Friday, March 2, 2007

JobOkPlease: A Job Site For Students and Fresh Grads

Rasmi Bansal is the Editor and Publisher of a popular youth magazine called JAM - Just Another Magazine. JAM magazine has just launched A job site whose USP is opportunities for students and fresh graduates.

Rashmi Bansal took time to answer some questions on the idea, process and the targets in respect of her jobsite. As she says, "It's always more a question of self-belief and 'daring to do' rather than lack of funds which prevents you.If you are convinced about your idea and business model, just do it."

The answers are enlightening. All the best, Rashmi.

1. What is JobOkPlease? is a job site for students and freshers. The USP is that we're featuring jobs in categories like part-time jobs, freelance jobs, projects, vacation jobs and also 'first jobs' for fresh grads. Every young person out there could do with a little extra pocket money - as well as the exposure to the working world. Companies too are looking for young talent but don't know where or how to find it. So there is definitely a need out there, from both employers and jobseekers.

2. Why'd you name it that?
The JAM team brainstormed and came up with several names. We liked this one because it cued jobs and yet has a touch of irreverence to it which is the JAM hallmark. Also, the name was available across all domains (.com, .net, .inetc!)

3. Where did the idea come from? What is the researchyou have done on the business model?
Way back in 1996 JAM kicked off a summer internships' program where we placed bright young people in some excellent companies. These were the kind of interesting jobs which were generally not open to undergraduate students. Companies we tied up with included Leo Burnett, Euro RSCG, TV18, Sony Music,, Hindustan Lever, and so on.

The JAM internships program was hugely successful - it attracted some of the best young minds. For some it was actually a life-changing experience. An engineering student, for example, shifted to journalism while a guy doing hotel management joined advertising instead.

Internships was a program we conducted for many years as a brand-building exercise for JAM and a service toour readers. In the last couple of years we found employers were coming on their own and wanting to advertise jobs with us. As a small publication without a dedicated classified department we found it uneconomical to accept these job listings as too much administration was involved for a very nominal revenue.

So we decided to shift the process to the internet. As employers are now familiar with and used to posting on jobsites we would not have to educate them. And the job site market reaching a more mature stage there is room now for niche brands like ours. The business model already exists - we are only creating a new vertical within it which is in sync with the audience we have been catering to through JAM magazine and - the youth aged 16-24.

3A.Tell us how you go about constructing a job boardlike this once you have the idea?
The development and design was in-house.

4. I guess you have some success from offlineparticipation in the past. Do u think an onlinejobboard of this kind will click?
We already have 50 registered employers and 35 jobs in diverse roles and industries, from advertising and journalism to software and even NGOs. If you count no. of openings the jobs are actually 300+, however what we are more keen on is quality, not quantity of jobs.We've also attracted about 1500 jobseekers. We are now kicking off a promotional campaign for JobOkPlease among young people -at college festivals, through stickers and posters on campuses.

There will also be cross-promotions. Every issue of JAM will feature hot job listings and these jobs automatically appear on the JAM homepage We are growing the site organically,and I would evaluate its success only in another month or two. This is the seeding stage."

5. How did you actually build JobOkPlease (how muchdid it cost, where do you host, what did you need to do in terms of paperwork, coding, finding people, etc)?
As I mentioned, everything was done in-house by our existing design and development team. I can't get into specifics.

5A. How do u find the funds?
It's more a quesion of time and bandwidth than funds.The team very clear what it wanted - a clean,focussed, youthful looking site - and hence we had no expensive re-iterations. Of course small bugs keep getting discovered which we keep fixing!

6. What are your goals with JOP? I mean the number of registrations, (jobseeker and employer) and the revenue targets.
By the end of 2007 I would like to see 500 employers, 3500 jobs and 15,0000 registered jobseekers. More than that would be a bonus :) Once the site achieves a critical mass, I am sure revenues will follow.

7. How do you market JOP?
As I mentioned, we are now kicking off a promotional campaign for JObokplease among young people -at College festivals, through stickers and posters on campuses.There will also be cross-promotions. Every issue ofJAM magazine will feature hot job listings and these jobs automatically appear on the JAm There are also other plans in the pipeline.

8. What would you say to a young person who wants to do something entrepreneurial?
It's always more a question of self-belief and 'daringto do' rather than lack of funds which prevents you. If you are convinced about your idea and business model, just do it.

9. What qualities do you look for when hiring? Whatis your team like, in terms of numbers and experience?
The right skill set as well as an optimistic, problem solving attitude. The JAM team is 30 in number but across a wide set of roles and functions, hence difficult to give you a profile. On the one hand we have senior, experienced people, on the other we regularly take in freshers. But the mindset across the board is youthful.

10. How much weightage/importance do you give to finding the funds vis a vis the idea?
Like I said... funds come when the idea is strong and you have the guts to implement it!

Thanks Rashmi!The answers are enlightening.

Investing Gyan
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