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Ben covers the property industry and has a keen interest in entrepreneurship and travel writing. He speaks Mandarin and previously covered housing and urban affairs for The Australian Financial Review.

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Job ads start-up Spotjobs tackles entry-level positions with big-name backer

Published 13 May 2013 11:29, Updated 16 May 2013 00:45

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Job ads start-up Spotjobs tackles entry-level positions with big-name backer

Lewis Romano and Jake Williams of Spotjobs have big-name backers and big goals. Photo: Josh Robenstone

A pair of young Melbourne socialites are shaking up the job-hunting scene with a fast-growing jobs site, Spotjobs, dedicated to entry-level positions.

Backed by the wealthy Simonds family of homebuilders, co-founders Lewis Romano and Jake Williams have 10 full-time employees and say web traffic has tripled since they began a national television advertising campaign. After launching the site just over six months ago, they now claim to be getting 20,000 page views and facilitating 3000 job applications each day from 100,000 registered users.

A quick search through the site shows major employers like Coles, KFC, Red Rooster and David Jones, and Romano says some have stopped using dominant careers sites like Seek and MyCareer.

“Our key difference is we are dedicated to the entry-level space,” Romano tells BRW. “We are positioning ourselves as a mainstream job board like the other careers sites, but they’re careers sites and we’re a jobs site – that’s the key distinction.”

Spotjobs is completely different to existing careers sites, in that candidates aren’t actually asked what it is they want to do. Location and availability are the key considerations. A simple interface asks them where they live, how far they’re willing to travel, when they are free and whether they like working with people. A list of jobs then appears. In applying they upload a photo, list their qualifications and write a maximum 350 character statement – about the size of a text message. They can attach a longer CV if they wish. It takes a couple of minutes.

“Spotjobs works off the principle that you’re coming to Spotjobs because you want to enable your lifestyle, not because you want a career,” Romano says. “And in most cases you don’t know exactly what you want to do.”

Says Williams: “We put jobs before you that you might not necessarily think of before you came to Spotjobs. You might think I want to work at Coles and that's because it’s indoors, it’s working with people and it’s 10 minutes from home. But there might be a cafe that’s two kilometres down the road, it’s still indoors, it’s still working with people and it’s much better suited for you.”

Focus on high turnover

Down the line at the employer end, the site has an applicant tracking system where the employer can quickly vet the people it likes and get in touch with them. Unsuccessful applicants are immediately notified. Romano says it is geared towards “high turnover” positions.

Employers pay to list on the site; Romano says discounts are no longer offered (they were offered heavily to build traffic at the beginning) but it is about one-fifth the price of other job sites. He hopes to reach profitability by the end of the year.

The pair are well known on Melbourne’s social scene. Lewis Romano and his sister Lili are the children of Emirates public relations whizz Judy Romano and business consultant and keynote speaker Frank Romano. The siblings are regularly photographed as fashion ambassadors at parties about town. Williams has also had his time on-camera, described less flatteringly as Neighbours’ star Margot Robbie’s “pizza delivery boyfriend”.

The long-time friends conceived the idea for Spotjobs about three years ago. Through a family connection they were introduced to the Simonds Group of Companies, who build thousands of homes each year. Aged 22 and 20 they pitched to the Simonds board of six and won the first investment the group had made outside of industries related to housing.

This month, they have launched SpotEd which hooks candidates up with trainers who can provide recognised qualifications.

Romano says he is open to expanding into careers in the future.

“We certainly want to consolidate this niche and if we are pulled into career jobs, provide that service, but not let that cannibalise our core product,” he says. “If we were to do a Spotjobs Careers it would be a different product. But that’s certainly on the long-term agenda.”

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