SA’s JOBJACK wants funding to scale in quest to kill the paper CV

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South African recruitment marketplace JOBJACK is seeking the funding it needs to scale as it looks to put an end to the use of paper CVs in the job-hunting process.

Focused on entry level jobs, JOBJACK has more than 40,000 users and has run a host of successful retail pilots, all while being self-funded.

The startup is now working on what it calls a “major funding round”, however, in order to reach the amount of users it needs to really prosper, having proven its model at a smaller scale.

JOBJACK was dreamt up by Heine Bellingan and Christiaan van den Berg when they were students and looking for side jobs. During his articles, van den Berg’s his mother-in-law asked him if he knew some students that could assist her at an event, which he quickly organised. 

“Afterwards the students contacted him asking for more jobs, and so he started thinking,” Bellingan, who is now the startup’s chief executive officer (CEO), said. “He came to me and we did some research, and we found nothing. We then called a few businesses, got a few jobs, and filled them. Thus validating the idea in our minds.”

This was in August 2017, and the pair decided to go for it and outsourced the building of an MVP. Launched in February of last year, it proved popular, so Bellingan and van den Berg added chief technology officer (CTO) Andre Coetzee to their team, and relaunched a solid, scalable version of JOBJACK. The focus of the business changed a little, however.

“Soon after our MVP launch we realised most of our clients are also in need of casual and permanent staff in the entry level space as well, like waiters, bartenders, cashiers, and cleaners. Any type of job not needing a qualification,” Bellingan said.

How do people get these jobs? By dropping off paper CVs at local businesses, and hoping these businesses are hiring, a process that wastes time and money. From the business perspective, owners are sifting through boxes of paper CVs and still struggling to find reliable candidates. 

One of the startup’s clients is “one of the biggest retailers in Africa”, which Bellingan said has 2,000 unfilled positions at the moment because it is unable to find relevant candidates.

“We thus shifted our focus to entry-level jobs. We want someone who just finished school to go on to JOBJACK and be able to see all entry level jobs that they can do. People at this stage of their career are looking for a job, any job, and we want them all in one place,” said Bellingan.

Businesses are able to post jobs on the platform, which are then instantly circulated to nearby candidates, who can apply or deny. The applicants are further filtered through algorithms and mini-tests so that employers end up with the few relevant candidates for the specific job. JOBJACK charges retailers a subscription fee for unlimited placements.

Real impact will only be seen at scale, however, and Bellingan said funds are needed to provide JOBJACK with the runway to grow. He said the startup’s mantra is “employ the world”, starting in South Africa and targeting neighbouring countries too.

“We would also like to do a pilot in a first world country. I recently returned from a trip to San Francisco, where Burger King and Starbucks had “We’re hiring” posters in their windows. When you buy fast food from Taco Bell they print “We’re hiring” on your slip. Some people got jobs from Craigslist and their version of Pick n Pay and Shoprite each have their own online platform,” he said. 

“So if someone just finished school in the US they still have to go and apply at 30 different places. Thus – even in the US – no one is dominating the entry level job market. That said – our focus for the next few years will 100 per cent be South Africa.”

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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