Apostolis Argatzopoulos is the Data Team Lead at Youdata, part of Youpal Group. He talks to Uteckie’s Stephen Kanyi the trailblazing Yougig platform.
Thanks for joining us Apostolis. You have been working on Youpal Group’s Yougig project. Tell us what that is about and how you are contributing to it at Youdata.
As you know I’m the data team leader. My team is mostly responsible for data, data analysis, setting up the databases, setting up the data streaming, data flow and everything. Basically, anything that has to do with data.
Yougig is pretty much a very, very big platform that connects potential candidates with people, looking for businesses and also businesses that are looking for people to work with and add to their team. This is so as to develop products. Yougig mostly focused on the IT sector and the whole industry.
The platform basically does everything: from supporting people that are looking for candidates to helping through the whole process of picking the correct candidate, vetting the candidate, actually hiring him then giving feedback to know if a candidate is good or not. Also giving him assignments to finish, being able to see what the candidate is doing, recording, the time he spends on say a module or whatever he’s developing. Basically, from the clients’ perspective of the person that’s actually doing the hiring.
The candidate as well has the ability to look for potential jobs, you know, so it’s like a reverse thing, right? He looks for gigs, et cetera. This basically is a worldwide thing. Competitors, would be like Upwork or even LinkedIn. But what we’re trying to do is actually make it more automatic, faster and provide a smoother transition basically for the clients that want people to work to make their projects happen. And it’s also for the candidates that are looking for jobs, trying to find work. It’s an element of the gig economy by definition. Hence Yougig.
You’ve mentioned that your competitors are LinkedIn and Upwork. What would you say are the major differences between the Yougig platform and its competitors?
Well, like I said, what we’re trying to do is make a smoother transition, a faster way to find a job. We are an end-to-end entity. This means we support people from the onboarding process but carry on through the off-boarding. We work with teams, which is quite important. What we do is make sure our clients find the right individual or team talent to complete their project. Whereas the other platforms only match supply and demand, we go a step further.
There was even an idea of hiring a person, on-premise.
So, we have the possibility to hire remotely, but we also have the possibility to hire locally. So, it actually gives you the option based on the candidate. And his preference, of course.
Okay. So, is this regional? Like maybe if somebody in Sweden or maybe Greece.
Well, so we have such a database of candidates that someone from say Greece could find like thousands of people from Greece. And let’s say like, or if he doesn’t want to, he can hire someone from abroad. He can also find someone from Greece and actually specify to them whether they will be needed remotely on site.
And how big is the platform right now? Approximately how many experts are on the platform?
We have a lot, we have around the one and a half million candidates.
That means the entire database, of people available to work and not. This means that even though we have the people’s details, they may be working somewhere and wouldn’t be necessarily available for a project.
Can you tell us more about the entire process and flow?
Let me talk a bit about the database. For the candidates that we have, we have created machine learning algorithms that are able to rate the candidate based on their previous experiences, the feedback that we get from the clients and their education.
First of all, in the back end our part as a data team, we’ve developed machine learning algorithms that are able to rate the candidates based on referrals, feedback from previous work, their work experience, how many years, you know, and what exactly they did.
Basically, we have created an algorithm that rates them in three different ways. Like one would be how creative the candidate is and how technical or how business-oriented the candidate is. We’re also trying to make the database more two-dimensional, that is, give the option to candidates to be in new fields. For example, a creative that might want to jump over to IT etc.
So, he’s technically creative, but he might have more both technical and business experience. So, you know there’s a relationship between the different ratings, right? So that’s what we were trying to do. The client can actually view this rating and actually see previous reviews, so they can choose and pinpoint the perfect candidate. They can search through what we use, like advanced search algorithms using elastic search. It’s a type of database. So, then someone can narrow down their precise need, what type of developer or designer or other talent. They can choose them by rate, reviews and quantity. The client then has a perfectly clear view of the quality and value of the candidate they are selecting.
Once he finds the perfect candidate, then he goes on to the vetting process. He can then arrange for the candidate to pass technical tests and after that they actually have an interview via video call or in person. Our own team might actually perform the interview on behalf of the client and decide to give some feedback based on the criteria set by our patron. Then, they can hire the candidate and work with him or her through any means. We will also assist them in offboarding the candidate. Everything will go smooth from the time the contract is signed by both parties to the completion of the project and offboarding.
Basically, the algorithm gives you an edge in getting the best possible match between the client and the team that’s needed.
Absolutely. We’re really trying to develop and use artificial intelligence into the system. That’s how we are able to understand what data we have, what feedback we’re getting. As the platform expands, we are going to have a lot of people looking for candidates and a lot of candidates looking for jobs. And what we want is to really make sense of all of this data and the best way to do it today is to use artificial intelligence.
AI is everywhere and it’s definitely given people new uses, new ideas to do a lot of things with it.
I agree. Imagine the concept is like someone posts a job and has a job description. And then automatically he is given the top 10 candidates. This is what we do, for instance. We provide the top ten candidates that match that specific job description. The client can actually look at the selection and decide if they are appropriate. If not, they can choose to perform a manual search instead. There are a lot of parameters that can be added to this. There can be filters, by region or otherwise, which would help the client narrow their search further. This is what AI can do too.
From the other end, that is, the workers on the platform. Is AI used even for job seekers?
It works both ways. Someone might be looking for the perfect job. He might write a small paragraph and then he would be given the best matches, the jobs that are a right fit for him, even based on his profile alone. He writes down his skills, he uploads his CV and other details about himself. What AI does in this case too is use this information to bring up the top 10 jobs maybe in his region or worldwide, depending on his preference.
What about payment rates for workers? Are they agreed between expert and client or pre-onboarding?
This is beforehand, the candidate has the ability to actually write what his preferable rate is, but of course, this is always open to discussion with the client.
But you know, we really want to protect the candidate and what he prefers. So, we really want this rate to actually be his rate.
And how many skills are on Yougig? Is it just developers and designers, or are there any others?
It’s anything really that has to do with the IT sector. So that goes even for project managers, product managers, designers, photoshop, or any other like UI designers and the like.
There are people who have multiple skills, for example a project manager who is well versed in IT, but has also technical skills and business skills around the IT sector mostly. But you know the big picture of course, is to expand this to other sectors, anything really. So, we’re actually trying to do this for the medical sector.
We also have platforms that are similar in essence, but for different industries. Youmedico, as the CEO Karl Leahlander mentioned recently, and Youschool, for example, are coming up in future for health and education respectively.