Shailendra Raj Giri is the Founder and Managing Director of merojob.com, one of Nepal’s most seamless online job portals and a leading career-management service provider. Before merojob.com, he started Real Solutions in 2002 through which the company introduced Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). Along with these two companies, Giri also initiated Rojgari Services (Rojgari Pasal) in 2013 to link skilled and trained workers to different industries.
Dibesh Dangol of B360 had a conversation with Giri on topics pertaining to work place nepotism, future of job search and placement processes, and emerging employment sectors. Excerpts:
It’s been more than a decade since merojob.com entered the Nepali market. What has the journey been like?
I started Real Solutions in a ‘let’s just do it and see what happens’ basis. But when I thought of starting merojob.com, I wanted to make it big and therefore made a five year business plan. My target was to get 5000 job-seekers registered in the first year, 10,000 in the second year and 40,000 within 5 years. I had also made plans regarding organisational structure and number of personnel. The target I had set for the initial year was achieved within a month. The team members were amazed to see such a positive outcome which boosted our confidence. After the second year, I scrapped the five year plan because the five year target was achieved in a little over two years itself.
In 2018, we made a five year plan and have targeted to register 20 lakh job-seekers and one lakh employers into our system by 2023.
How has job search landscape changed over the years? What is the future for job search and placement processes?
Previously, people used to get employed through nepotism or corruption. Many people weren’t even satisfied with their job as they weren’t interested in that particular field and were involved in such jobs due to obligation. Now, the whole landscape is changing and people can apply for jobs that they are interested in or have skills and knowledge about through offline or online mediums.
merojob.com has been very successful in terms of recruitment breakthrough and we have become a primary platform for jobseekers and employers. Jobseekers who have skills, knowledge and confidence in themself can apply to various vacancies listed in merojob.com without going to other people to beg for jobs. The process is also very simple and anyone with access to the internet and gadget can easily apply for jobs via merojob.com. The best part is that they don’t have to pay a single penny because we have applied self-service model for jobseekers. They just need to create a jobseeker account and fill up a form which will be their CV at merojob.com. There is a huge difference in keeping a CV at home and posting it on merojob.com. We give job alerts to suitable jobseekers and provide 24-hour service making it easier for jobseekers to find suitable jobs. You never know when opportunity might knock on your door. Not only Nepalis, but people from other countries have also registered on our website.
The future is that we will track you down wherever you are. At merojob.com, we have already started working on AI enabled job offering process rather than job searching process. We will not just be offering best jobs for jobseekers but we will also be making sure to place people in the right jobs according to their capabilities. Your career will be our responsibility and we will not be charging you!
What changes should be made in the education system to better prepare youth for the job market?
I wasn’t taught how to write a job application letter, prepare a CV, face job interviews and perform in internship programmes. This is the biggest debate that has been going on for a long time now and it’s high time that this problem is resolved. I recently attended Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) India Annual Conference. While talking with people from various Indian universities, I found out that Indian universities have begun to educate students about such matters in their courses and extra-curriculum activities so that they can become work-ready according to their specialisation after graduation.
In the case of Nepal, because such activities haven’t been conducted by colleges or included in university courses, merojob.com has been holding trainings and activities for students. We provide them theoretical and practical knowledge about facing interviews, making CV, applying for jobs, first job experience and future employment scenarios. Also, we have been organising Placement Day in association with various colleges.
The main problem is that we have been able to conduct such activities on a small scale only. Colleges need to take ownership of such learning. A practical skill oriented education system should be introduced in Nepal. Right now, the system is totally knowledge oriented as access to the internet was very minimal in Nepal till a decade ago. This can’t be an excuse anymore. Previously, the work was totally knowledge based but now if I want to know about anything, I can immediately learn from the internet. As for skills, I can’t gain that immediately because it takes time to learn the skills and needs to be inbuilt into the education system which is why the education system needs to be skill embedded.
The future is going to be very vast and different and people have to become critical thinkers. The world is going to be ruled by AI in the future, but who makes and runs AI are people. Your brain should not just be course book oriented; youths have to be futuristic and should be able to adapt to whatever the future holds for us.
What is the most effective way for jobseekers to search for jobs online?
Register at merjob.com. In the website, freshers are asked about their career objectives whereas people who have been working are asked to fill a career summary. The reason we have included this feature in the website is because if a person knows and writes down what they want in their career, it will create a positive impression on the employer. Where you have studied is not important. It’s true that organisations like banks and INGOs see jobseekers’ percentage and educational qualifications, but there are also companies who value determination in a candidate more than these factors.
The jobseeker’s profile should be like a brochure or package of any product where complete information about the product is mentioned. How you express yourself is vital. Instead of just saying you have worked in this and that place, if you explain about your achievements, appreciations and promotions, the profile looks good and rich in content. Also, updating your resume on a timely basis is important because every resume gets expired after three months. If within three months nothing new has been updated, then that person is outdated.
What’s the recruitment process at merojob.com?
merojob.com is just a vacancy advertisement platform for employers and vacancy information platform for jobseekers. When a jobseeker applies for a job, his/her application and profile is directly received by the employer. The employer can shortlist the applicants via the short-listing feature we provide to our clients. But if the employer wants us to conduct the whole recruitment process, we do that as well through Real Solutions. Majorly, banks and INGOs give us such responsibility because in such organisations scores of people apply and the applicants need to be shortlisted.
What’s the revenue model of merojob.com?
We are a vacancy advertiser. There are different advertisement rates as per the advertisement section, number of jobs and time period. The information about out advertisement rates are mentioned in our website.
What are the emerging work sectors in Nepal?
IT is an emerging economical sector not just in Nepal but all over the world. IT sector is forever changing. Many international companies have also outsourced their IT related operations to Nepal. Education and banking are also emerging sectors in Nepal. In terms of numbers, jobseekers are seen majorly applying for banks whereas jobs for programmers (IT sector) are gradually rising in Nepal.
How do you view the involvement of Nepal Government in terms of developing employment opportunities and entrepreneurship?
A huge difference can be seen between what the government promised earlier and what it is doing now. They lack implementation. The government should encourage and support young entrepreneurs and provide proper subsidies, support and policies to such entrepreneurs or companies who have a positive effect in the market instead of discouraging them. The relationship and support of countries like USA and China for their entrepreneurs is a major example of how a country can economically grow with the help of young entrepreneurs.
Is merojob.com’s operation valley centric or do you have presence in other parts of Nepal as well?
Eighty percent of the vacancy advertisement is from employers based in Kathmandu valley and 20% is from other places of Nepal. Gradually, the percentage of outside valley employers is rising because local level businesses are flourishing due to the provincial and local government distribution. merojob.com is involved with those local level businesses as well in terms of management and flourishing the business.
Rojgari Pasal is our other company with presence in different provinces via our five branches and deals with blue collar jobs. Rojgari’s mission is to bring back the labour force which is migrating to the Middle East.