Ben Hurley Reporter

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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Online employment start-up OneShift nibbles at rival Seek’s market share

Published 23 May 2013 09:29, Updated 24 May 2013 07:57

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Online employment start-up OneShift nibbles at rival Seek’s market share

Gen George’s OneShift is part of a growing group of start-ups taking on employment giant Seek. Photo: Michele Mossop

Here’s one interesting way to apply for a job: write and perform a love song to your prospective employer.

That was the approach “Ben” took on new employment platform OneShift, which matches jobs to job seekers and allows applicants to upload a video of themselves as part of their CV. Applicants’ last names are kept private – just like on a dating website – and the employer pays for an introduction.

“You need me and I need you too,” sings Ben, suited up and smiling as he strums an acoustic guitar. “Just imagine what we both could do. So please call me to arrange an interview. Call the number on your screen and I’d love to hear from you, hey-yeah, hey-yeah. Love to hear from you!”

Most of the videos on OneShift are plainer than Ben’s. But the video adds a new dimension to the job-hunting process as nimble upstarts make inroads into the turf of once-disruptive job sites like Seek, with the help of fresh approaches.

You need me and I need you too, just imagine what we both could do. Call the number on your screen and I’d love to hear from you, hey-yeah, hey-yeah. Love to hear from you!

Founded by 22-year-old entrepreneur Gen George, OneShift has 135,000 job seekers registered, and about 3000 business entities including Rockpool restaurant, Hungry Jack’s and Dial a Dump.

George estimates her site, which targets one-off or short-term jobs, fills 2400 positions a month (she has figures on how many dates she lines up but can only guess how many end up with an employment outcome). She has 20 employees despite starting the business less than a year ago, after the idea came during a trip to Europe when she found it difficult to find short-term work.

“I found there wasn’t something like this anywhere else in the world – a network that you can go on like a dating website and say ‘This is where I am, this is what I want.’ and then find it,” George says.

Match-making

Applicants upload details including their skills, education level, photos and videos. There are also personality profile questions. On the other end, employers post jobs and requirements. They are then matched to each other, with the employer finally paying $22 to connect to three people. Interviews can be conducted using a video-chat feature.

The site also has a dynamic calendar so a traveller can fill in his or her future location and availability, and be matched to short-term work along the way. Employers give the employees a star rating based on how well they did the job.

“Where it started out was saying ‘Why spend more than an hour searching for someone who is just going to do a single shift?’,” George says. “We had a job in Melbourne at a cafe. They posted a job for a waitress, they needed someone for a busy morning. Within 40 minutes they had spoken to three people and interviewed them through the video chat. She ended up living two blocks away and it was where she had her morning coffee.”

George says the site has evolved into part-time work and maternity-leave jobs, and is working towards permanent shifts.

“We’re exceeding every month’s targets,” George says. “It makes sense for every job seeker to be able to find work this way. I think it’s a game-changer for what’s already out there.”

George has had some help with the business from her father Philip George (a well-known business figure who runs property developer the George Group). She is looking to raise capital to expand into New Zealand and eventually Asia, and has hired Oaktower Advisory to manage the process.

She’s not the only upstart shaking things up in the jobs space. Spotjobs (founded by Melbourne socialites Lewis Romano and Jake Williams) is targeting entry-level positions. It has gained 100,000 registered users in six months, and the custom of employers like Coles, KFC, Red Rooster and David Jones.

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