Indus Khaitan, General Partner at The Morpheus, on the state of job portals in India. Reproduced with permission from his blog.

Around 10 weeks ago, I started an experiment to assess the state of affairs of the online career portal market in India. More than that I wanted to understand the experience of ‘getting a job using online career portal’ in India.

The objective of the experiment was to assess a few things viz. (a) whether a candidate gets connected to the right job (b) are the recruiters or the companies contacting the candidate with right job openings (c) Get an estimate of the missing workflow & technology pieces around matching / follow up, etc. (d) get a general pulse of the career portals around usability, experience, bugs, design, quirks, etc. (for private consumption)

I started by:

1. Creating a brand new Gmail account
2. Updated my old resume (excluded the current experience at Morpheus)
3. Created new accounts on a few popular career portals (not going to name them here)
4. Uploaded the resume and made it searchable / visible– Tried to complete the profile as much as possible, except activating my SMS (one portal nagged every time I logged in to allow them to send me SMS!)

Fast forward to today and, man, it sucks! Most of the career portals are living the dot-com dream. However, I’m not going to do any comment on their usability, workflow and various issues/bugs I have found.

The moment I activated my resume, spam was the first one to get into my inbox – in various forms, including spam from management institutes & colleges which wanted me to do an executive course or two.  There were a few direct phone calls from recruiters who were really interested in hiring me, whereas most of the recruiters used a standard template asking the current CTC, notice period and never actually bothering to read my resume!

Here is the analysis of the contact points (email & phone calls):

Inbound touchpoints

In 10 weeks, I got around 130 readable emails and 7 phone calls. The good part was that, largely, the recruiters who called actually bothered to read the resume were interested in hiring, rather than shooting emails to complete a bean count. Around 10-15 emails per day is not all that bad, but I found that a majority of the recruiters never read the resume. Here’s another graph which tells more (click on the image to see hi-res version):

The analysis of charts & the emails tells us a few things:

1. The recruiters, especially the agencies outsourced to hire people for “consulting” gigs, do not even bother to read the resume. They want people for their software factories using plain vanilla keyword search.
2. Extending to the above thought — I presume (haven’t seen the recruiter interface of any of the career portal) that there are no matching tools being used.
3. A large number of recruiters fire & forget – there were certain instances where I responded to the email asking them to send more information, but went unanswered. Infact, a recruiter who called me for a VP role at a larger company never followed up with a job description of that position.
4. The number of job openings which actually matched what I wanted was around six. This is because the right tools are missing.
5. I also felt that recruiters use the career portals for lead generation, ignoring the fact that the resume has more data, and then discuss with the candidates.
6. Even if you are the CEO of Google and mention Java in a project which you worked on 15 years ago, you may still get an offer to get hired for a Sr. Java Engineer position.
7. Recruiters seldom personalize the emails — Just BCC everybody (and their dog) who has Java in the resume.

There are other fine nuggets which I’ve kept it with me and revolve around quirky issues with specific portals. Recruiters are definitely the culprits, but my fingers are pointing towards the career portals who lack proper tools and are monetizing heavily for the lack of viable “branded” alternatives.

I think there is a lot of room for brand new, green field innovation in the hiring / career segment in India. Do you have ideas? I have some.

Nikhil adds: I thought I should point out that  Shine.com was launched with it’s matching tool as a differentiator. I’m not sure if Shine.com was a part of this experiment, but it’s not as if matching tools aren’t available. So is Shine.com’s matching tool being used by recruiters?

Disclosure (Update): As our readers rightly point out in the comments, The Morpheus, where Khaitan is a General Partner, has two recruitment businesses – Sutra HR and InterviewStreet in its portfolio.

If you have an opinion or details to share with our readers, please do send across your contribution to nikhil AT medianama DOT com. Do take a look at our guidelines for guest columns