cajobportal.com™ is India’s first recruitment website exclusively for CAs.
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Job hunt portals is one of the best gifts on the internet for both freshers and professionals. There were times, where the portal served just as online classifieds, but they’ve evolved over the years. Now a days portals have individual hiring managers, who quantify the candidates from the list and verify their details before accepting their profile in the database. Every portal can cater to different fields according to the individual applying for them, they not only help the seekers, but also the companies to find qualified professional to fill the vacancy. They act as the interface between the job-seekers and the company (and sometimes consultancies). Yet, the development is not enough, as there are so many individuals whose talents have not been recognised by the recruiters. What could be the reason? Now, consider the scenario where you’re either a CA or MBA – Finance candidate. What do you think would be the ideal questions that would add more value to your job application??
General Recruitment Consultant (IT + Non IT ) calling up and asking – Current CTC, Expected CTC, why do you want to switch and what is your notice period
Exclusive Finance Recruiters calling up and asking – How have you established Hedge Effectiveness while applying Accounting Standard- 30? Is EV-EBITDA the best mode of valuing a company?
Which one would you prefer? Given my skill in finance, I will definitely go for the former (cause my current skill level in finance is brimming just above ‘zero’). Jokes apart, anyone in their right mind would clearly call the latter as a better screening process for the CAs and MBAs. In this way, users are assured of customized solutions and only premium postings in the website and even companies are assured of getting candidates screened by domain experts etc. Now, the right question to ask is, where do you go for the so called ‘exclusive finance recruiters’?
cajobportal.com™ is India’s first recruitment website exclusively for CAs. During interaction with CA freshers, they realized that just a fraction of them could ace jobs in the competitive ICAI’s campus placement process. The rest lacked on communication skills, took multiple attempts etc. Some of them relied on friends and relatives to channelize resumes and even the conventional consultants had no specific focus on this space. This led to the genesis of cajobportal.com in Aug’13.
“Through our start up, we took commoditization in the finance human capital space head-on, adding value through segmentation and customisation.”
Sonia is a Chartered Accountant and has worked in Deloitte Hyderabad for a couple of years. Anurag is a Chartered Accountant who secured All India Rank 22 and 25 in CA Final and Inter respectively and has worked for 10 years across Deloitte, ITC, and Tata Steel. Recently he completed his PGPX (1 year full time MBA) from IIM Ahmedabad.
*Sonia pursues cajobportal.com full time, leading Operations and Business Development while Anurag, being the sole bread-winner in the family is engaged in a job and supports Sonia on Strategic Initiatives beyond office hours.
In spite of being a top performer, Sonia had struggled to find a job for herself in Kolkata after her break from the Deloitte, due to marriage and maternity. She realised how difficult it could be for talented women to find work in the corporate world under specific personal situations. When she got involved full-time into cajobportal.com to head Operations & Business Development, the past experience resulted in her recruiting only females for the team. They operate as an all women ‘Work from Home’ setup – girls, who, need to stay at home and work in trust on their cloud based collaborative platform.
Their Advisory Board includes Ms V N Saroja -IIMA PGP alum and co-founder of naukri.com, Mr Hari Mundra, IIMA PGP alum and ex Group CFO- RPG. C. A. Dilip Apte, ex-GM-Corporate Relations at HDFC and Prof Arvind Sahay & Prof Biju Varkkey of IIMA
|Venture Started: August 2013|
|Founders: Sonia Singal and Anurag Singal|
|Operations Base: Operations professionals at Kolkata and Sales professionals at Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.|
|Client Base: 25+ prestigious brands in India, Africa and Middle East; All the CA and MBA (finance) graduates|
|Target: 100+ active clients in the next 6 months|
Their primary customers would be blue-chip corporates and SMEs, Start-ups, professional service firms seeking to recruit CAs & MBAs. Today, they have been signed up by 25+ prestigious brands in India, Africa and Middle East.
These include the likes of Amazon, Unilever, ITC, Airtel, Caterpillar, Cipla, Titan, TCS, HDFC Bank, DSP Blackrock etc.This can grow up to 500 active clients.
There are 225,000+ Chartered Accountants, 30,000+ Company Secretary, Cost Accountants , MBA (Finance) from premiere institutes, Tier 2/3 MBAs and graduates; who form the backbone of the Finance & Strategy function of a manufacturing company, corporate office, manufacturing plants and sales offices as well as the delivery centres of a service company.
With increasing globalization, a host of avenues have opened for them in the consulting, transfer pricing, M&A and KPO space.
The Finance and Recruitment Challenges
In the last quarter, they got their model evaluated by the likes of India Angels Network, Helion Ventures and Matrix Partners. Some crucial pointers were raised such as scalability of this segment (CA, CS and CWA), long and protracted recruitment cycles, vendor contracts being relationship based, unattractive website UI (for 2 years they operated as a blogger site hosted as a .com) and technology as they relied on outsourcing and not an in-house team.
Attracting talent for work for them was a big challenge. They realised that technology spend can be a great source of competitive advantage in terms of search algorithms, apps, etc, but in-house tech team is costly. Same holds true for digital marketing – allows massive outreach to target audience but needs deep pockets. In the ‘bootstrapping stage’, they are reinvesting internal accruals back into the business and with funding in the due course; will take these up. Needless to say, the issues were addressed.
Also since they are comfortable with the women working from home for them like the cases where a commerce graduate need to stay at home as her father is suffering from cancer; an MBA whose husband is posted in a spices plantation in remote location at Kerala with no job avenues for herself; a CA, CS & FRM who needs to take care of family after untimely demise of her mother etc. With all their clients being industry leaders, maintaining high efficiency as a team was a challenge initially.
Then a project management software – getflow.com helped the entire team works on a collaborative work space, enabling real-time monitoring and seamless integration of efforts.
On IIMA campus, they decided that time to go commercial as CSR mode was not sustainable. The strategy classes made them ponder on their sustainable competitive positioning. They realised that their model was replicable and could get lost in the overcrowded recruitment space. There were no entry barriers and users perceived little differentiation amongst the various portals.
So, they approached corporates for B2B tie-ups, bundling the value proposition of an online platform and offline search consultant, hitherto regarded as just a postman of CVs. While the ‘cookie cutter’ approach to recruiting involved talking to candidates on clichéd terms – CTC and notice period; their differentiating factor was the ability to talk IFRS, Forex and EV/EBITDA, which led to better mapping of the candidate and up to 4x conversion ratios for clients.
They’ve now started Internship segment so that they could help some of the 10 lakh+ students in the CA/CS/CWA/Tier 2 & 3 MBA system get good internship opportunities.
- To address concerns on the scalability, they’ve launched mbajobportal.com and graduatejobportal.com, thus catering to a wider audience. For graduates they’ve have plans to launch competency building program, thus helping them get jobs in PSUs and KPOs.
- The idea is to turn their platform being a one-stop marketplace for finance jobs, be it full-time or part time. Thus instead of just hosting featured jobs where they act as ‘last mile’ consultants, they now also allow third party listings by employers/consultants.
- They have a segment – Short Term Assignments where they post freelance work for finance professionals, be it start-ups wanting a virtual CFO or PSU banks seeking a forensic auditor or KPO wanting to hire an MBA for 3 months or an entrepreneur seeking financial modelling skills for his/her business plan.
- They have revamped their platform and launched a PHP based recruitment management system; which allows them to offer much better UI.
- Recruiting operations professionals at Kolkata and sales function at Mumbai, Gurgaon, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai.
- Online and Print media spend for brand awareness amongst target group.
- Technology such as high-end algorithms, apps etc.
The Traction in the Journey!
It has been tough competing with the Big Daddies of the B2B recruitment space. However now, the business model has gained the trust of 50+ marquee brands; including Amazon, Unilever, Caterpillar, Cipla, Titan and HDFC.
- They are now finance hiring partners for 37.5% of BSE-30 companies (private sector).
- Since Dec’14, they’ve closed mandates with aggregate CTC of Rs 3 crores. Their model involves no ‘cash burn’ – they’re cash flow positive from Day 1 and have earned Rs 1 million so far, which has helps them save on fixed costs of an office establishment.
- In Nov’14, they were shortlisted for the final round of Masterplan B-Plan competition at Confluence, IIM Ahmedabad and also nominated for Tata First Dot Awards contest. They also won first prize in Czars of the Online Bazaar contest for their B-Plan at IIM Ahmedabad.
- They’ve been covered by Rediff, TOI, Business Standard and DNA.
- Finance Moms at home – CA/MBA mothers, on a break from active corporate life and now homemakers; work on their freelance projects – writing e-books to teaching on Skype to equity research. They’ve earned Rs 5 lacs through cajobportal so far.
They are now aggressively engaging with new B2B clients and plan to take the number of active clients to 100+ in the next 6 months.