interview

PushCV has an admirable goal: to help tackle the unemployment epidemic by providing a service that connects skilled, employable candidates with recruiters and employers.

TechCabal spoke with Somto Ifezue, one of the founders of the recruitment website about the platform’s origins, successes, what they’ve learned so far and plans for the future.

TechCabal: Rising unemployment in Nigeria is not news. It’s why sites like Jobberman and Ngcareers exist. What made you come in to the industry? Is there a specific gap PushCV is filling?

Somto Ifezue: Yes, PushCV is trying to solve unemployment by building human capacity in the labour market. We already know that not everyone in the labour market is employable, yet they are looking for jobs. Our job in PushCV is to connect employable candidates to employers and recruiters. That said, we also help candidates build themselves and get ready for employment.

Okay. How do you do that with the candidates? Are there specific traits that makes a candidate employable?

Well, for now we have certain services and tools that candidates can use to build themselves on the PushCV platform. As for employability, we have come up with a standard testing process called the “Elite Quest”. This program consists of tests and assessments that will measure the employability of candidates to enable easy connection to Employers and Recruitment agencies.

At what point did you know, “this is what we’re going to do”? Was it a slow burn process or was there a specific event that made you go, “That’s it, we’re doing our own service”?

We noticed the employability problem and we knew that we had to do something about it, but we were not sure about what to do exactly. It was when employers started complaining about the quality of candidates, that we knew we had to take a very bold step to implement a general candidate testing initiative. That basically gave birth to the Elite Employee Quest.

Interesting. Tell us about the Elite Employee Quest, how’d that go?

To be honest, it was overwhelming. We did not expect the response we got. We received more than 10x the number of applications we were expecting. We got over a million candidates to apply for this program in just 4 weeks. We then on-boarded about half of them into the program. Four weeks later, we had slightly over 5,000 candidates who passed the four stages of the Elite Employee Quest successfully.

So, right now, you have 5000+ candidates who are employable?

Well, we have over 5000+ right now. I would prefer to say that we have over 5000+ candidates I am confident to send to employers and recruiters. These people have shown dedication and hunger. They are not afraid to get tested to prove they can provide value to any organisation.

The Elite Quest is now self-paced though. Which means candidates can apply and complete the entire program in less than 24 hours if they wish. So everyday, hundreds of candidates complete the program.

That’s good to hear. How many candidates have gotten jobs via PushCV?

I can’t disclose the exact number, but hundreds of candidates have been placed from the program at this point. Everyday employers meet with some PushCV members who have completed the Elite Quest. For employers it is extremely easy for them to get smart candidates for their available roles.

Okay, so how many recruiters use the service? Was it difficult to convince them to sign up considering the alternatives?

A couple of recruiters currently use our recruitment service called SmartRecruit . It isn’t very difficult to get employers and recruiters to try our service because they know we understand their pain and they are always willing to try it. We are taking it slow right now so that we can get some feedback and know what to improve upon before we start marketing. But it has been good so far.

Could you list some of your client base that have had success with the PushCV system?

Some of our clients include; Hotels.ng, Mansard, Union Bank, ARM Life, Stresert (a recruitment agency) and many more.

Your website says PushCV is “the largest pool of fully tested/pre-screened candidates in Africa”. Do you have recruiters from outside the country?

We have received a lot of request from outside the country, but we are focused on Nigeria right now. We definitely have expansion plans to other parts of Africa. We actually have a lot of candidates outside Nigeria at the moment. But we can’t serve them right now.

Okay, let’s talk finance. How does PushCV make money?

Some of our revenue is made by providing career services for candidates, some of which include; CV writing services and premium courses. Most of our revenue is made from employers/recruiters looking for our high quality candidates to fill their open positions.

How do you bill them, is it per campaign or per successful recruit?

We charge employers per successful recruit, not per campaign. It is 100% free for employers to place a job opening.

The competition — Shortlist, Jobberman, Insidify et al are well funded. How do you intend to give them a run for their money? Of course, you have received seed funding from Leadpath, but do you plan on raising again soon? Perhaps from the same investor?

I see PushCV as a platform that can work (and will work) with Shortlist, Jobberman, Insidify etc. It is just that a lot of people might not see that yet and it is understandable. They all have invaluable experience in this space. As for fund-raising, we are also well-funded and we have enough to implement and execute our future plans.

About the company. How big is the team, and how is it structured?

We are about 27. We have the customer service team, the CV rewriting team, the SmartRecruit team, accounts department, brand and marketing team, technical team (geeks), Learning Center team, the content team and the research and development team. We also have interns all year round. We work from 2 locations; Yaba and Lagos Island in Lagos Nigeria

Did you use your PushCV service to recruit any of your team?

Yes of course, we had a few employees before the Elite Quest, but right now, we have employed over 10 new people using SmartRecruit, and they are just great, I must confess.

What kinds of features/improvements are on PushCV’s roadmap that we can we expect to see in the near to long term?

We are working on our new Candidate-Employer matching algorithm, we are also improving some of our existing services and we are actually launching some of them in a few weeks.

Thank you for your time.

Photo Credit: Pictr73 via Compfight cc

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