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In job hunt, portals remain a distant second

In job hunt, portals remain a distant second
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First Published: Wed, Jul 16 2008. 10 50 PM IST
Updated: Wed, Jul 16 2008. 10 50 PM IST
New Delhi: The number of websites that help people find jobs may be multiplying, but the most successful online job-hunting strategy for applicants remains the same: Flood the Internet with copies of your curriculum vitae, and hope something sticks.
That’s what project manager Ahsan Zahir did when he turned to Naukri.com, Monster.com and JobsAhead.com in May this year to help him find a new employer. It was more of a cover-all-bases strategy than a necessary one, though. Every website had the same resume builder, the same employment categories, the same alert feature, and basically the same jobs, he says. “Five-six from each,” Zahir says, referring to the number of emails he was getting daily, “but they were duplicates often. Only one or two unique ones in a period of one-two days.”
The Internet has become one of the main tools for anyone looking for a professional makeover. In addition to the three websites that Zahir used, Indian jobseekers log on to the likes of TimesJobs.com, Jobstreet.com, and other more specialized sites like CoolAvenues.com in search of a new workplace. But for most people on the hunt for a new job, the similarities across the sites outweigh the differences. The more important strategy, they say, is how to use all the portals to complement a search through your network.
Experiences among jobseekers can vary quite a bit. Zahir says the websites he turned to sent him multiple, relevant job postings and led him to three job offers within a few weeks. (He landed at one that came to him through Monster.com.) But Aman Sharma, a New Delhi-based quality engineer, posted his resume on four sites, tweaked it daily to keep it visible, and narrowed his search by experience and location, but none of it really helped him. “I say Noida, quality assurance and testing,” Sharma says, referring to her experience searching for jobs on Monster.com, “and it will list all jobs in Noida.”
Public relations consultant Rashika Jindal had an experience that fell somewhere in the middle when she moved to Bangalore two years ago and looked for a new job. She cast a wide net, from corporate communications to marketing and branding, but it led to mixed results online. “Sometimes these portals help people, sometimes they don’t,” says Jindal, who used five different sites in her search for the perfect job. “If you are searching for a keyword, you won’t get it,” she says. Only two or three out of every 10 job alert emails she received were relevant, Jindal adds.
The latest entrant in the job search market is Shine.com, a portal that is trying to sidestep the keyword problems with a different kind of technology to match jobs and candidates (Shine.com is owned by HT Media Ltd, which publishes Mint.)
It works on defined skill sets, both in terms of what the employer is looking for and what the candidate can offer, says Nidhi Lauria, head of marketing for Shine.com. But recruiters say any new portal also has to compete with the increased use of networking websites such as LinkedIn.com, Facebook.com, and even Yahoo Gro-ups, especially as companies in every industry push their internal referral programmes and reward participating employees with cash and iPods.
“It’s more of an art if you can click the right people for the right position,” says recruiter Bristy Srivastava, who works with Accenture Ltd. “My personal approach is high on employee referrals, then websites and then agencies.”
As the websites work now, if you don’t know exactly what you are looking for and you don’t know how the portals characterize it, you might not find it. Ambiguous job titles don’t help. Search for a principal consultant job, you might wind up with more choices in technology than in your own field.
“I never had any experience in IT (information technology),” says operations consultant Abhishek Kumar. “But every day I open my mailbox and it gets flooded with job offers from the IT (sector).”
It’s usually a waste of time using the websites proactively, he says. “Responding to posts don’t get you anywhere,” Kumar says. “Only when people reach out to you over the phone, it progresses to the next level.”
Individual variations aside, there are some general distinctions between the websites. If you are looking to work abroad, or with a foreign firm, or for something that is a niche role, the best portal tends to be Monster.com with its US origins. For a job in the outsourcing or technology industries, and especially with companies that hire a lot, Naukri.com is a bit more appropriate, say veterans of online search.
Srivastava, who as a recruiter has been on both sides of the hiring transaction, explains the difference in this way. “You use Naukri to target a mass audience,” she says, “Naukri is considered more feasible for bulk hiring and more generic profiles,” she says. “You get slightly higher levels on Monster.”
Job seekers also tend to slot portals likewise. Jindal, who used websites to find a job in public relations, says Naukri was the most effective portal. So did Hamneet Chawla, a software engineer currently looking for a change. “Naukri is the best job portal in giving more relevant mails,” she says. “60% is relevant. Others are more like 30 or 40.”
But for Kumar, who was looking for an operations consulting job, monster was a better bet. “Naukri just sends out everything on its plate,” he says.
But in the end, most job seekers say, working through your network of friends and colleagues offers a higher success rate than the Internet. “If you apply through these job portals, you don’t get replies quickly, or ever,” Sharma says. “But if a friend of mine works there, I give them my resume and get a call in a day or two.”
Other job seekers agree. “I was getting more emails from Monster,” says Mithun Raj, who works in Bangalore’s software industry. “They weren’t useful though, because what I finally got was through my friends.”
Shine.com, the newest entrant in the job search market, says it created a new way of matchmaking jobs and candidates. It works not on keywords, but on defined skill sets in terms of what the employer is looking for and what the candidate can offer, says Nidhi Lauria, head of marketing for Shine.com, a website owned by HT Media Ltd, which also publishes Mint, the ‘Hindustan Times’ and ‘Hindustan’.
Neither individuals nor companies search for jobs or profiles on Shine.com. Instead, they are matched with the positions that best fit their criteria. “You can define that a type A school is essential, business planning experience of four-five years is essential and some brand planning experience is nice, but not necessary,” says Lauria, and a tool the website uses ranks candidates on the basis of how well they fit the profile.
The site offers anonymity, and a salary tool that allows job seekers to figure out how much they are worth.
Naukri.com is an early entrant in the online job search market, and has a wide sales network with more than 50 offices across India and more than 32,000 clients.
“We understand the Indian marketplace,” says Hitesh Oberoi, chief operating officer of Naukri.com. For example, he says, a candidate can search on salary requirements.
Naukri.com uses a software to track a candidate’s job search patterns over time. Therefore, a candidate looking for, say, a sales job in the media might be applying for television channels in Delhi that offer at least Rs10 lakh per year. “We start sending you only those,” Oberoi says.
Recruiters say they find some features at Naukri.com useful, like an option to find resumes similar to the one that they are interested in, the ability to trace potential employees by company, and a short messaging service alert to reach potential candidates.
Timesjobs.com, owned by Times Business Solutions Ltd, an arm of Bennett, Coleman and Co. Ltd that publishes ‘The Times of India’ and ‘The Economic Times’ newspapers, has introduced several new features in the past year for both recruiters and those looking for jobs.
With 200,000 job offers from 25,000 employers, the website will now correct spelling errors and suggest words to make searches more relevant. “If you type sales, it can prompt you multiple options of sales like presales and software sales,” says Rajeev Gaur, chief operating officer at Times Business Solutions.
Employers can now save a list of selected candidates when switching pages, view resumes within a search page rather than by visiting a different link, and group candidates by top institutes, salary packages and designation.
Mint, published by HT Media Ltd, competes with ‘The Economic Times’.
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First Published: Wed, Jul 16 2008. 10 50 PM IST