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Brazilian HR tech startup Intera uses 'hacker recruitment' to select talents for unicorns and large companies

The startup started in the education market and pivoted the model to enter into a recruitment logic very different from the traditional one, and paid through a "subscription service"

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The Brazilian startup Intera works with recruitment and digital selection. Through a consultancy service to find talent for startups, such as iFood, EBANX (owner of LABS) and Creditas, and large companies, such as Ambev and Alpargatas, the HRtech has disrupted the traditional model of selection consulting through the “hacker headhunting”, paid through subscription service to companies. 

This methodology, created by Intera co-founders, Paula Morais and Augusto Frazão, made the selection process assertiveness index reach 91%, according to the firm itself, and the average time to fill a job opening to fall 80% – on average, Intera takes 16 days to select and hire a new talent for its customers.

Intera CEO Paula Morais explained in an interview with LABS that the subscription payment model softened the service’s impact on the startups’ budget amid contingencies caused by the new coronavirus pandemic because it helped to dilute that cost. In a traditional model, the client companies would pay the equivalent of the salary of the hired person. 

Paula Morais and Augusto Frazão, co-founders of Intera. Photo: Courtesy

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This would be financially expensive for companies, since Intera selects specialized professionals, with salaries ranging from BRL 8,000 to BRL 15,000. Now, Intera sells credits to companies (10, 20, 50, 100 credits for hiring, for example) that have a single price, regardless of the job opening position. “It’s interesting because you can close an expert position for iFood by spending BRL 5,000 per position,” comments Morais – the leading app delivery in the country was also one of Intera’s clients who did not freeze contracts, on the contrary, it was highly demanded due to the pandemic and had to find new talents amid the health crisis.

Without revealing the amount, the startup says it saw revenue grow 280% between May and August this year, compared to the same period in 2019. The startup has operated until today with its capital but it is in the process of signing its first Seed infusion. Expecting to grow more than 50% by the end of 2020, the company may add more employees to its team, which today has 55 employees.

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How Intera started

Prior to Intera, co-founder Paula Morais made a career in e-commerce, undertaking the first item marketplace rental in Brazil. “I had a difficulty within e-commerce, which was to find good professionals, not only from a technical point of view but also from a behavioral point of view, people who understood the new dynamics of this new type of organization, management, and agile methodology”, she says. 

Morais studied in Canada and worked at a school that trained professionals for the digital market. When she returned to Brazil, she decided to set up a technology school that trained developers. “At the school, there was a very interesting phenomenon, for every 10 students we had, eight finished the course already employed. I thought it was something worth exploring. We changed the business model, and, listening to companies, we realized that there was a market opportunity in recruiting talents for the digital market,” she says, adding that “the market was dissatisfied with the existing solutions. Traditional HR consultancies, or HR techs that solve some stage in the chain, but ultimately do not find the best professionals for each company.”

Intera’s team has today 55 employees but it is seeking to grow for the coming months. Photo: Courtesy

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It was when the startup stopped being a school and became a talent recruitment company for the digital market. In early 2019, Intera launched hunt hacking, which is this “hacked headhunting” service. We use a series of online strategies and technologies to find, attract, and qualify the best talents for each vacancy in each company”, she explains.  

The technique has been working so far. “In these three months, we had a revenue equal to that of the entire last year,” stresses Morais. “We are growing at a fast pace and helping not only startups like iFood and QuintoAndar, which are emerging in the innovation market but also large companies in digital transformation.” 

Just as RD Station was a pioneer in transforming marketing into digital marketing, Intera sees itself in the same role within HR. “HR is almost the billboard and the pamphlet in which it is left to luck to find and hire some professionals, when in fact, in our opinion, there is a whole methodology, technology, data efficiency [for that]”. 

We systematized the recruitment area, managing to foresee positive results and be a profitable business, which grows all the time

Paula morais, ceo and co-founder of intera

Although Intera considers itself an HR tech startup, that is a startup that offers a service and not a product, even though it uses technology for that. However, the future idea is to “make a product of the service”, placing the tools in the hands of customers so that they can select people like Intera does. “But we are still a service, so the company hires us as it hires a consultancy. To do what we do, we use a series of integrated technologies,” emphasizes Morais.

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Technologies ranging from robots to find profiles on the Internet, and intelligence plug-in to manage projects (to prevent the startup from addressing the same people on the Internet, for example), as well as an automatic candidate follow-up plug-in, integrated with IBM‘s artificial intelligence. “When the candidate signs up, he or she goes through a battery of tests with us. Part of it is through WhatsApp, so we also have automatic integrations with WhatsApp in the chain as well,” she says. The startup did an artificial intelligence modeling to automate talent screening, but is still improving this model.