Following up on last week's article on the Web 2.0 vertical job search engine Recruit.net, a Hong Kong-based company, I had the pleasure of conducting an e-mail interview with its founder Maneck Mohan.
Thank you for taking time to do this interview. My first question: How did you come up with the idea to create a vertical search engine business for this region?
I come from a specialist recruitment background and for years I've been involved with technology recruiting for companies. In this business you usually have many people contacting you for jobs but unfortunately due to the very specialized nature of the business, you usually end up being able to help less than 15 percent of the people who contact you. That means that most of job seekers end up being turned away. Basically what we wanted to do with Recruit.net was to shift the playing field and work the other side, rather than referring away talent we were motivated to build a powerful job search service that was geared entirely to the needs of the job seeker. People now use Recruit.net to instantly search and track millions of jobs across thousands of companies in Asia.
Your site uses a lot of Web 2.0 technologies. Is this mainly a business or technical decision? How has Web 2.0 helped your business?
Honestly we don't think too much about the term "Web 2.0". What we think about is building a sustainable, profitable business. We utilize new technologies like AJAX because it allows us to build a more interactive and responsive Web interface which translates into a better experience for our users.
You already have some quite interesting "tools" in Recruit.net. What other new exciting features can we expect in the coming year?
We're coming out with a plug-and-play revenue network, where we'll be signing up bloggers and and webmasters to add our job tools to their sites and we will pay them on a PPC (pay-per-click) basis for the traffic they send us. It's a win-win proposition for everyone. For example, if you operate a blog or Web site catering to Apple Macintosh users, you can use our job ticker tool to add relevant Apple Macintosh job content to your site and ALSO get paid for it.
We're also in the process of adding a new salary tool, this will allow job seekers to check and compare salary levels for different types of jobs across the Asian region. It's similar to our jobindex tool where you can do things like compare the demand for "Accountant" jobs between Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, but will give you salary indications as well.
Most search engines' revenue model is advertisement based, is that true for Recruit.net as well?
Yes. We have our own Pay-Per-Click sponsored keyword advertising system; it's used by all types of advertisers looking to promote their online services to our users.
Your business spans this entire region. Why did you decide to have the HQ in Hong Kong?
Well, Hong Kong is a great place to operate a business from, we have competitive tax rates, a sound legal system, proximity to major Asian markets, and it also happens to be my home :-)
Do you think vertical search engine is a market trend for the search industry?
Yes, I think two of the most important things for a successful search engine are speed and relevancy. You need to consistently deliver fast, relevant results to your users; with vertical search you have a head start in terms of relevancy because you know what kind of information your users are looking for so you can refine your search algorithms, content filters and user interface to ensure a more meaningful experience.