Lay-offs, firings, furloughs dominate the headlines. COVID-19 has dramatically altered the hiring landscape in India. As also in other parts of the globe, thousands have been laid off indefinitely and without due compensation. But amid the gloom, there are companies that are still hiring. Some of the domains in which these companies belong are: e-commerce, pharmaceuticals, food companies, online education and gaming.
A few students as well as professionals have sprung up with various ideas with one common objective: to help out those who are losing their jobs or internships, or not getting one. As it’s perfectly said:
“Great challenges also bring great opportunities.”
People are helping out others in various possible ways — some of them are creating groups on WhatsApp and Telegram, sharing job updates; somebody has made an online tracker of new jobs; while some have created groups enlisting the fired employees available for new jobs.
I was also one of them who thought of starting a social initiative of helping out people in this tough situation, but frankly, at that time, it was a very random thought. This thought provoked me again, when on 27th April, I read a news article that read “A B2B Company lays off 3,000 Contract Workers”. These workers include delivery executives and field sales staff. This hit some idea in my mind: when I myself face challenges while hiring a field sales team, this data is not available easily over various job portals like Naukri.com, Shine.com, Monster India, LinkedIn etc.
Thinking as an HR? I’m sorry, I forgot to introduce myself.
I am Suyash, and if I am to describe myself in one word, then ‘hustler’ will be my first pick. I firmly believe in doing and growing, and continue doing my bit in everything I come across. I started my career journey with Bijnis (a B2B e-eommerce app) in marketing, then to hustling in generating sales, and currently building and handling 100+ feet on street pan-India sales team with my colleague Rajat.
On 27th April, I created a Google Form with the title ‘Register yourself for Job Opportunities’, which consists of necessary information including name, number, mail id, field of job, city, last company, last salary and designation. I posted this on a Facebook group. My major objective, at least at that time, was to use this database as we were planning to expand the Feet on Street sales team for Bijnis. Whenever Rajat or I have looked for hiring for our telecaller sales or field sales team over the last eight months, we have always faced challenges.
We even tried out a few job agencies, but it didn’t prove to be useful as they just provide leads that were too random and never used to meet our demand. There was always a gap between what is demanded and what was provided by job agencies or portals (supply). Also, many a times, we used to get CVs over mail, which is again a tough job as one has to check each and every CV, and then filter out candidates.
My Google Form started getting a good response in hardly 24 hours, something I had not expected. It got the details of 100+ job seekers at that time, and I thought that I could help these job seekers by sharing the list with 2-3 other HR/Sales Head who would be looking to hire for field sales.
After a few days, I called Rajat and shared about this plan. To my utter surprise, he was also trying to do something similar for corporate employees. We both decided to collaborate on a mission or an experiment to simplify the current job marketplace model by providing the perfect equilibrium between demand and supply. The ultimate goal is to help out job seekers.
We started a social initiative to help out the job seeker community on a scale, and launched it as the Covid 19- Free Jobs Forum from the point of view of HRs, and started sharing it on our LinkedIn profile as a post. Apart from this, we started commenting over various LinkedIn posts on which we used to see people getting laid off, fired or looking for some new job opportunity.
We started getting responses gradually. Meanwhile, we also personally started approaching HR teams of various companies who are hiring during COVID-19. The main value proposition we are giving to the HRs is that they can filter out candidates according to their requirement, without initially having to check their CVs one by one. We are also providing free access to Live Database of Form Responses (consists of job seekers’ details), on which we receive more than 60+ new responses daily.
Our job seekers’ registration started going down, and the reason, we got to know, is that people didn’t have trust; a majority of them thought that we were just forming a database. We brainstormed and thought of various ideas to build trust among job seekers, in order to increase registrations for the Google Form.
As a result, we started sending mails to various HR teams as well as job seekers, where we thought of using our original identity. We shared our LinkedIn profile and personal email ids so that if anybody has any doubt, they could get in touch with us anytime.
After this, we also thought of making a company page on LinkedIn that did not share any job updates, such as other job pages. Rather, it would act as a marketplace or a bridge between job seekers and job givers. On our LinkedIn pages, we started sharing useful resources i.e. other job-related Linkedin pages or profiles sharing job resources. These steps helped us in a very positive manner.
Our response started increasing once we crossed 500 responses. We have around seven HRs who are checking the database for hiring. Few HR representatives have asked us how we are making sure that the job seekers’ data is secured. For us, data security is of utmost priority. Our responses sheet is accessible to anybody on request, but on view basis only. Also, before giving access to any mail ids, we cross-check whether they are currently hiring or not.
There is no specific marketing we did for our forum. Our initiative is liked by many industry individuals — this helped us in scaling rapidly. We have also seen few HR representative are further sharing (as we used to get the request to give access) the database with other HR teams of companies who are currently hiring. Similarly, on the job seekers’ side, many are helping us by sharing the forum in their network.
“This is probably the first time a community of HR representatives is coming together for mutual benefit without any financial interests involved.”
Metrics is the thing that I am always obsessed with, in both business as well as other initiatives. Progress is about moving a metric positively, without negatively impacting other metrics.
Recently, we completed a month with 7000+ registrations of job seekers through our Google Form. We have 300+ HR representatives, actively using our database from top companies. On a daily basis, 40–50 companies are active on our Google Sheet — we are able to track it via Google Activity Dashboard.
We are going more aggressively towards on-boarding of more HRs. We have recently created an Live Online Jobs and Internship Sheet also, to help out job seekers so that they can view recent job openings (350+ recent job listings) and can apply directly. Within four days of its launch, we saw a traffic of 1,500 unique users using it.
For Form for Job Seekers or Job Giver, click here.
For Live Job Listings, click here.
We are also planning to take it to a higher scale. We don’t have any plans to monetise this initiative, as we have done this to help out people as well to understand our leanings by building a simplified job marketplace.
Nevertheless, today, if people are looking for business opportunities during the outbreak of Covid-19, it’s important to think of Jack Ma’s words:
“It is not an opportunity but your responsibility to serve the community.”
Note: The article was originally published here.