Hub Talk, 10 November 2017

By Nvulane Nhlapo

Nvulane at The Hub
Nvulane at The Hub in Morija

We were excited to participate at The Hub in Morija for their Job-Ready-Fridays as guests for the Hub Talk. That was important to us and we shared about our story and the job market in Lesotho.

Since our humble beginnings, has grown to become Lesotho’s go-to website for finding a great job. Today, is the premier resource for connecting passionate professionals in Lesotho to meaningful and exciting opportunities.

We’re in this funny cycle where technology has broken down walls we ever had between people and now we’ve got to figure out how to work together in this new environment. Technology has given us more choice, more transparency and a louder voice; it has created a consumer-led market.

I research a lot about the tech world and as I was going through the internet one day I came across domain names that were sold at a discount, around M30 each. This was in January 2016. I then decided to buy one and named it with no specific need or use for it.

In April of the same year the site became active. It started off as a classifieds website that allowed sales of items by different individuals; them being cars, watches, used phones and others. I did not want to be the sole contributor of content and aimed at a user driven platform.

This, however, resulted in people posting ‘spammy’ content as anyone could access the site and so I had to spend a lot of time clearing off unwanted content. I then resolved to adding vacancies as well to add more valuable information to the site.

This move resulted in the traffic doubling to about 250 visits per month. I monitored the behavior and pattern of visits on the site to decipher which content was mostly viewed and I found it to be job vacancies.

I then discarded all the other sections and focused mainly on jobs. There was a lot of work to be done as well as high expectations because it wasn’t about the success of the site no more but because there’s a real need for jobs out there.

Most of the jobs are found on newspapers. Someone in Butha-Buthe might find it hard to get a copy of a newspaper in their hands as most vacancies are found on them. There were a number of changes to work on and model the site and have it specifically as an opportunity hub, where we could post jobs as well as scholarships for people to develop themselves.

A few months down the line we introduced the newsletter, which we send out every single Friday as a summary of all jobs that are open within that week. When we started there were only a few people who had subscribed and we’d send it out via email. Within a couple of weeks we had about 200 subscribers.

People would take screenshots of the vacancies and circulate them on WhatsApp and that also contributed to more people subscribing. As such we had to ramp up the website and add more energy and focus by making a few small tweaks.

On marketing, we had a Facebook page and the likes and followers were slowing growing. Given the lack of resources, we had to strategize and therefore pitched a Facebook campaign where we would give out beanies and other prizes to people who shared the site’s content to help build the audience of the website. This resulted in about 6,000 daily average visits to the site. This was also due to the content that was shared on the site complemented by the marketing efforts in place.

By the end of 2016, we brought an editor on board whose main role was to add content for the site; articles, interviews and blogs and come up with information that could be relevant and still meet the vision of the site. We started writing about people who are starting some initiatives to get themselves off the ground. We realized that it’s not only jobs that we have to focus on, we have to give all the other areas of our site attention to build the content on the site.

This year we decided to branch out and expand more on the site. There are more tenders listed as well. There is more focus on remote jobs for people who could work from home because we want the workforce in Lesotho to compete globally. If all are applying for the same job, we are limiting ourselves as it takes a considerable amount of time to actually review many CVs and find the perfect candidate for that position.

Right now we have about 21 000 users actively searching for jobs, scholarships and all kinds of opportunities from our site monthly. And these statistics are real given the number of people graduating and looking for jobs. We don’t pride ourselves with these statistics because this in itself is a dilemma our country is facing. This is just to solidify and bring more tangible statistics to the responsible authorities about this situation.

On a very good day we post about 15 opportunities, they can go up as far as 30 depending on the content at our disposal. Social media marketing has helped us to get where we are today as we always strive to engage with our audience just so they don’t end up thinking the site is run by robots.

On top of jobs, local and remote, scholarships, tenders and blogs, there are competitions where people can win prizes; like writing competitions where a good short story can win up to a 100USD. Lesotho is one of the most literate nations, why can’t we compete for these writing jobs and not only focus on formal employment?

The second one is social media marketing; a few local companies are looking for social media marketers who are responsible for taking care of their social media presence and keeping them in the loop about the activities of the companies. Other positions are virtual assistants, photographers, graphic designers and web designers. The majority of these jobs are on demand and require creativity over formal education.

There are more features on the site that are not so outspoken. Young professionals can submit their CVs for employers to go on there and search for professionals for recruitment. Under candidates, there’s CV evaluation which is a free service the site offers and advises young professional on how to draft a more competitive CV.

There’s also Job Profiles, which provide all job descriptions and requirements for various job titles, qualifications and skills needed. This is not only for people who are looking for jobs but even for those who are still at school and intending to follow such paths so they know what is required of them to be professionals in various fields.

The platform is open for contributions, where people can submit jobs, write for us, and submit their start-ups or business. Our job is to edit and review the submissions to ensure they comply with what we are about. We embrace the concept of an open platform and therefore allow our users to explore and share various resources without necessarily registering to use the website.

We also pioneered a joint venture with CodePool and  Lesotho Career Assistant called Spane App. The app allows users to view listed Lesotho and international jobs and opportunities, look up jobs that meet their criteria by typing search keywords, and share jobs and opportunities with friends and family on WhatsApp.


Image Credit: The Hub