Looking and applying for jobs online is perhaps one of the best benefits that the Internet gave us and now, with the introduction of apps on mobile devices, the Indian job search market is about to take a huge leap. V Suresh, EVP and chief sales officer, Naukri.com, talks about how Internet and mobile are enabling them to go beyond the possible.
What kind of digital transformation are you expecting in 2015 and what will it mean for the online job search market?
We can break digital transformation into multiple pieces. The first part being availability of Internet connection and smartphones at affordable rates. The biggest game changer is the fact that Internet, today, is accessible on mobile. According to an IAMAI report, somewhere around 17-18 percent of our population is Internet enabled. When it comes to mobile penetration, India stands next to China. According to an IMI report, around 17-18 percent of our population is Internet enabled. According to me, digital transformation is majorly going to happen through Internet. Other transformation is going to be in the form of e-commerce, as Gen-Y, today, buys products online. This digital transformation does not only impact the job market, but also things like elections, media, entertainment industry, and so on.
How has Internet accessibility through mobile helped Naukri.com gain more traction and be more personalized?
As I always say, mobile is a big game changer for us and we are seeing a lot of traction in this space. Today, owing to Internet, we are getting 8.3 million page views per month. This is happening through mobile. On the job details page, we are getting close to 27 million page views per month. The interesting fact is, our mobile app is less than a year old. Going mobile is an easy way of personalization. Through mobile, a candidate’s location can be easily tracked and depending on his interest and area, we can provide job alerts. We are also seeing 25-30 percent of all modifications of existing job seekers are happening through mobile and even 40 percent of applications are also coming through mobile. Even 40 percent of our traffic is generated by mobile. We have had 2.5 million android app downloads so far.
Apps are changing the way people do business. How has your journey been on the application side?
Today, our app has a rating of 4.3, but are we satisfied with this rating? The answer is no. We want to make it more user friendly and personalized, we want people from all walks of life to be comfortable downloading, using, and modifying their resume through the app. May be tomorrow, we will be able to do personalized banners and advertisements on their (candidates) mobile, depending on what kind of jobs they have searched for earlier, and the kind of profile they have. Additionally, sales executives and people who are always on the go can use our app to apply for jobs. This was not possible few years ago, as these people hardly have time to sit on a desktop and search for jobs on our website.
Besides, a lot of personalization can be done using an app. We are also scouting and hiring people who can come and help us in this journey.
How and to what extent do you think job portals have penetrated to cities other than the metros?
We have been way ahead of others when it comes to traffic from tier II and tier III cities. We have more than 20-25 branches in non-metro cities throughout the country. In each branch we have about four-five people, which accounts to more than 120 people working in smaller cities. Each of these small branches help us get at least 20-50 customers on to the site, that means each one of these branches give me at least four-five jobs extra. It is basically a chicken and egg game, you need to get more jobs to get more job seekers and vice-versa.
We have branches in places like Hosur, Mysore, Coimbatore, Cochin, Trivandrum, Vadodara, Surat, Ranchi, Rajkot, Indore, Bhopal, Dehradun, Jamshedpur, Bhubaneswar, and others. The way we can get people from these cities to apply on Naukri is to get local jobs. The reason we setup these branches is our sales guys go and meet customers in these local markets, educate them regarding the importance of Internet, and make them aware of how our database can help them and the benefits of posting jobs on our website.
What are the challenges of online job portals?
Since India is yet to reach the apex of digital transformation, there will be certain challenges. A primary reason why people do not find the right job is that they do not know what they want. For example, I am a mechanical engineer but I want a job in other streams. Being clear of what one wants is a major challenge as the portal cannot help otherwise.
Looking for jobs online at the end of the day, it is a keyword search. If you give the wrong keywords, you will get irreverent jobs, this is what we call ‘junk in and junk out.’ From a job point of view, an IT software expert in a pharmacy company or in a media house will call himself an IT personnel. The challenge here is: Is the person looking for a job in media or in the IT sector?
Today I have 1.5 lakh jobs on the site, but will every job seeker get the right job? He may or may not, depending upon what is his definition of skills or competency. This also becomes a challenge for us as our job alerts sometimes do not match. So, at the end of the day, it is the search engine which does the work. Understanding of the Internet by a candidate underlines the perfection of a job alert that he or she receives.
Ishan Bhattacharya is a trainee journalist. Send feedback to Ishan_bhattacharya@idgindia.com.