#Asia This startup aims to block out the noise when recruiting students in Indonesia



Image by Alex Jones

At the Tech in Asia conference in Jakarta last week, one startup occupied a prime piece of real estate on the bootstrap alley floor right in front of the main stage entrance. Zelos relationship manager Chris Winston was kind enough to share a bit about his new company, and how it’s helping narrow the gap between Indonesian college students seeking jobs and local companies looking for fresh blood.

“I was a cook before, doing consulting in Bali for hotels and restaurants, and doing some private catering,” explains Chris. “The idea started when my co-founders Markus and Alvin were helping me one day for my catering event. […] Due to the nature of private dining events, I couldn’t find part-time students to help me with the gig.” From the experience, Chris, Alvin, and Markus decided they would create an app that streamlines the process of connecting students to employers in Indonesia. They dubbed the project Zelos.

Markus and Alvin are the firm’s CEO and CTO respectively. In the past, the two ran a startup called Votinc, which we met at last year’s Tech in Asia Jakarta conference. Unfortunately, Votinc is no longer running, but apparently it hasn’t stopped its co-founders from staying hungry and building new products. “Markus and Alvin’s startup also helped conceive this idea,” says Chris, who adds that part of Votinc’s purpose was to go around talking to different businesses in Indonesia, learning about their needs. “Why students?” Chris asks rhetorically. “We felt that they are under-represented in the recruiting field.”


See: Votinc wants to incorporate social media into Indonesia’s entrepreneurial decisions

Only the prime cuts

Chris says Zelos is awesome because it reduces the overall workload in the recruiting process for both students and businesses. On Zelos, only students with the right credentials can apply for certain positions. For example, only someone with a design background can submit their CV for a position as a designer. However, if that same person tried to apply for the role of a programmer, their CV would be blocked by Zelos.

Apparently, in Indonesia, university students are often so enthusiastic to land a job, they just throw out resumes to anyone who’s hiring. This creates a lot of junk mail for employers, says Chris, who adds the element of curation is paramount for the startup’s business model. “Accounting jobs will only be showed to and can only be applied to by accounting students,” he says.

Whether they recognize it or not, this also benefits the students, Chris explains. It puts them in the right place where they’ll ultimately be most happy. Employers on Zelos also get access to the entire pool of students. If they want to be proactive, firms can browse Zelos’s database and reach out to students individually.

Chris says students also get the benefit of not needing to spend time working on a CV, as making a profile with Zelos will generate a good looking custom CV they can then use anywhere. “They don’t have to worry about finding templates or spend time thinking what to put on their CV,” he explains. “Their profile is their CV.”

Chris says Zelos competes head-on with firms like Glints, StudentJob.co.id, and Kampus Update. KerjaDulu is another viable local contender. A little more indirectly, Zelos sees competition in the forms of big-name players like LinkedIn, JobsDB, JobStreet, and other offline headhunting agencies that focus on entry level jobs.


See: Police in Indonesia arrest university student for filming bribery

Keep it simple, students

Zelos monetizes by charging employers IDR 15,000 (US$1.10) for each student’s contact info with whom they want to reach out to. Chris says simplicity is key. “There’s no subscription fee and no job posting fee,” he adds. “When you like certain candidates or students — through looking at their profile — you can purchase [the info] and we’ll give you the contact.” If the contact can’t be reached or is caught lying on their profile, Zelos will give the employer a refund.

Zelos has been running in Indonesia for two months and claims around 1,200 students and 80 businesses on its platform. Chris says around 200 contacts have been sent for 100 different job posts so far. 80 percent of students in Zelos’s database are considered active users, says Chris, as are all of the businesses, unless their position has already been filled.

“In the next three years, with the current business model, we target one million students to join us, with 100,000 companies using our service,” says Chris optimistically. “With an average of two job posts per company, we project that Zelos will earn IDR 7.8 billion (US$500,000) [in that timeframe].”

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