FirstDialog – Social recruitment platform from India

Most of you who have used today’s job sites like Naukri, Jobsahead etc will realise that there is a need for tying social networking (like FB and LinkedIn) with job searches. LinkedIn has a jobs section but is optimised for professional networking primarily. Facebook on the other hand is primarily for social networking, although users are now actively using it to identify potential recruits. Job sites (like Naukri etc) are good at job searching – but do not yet have any social aspects built in (although there are efforts like Brijj and PeerPower.
FirstDialog – A Noida based startup has come up with a social recruitment platform for helping people find jobs in the Web 2.0 age and fill in this niche. By using the platform job seekers can do “personal branding” and recruitment agencies can interact with them in a lot of different ways (Users build their “assets”). Assets are defined as modes of communication that a user can have e.g. Videos, documents, referrals and your social network as a whole. So any user can build his branding and thereby increase his chances of getting eyeballs.
FirstDialog also introduces the concept of “verification” which has been a sore spot for most other job sites. While identity verification is free, they charge for education and professional verification.
Here are a few thoughts about Firstdialog after playing around with their site:
1. The interface and general usability of the site is very cool. They have cut no corners and the user is intuitively led to most parts of the website. Full marks on that.
2. I was surprised NOT to notice an “import from LinkedIn” or “Import from CV” wizard in my first run experience. They do have a wizard but one has to input all the relevant details by oneself. That seems like a huge lot to do – when things can be done a lot easier.
3. They have very relevant sections in “alerts”, “network jobs”, “network news”, “matching jobs” etc. However I would have also liked to see an email or twitter alert for matching jobs (like agents in some others). Job searches are typically one-time activities and therefore should be optimised for the same.
4. The verification aspect is going to be very helpful – especially for freshers and for job categoiries like BPO etc. I guess a lot of it will be used by the companies / recruiters than candidates themselves. A little more documentation on the process would have helped though.
5. I also expected “make my resume cool” or “let a professional help you in your branding” services in the premium services. At the end of the day, the recruiter will ask for a CV to send to his client and they should optimise by helping freshers position themselves better.
On the general business / direction –
1. There surely is a value propostion and it lies somewhere in between LinkedIn and naukri (types of sites). However as with most Web 2.0, it is usually not a well executed product, but the one that has the most users that rules the roost. I think the barrier to entry (to use a much maligned marketing term) is very low – especially for existing players like Naukri. That is a BIG danger once FirstDialog goes out of Alpha.
2. Monetization – I assume they will be making money from recruiters (in registration fees, conversion fees etc). I still believe they have a few unexplored monetization alternatives (and not the least – ads)
3. Regionally strong professional networking players rule the roost in some parts of the world e.g. Viadeo in France etc. However regional masks to existing social networks havent quite worked in India. ALthough FirstDIalog doesnt profess any India specific allegiances, I hope they do not choose only that route.
What do you think? Will such differentiated companies survive in an already crowded space (Naukris of the world from one side and LinkedIn from the other side). Do let us know.
FirstDialog has 500 free Alpha invitations for Pi users. DO go ahead and give it a try!
To play around with www.firstdialog.com signup with invitation code – A1PH41 ! (Review by Pratyush!)

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