"It's amazingly simple." This was Hasan Odeh's first reaction toward Souktel's JobMatch service when he learned about it at a technology fair in Ramallah, Palestine two years ago.
Odeh, 23, now a successful web developer and entrepreneur, remembers walking around Expo Tech with his friends and approaching Souktel's booth. They wanted to know how it worked--how a person might hear about a job, and apply for it, all via SMS.
"When they explained it, I said, 'All right, that actually sounds interesting--what do I have to do?' My friends actually weren't convinced at first; they said, 'Come on, that's too simple, you have to go directly to a company if you want to find a job'. But I thought it made a lot of sense, because it's bringing the company to you."
Needing a job at the time, Odeh signed up on the spot and almost immediately started getting personalized SMS notices about jobs in the West Bank. He’s been using the service reguarly since then--and this month, when a text message about a coveted Cisco business training course reached him, he jumped at the chance.
A few days later, Odeh and about 50 peers--all sourced through Souktel’s JobMatch service--listened as Cisco staff and Palestinian business leaders walked them through the basics of small venture start-up. With content developed by Cisco, Cornell University and Stanford University, and delivered in partnership with education non-profit Amideast, the course provided high-level training for the aspiring young entrepreneurs.
For Cisco and Amideast, the ability to recruit youth by SMS proved crucial: Instead of posting newspaper ads and receiving a flood of CVs, Souktel’s platform let them reach out to a specific group of youth--new business graduates with fluent English--through its unique 'filtered search' system. “If you want to find females, in the capital city, who have business degrees, our software lets you do that,” explains Souktel co-founder Lana Hijazi. “From a web interface, you can select the exact criteria for your candidate search,and then immediately you get a list of all Souktel users who fit your needs”.
As one of these users, Hassan Odeh also offered his own praise for a service that gives him just the right amount of information, at the right time. “I know that Souktel only sends me alerts about jobs that match my skills,” he explains. "When I get a message from Souktel and don't have credit on my phone," he says, "I'll always go and [add money to] my phone to see what it's about. I don't want to miss anything."
Learn more about Cisco's entrepreneurship training initiative here.
Learn more about education non-profit Amideast here.