Amit Garg, Business Head (Internet Business) at HT Media seems to believe that he has a product that can disrupt the jobs classifieds market, and he could be right. HT Media is putting some serious marketing muscle behind Shine MyParichay, apart from investing in the company (MyParichay) that is bringing this differentiation.
When Shine.com was launched in 2008, marking the groups entry into job classifieds, it offered consumers “match-making”, as a differentiation over market leader, Naukri.com, which has a significant majority share in the jobs classifieds business in India. Naukri still has that significant market share (and claims to have gained even more since IPO), but there has been little product innovation in this space to speak of since. In our opinion, Shine MyParichay changes that, largely because it addresses a recruiters needs for finding a quality recruit, and leverages employee networks through a referral system. While it might not directly address the mass hiring problem, it does address the need for knowing who you’re hiring, and a network can sometimes help with that.
The new Shine.com integrates Facebook with recruitment, effectively allowing users to leverage their network on Facebook for either applying for a job, being referred to a job, referring a friend for a job, powering recruitment pages for companies on Facebook, in a sense, from a recruitment standpoint, converting Facebook into LinkedIn. While it does this, it does appear to give significant power to both employees and recruiters, and appears to take exceptional care of addressing issues related to privacy and security.
Genpact and Quatrro were two recruiters that Shine.com showcased at the press conference, who had signed up during a pilot in Gurgaon.
Some screenshots of the product:
The Shine.com website allows users to apply through a friend:
In a similar manner, employees can refer their friends for a job, in case they don’t want it.
Employers can create a Facebook Page with recruitment options.
The recruiter has access to a significant amount of information on Facebook.
During the press conference, a TechCircle representative asked about the Shine.com using Facebook, which is a personal network, versus LinkedIn which is a professional network, saying that people like to keep the two separate. Garg, in response, said that he believes that the way MyParichay has designed the product, and the power it has given to both candidates and recruiters, does not impinge on the privacy of users. “The boundaries between personal and professional networks are blurring. People announce their next job on Facebook before they do it on LinkedIn. Secondly, on LinkedIn, you’re connecting with many people who might be in the same work environment or the same network, but you may not know. But on Facebook, you connect with people you know very well, have a relationship with. I think, forgetting about professional or personal network, these are very powerful tools for various types of transactions. Facebook has proven this in multiple contexts. The whole idea is to create a powerful and relevant solution for candidates and recruiters. Whatever needs to be done – people, going out and investing in MyParichay, and putting money behind communication, we’re doing that.”
We did a quick Q&A with Garg at the press conference:
MediaNama: You said you’re at the number 2 position in job portals in India. On what basis are you saying that?
Garg: Our Alexa traffic, our active candidates, the number of registrations that we get every day.
MediaNama: Traffic isn’t really a barometer for the success of a classifieds business. How many resumes are you adding every day? Naukri is adding around 12,000, about 116,000 daily CV modifications and…
Garg: We add between 9000-11,000 CVs every day. I’m not including the case where every day, if one person connects his Facebook profile, because of which not only does that person become searchable, but his 200 friends become searchable too.
Today, through our MyParichay downloads and through Shine, we are already ahead of Naukri, in terms of discoverable profiles.
MediaNama: So you’re addressing the database disparity issue, where Naukri had a head start. But it’s been 5 years since Shine.com launched – you launched in June 2008. You’ve taken a product approach since the beginning, with the Redmatch tie-up. It’s taken a long time for that to show any significant dividends. From a business strategy perspective, should you be looking at a product approach or a sales approach like Naukri, where they’ve put feet on the street?
Garg: Five years for business like this is not such a long time, and we’ve made huge amount of progress. To put things into perspective, Naukri started in 1997. We were nine years behind. Similarly, Monster and TimesJobs have been there since 2000. The position that we’ve achieved, both from a candidates perspective and a viewers perspective, we’re very proud of it. If you look at any successful digital business globally, be it Facebook, Google, Amazon or Pinterest, It has always been on the strength of a very powerful product, which consumers love to use, on the strength of a proposition which is unique and differentiated, and there is value for consumers. Sales is a secondary piece. If consumers are going to use your product, sales will happen. There is no doubt in my mind.
It’s not that we have not put a sales team behind it. We have a sales force of 200 people (Ed: Naukri has over 1000) in multiple geographies, and then we work with our partners like The Hindu in Chennai and Telegraph in Kolkata, to reach out to consumer and customers. We want to first create a very powerful product and then put a sales and media power behind it.
MediaNama: How many customers did you have in the last financial year? Naukri had 48,000.
Garg: We had 1800-2000 customers. These are paying customers. I agree, we are much smaller than Naukri, but I believe that gap will come down with time.
MediaNama: On the point about time, you entered an evolved market, compared with the other portals, which entered when the market was being built. The pace of growth for you hasn’t been substantive.
Garg: If you see, five years, we are at the number two position with the kind of database that we have. What is the relevant number is the number of people who have been active in the last six months. People who have registered five years back have no meaning. That too, we are at around 55 lakh candidates. We are a little ahead of Monster, and way ahead of TimesJobs. I think we will make a huge progress on that front.
MediaNama: On the product front, how does it impact cost to recruiter?
Garg: The cost of recruitment is not about the cost of hiring a person, it’s about a wrong hire and the cost of that wrong hire. The element of people bringing in people addresses the risk of wrong hire. That will create a huge amount of RoI for the recruiters.
MediaNama: More specifically, what of the cost of the package for the recruiter?
Garg: There are various pricing options, on the basis of multiple SKUs and multiple pricing.
MediaNama: Will social be an add-on in terms of cost?
Garg: We will bring an integrated solution. Of course, in terms of absolute amount, it will be a little higher, but that will be addressed in terms of the kind of access to candidates the recruiters get and the cost of hiring the right candidate. On your point of being late, all Internet businesses have shown that if you bring in innovation and strong consumer proposition, it doesn’t matter when you enter. Google has proved that. Instagram was not the first photo app. It’s about who brings in an innovative consumer-friendly proposition.
Rajan Bhalla (Group Marketing Head, HT Media): The growth so far has been in line with what we wanted it to be, but I think this is the point of disruption for Shine. This is a disruptive innovation, and we strongly believe that brands which innovate will stand out and their growth trajectories will take a completely different orbit.
MediaNama: How are you addressing privacy? A user may be giving access to his network without realizing it, and correspondingly, what, as a business, are the dangers that you face because you’re dependent on Facebook APIs and Facebook’s policies. If that gets shut, your product gets shut.
Garg: Your point about Facebook API’s is right, but you have to understand that Facebook is a platform that is trying to engage people in various ways and means. I don’t see why Facebook should have any issues as long as we are in line with their policy, because it only engages their users, and increases the utility of Facebook for their customers. I don’t see that risk. At the same time, on the privacy front, we are not doing anything without the consent of our candidates. Most of this is done in an interface that is not on pieces that are publicly available.
MediaNama: This was specifically with respect to a referral system, versus a system where you access the users network. In the first case I choose who I give access to, in the latter case, you have access to my entire network.
Garg: Even there, the only way for a recruiter to reach through your network is through you. You can switch that off as well. Even when a recruiter can see your network, the only way he can reach anyone in the network is through you.