Do job sites work?

DQW Bureau
02 Feb 2002

From 'getting' a job to 'netting' one. The three-word mantra of survival has changed. In an age where everyone is on the lookout for the BBD (for the uninitiated, that translates into the "Bigger Better Deal"), jobs come easy, and jobs are online.

Then and now

Remember those painful scenes from those equally painful Hindi films, where the hero kept being scuttled from one office to the other, his two-day-old stubble drenched with beads of perspiration? When those cruel NO VACANCY boards stared him straight in the face? All of that's history now. Today, you can job hunt from your own bedroom, without having to wear out the soles of your shoes. Grab a bowl of chips, sip on a Coke, and 'net' one instead.

Numbers say it better!

If you are one for numbers, here are some statistics. According to Forrester Research, the online recruitment market in India will grow from $ 500 million in 2000 to $ 1.7 billion in 2003.

That's phenomenal, but now look at some of these. The number of e-recruitments in India is 0.3 million every year; a paltry sum compared to the total number of recruitments that happen through the tried and tested formula, a staggering 36 million.

Netting a job is good for the candidate, but bad for career portals, which make little money compared to their offline counterparts. Of the 36 million jobs on offer, less than 5% (1.8 million jobs) are posted on the 100-odd job sites, of which only 10 or 15 are active. And of these 1.8 million, only 17%, or 0.3 million, result in e-recruitment.

Is it easy?

But if you think all it takes to bag that dream job is going online, you're light-clicks away from the truth.

As with all subjects imaginable, job sites are a dime a dozen, and all of them boast of a cream-clientele. Do you really know where to go and what to do?

Steal deal for the recruiter

For a recruiter, these job sites work out cheap. Naukri offers an annual subscription for a meagre Rs 6,000, for which you can post jobs on the site throughout the year. That works out cheap. A black-n-white 60 cc ad in Ascent, the weekly pullout of The Times of India, costs as much as Rs 60,000. And Naukri also assures a plump response rate.

Visibility and reach

But portals lose out on visibility. An ad insert in Ascent reaches over 2.5 million subscribers, and that translates into a minimum of 12.5 million readers. The most visible job site can only boast of 7 million page-views a month.

The present scenario

Globally, online job hunting is considered an activity involving résumé -searching, profile-matching, screening of applications, shortlisting of candidates, counseling, client-servicing and replacement. While résumé searching and profile matching are done online through the site, the remaining activities are done offline through an offline headhunting firm. Most job sites are switching to this model-an online presence and an offline support-over the recent past.

Who are the seekers?

Who are the kinds of people who browse through these job sites? On one of the sites, we even found a chart that illustrated the age of people who looked for jobs online. Around a whopping 80% fell within the 25-35 years group, whereas the percentage of those over 40 was virtually zilch.

What do the critics say?

  • Lack of privacy

    While more than half of the job seeking population is fast logging on to career portals, a sizeable share is complaining all the same. Lack of privacy seems to be a downer. Even though some sites have a "Keep-your-résumé -private" option, most are still to catch on. And there's also the nagging fear that once your résumé is guarded, you might lose out on good jobs altogether.
  • Dependence on résumés

    All job sites, essentially, work on résumés and nothing else. You must be armed with an impressive résumé to make that mark, and how many of us can do that well? This brings in another commercial gimmick-résumé -writing! Some of these job sites employ professional résumé-writers to draft résumés for the job hunter who charge you quite a sum for it!
  • No human interaction

    As there is hardly any human interaction-the sites acting middleman-they fall short in the high demand-low supply labor markets.
    Take the example of software programmers. These people are pricey, and don't want to be flooded with thirty calls a day from headhunters, thereby risking a job they already have.

(to be continued)

Reshma Sanyal


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