Both recruitment startups and leading head-hunters in Vietnam have been eagerly investing in technologies to improve the employment process.
Vietnamese recruitment platform JopHop successfully raised seed funding of $710,000 last November in a round co-led by the Singapore-based KK Fund and Japanese human resources (HR) services company the Mynavi Corporation. Startups such as JobHop are matchmakers trying to automate the recruitment process to seek the best match between candidates’ abilities and employers’ requirements.
They are focusing on tackling the critical timing and fit problems for both recruiters and job seekers by using artificial intelligence (AI), data science, and blockchain, in the context of Vietnam’s increasing demand for highly-skilled and qualified workers.
New head-hunting models
Established in 2016, JobHop has made great strides forward in streamlining the complex job recruitment process in Vietnam, through the use of AI-hiring technology, to source the best talent profiles across 20 or more leading recruitment databases. “Not only does JobHop help clients hire faster and more efficiently, it also works with them as a recruitment and marketing partner to build and execute a smarter hiring campaign in order to meet demand in the Vietnamese jobs market,” said Mr. Kevin Tung Nguyen, Founder and CEO of JobHop. “Over the last two years, it has helped more than 300 customers, connected candidates with over 80,000 jobs, and received many positive reviews from top employers in Vietnam.”
Unlike traditional head-hunters or online job boards, the matchmaking platform focuses on building an omni-channel, with AI-powered solutions to analyze, evaluate, and connect job seekers and businesses more efficiently. JobHop currently focuses on the six fastest-growing industries in Vietnam: IT, finance, education, e-commerce / online media, real estate, and hospitality. It aims to simplify sophisticated enterprise solutions for recruiters at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By streamlining the hiring process with its built-in Applicant Tracking System (ATS), the JobHop solution helps recruiters save resources so they may focus on what matters most: finding suitable candidates.
Going live in August 2017, the online recruitment platform JobTest took a big step forward by signing a contract for the Management Association Talent Program’s online assessment and attraction with a leading financial consumer company in Vietnam. “JobTest last year became the pioneer of online talent assessment platforms in the application of AI and big data in the digital workforce era by expending our services to different segments, from MNCs to local leading corporations and SMEs,” said Mr. Nguyen Cong Thuy, CEO of JobTest.
The company’s quarterly growth is in the double digits and it reached peak working capacity in the fourth quarter of 2018. After a year in the market, JobTest has acquired more than 150,000 candidates, of whom more than 20,000 created their resumes and online assessment tests.
The JobTest platform applies advanced HR technology from IBM Watson Talent Insights that uses AI and big data to analyze trends and demand among both job seekers and employers, and then generates a job seekers’ job fit assessment report for employers’ job matching needs. With this approach, job seekers find their dream careers and employers find potential candidates with not only the right talent but also cultural fit, which makes JobTest different from other job boards. The benefits are highly accurate hiring ratios, talent retention from day one of hire, and lower recruitment costs.
Meanwhile, leading recruitment corporations have also been highly aware of the benefits from the technological revolution. Navigos Group has applied machine learning, deep learning, and AI to its job portals VietnamWorks and career platform for the managerial level PRIMUS, aiming to provide suitable jobs suggestions for job seekers, and at the same time measuring the matching score in terms of requirements and skills. “This platform possesses more than 10,000 qualified profiles, which adds a lot of value to our services in approaching and connecting to high-level candidates, as well as in opening up opportunities for those candidates to actively find the most suitable job for them,” said Mr. Gaku Echizenya, CEO of Navigos Group Vietnam.
Supply - demand mismatch
Although Vietnam has been recognized as a country with an abundant workforce backed by a young population, many big MNCs in the country still face difficulties recruiting a sufficient number of skilled staffs, and so lack the necessary resources to expand.
There has been increasing demand for highly-skilled and experienced candidates in Vietnam. Labor demand in Vietnam increased 11 per cent in 2018 compared to the previous year, in which demand for experienced candidates accounted for 72 per cent, followed by middle level positions, entry level, and senior level positions, with 17 per cent, 8 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively. In addition to job-specific professional skills, employers also seek candidates who demonstrate good interpersonal skills that will allow them to perform well in their jobs.
However, online recruitment demand in 2017-2018 increased 11 per cent while online worker supply rose only 5 per cent, according to a VietnamWorks report. It also found that the majority of employers (74 per cent) said their recruitment demand would increase in the next year.
Furthermore, the unemployment rate in Vietnam remains constant, accounting for 2 per cent of the workforce in 2018, according to the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA). According to its figures, the imbalance between supply and demand in the labor market is rooted in a disparity between the needs of job seekers and employers. “What we therefore need is a solution to effectively bridge this gap,” said Mr. Kevin from JopHop.
According to an article on LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional network, the traditional head-hunting industry will “die” soon because its value is too small for employers and the latest employment trends. Assessments by head-hunting services and recruitment activities are experience-based only and done by individual interviewers who are quite often affected by feelings and bias, according to Mr. Thuy from JobTest.
Nevertheless, although the benefits of technology are acknowledged, Mr. Echizenya from Navigos said head-hunting services could not be replaced completely by technology given the specific requirements of professional head-hunters include intuition and other perceptions that machines can never possess. Navigos has built an in-house technology team that seeks innovation and deep understanding. Therefore, they always know which new technologies can be utilized for their one-stop-shop of HR services.
Head-hunting is not only a complicated process in terms of assessment of human resources’ qualifications, it’s also a process of accompanying both candidates and employers before and after the successful placement, with Navigos’ long-term vision of “success after joining”. “Technology has certain advantages, but there are many kinds of human intelligence that machines and technology haven’t caught up with yet, such as emotional intelligence, sensorial intelligence, spiritual intelligence, and so on, and those are our strengths in the rapidly-changing technological era,” Mr. Echizenya said.
On the other hand, online employment is quite new in Vietnam and the majority of HR professionals are not well-trained on the related technology, Mr. Thuy believes. He acknowledged that JobTest has been facing major challenges and has been trying to educate HR professionals on better understanding human assessments with hi-tech platforms and IBM Watson Talent Insights.
Looking to the future, JobTest’s vision is to become one of the market leaders in terms of online talent assessment platforms with hi-tech application in Vietnam in 2023 and to expand its business to more ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Malaysia by 2025. In order to achieve these goals, it will hire more senior managers and develop new applications for recruitment, such as online career fairs, video interviewing AI tools, and others.
Similarly, JobHop’s mission is to match the most qualified candidates with the most suitable jobs in the shortest amount of time, thereby addressing the issue of fit and timing in the current job recruitment process. In the near future, it aims to become the most reliable link between the Vietnamese workforce and reputable international businesses.
JobHop also hopes to work closely with MoLISA to create a technological ecosystem that not only fosters smarter recruitment but also greater collaboration between today’s new generation of talent, non-profit organizations, and especially social enterprises, ultimately aiming to alleviate the imbalance between worker supply and demand in Vietnam.
VN Economic Times