, take part in live networking events, join support groups, play virtual games, and apply and interview for jobs quickly and intuitively through the platform. Integrated video interviewing software enables live and recorded interviews. Snapp streamlines the recruitment process at a time when employers are often inundated with thousands of applications and applicants waste time signing up across multiple platforms to apply for jobs. At the same time, a series of programs cater for digital learners, apprentices, and graduates. A dedicated Skills section features tips on how to find jobs and internships, write CVs, make applications, and other related careers advice.
Describing her tech startup, Makhijani said: “At its essence, Snapp is a digital community. And it’s an inclusive community. I am a champion for underrepresented communities in our industry, and Snapp provides dedicated support programmes, mentoring, and live networking events for users from diverse backgrounds. At Snapp, we are discovering and nurturing the next generation of talented business leaders, and helping people learn, build confidence, and find jobs they love.”
Makhijani and her team at Snapp have ambitious plans for future growth, expanding its international presence and adding a variety of new features, including virtual assessments and live classroom learning programmes. As part of these plans, the startup is currently looking for Series A funding, and is in the process of growing its development, sales, and onboarding teams.
“We have an exciting vision, and that’s what drives me as a leader. We will continue building, expanding opportunities, and making a positive impact on the business world and wider society.”
With Oliver Sanderson, Just Interims, and Snapp going from strength to strength, Makhijani continues to write new chapters in her journey as a pioneering business leader.