Egypt’s first job search engine, Cantalop, founded in 2014 by entrepreneur Karim Halwany, aims to tackle the country’s chronic unemployment issue. Calling it the “Google for jobs”, Halawany says the search engine hopes to revolutionise the process of searching for jobs.
The Daily News Egypt speaks to Halawany to discuss how the engine works, who it targets, and future plans for its development.
Can you explain to our readers the concept of Cantalop? How does it operate?
Cantalop is the first search engine for jobs in Egypt, aiming to revolutionise the way people search for jobs. You can think of us as “Google for jobs”, where now you can go to one place and search all jobs in Egypt with one click.
The way it works is very simple. The jobseeker can simply login to our website, type the job title, employer or keywords he/she is looking for, and in a few seconds our engine will list all jobs with the relevant match.
At all times, the jobseeker can save a job alert, so he is notified if any openings of his preference become available in the future.
We are also developing our blog that will contain all popular and widely-shared career and interview tips, career insights and any other related matter that can help the jobseeker land his dream job. We will not create our own content but, instead, we will always refer to the original source for the post. The idea is to share what is really worth sharing.
Why is it different from other online employment platforms out there?
To answer this question, we have to differentiate between three completely different models:
job boards; job aggregators; and job search engines.
The job board does not include any kind of crawling or spidering technology. The job ads on these boards are actively posted there by companies and recruitment agencies in order to advertise certain positions, which are usually either hard to fill positions, which are important or need to be filled urgently. Consequently, companies do not publish all their jobs on job boards. The number of jobs there is relatively small and only captures a part of the overall online market.
The job aggregator collects all jobs from all sources as well as from job portals/boards and from recruitment agencies as well.
The third model, job search engines like Cantalop.com, usually uses a crawling and spidering technology to index and update jobs automatically. They only collect the jobs directly from the source, in this case it is the employers directly.
While the job aggregator role may seem appealing to some people, the downside for the candidate is that there will be a lot of duplicated jobs. The same job may be brought up from different sources, including multiple websites, job boards and perhaps recruitment agencies as well as to Employer’s website.
Also, if you [the job seeker] find one job through a job board, or any source other than from the employer directly, you will have to register on that job board and sometimes even have to pay to join.
Probably the ugliest example is a job that takes you from a job aggregator to a job board to a Recruitment agency, and never makes it to the employer’s site – can you imagine this scenario? With these non-direct job sources, you also have a lot of spam and advertisements. We will never be able to verify if this job is true, spam or advertisement.
We are very interested and concerned about our candidate’s search experience, in addition to connecting candidates directly with employers.
Although job search engines have the capability to collect jobs from different sources, other than the employer directly, they usually do not because of all the above mentioned reasons.
Is it targeting Egypt specifically or does it match international job seekers with companies in different regions?
At this stage, we are only targeting Egypt specifically.
Do you have plans to expand?
Yes, in fact at this stage we do have the capability and knowledge to list all jobs worldwide. However we choose not to, instead focusing only on the Egyptian market as an initial stage. Hopefully when it works, we can then expand regionally and globally. For each market we will enter, we will have do have a market penetration strategy, in addition to a huge advertising budget, to start competing with the giant global players
What is the market segment Cantalop.com aims to serve?
Unlike many other online job boards, we are niche in our audience, and this is one of the key things differentiating us from our competition. Cantalop.com targets job seekers with outstanding educational levels such as international university graduates or advanced degree holders, in addition to high profile employees with multinational corporate (MNC) experience.
Our position in the market gives us a unique view of what is taking place in respect of recruitment challenges and market needs. After studying the market for over a year, we came up with a few conclusions, one of them being that online recruitment is not working in Egypt as it isn’t finding a way through to the right audience
How many companies have already registered on Cantalop?
Until now we have received over 80,000 page views and attracted over 10,000 Facebook fans, although we are still in our beta version. So many companies have showed interest and have already set up their account, with new requests every day. For example we have on board Novartis, Unilever, Vodafone, Danone, Bavarian Auto and many more.
What about the number of job seekers who have registered?
Cantalop.com is not a job portal, so we do not receive CVs nor can an employer search candidates from our portal. We are simply a search engine for jobs. Counting by registered jobs seekers is not the right measuring metrics in job search engines. That being said, we still have a little over 13,000 registered jobseekers receiving daily job alerts from Cantalop.com.
What is your target after you officially launch the site?
We are targeting 1,000,000 page views per month and hoping to expand regionally and globally.
How long do you believe it will take you to achieve that target?
To be honest I have no idea, but I’m very optimistic. The online market in Egypt is booming, and more people are everyday starting to adopt this approach in all aspects.
Do you have a plan to launch a Smartphones’ application?
We plan to provide a Cantalop.com application on Apple and Android Smartphones, as these are widely used in Egypt. As it has now become very common to do everything you need on the go, the application would allow easy and instant access to jobs.
How have you financed the company so far?
I am currently relying on my personal savings.
Do you plan on bringing in other investors?
We are definitely planning to bring investors in, but not at this stage. I prefer to wait until the project reaches a more mature stage before trying to get venture investment that would allow me to expand regionally. As the saying goes, “Good Things come to those who wait”.