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Online: A job-hunting we will go
by Heinz Bulos
PC World Philippines, March 1997

For graduating students, it's that time of the year. After four or five years of nutty professors, hell weeks, org meetings, and text books, the bitter truth has at last dawned on you: it's time to find...a job. (Or, it could be that after four or five years of nutty bosses, deadlines, staff meetings, and Dilbert comic books, you finally realized your job sucks, so it's time to find...a new job.)

Whether you're job-hunting or job-hopping, you don't have to limit yourself to scouring through thick pages of classified ads of your favorite daily. The right job may just be waiting for you in cyberspace! All you have to do is point and click.

Of course, first, you need Internet access. That shouldn't be a problem. Your school or office is probably wired. Or you might have access at home. If not, there are Internet cafes and walk-in access facilities sprouting all over.

What you need now is a few handy Web addresses that you can visit. Think of it as going to a placement office or recruitment agency, except that you're facing a computer. There are two types of web sites where you can find ads for job openings: sites that specifically serve as a job market, and sites of companies that have a section on job opportunities.

Job market online

One of the best job sites of the first type is trabaho.com (http://www.trabaho.com), which went online September of 1996. This is a service provided by Web Philippines Inc., the same group that hosts sentro.com, an index of Filipino web sites. Trabaho.com is updated weekly, so there's always something new. The list of companies has grown from a handful to more than seventy as of late January. Companies include big names such as Andersen Consulting, Bank of Commerce, Globe Telecom, Active Group, Software AG, Hewlett-Packard, Citibank Card Center, Caltex Inc., Seagate Technology Ltd., and Far East Bank & Trust Co.

The site itself is easy to navigate and use. The design is subdued and there are no large graphics that will slow you down. There are four ways of searching for your dream job. One is to search by company. This is actually browsing over a list of companies. Unfortunately, the list is not arranged alphabetically or by industry. Clicking the name of a company leads you to a page listing all the job openings for that firm. Each position includes a description of the duties and qualifications.

The second way is to search by position. This time, you browse over a list of positions in six categories ---information technology, finance, sales/marketing, engineering/manufacturing, human resources, and graphic design. Each category lists the companies that offer a job in that field. Click the name of that company and, well, you get the idea. A very convenient section is Work for New Graduates. If you're fresh from college, your time won't be wasted going through ads and reading each and every time that the job requires three to five years work experience. Finally, you can search using trabaho.com's own search engine. The facility has options such as an and/or modifier and case sensitivity. Our searches, however, sometimes yielded vague results. We saw, for instance, job openings for product manager, but when we used the search engine, it couldn't find it. Besides, it's too slow. You're better off browsing through the pages. Another section is School Information, an index of links to university home pages.

When you find a job offer you can't refuse, what do you do then? The best way to apply is via e-mail. The instructions provide a list of items you should include in your resume. You either include your resume within your e-mail message or attach a text file. It doesn't say if you can use some other file format. It would have been better if there's an online application form. Still, sending your resume by e-mail is both fast and convenient. There's an offer for free Web space in Trabaho.com for job seekers, but we couldn't find that section. Most likely, it's not up yet. That would be pretty neat, though.

As of late January, the service offers a free 30-day trial period for employers. The rate structure was still being finalized at that time. For hunters, the service is free.

Another job site is JobsNet Philippines (http://www.jobsnet.net/) by Evolution Services, one of the most innovative Internet Service Providers around in terms of new Internet applications. Like Trabaho.com, it's free for job seekers. There's supposed to be a directory of job openings that you can browse, but we searched everywhere and couldn't find a thing.

After looking at trabaho.com and JobsNet, we wondered whether only Microsoft is the only company that announces non-existent products way in advance. We appreciate at least the addition of the word "soon" to such announcements. Even JobsNet's self-promotional copy, "We cater to over 20,000 professionals", is pure hype. At the time of our review, they received less than 500 hits, which is many, but not that many. Of course, we appreciate the service. It's convenient, useful, and best of all, free!

Now that we got that behind us, we tried out the search engine, which is, really, the only way to search within JobsNet. Fortunately, it's so much more efficient than that of trabaho.com. For one, you can choose which directory to look into--- business and finance or technical, you can search all text entries (e.g., cost accountant) or only key words (e.g., marketing brand advertising), and you can choose which country to search for --- the Philippines, Japan, China, or Korea. JobsNet has a tie-up with Asia Net and you can search their database using the JobsNet search engine. You can, of course, go directly to Asia Net's home page (www.asianet.com) if you're keen on working abroad.

The search engine is very accurate. The results show a list of companies offering the job you're looking for (and the site appears to have a good number of Top 500 participating companies). When you click on one, a new page appears showing the qualifications for the job and instructions in submitting your resume. Speaking of which, you send your resume by e-mail, also within the message. As with trabaho.com, resumes are forwarded to the employer. Job ads are posted and resumes received within 72 hours.

What we liked best, however, is the mailing list. You can receive job announcements on your chosen category by e-mail, so you don't have to go to their site. For employers, the subscription form can only be faxed, not e-mailed (what, no online from?). Still, it's cheaper than newspaper advertising. The service costs P5,000 per listing that will run for one month. Not bad.

Another ISP that has a similar service is Compass Internet. It has two Web pages for this -- The Book of Jobs (http://www2.compass.com.ph/boards/board_boj.html) for job seekers and Resume Online (http://www2.compass.com.ph/boards/board_rol.html) for employers. Compass Internet's approach is a bit different. While hunters still browse over job ads and companies scour through resumes, the employer-applicant contact bypasses the service. Applicants e-mail their resumes directly to the companies and employers e-mail their offer directly to the prospect, assuming, of course, that both have e-mail addresses.

The sites are not as well-designed as trabaho.com or JobsNet. You might overlook some buttons; and navigating is not a breeze. There is also no search engine. Browsing is the only way to look for a job or resume. The list is also not arranged by company or position, so looking for a specific job can be a drag.

On the other hand, it's easy to post an ad or resume . The online forms are very comprehensive and easy to fill up. Companies can also include a link to their home page. Best of all, the service is free for both applicants and employers. As of late January, there were about 67 jobs offered for the taking and 70 resumes posted. The Book of Jobs offers a much wider range of work, from the usual eight-to-five jobs to non-office types, like advertising models, promo girls, and, would you believe, a nanny?

The site has a number of overseas and local employers, that includes Cyquest Inc., C.M. Security and Services Inc., Offshore Software Developments, and Holiday Inn.

If you want a real recruitment agency, you can try East West Services (www.easwestcebu.com/). There's a web site for the Manila office, but we had problems accessing the site (http://www.eastwestmanila.com/index.htm). The firm is the only multinational employment agency in Cebu. There are three categories --- Executive Search, Temp-to Perm, and Hospitality and Industry. The last two were under construction.

There were just a few job ads and resumes posted, although there are entries that were excluded from the online list, as requested by some companies. And all of them were anonymous like in those newspaper classified ads. You know, those that go, "We are one of the largest and most prestigious multinational companies blah blah blah..." without identifying themselves. Even the resumes only show the first names. It's like guessing showbiz blind items. There is, however, a logical explanation to this. The agency does not charge for ad space unlike JobsNet; it charges fees based on commission on the successfully matched employee's salary. If the companies are identified, the applicant can simply go to them directly.

The online job application form is very comprehensive, perhaps too detailed for comfort. Anyway, you have the option of excluding specific information. You can also send your resume via e-mail with a WinWord file attached.

Companies are billed at 12 to 17 percent of the employee's annual compensation package, depending on the seniority of the person placed and the difficulty of the search. Temporary workers and temp-to-perm workers have different rate structures. With the lack of transparency and the complicated policies, you're better off seeking the right job or applicant somewhere else.

Another excellent site is that of the Personnel Management Association of the Philippines (http://www.philonline.com.ph/~pmap/). PMAP is a non-stock, non-profit professional association of human resource executives in the Philippines. It's not really a job site, but as PMAP representative Pol Labad explained, "what we only do is advertise vacancies of member companies both in electronic and print format. Further, only PMAP members are allowed to have their job vacancies put on our site." The section, Job Ads, is a free service to their 1,200 members nationwide. The site, started middle of 1995, is well-designed and easy to navigate. Not too many PMAP members, however, avail of the service. Still, you can find some interesting job offers.

For smaller companies, there is Buy and Sell Online (http://buysell .starnet.net.ph/page 1.html). The online version of the popular ad paper includes selected items from recent and back issues. Employment ads are covered in a dozen or so categories, which makes it easy to look for a particular position.

Another place to look for a job is to go directly to your prospective employer's home page. There's a comprehensive list of Philippine companies in Ken Ilio's Tanikalang Ginto (http://www.tribo.org/links.html) and Web Philippines's sentro.com (http://www.sentro.com). Most of these sites include a section on job openings. The advantages are, you can learn about the company at the same time and you can send your resume directly.

A new way of recruiting

If there's such a thing as a model Web page for online recruitment, it would be Smart Communication Inc.'s Smart Jobs (http://www.w3bc.com/smart/jobs/), which was launched last June. Smart Jobs has an impressive layout and design, with photos and graphics. It's easy to use and navigate. Unfortunately, the site is limited to positions within the Management Information Services or MIS department. Positions offered are systems development supervisor, system analysts/project leaders, office automation specialists, business analysts, database administrator, and network specialists.

If you're interested in one of these positions, there are three ways to apply --- via an online application form, e-mail in ASCII text or MS-Word 6.0, or postal mail. The online application form is easy to fill up, although there's little space for your credentials. If you want to impress them with fancy layout, better e-mail your resume in a WinWord file. From this site, you can access Smart's home page, so that you can research on the company itself.

Another company site worth visiting is that of the Asian Development Bank (http://www.asiandevbank.org/bpmsd/hrd.html). The ADB site doesn't have Smart's fancy graphics, but it's a lot more complete. There are detailed descriptions of all the positions you can apply for in the bank. There's a section called A Career at the Bank, which gives general information on what to expect and how to go about your application. Another section is Professional Staff Positions, a management trainee program of sorts. Here, you can learn about the program, including qualifications and job description. There are also sections on Remuneration and Benefits, Work Place and Environment, ADB Organizational Structure, and ADB Departments and Offices Function.

There are three ways to submit your application: via e-mail, postal mail, or the online application form.

Another company that announces job opportunities are PCIBank (http://www.pcib.com/news/career.html). Actually, the positions are for PCI Automation Center, a subsidiary of the PCIBank Group. You can't submit your application online or via e-mail; you have to handcarry the requirements to their office.

Andersen Consulting (http://www.sequel.net:80/~paterson/acmcar.htm) features sections on the application process, compensation and benefits, and career opportunities. You can apply by e-mail or snail mail.

SkyCable (http://www.skyinet.net/i-site/ads/adskynov15.html) offers career opportunities in the Sky Family (SkyCable, SkyInternet, SkyNews, and the i-site). Resumes are sent via e-mail.

Ayala Systems Technology Inc. (http://globe.com.ph/~astechi/astihome.htm) lists openings with job description and qualifications. There's nothing fancy but at least a deadline for submission is noted. You can send your resume by postal mail only.

Another Ayala company, EDINet Philippines Inc. (http://g-net.globe.com.ph/~edi001/) works the same way, but here, you can e-mail your application.

The Institute of Advance Computer Technology or I/ACT (http://www.sequel.net/~iact/) has a job opportunities section, which lists job openings and qualifications. You can apply in person or via snail mail.

Instant job?

So, after all this surfing, should you now toss out your paper's classified ads section? Obviously not. Your choices are limited if you just surf the Web. While more and more companies are building their home pages, there are still thousands who have yet to understand the Internet's potential in recruiting personnel. Even those with Web sites do not always post job openings. Smart Jobs' Webmaster says, "We believe that the Internet can be a good medium. At this point, we are still evaluating it, looking at how we can make it more attractive to job hunters, such as adding more positions so that we can cater to a wider audience and not only to IT students and professionals." In a span of less than two months, the site has received from 20 to 30 online applications. Roger Chua of Web Philippines Inc. replies that trabaho.com has been successful. He says, "We have received e-mail from Filipinos overseas who, by visiting our site, have been able to secure interview schedules with several of the companies posted in trabaho.com."

Is the Internet going to be the recruitment medium of choice? PMAP's Pol Labad explains the situations clearly, "Today, not yet. Probably in the next two to three years. Why? companies are not really that 'gungho' with information technology particularly with the Net." He mentioned that in a national survey they conducted, it was revealed that a relatively small number of companies have a home page. Some companies even asked "What for?" Another survey they conducted on prevailing human resource practices last year revealed that the Internet is not yet a known medium for recruitment. Most of the companies surveyed prefer to use traditional means such as newspaper ads, radio, campus recruitment, and executive search firms. Labad reasons, " I guess the main reason why they would prefer these methods is, let's face it, only a small number of Filipinos are computer literate, or shall I say, Internet literate . Further, a greater number of Filipinos do not have any access to a computer."

Employers may do well by following Smart optimistic attitude on the Internet's potential. Their Webmaster gives three advantages: "For one thing,interested individuals can check out our company profile first before deciding to send their application letters and resumes." He adds that it facilitates the delivery of resumes and application forms. Another advantage is, he explains, "Our Web site allows us to reach overseas Filipinos. Thus, it is not uncommon to receive e-mail inquiries from people based in other countries. In this way, we are doing our share in helping bring back highly skilled professionals, specially those in the IT industry."

Roger Chua mentions several advantages: "Online recruitment enables companies to cast a wider net in their search for new personnel," which include qualified Filipinos in North American, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. He says,

"The ads are available for viewing 24 hours a day, seven days a week" from any place that has an Internet connection. Other benefits include the speed by which applicants and employers reply via e-mail and the convenience it provides HR personnel. And to borrow a tip from the classic career guide book, "What Color is Your Parachute?", applicants can research on companies to better impress their interviewers.

Is getting a job then as easy as point and click? Not really. All the Web does is make it easier to look for leads. Explains Smart's Webmaster, "Of course, the Web site will not replace the traditional method of processing job applicants. They would still need to come over to our office for an interview, to take exams, that sort of thing." Sure, the Internet lets you find a job prospect in an instant, but getting the job in an instant? Fat chance. When you do get a reply by e-mail, you still have to jump into a business suit and make a personal appearance. Happy job hunting!

 


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