MAKING A DIFFERENCE

I choose you! Making blue-collar job hunting as easy as Pokemon Go

An app that helps blue-collar workers get on the online job hunt

Singapore

"CATCHING" a job that is within 10 kilometres of you.

That is the technology behind a key feature of Findjobs, an app that is targeted at blue-collar workers.

Inspired by Pokemon Go's geofencing feature, the app aims to bring the job to workers in the language they're comfortable with, and even has plans to add dialect versions in the future.

Findjobs was created by brothers Ivan and Stanley Lim who recognised the challenges faced by the blue-collar workers as their English and technology proficiency might be below average. Moreover, traditional offline avenues are shrinking in today's digital age which poses a greater challenge for them.

Hence, the siblings decided to create the non-executive job finding app that would cater to this group of people. The inspiration for this product also partly originated from their mother's circumstances.

Their mother, who was not fluent in English, was working as a cleaner in the late nineties. After she lost her job, she couldn't find another one after a few months of fruitless combing through newspaper advertisements. In the end, she decided to stay home and retire early.

Elder brother Ivan Lim, who is chief product officer of the company, said: "In Singapore, we are English-speaking, we assume everyone knows how to read and speak English."

Hence, Findjobs has different apps available in Malay, Chinese and English.

Simple and easy-to-use user interface for their target users

Founder and CEO Stanley Lim said that the point of having separate apps, as opposed to a language setting within one app, comes back to the brothers' philosophy of simple and easy-to-use user interface for their target users."

But of course, the road to get this group of people on board was not an easy one either. The brothers, who have more than 20 years experience in the recruitment industry between them, detailed their painstaking experiences in trying to reach out to non-executive workers.

The issue was how to get non-tech savvy workers to use the platform. The brothers had to make the app simple to use and understand. "If they can use simple apps like Pokemon Go or the 4D toto app, we feel they'll be able to use our app," Ivan said, referencing the two apps that are popular among the older folk.

Other than typing their name and mobile number, the rest of the options in a Findjobs application are mainly picture-based and straightforward. Users don't require any registration, email address or password either.

"As a recruiter, my customers tell me that a lot, more than 50 per cent, don't turn up for interviews," said Ivan.

As travel expenses of S$6-7 can mean a lot to blue-collar employees, many might forego a job interview if there isn't a good chance they'll get the job. The geofencing feature helps workers to travel less and find jobs within a closer distance from their homes.

There are also blue-collar workers that don't use or can't afford smartphones at all. A nifty "broadcast yourself" feature in Findjobs allows children to quickly help their parents indicate what jobs they are looking for and what experience they have.

Ivan said: "I went to many places - shopping malls, the MRT, washrooms. Whenever I see cleaners in the washroom, I ask them 'Auntie, Uncle, you looking for job?' "

"Everywhere I go, even hawker centres, I will approach these aunties and uncles as I'm a recruiter with customers that have hundreds of cleaner positions available and I couldn't depend on online."

He added that a mobile app means the job postings are always there, and the job seeker can be exposed to more job vacancies.

Non-profit organisation raiSE has also helped Findjobs to connect and partner with organisations, like e2i, which help local jobseekers to find jobs.

For workers who completely do not use smartphones, the Lim brothers created a job kiosk to install at their partners' premises.

Their penchant to create the best user experience shone through again. "We know for a mobile app, we can use it for one hour, lie on a sofa and take our time, but if we ask the person to stand in front of the kiosk for 30 minutes to use it - it's very tiring."

They studied other products around Singapore such as the McDonalds kiosk which they think offers one of the best experiences. "When people order food from it, they don't take more than five minutes."

That was Findjobs' aim for its kiosk which costs close to S$5,000 each and comes equipped with a chatbot.

For the three months since the first two kiosks launched in mid-April, more than 600 workers have used them to apply for almost 2,000 jobs.

The kiosks are located at Northeast Community Development Council and Kaki Bukit View resident corner, while five new kiosks have been delivered in mid-July to various social service offices. As at July, almost 10,000 jobs have been listed on Findjobs on both the app and kiosks.

The startup incorporated in November 2016, and launched its first app, the Chinese version, in December 2017. It currently has seed funding from raiSE, and is looking towards a pre-series A funding round.

"Investors that want to invest in us need to be patient and believe in our products because along the way we might introduce features that might not make sense initially, but hopefully it becomes useful," said Ivan.

Speaking of the vision for Findjobs, the older Lim brother said: "We want to be like Panadol. For the layman, when I have headache, I only know Panadol."

"If the blue collar workers in Singapore want to find a job, this is the product we want them to think of."

  • This article is part of a biweekly series highlighting Social Enterprises in Singapore. Social enterprises provide business solutions to address unmet and emerging social needs and gaps. Visit www.raise.sg to learn more about these socially impactful companies