What makes the Web a great platform is the fact that you need an excuse to get online and try and make something of yourself. From a business standpoint, there has never been a more level playing field. But considering every enterprise on the planet runs at the quality of the people it employs, the greater the number of people that interact with corporations, the better chances there of you finding the right people for the right job. And therein usually lies the problem. People that run or manage businesses usually don’t have the luxury to get out and find the right team members. Now you see where we’re headed with this? The efficient internet, lack of time and the possible solution somewhere in between?
Creating the Click Magnet for Jobs
in the past few years, there have been a number of successful models running online recruiting. Albeit different business models, you’ll find a really large job portal up and catering to a niche that the others may have missed out on. After all, the beauty of the internet is that it allows everyone to see and experience your service and build on the user experience.
So far, we’ve got Rozee.pk, Brightspyre and Naukrijunction. We’ve got all three portals working with universities, institutions or corporations to provide them with customized recruiting tools which help a healthy interaction into the job market. Then a young team identified a niche and setup (and sold) Mulazamat, a video-based job portal, adding a dimension to the recruitment process which was previously underutilized. But when we came across a young man named Naveed Ahmed, the Founder and CEO of Technobird launched an online recruitment site called Mustakbil.com a few years earlier, we simply had to ask, why.
“At Mustakbil.com our main focus is always on providing a platform where employers can advertise their jobs for free and jobseekers can apply for those available jobs. We initially launched Mustakbil.com and offered a free subscription-based model for both jobseekers and employers. Though the basic features that we promised are still offered free of cost without any compromise on quality, through the passage of time, we have introduced several premium products for both employers as well as jobseekers which are available on competitive rates.” Naveed managed to evolve his business into something that has been self sustaining by offering something for everyone. Making the process available for everyone, he started in Pakistan and expanded to the Middle East with another portal called MustakbilGulf.com. “We became the first Pakistani jobs portal to have a dedicated section for the Middle Eastern market.”
Let’s take a step back and look at the landscape: Pakistan has an estimated internet population of about 21.9 million, which is expected to go up to about 33.9 million in the next 3 years. So the total population is somewhere around 160 million, we have an internet population of 21.9 million and the population of people below the age of 30 ranges around 100 million. Is the virtual estate mature enough for the kind of that big a “click magnet” for companies who are looking to hire?
Naveed explains, “At the moment, access to the internet is limited to a small percentage of the total population, but Pakistan has one of the fastest growing online populations. The increase in the number of internet users is also reflected in the traffic of Mustakbil.com, and during the past 12 months we have recorded a 68% increase in number of signups. This shows us that a large segment of Pakistan’s internet population now utilizes internet to access online jobs portals. So, success is quite evident.” But here’s where the problem begins. There is no doubt that the online
population will grow however doesn’t that confuse the HR departments who actually have to consider which portal to use when recruiting people? It is a fairly safe assumption that the user that registers to uses one service also registers himself on the others. How does that benefit or grow the number of users?
“Well, sure there are users that utilize the services of multiple portals but there are still a significant number of users who rely only on one. Some of the existing portals either have a very limited target segment or just very limited reach. Online job hunting is a relatively new trend in Pakistan, so whenever any online service is able to convince a new user that this is also an option to find a better career opportunity, the user definitely will explore all the online services available. Eventually based on the success record and user experience, one will be preferred over the other.”
Naveed alludes to the one differentiating factor for any service: creating the relationship. Regardless of the business model a company believes in, the relationship a site has with its real customer is quintessential in the success of an idea. “Additionally, we also needed to take other matters into consideration before deploying our portal. Internet connectivity for example. Specific target audiences still have access to the Web through poor internet connectivity. We introduced a Web 2.0-based redesigned interface of Mustakbil.com in August 2006 which offered faster and a more complete user experience. We wanted to have increased interaction with our users to we planned the delivery of daily job alerts to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. It is our reputation which allows our email to be delivered directly to the user’s inbox, which ultimately results in
increased response. To summarize the functionality, most of the features that you now find on the other portals were initially introduced by Mustakbil.com.”
Trends in Hiring
So what kinds of careers have the highest demand? That always reveals an interesting analysis of how various careers or positions are maturing. “Initially when we started Mustakbil.com, most of the jobs being posted were from IT companies. Today, that trend has diversified so you’ll find job posts from almost every industry. The current trend shows that jobs in Sales and Marketing, IT and Engineering sectors are in great demand.” There is no doubt that the current growth in IT and ITES has increased the demand for qualified Human Resource. “The online job portals make the hiring process much simpler.”
Capacity Building is one of the integral components of strengthening the economy in any country Does a corporation really spend the right amount of time online to match the right people with the right jobs? According to Naveed, for the flourishing economies access to the qualified human resource there has to be significant investment. Without focusing on this aspect it’s quite difficult to achieve a competitive position in the region. “The traditional media used for to promote job ads is relatively expensive and has limited reach especially when it comes to the youth. What we do is offer a dedicated platform to bridge the gap between the employers and the potential candidates, hence offering the quick access to the qualified human resource to the employers.”
What about online businesses that originate in Pakistan. Why do you think they don’t do so well as what we hear about in the West? Where does the problem lie?
“Well, I don’t think online businesses don’t do well in Pakistan. In fact there are very few that can actually be called as an online business and they are doing quite well. Creating few pages website won’t make you an online business. Like any other business first of all you need to identify the market opportunity and then you really need to put some efforts to reach the potential users of your service. You must also understand the fact that internet is relatively new in Pakistan and so is the concept of online business as compared to the US, Europe or any other developed region. So, for an entrepreneur starting a new online business in a developed country would be relatively easy as compared to Pakistan as they already have a developed market whereas in Pakistan first of all you need to create awareness about your idea. Another important aspect is building and maintaining the trust of the users of your website. I can speak from my own experience.When we started Mustakbil.com, most of the visitors doubted that we would make it beyond the first year! To overcome this and to maintain the trust, we added online customer support to our website where our representatives were mobilized very quickly to respond to visitor queries quickly and efficiently.” At times you have to go above and beyond the call of duty for any business. Adding value and maintaining the trust factor are only some of the things that need to be incorporated.
“Unfortunately,” continues Naveed, “we have a very limited number of institutions in Pakistan where the training/guidelines are provided on successfully launching an online business with the enthusiasm it deserves. And among these institutions, you will find only a handful of people who have the practical experience of launching and maintaining successful online business. That’s the reason the entrepreneurs like myself have to put extra efforts to explore this medium. To sum up, I strongly believe that for every business whether it’s an online business or offline, consistency is the key. If you are consistent and committed, be assured that future is definitely yours.”