Giving startups a leg-up in hiring

Giving startups a leg-up in hiring

When starting a business, entrepreneurs often have to do everything themselves. It is difficult to find others to work for low pay and uncertain prospects.

To help, local entrepreneur and angel investor Ben Chew, who has been in the recruiting business for 13 years, set up startupjobs.asia in mid-December last year.

The site is a platform for startups to post job advertisements so they can find the people they need. Jobseekers then contact the startup directly.

Jobseekers can also deposit their resume for companies to look at. Since the feature was started a month ago, about 400 people have done so.

"Our aim is to 'sexify' jobs at startups and grow their human capital eco-system. In short, we want to be the voice for startup hires," says Mr Chew, who is active in the startup scene here.

Now, there are more than 300 jobs posted on the site from about 200 companies. Some 90 per cent of the advertisements are for jobs in Singapore, but there are also postings from markets such as Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan, China, and Hong Kong. Jobs can be sorted by full-time, part-time, internship or on a temporary basis, or by salary and by type.

Use of the site is free, and Mr Chew intends to keep it that way for basic features.

"When we first started this, it was for a social cause. Startups need resources especially if they are bootstrapping (starting with minimal resources)," he says. "But maybe we can come up with some premium features that funded startups can use."

As the job matching is done offline, Mr Chew does not know the exact number of matches made.

"Of those that we are connected to, there've been seven placements so far. I feel we can do better, so we are still improving our system to give it a wider reach."

Mr Chew is running the site full-time. Four other people are helping him with social media, technical issues and feedback collection. BT-YIF asks Mr Chew about hiring in startups.

Q: How is working in a startup different from a corporation?

A: We set up a booth during a recent National University of Singapore (NUS) career fair and received a number of queries on this question. Students seem to be keen, but ask how is it like, how is it different from other jobs.

Jobs at startups and jobs at corporates are very different. A lot of things might not be as structured.

Some startups start work at 10am and knock off at 7pm. Yet, even if you go back home, you'll still be working, so you could end up working very late.

But your voice will be heard more, compared to if you're working in a very established corporation with 500 staff.

Q: Why do startups in Singapore need to hire?

A: A good idea is worth nothing if there are no talented people coming together to build a good product or platform and driving the business thereafter.

Like all other businesses, early stage startups need to grow their traction, revenue and scale their business further.

Startups mainly hire for growth needs, as well as to fill up gaps within the existing team.

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