From Techie to Head Of Talent Acquisition: Aarti Jha on Following Her Passion

From Techie to Head Of Talent Acquisition: Aarti Jha on Following Her Passion

Aarti Jha is the Head of Talent Acquisition at Ninjacart. In addition to heading her own department, she is a doting mother of a two-year-old boy. Aarti describes herself as a Type A personality who credits her success at work and home to her impeccable planning and research skills. 

Explore Aarti’s career journey — the highs and lows, the hits and misses, but mostly discover the life lessons she learned along the way in a career spanning over a decade. 

Always A People Person

I started my career as a software engineer at a startup. I worked there for four years and during my time there, I was involved in hiring for the company. I used to have a lot of fun meeting new people, hearing their stories, and making conversations with them. That’s when I realised that I’d love a career that lets me be around people more than being glued to my desk. The moment I knew, I applied for an MBA course!

After graduating from IMT Ghaziabad, I joined Infosys in an HRBP (Human Resources Business Partner) role. My learning curve peaked and I loved interacting with everybody there. But after a year or so, things got redundant and I had nothing new left to learn. So I decided to shift to business development.

The first few weeks of job hunting were nerve-wracking. Every company I called offered an HR role and showed no interest in offering me a Business Development role because I lacked prior experience. It was disappointing because I was confident I could have excelled in that role but no Indian company gave me a chance. 

Every End Is A Beginning 

I finally landed a role in a US-based company. I was there for six months. But due to unavoidable circumstances, I had to look out for other opportunities. While I was contemplating my next steps, I realised I would have to go through the same process again — companies refusing to offer me a role in business development because of my background in HR. I thought, ‘Why not solve the problem?’

That’s how I started my company – Yokein. It was a recruitment firm for startups, where I helped them build teams from scratch. In the initial few years, I interacted a lot with founders to understand their company and their needs. As a result, my network grew massively and we decided to move into core leadership hiring in tech and non-tech roles. That became our forte.

Entrepreneurial Venture

“ I find the Indian business ecosystem to be very accepting of women.”

6 years as an entrepreneur, I don’t think I was ever made to realise that I was a “woman entrepreneur”, mostly because we were a bootstrapped startup and didn’t have to rely on Venture Capital. The only difference I observed was how some men assumed salary negotiation would be easy once they realised it was a woman on the other end of the call. I never let that affect me but I could always sense it. Apart from that, I find the Indian business ecosystem to be very accepting of women. Even though 80% of my clients were men, I never experienced biases.

Leading Talent Acquisition at Ninjacart

I joined Ninjacart in December 2021 as the Head of Talent Acquisition. It’s been a rewarding journey with an amazing team. In the last few months, I’ve worked hard to set up a system — a standard way of hiring for every requirement. I have been able to establish a set process so far — right from identifying the roles to hire for to the applicant tracking system, interview, feedback, and decision making, things are more systematic today.

My next big step is to build a playbook that helps us improve the end-to-end hiring process. We want to develop a process that is efficient and free of biases, no matter who the recruiter is. I think this will ensure unparalleled hiring quality and amplify the talent at Ninjacart. 

Acing All Responsibilities

Motherhood is all about planning. A good partner who understands his responsibilities makes a big difference. The first six months were hard — a child needs a mother the most then. Managing work and looking after my son was exhausting. But patience is key. I had done my research which helped me plan my day around his sleep and feeding hours. I never felt I had to compromise on anything because I am a mother. Motherhood was a choice and I just ensured I was well-prepared before the journey began. 

A Piece of Advice As A Recruiter

Make a decision and stick to it. Do not second-guess yourself. Recruiters always look for an individual’s learning capabilities. We try to assess if an applicant would be able to fit in with our current demographic in the organisation. Other important factors are curiosity, the ability to take criticism, delivering outcomes, and building a sense of belonging. 

Always be confident about your decisions. Trust your gut but don’t jump into anything blindly, do your research and back your decisions with data. 


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