Shortlist stories

The Fantastic Four of Shortlist

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At Shortlist, we are proud of our people and love how engaged and passionate they are, about everything they do.

Shortlist was founded 5 years ago after one year of the founders, CTO and a handful of employees working on the initial concept, they brought on four amazing engineers, who are still with us today.

In an industry where job-hopping is so frequent, with average employee tenures between 1-2 years, we are excited to celebrate 4-year work anniversaries of these four, amazing Shortlisters- Talasri, Tilak, Venkat and Niranjan. We are so proud of everything that they have done.

This is their story below. Before we dive into their stories below, here’s a word from our CTO Sudheer Bandaru on these Fantastic Four.

Sudheer Bandaru, CTO Shortlist on Fantastic Four

Fantastic Four of Shortlist

From L-R: Sudheer Bandaru, Tilak Tirumalanagaram, Talasri Kotikalapudi, Niranjan Pujari and Venkat Vemuri

It is an extraordinary moment to celebrate the Fantastic Four, who have been the founding members of the tech team at Shortlist. It is relatively easy to attract talent after a brand is established, and culture is defined. But the challenge arises before any of those things are set. The only talent that can be attracted is the one that is highly visionary, genuinely passionate and has faith in the startup, and this talent is rare to come by.

The Fantastic Four are an exemplary example of such passionate people.

Venkat came to us as a manual QA engineer without any QA experience, but he had an evident passion towards work and attention to detail. As he already embodied the Shortlist values, we didn’t look at his past experience. We only considered his raw skills, his potential, and we hired him. Today, he is a DevOps engineer managing our complex multi-cloud infrastructure for microservices architecture.

Tilak worked in a couple of startups, who didn’t pay him or give him an experience letter. In true Shortlist style, we decided to look at capabilities over CV and asked him to submit a case exercise. He cleared the task with flying colours, and we welcomed him on board. He joined us as a smart Java engineer, contributed a lot to frontend code (Even though our frontend experts continued to mock his early day codes). He took ownership of the work and the team’s success. He is always keen for feedback, takes it seriously, works on it and improves. He is now a great leader running a feature squad and is admired by everyone at Shortlist.

I have known Niranjan since he was a fresher. Every time I assign him any work, he makes me proud. While he’s growing in his career by taking on all sorts of challenges, he has also been helping me shine in my role. Words don’t justify the incredible job Niranjan has been doing! He is the reason I am aggressive about tech innovation and confident that we can succeed at a higher adaption of new technological trends.

Talasri worked as a manual QA engineer in her previous company and ruffled the feathers with her manager as she couldn’t limit herself to the predefined role. She outsmarted her managers by continually adapting to the latest technologies. She was bold enough to share what happened, and I felt that’s exactly the kind of talent we need to nurture at Shortlist. Someone who is truly aggressive about taking on challenges and wants to become the best version of themselves. She continues to test our sophisticated suite of products with impeccable quality and sets high standards.

Attracting smart engineers feels like a big win after a long struggle, but the most challenging part is to retain them. If I had to summarise my learnings on how to retain smart engineers, they would fall into these three categories:

●Give them enough opportunities to exhibit their smartness – which includes getting into new terrains they have never explored.
●During the process, let them make mistakes and support them as and when needed to make it a safe space for innovation.
●Finally, enjoy and create a culture where they can hang out with their colleagues who would push their limits every single day while having fun!

You guys really are the “Fantastic FOUR of Shortlist”, wishing you many more years at Shortlist!

Talasri Kotikalapudi

Talasri’s journey:
“The journey hasn’t always been easy, but it has been fantastic and full of opportunities that I’ll forever be grateful for. Last four years have gone by in a blur, and I have been fortunate to have had such an all-around involvement in product and services.
I am thankful to work for an organisation that walks the talk and inculcates its core values in everyday work. This makes me believe in the importance of my work and encourages me to put forth my best performance.”

What she loves about Shortlist:
“The culture, team coordination & support, flexible work hours and a very approachable leadership team made me stay back. But above all this, the person who has been a pillar of strength and has supported me all this while is, our CTO Sudheer Bandaru.”

Venkat Vemuri

Venkat’s journey:
“This organisation shares my core values. Here I learned how to be patient, how to relax, and most importantly, I started believing that good things take time. I love the progressive, open, forward-thinking nature of people here.

This culture is something that I’m incredibly proud of, and I tell my friends about it all the time. A real breakthrough for me was getting to know Sudheer Bandaru, the CTO at Shortlist and how comfortable he is in his skin.”

What he loves about Shortlist:
“Four years ago, a friend recommended me to work here. I had just changed my profile and felt positive that the organisation had taken a chance on me since this would be my first time in a QA role. Everyone here was extremely welcoming and friendly.

Tilak Tirumalanagaram

Tilak’s journey:
“I started as a Support Engineer, and now I am leading a team of engineers. Here I have worked on the latest architecture and technologies and worked with my first big client (i.e. KPMG). This entire experience has been nothing short of spectacular. Of course, the Diwali celebrations and cross-office interactions are a bonus.”

What he loves about Shortlist:
“Personally, utilising growth opportunities and climbing the ladder is the best thing one could do for their career. Switching companies in a short period is not ideal. At Shortlist, I got the platform to grow professionally, the opportunity to interact with the business team and product team directly while building applications.

The team culture, the emphasis on being a whole person, all of it has been a motivating factor that helps me feel connected with the organisation. Our CTO Sudheer and our Sr. Lead engineer Niranjan, both have been a fantastic presence in my life, and they always push me out of my comfort zone to realise my true potential.”

Over four years, I have seen the organisation grow and change. There has been a real shift towards a team management approach, and we have started putting our core values at the forefront of what we do. I’ve been part of this entire creative process we’ve gone through to get to the heart of who we are as an organisation. It is something that’s constantly evolving and changing – as it should.”

Niranjan Pujari

Niranjan’s journey:
“The whole journey has been a highlight. I joined Shortlist as a software developer, and today when I look back at these four years, I see a lot of learning, changes and upgrades. From a routine of 7-8 hours of coding to the time when I got to design and architect the solutions, I feel I have come a long way.”

What he loves about Shortlist:
“There is a plethora of reasons why one would change their job, be it the quality of work or the office culture, the supervisor or the money. With Shortlist, these reasons never existed.

Right from the work satisfaction to amazing office culture to money that justifies your skills, everything was taken care of and of course who could leave out the amazing manager. No sensible person would think of moving away from such an organisation.”

Are you hiring? Shortlist can help, we offer a wide range of recruitment solutions that help companies build great, diverse teams.

Building team in India

Contact Shortlist Here


Break From Home

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As a teacher in my first job after college, leaving campus on school breaks meant truly disconnecting: no messages from parents, no papers to grade, no reports to file. Holidays were refreshing because it was really easy to disconnect.

In contrast, it’s pretty difficult to take a proper break while you’re “Out Of Office” if your team and your work are still going full speed. And, if it’s difficult to disconnect from an actual beach somewhere, imagine how hard it is to disconnect when you’re taking time off from your couch (aka “your office”).

What we have heard from our team this year won’t be a surprise to anyone leading a team in 2020: living at work (or ‘sleeping at the office’…either is more accurate than ‘working from home’), health scares, economic uncertainty, natural disasters and whatever else 2020 is throwing our way are all super stressful.

But, even though everyone needs a break more than ever, most of our team members have barely taken any annual leave yet this year.

What to do with excess vacation days?

Many companies in 2020 share our challenge of having excess vacation days. Here are some of the common ways companies are addressing this:

Use it or Lose it – Many companies have implemented “use it or lose it” policies where employees are asked to use a certain number of annual leave days in a month or quarter. If they don’t, the days ‘disappear.’ This is a great option, especially for larger companies.

Summer Fridays or 4-Day Work Weeks – Summer Fridays (aka taking every Friday from roughly June through August off or having a half-day) are a New York City staple. Some companies have moved to a mandatory four-day work week to help employees use up their vacation days and take some time off.

A Collective Break – Though this sounds like the most difficult option, it’s worth exploring. Even if you can only get everyone on board to take one day off together, it could mean your team is more energized and excited as a result. In a bigger company, you might try doing this at the team level.

We have decided to go on a collective break, to put our people first: at the end of August, our whole company across three offices is taking three full days off, together (harkening back to lessons learned in my school teacher days).

No meetings, no calls, no emails, no deliverables, no ‘catching up on work’ – just some time away to spend with family, reading, watching TV, finding some moments of zen, or doing anything that’s not work.

It has taken extra coordination to get all of our team, our clients, our partners, and our tech sprints on the same page. But we know that if we do this successfully, everyone will come back to the office – er, virtual meeting room – refreshed and recharged.

One of our core values is “Be A Whole Person.” While we can’t control a pandemic or open up travel to exotic beaches, we can work together to support our team’s mental health, even if it is only a few days at a time.

Our “Break From Home” is one way we’re supporting our team’s mental health. In lieu of holiday restaurant and hotel recommendations, we crowd-sourced a few of our favorite meditation apps, books, shows, and relaxing hobbies, and invite you to share your own with us, too! How are you supporting your teams and promoting self-care? Let us know!

#BreakfromHome #mentalhealth #selfcare #Shortlist #BeAWholePerson

New feature release

New Product Release: Interview Scheduler, Email to Candidates & More Exciting News

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At Shortlist, our product and tech teams love hearing feedback from our candidates and employers. Getting the opportunity to better understand how they use our platform and continue to help them hire more effectively and efficiently is one of the more rewarding aspects of our jobs. Over the last few weeks, our engineering team has been busy operating in stealth mode gearing up for a new product release. Today we are happy to share that we’ve recently launched a few exciting features for your use!

Read on for more information on each of these new release features. As always, if you’re looking for help in hiring, please get in touch!

LinkedIn Posting for Premium Shortlist Connect Partners

We know the challenges of sourcing and the importance of diversifying your channels to make sure you find the best candidates. We’re thrilled to announce that, through our partnership with LinkedIn, your Connect jobs will now be posted to LinkedIn at no extra cost.

Once you sign up for a premium Connect account, any role listed through Shortlist Connect will be posted to LinkedIn Jobs at no additional cost, as long as the role is live. When you use Shortlist Connect, your unlimited job postings also translate into unlimited posting to LinkedIn, a great way to source additional talent.

Your job will be listed on LinkedIn under your brand, making it accessible to any candidate browsing for a job on LinkedIn. The role will also appear on your LinkedIn company profile, in the Job section, without having to take any action on your end. Simply post the role on Shortlist Connect, and we’ll take care of the rest.

LinkedIn Job posting is a feature available in our Premium plan. You can try it for free for 30 days clicking here.

Mobile Experience on your Employer Dashboard (Talent Gallery)

Whether you’re a former, current, or future partner, we know the importance of being able to manage your hiring needs on the go. Whether it’s to check on the health of your candidate pipeline or review profiles to find your next hire. In our new release, we have implemented a mobile-optimized experience on our employer portal. You will now be able to review and take action on your candidates on the go, on your phone.



Upon login, you’ll now be able to easily manage, search, and sort through your jobs from your dashboard. Once you’ve selected a job to view your candidates, you’ll see a clean and user-friendly card view of your candidates. This allows you to view key information on each candidate before viewing their full application information.



Once you’ve selected the stage of your candidate funnel from which to evaluate your candidates, you can further narrow your search. We’ve added a ‘Sort’ and ‘Filters’ screen to make it easier to see applicants who meet the specific requirements you’re looking for. Sort to see your newest candidates, or filter through candidates based on their current location, years of experience, salary requirements, and more.



Once you’ve found the candidates you want to learn more about, just select their profiles to get more information about them. You’ll notice this new release is a bit different from the desktop view, as we wanted to give you the tools you need while on the go. If you click the icons at the top, you’ll be able to easily email, call, or check the LinkedIn profile of your candidates.



As you scroll down, you’ll be able to see the candidate’s complete application; from assessment details to notes from your Shortlist recruiter, as well as answers to chatbot questions. Best of all, you can easily go to the section you want to view by clicking on the header links.



Email Candidates Directly on Shortlist

Have you ever been in a situation where you wanted to ask one or two simple questions before deciding to schedule an interview? Or, wondered how to link the candidates in your Talent Gallery including any email communication you had with them?

If you have experienced any of the above problems, we’ve introduced an email functionality within Talent Gallery to solve that. You can reach out to candidates with all your questions and track their responses easily. No more switching between multiple tabs or trying to memorize all the conversations you had with the candidate. Send a message directly from the candidate’s profile and receive their replies as well.

Interview scheduling (Plus a Special Surprise!)

As we work towards increasing the productivity of hiring managers, we are happy to launch one of the most requested features – Interview Scheduling. We know firsthand how much of a pain coordinating with candidates can be, so we’ve added the ability to choose a time and send an invite email directly to the candidate.

As a bonus, we also built a video conferencing solution so that you don’t have to switch between Talent Gallery, your calendar, and a video tool. You can now schedule an interview that sends an email to you and the candidate with the video conferencing link and interview date/time. At the beginning of the interview, all you have to do is simply click on the video conferencing link sent to you and kick off the virtual interview. As the world moves towards remote hiring, this will easily allow you to schedule and conduct your interviews with Shortlist.

Best of all, these new features are automatically included on your Shortlist account at no added cost. We hope you’ll take some time to try them out, and feel free to let us know what you think!


Shortlist offers a wide range of recruitment solutions that help companies build great teams.

Try Shortlist Connect for Free

Shortlister Spotlight: Meet Diana, Recruitment Associate

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At Shortlist, we love building and growing our team as much as we love building yours. In this installment of our Shortlister Spotlight series, (a Q&A series to get to know more of our team members), meet Diana Nyerere, a Recruitment Associate in our Nairobi Office.

Diana loves adventure as much as she loves her work. Get to know more about her, her inspiration, favorite cuisine and more!

Hello Diana! Tell us about what you do at Shortlist

I am a Recruitment Associate. I support companies, both SMEs and corporates, across Africa and the rest of the world in talent acquisition. My current role enables me to work with multiple social impact organisations, large corporates and startups across different geographies and industries.

How has your time at Shortlist impacted you so far?

My role has changed how I view the world. There are so many people out there with different stories about their journey and a thousand more who have done great things and have a lot to offer. It’s just a matter of understanding and identifying how they can contribute to organisations. I am now more curious to hear and read fascinating stories of professionals from around the world, and what has led to their success. You are constantly surprised to learn what one person can do in their career in a span of 10 years and how much they can achieve and impact a team!

What is your professional background, and what were you looking for in your next career step when you found Shortlist?

My background has been in analytics and research, both in the financial and real estate sectors. Before joining Shortlist, my dream was to get into a field that allowed human interaction. Don’t get me wrong – crunching numbers was fulfilling, but I yearned to interact with a more diverse and inclusive team. Surprisingly, I am now a professional recruiter with great passion in talent acquisition.

Adventure brings out my other superpowers 🙂

What’s your professional superpower?

Hehe hehe. Good one! I want to believe I am a “Strengthener”. Recruitment is fun, and working as a team makes it more fun. I find it easy and I’m at my best helping my colleagues by contributing ideas and brainstorming on better ways to achieve our goals. I understand that my team’s headache is equally my headache and together we can make any project work.

What’s your favorite Shortlist value and why?

Being a whole person. I am a workaholic and I can easily fall off at times. However, every time I look at the Shortlist values on the office wall and see this one, I am reminded that I need to take a step back. I am lucky to have friends and family who pull me away to relax and work out so that I can jumpstart my body. A healthy body equals a happy person. 🙂

What are three words you would use to describe Team Shortlist?

Fun. Innovative. Collaborative

What’s your favorite Shortlist memory?

When I closed my first project and got a hire! I was so excited, felt like I had conquered the world and that anything was possible. The best part was seeing how happy everyone in the team was. We celebrate together, as one team.

Why is the Shortlist mission important to you?

A company is as good as its people. Sourcing and placing the right professionals is vital and always the Shortlist goal. We want our clients to succeed and this is made possible through finding them world-class talent.

As you know, we like to give “high-fives” to recognize when our team members do something awesome. Now is your chance to make a public high five to a fellow Shortlister

Sarah ~  Such a good leader, listener, thinker and helper

Yvonne ~ I realized a lot about myself through this article.

And most importantly, high five to Shortlist for believing that I could grow into a career I knew nothing of and giving me this opportunity.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Travelling. We live in a very beautiful world. Some places are so peaceful and I always look forward to going away from the CBD to a quiet place in order to relax.

What’s more beautiful?

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an Engineer. I had actually applied to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering in university but changed my mind on the last day of application. No regrets though.

Tell us about someone that has inspired you

I once met a young gentleman who has built a sports company from the ground up. He is now working on franchising the company. This taught me that anything is possible if you believe. I know this sounds cliche, but trust me I have seen the company grow tremendously in a short period, and I now work with confidence and believe in my capabilities.

How is Shortlist different than other companies?

How one team is actually exercised as well as the fun activities and team members. I have never worked in an environment where there is such teamwork. A true definition of culture shock!

Touring Coastal Kenya

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. This is a must-read for anyone who is wondering whether they can achieve their dreams or not!

If you were to swap places with one person for a day, who would it be and why?

Queen Elizabeth. I have always been curious to know what royalty is all about. I mean, is it something to envy or not? Probably is though!

Anything else you want the world to know about you?

I know I have a poker face but I am very easy to talk to. Cooking is also my therapy – weird, huh? I love Indian restaurants and I plan to travel to India just for the food. I mean, have you seen their street food? Mouthwatering!

Final words?

Don’t let your pride block you from your destiny; don’t be afraid to submit to the wisdom of the leaders before you.


Did you love Diana’s experience at Shortlist? Visit our website for opportunities to be part of the Shortlist Team. If you would like help building your team, let us help you. Shortlist offers a wide range of recruitment solutions that help companies build great teams.

Finding the latest jobs

Introducing the new Shortlist candidate profile

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Today we’re excited to share with you a brand new way to elevate your career and find the latest jobs with Shortlist.

In the past, the way to sign up with Shortlist was to apply for an open role with one of our employer partners. Now, professionals can proactively create a profile on our platform regardless of the current opportunities on our site. Once you tell us more about your background and preferences, we can reach out to you with the latest jobs.

In this post we’ll take a tour to highlight some key features of the new profile:

  • Lots more questions that take into account your work style preferences and career dreams
  • No matter what stage you are in the job search, you can sign up and learn more about the best opportunities as they arise
  • We help you highlight your top strengths and achievements.

Whether you’re new to Shortlist or have applied to jobs with us before, updating your profile is the first step to landing your next job. Let’s take a look!

Do you like flexible hours or 9-to-5? Startup or corporate? Now you can let us know!


At Shortlist, we believe you’re more than a CV. In our new profile, we’ll let you tell us more about your day-to-day work preferences as well as your career aspirations.

Maybe you’re motivated by the fast pace and growth opportunities of a startup and know that the corporate life isn’t for you. Perhaps you feel most productive in a formal environment or love the comfort of wearing jeans to work. You can now indicate all of these preferences in your profile.

And it’s not just about the office space and company, we also ask questions about the type of roles in which you thrive. Some people prefer being an individual contributor over working in a collaborative team. Some people excel in a clearly defined role, while some thrive in an unstructured position

We believe that these preferences play a huge role in your happiness and success at work. Hence when you indicate your workplace preferences on your Shortlist profile, we can share the latest jobs that you’ll love.


Instead of actively applying for the latest jobs, we can let you know if the perfect opportunity pops up

We want to provide value for professionals no matter what stage you are in the job search process. We understand that even if you’re not actively looking, you may be open to a new role if the right one comes your way (in fact, one of our candidate surveys revealed that 95% of candidates who were currently employed were still open to new job opportunities).

When you complete your profile, we can learn enough about your skills and preferences. We can then identify which opportunities would be a great fit for you as they arise. This makes the job application process far more efficient for busy professionals, and ensures that you don’t miss any of the latest jobs!

In the new profile, you can indicate whether you are actively looking for a job, not actively looking but open to new opportunities, or that you want to create a profile but are not planning to apply for jobs. We also let you indicate whether you’d like to be contacted about new opportunities or not. This way, we’re only getting in touch-based on your preferences.

New questions allow you to highlight your strengths and achievements

The new profile gives you more opportunities to share your professional strengths and achievements. You get to select your top professional strength to give employers a quick look at where you excel.

Additionally, you can now share up to five positions of previous work experience, and for each, you can include a short description that highlights some of your favourite achievements and what you contributed in each role.

This information is extremely helpful to our recruiters, and helps to bring you life for prospective employers!

We hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the new candidate profile on Shortlist. Now you have the opportunity to express yourself and share your career goals. We can’t wait to connect you with some of Kenya’s top employers.

Our team is excited to support you on your career journey – we’re with you every step of the way!