Online Recruitment Market Is Set To Double This Fiscal

Updated: Sep 18 2003, 05:30am hrs
Recruitment costs are expected to decline in future as a result of job sites, says chief executive officer Sanjeev Bikhchandani. In an interview with Sibabrata Das, Mr Bikhchandani explains that e-recruitment is largely used for sourcing IT personnel in India but could spillover to manufacturing as well. Excerpts:

Which verticals in India are using online job sites as a source of recruitment and why
There are a broad range of industries using e-recruitment. The naukri home page lists over 40 industries. But the biggest ones are IT, ITES (IT-enabled services), pharma, telecom, insurance and other services. We also expect a bounce back across the manufacturing sector within the next six months.

In some countries, the government is a big source for e-recruitment. Is that a no-market area in India
Government departments are likely to be followers in any new initiative; they wont be leaders. The lead will be taken by the private sector and some progressive public sector units (PSUs). We expect government departments to follow suit in the next two years. Some PSUs like NTPC, ITI and Bharat Petroleum are early adopters of innovation and are already doing e-recruitment.

How is the online recruitment market evolving in India
The online recruitment market is estimated at Rs 15 crore. This is expected to almost double this fiscal. Though the growth rate is healthy, the size is much lower than recruitment ads in print or billings of placement consultants.

What factors drive the online recruitment market in India
The single biggest problem is the low penetration of Internet in India: less than 0.5 per cent of the population has Net access while in the US it is above 50 per cent. But in a certain segment of population, Net access is very high. This makes the online job site business profitable and viable. Related to penetration is the ease and quality of access: how stable are the connections and what are the delivered bandwidths, particularly in smaller towns and cities.

What is the main revenue source for job sites
The main revenue sources are services to corporatesjob listing, response management and resume database access. These account for 85 per cent of the revenue. Candidate services such as resume development account for the balance 15 per cent.

How big is the resume database for all job sites put together
If you combine the resume database of all Indian sites and de-duplicate, I would estimate that the total number of CVs (curriculum vitae) would be 30 lakh.

What are the various business models of different online job sites
The business models of most job sites are similar. What we believe makes us different is that we try to offer the best value to our customers, be they corporates or job seekers. Best value means the most jobs, the best jobs, the best employers, the best candidates, the most candidates, the best surfing experience, the fastest site and the best technology.

What are the low-cost and innovative ways adopted by online job sites
We are not really low-cost currently, although over the years we have spent our money very carefully by ensuring that overheads chase turnover and not the other way around. Last year, for instance, we did alliances with a number of newspapers which brought down our advertising cost by over Rs 1.5 crore.

JobsAhead has segmented an armed force database. Is segmentation a model
With a powerful resume database search, you dont need to break up your database. All CVs can be in one database; you just do an intelligent search to get to the CVs you want. We will not be breaking up our database.

Are job sites competing with placement agencies
Job sites do not compete with search firms that add value to the recruitment process. They, in fact, help these search firms do their job better. Yes, job sites will make life difficult for placement agencies that are merely capitalising on lack of information with clients.

Yes. We offer services like resume shortlisting and reference checking.

Why did you adopt an online and offline approach
There were some key clients of ours who insisted we integrate the value chain about three years ago. However, over 85 per cent of our total revenue comes from the website. More than money, what we have gained from the offline business is that we got into the shoes of our online clients and actually used our online services to recruit. This process helped us understand the recruitment process better and improve our online offerings for our clients.

What is the future of job sites in India What are the new trends and models that are likely to emerge
We expect the market to double every year for the next three years at least. There will be two to three survivors. We also expect recruitment costs to decline in future as a result of e-recruitment.