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'We're bigger than Naukri'
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October 06, 2006

Internet-based jobs-search firm India is used to being compared with home-grown So, when Monster's India president and MD Arun Tadanki met Sunil Jain, he came prepared with printouts of comparisons between the two firms, of the new resumes posted within the last week, the last fortnight, the last month, and so on.

They're fascinating, and vary wildly - in the case of resumes posted within the last week, it was 100,810 for Monster versus 56,634 for Naukri on June 29, but 72,332 versus 67,208 on September 19; for 15-day old resumes, the numbers changed from 205,217 versus 128,116 to 164,010 versus 140,575. Excerpts:

Who's bigger? Naukri's Bikhchandani once told me, he's got more visitors.

He's referring to Alexa that measures page views - Naukri's around 350th or so, while we're around 800th. That's not the way to measure though. You can visit either site, but if you haven't downloaded the Alexa toolbar first, it won't add you to the list of visitors. In any case, Naukri has 2-3 pop-ups, so the number of page views gets inflated - TimesJobs doesn't have pop-ups, nor do we. What's more important is the number of new resumes that you get each week, and we're bigger here.

Give me numbers.

Employers want new resumes since you're never sure if the person who posted a resume 3 months ago, say, is still looking for a job. If you look at one week-old resumes, we've got 72,332 resumes versus 67,208 for Naukri (on September 19). When you do city-specific searches, or job-searches, we throw up more resumes.

On September 19, Naukri had 46,017 Delhi-based resumes that were a month old while Monster had 54,877, for instance. (The reason why journalists think Naukri's bigger is that they register on this - while 16 of a Delhi-based competitors journalists were registered on Naukri, there were none on Monster!)

What's critical is the search algorithm that throws up better search results...

Our algorithm is better. We've also just launched Magic Search - no one has done anything like this that allows you a one-string search, not even Monster US! We've translated the 30-odd parameters that you search on sequentially on other sites into one single Google-type box - you can now simply type that you want, "a journalist with 5 years experience in Delhi and covering telecom", and get your resumes.

How many jobs do you have registered?

Thirty-five thousand unique and live jobs - that works out to 90,000 openings across cities.

Isn't that minuscule?

No, we're trying to do a check between quality and quantity. Four years ago, you had a lot of placement firms posting job openings, today only a fifth of jobs posted on our site are by such aggregators since we're cracking down on this.

So a TeamLease can't post a job?

They can, but many others can't.

Do you match the jobs being advertised and the types of resumes on the site?

We're trying. If, say, 5 per cent of our resumes are media ones, we'll go to media firms and make a pitch to get them to advertise on our site, or to do searches on our database of resumes - both help job-seekers get in touch with potential employers.

What do you charge?

Rs 2,000 to advertise a job for two months and Rs 20,000 to be able to search for resumes on the site for a month. We cost around 30-35 per cent more than the competition.

What about revenue/profit growth?

I can't talk financials. But we have a paid-client base of 11,500 (that's persons who are posting ads or are paying to search our databases). Not all these are live clients, this includes those who've used us at least once in the last one year.

Do you charge more for keywords?

Keyword Branding has 50 such keywords. We charge Rs 10,000 per week for the normal keywords and Rs 25,000 for the premium ones. As soon as a job seeker types in something (say, a retail sales job), the ads of companies who've bought the keywords will pop up on the side.

What does it cost to use you to find an employee as compared to, say, a TeamLease?

We cost about 15 per cent on an average.

Isn't that too high? After all, employers are more comfortable with a placement agency - it assures them staffers of a certain standard (they even shortlist them) and given today's market, it's more important to find people than to worry about the cost of doing this.

We do two different things. A TeamLease screens the employees for you, we give you the tools to find these employees. That's why placement agencies charge success fees, we don't.

A few years ago, Monster US had an Executive Search wing but that was hived off. Placement agencies can't add customers at the same speed that we can, and we're scalable in the manner they aren't. That's our model, though we capture a lot less of the value chain than the placement firms do.

What's you ad strategy?

Essentially to look at activities that create greater awareness, such as a Monster ad every time there's a boundary in a cricket match. We're one of the largest advertisers on the Internet and we have alliances with aggregators such as Yahoo! and Google.

Yahoo Jobs, Google Jobs, Rediff Jobs will all have a lot more users than you...

No horizontal anywhere in the world have more revenue in a particular category than a leader in that vertical. Monster US has 150,000 firms listed on it. We have 11,000 firms, a sales force of 500 people in 8 cities; we do end-to-end stuff on the phone; we have customers in 340 cities � I can help you locate a salesperson in Siliguri.  You can't get this on Google.

Does being part of Monster US help?

When we go to a software firm, for instance, we talk about their global hiring needs - Monster US would have a million live jobs. Remember, Indian firms are looking for employees abroad. We've just launched Monster Middle East and have 90,000 resumes on it already.

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