Summer and Fall in Palestine should be the perfect time to hire new staff: With thousands of students just out of university, the streets are packed with young job-seekers—CVs in hand, looking for work. But despite the large supply of potential employees, many Palestinian business owners are frustrated:
“I’ve had to sort through thousands of CVs, most of which are totally unrelated to the job I’m offering,” explains Obadeh Alami, manager at Accent Marketing—a growing PR firm in Ramallah. “I needed over 50 new sales reps, so I assumed I could find high-quality new graduates quickly and easily,” he relates. “But there’s no good way for me to target the exact group of staff I need: top-level business graduates from three specific local universities. How do you publicize your job to these guys? Many of them don’t read the newspaper, many of them don’t use email regularly, and now that they’re out of the school system I can’t go posting job ads on campus. These sales positions were sitting unfilled for weeks because we couldn’t find the right people”.
That’s exactly where Souktel enters the picture. The Middle East’s first service to match people with jobs via SMS (or text messaging), its role is simple: Help employers and job-seekers find each other, using the leading form of communication in Palestine—mobile phones. It’s faster, cheaper, and it reaches more people than any other hiring strategy. “We got a call from Mr. Alami early in the month,” explains Souktel Manager Tamer Qasem. “He’d heard about our service through a colleague and was eager to try it out. His main concern was being able to reach new college grads quickly and cheaply—without resorting to email, which is unreliable, or an expensive recruitment firm that would charge a high service fee”.
Qasem continues: “Right away, we showed him how to create an SMS job ad from his phone and post it on our JobMatch system. We explained to him how our 4,500+ users log in each week from their own phones and search for jobs in their field. But we also showed him how he could “filter” the people who see his ad: Any time a sales or marketing grad is looking for a job—and they’re from the three universities he wants—then Mr. Alami’s ad will come up in their search results right away. But if the grads are from other schools, the ad won’t appear. This lets Accent get access to only the specific staff they need, and do it much faster and more cheaply than the usual recruitment options”.
“Souktel JobMatch also went the extra mile, though,” adds Alami: “They didn’t just let the job ad sit in their database. They also sent it out in an SMS message straight to all their users who met my criteria. That way, we had about 300 pairs of eyes seeing the ad instantly. After I posted the job with Souktel, I had 50 positions filled within 3 days. And more importantly, I was able to hire exactly the people I needed for the job. No sorting through useless CVs, no wasted time at interviews with the wrong person. It was incredible.”
One of the fifty new sales staff was Ashraf Muhtased, who is thrilled to have grabbed a job so soon after graduating. “I’m lucky enough to have learned about Souktel from a friend. Of course I signed up right away for weekly job alerts…I had nothing to lose. But this was great; I have my phone with me all the time, so I got the SMS ad as soon as it was sent out and I called the contact number in the message right away. A week later, I’m a Marketing Assistant! This is going to look great on my CV, and it shows people that I’m proactive about finding work. I have Souktel to thank for that”.