Everyone is over the Internet and everyone who’s not living under the rock is social [read: using Facebook and Twitter] , including the one reading this post right now. Apart from being connected and having your identity online, searching for a job opportunity is the next hot trend nowadays.
A couple of years back, it was just about LinkedIn. You must have heard or read about “that dude who landed a job in that awesome company, because someone contacted him via LinkedIn”. Well, the times are definitely changing now. LinkedIn is no longer exclusive about professional networking and recruitment. Recruiters are now aggressively hunting Facebook and Twitter for potential employees. But here’s a fresh new startup which is all geared up to make an impact in the same arena with a totally fresh idea. They are neither too formal nor too casual. And the best part? They are leveraging your existing social network to help you to find right job opportunities. The service is built around the idea of “Social Media Recruitment”.
You don’t explicitly need to write a cumbersome resume and sweat it to hunt for jobs. With Switch Idea, you just need to sign up a account with them. After that you can easily manage your resume, skills, networks and links. The service gathers all this information and generates a good looking vCard (Virtual Card) for you. This vCard is easily generated, yet packs all your information for easy navigation. SwitchIdea analyzes your networks and connections and recommends opportunities ( either freelancing, part-time or even full time). You are instantly notified on the dashboard in your account, if there’s a matching opportunity for you. Here’s a sample vCard that I made for myself:
If you compare this service with the conditions of startup scene in a third world country (India), you will reckon that this startup is very fresh and promising. They have a very interesting blog where they have penned down their inspiration:
It all started with a small question – We have Facebook and Twitter (the biggest social networks). But how easy is it to find someone with a specific skills or profession on these websites? Pretty burdensome, Right! This is because these Social Networks have their “Search Engines” work for few parameters (First Name, Last Name and Location). They do not filter the database using skills, profession or education. This is where – Switch Idea – was born.
I had a chance to interact with one if the co-founder of SwitchIdea, Nirajan Yadav. Surprisingly Niranjan is neither from IIT nor from IIM in India. He is a Cyber Law student pursuing his International Cyber Law studies from Asian School of Cyber Laws. The first thing that I was excited to ask him was about the big employers that are interested in using SwitchIdea right now.
Niranjan said “As of now, there are about 40-45 Employers registered on Switch Idea..I don’t know much of their backgrounds, but I certainly know one guy who is a multi-millionaire entrepreneur. His name is Christian Hunter(https://www.switchidea.com/christianhunter) and he is also on LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/christianhunter). That’s like having the most premium employer till date on our board”.
I couldn’t help but ask Niranjan about the differences LinkedIn and SwitchIdea (for obvious reasons). Interestingly they already have their proof posted for anyone to refer – http://blog.switchidea.com/how-is-switch-idea-different-than-linkedin/. Here are some other excerpts from the informal chat I had with Niranjan:
Me: This is something I took up from your page, how do you promise that the vcard of user will be on top in Google if someone will search for him?
Niranjan: lol.. We don’t promise.. We never do.. Its like, if a user integrates all his social accounts on his/her Switch Idea vCard, chances are maximum that the vCard priority will be given more in the search results! But then, this is also proportional to the amount of traffic on your vCard.
Well over the years, we have seen several startups cropping up. Some polished and mature, and others not so much. The main concern with all these new services coming up and trying to make a large database of users, is the privacy and security of user data. It was natural for me to ask about the same concern with SwitchIdea :
Me: How do you implement privacy of user data? how can a user control it?
Niranjan: Yes, Switch idea vCard is highly secured profile in terms of privacy. We don’t display the exact address, but do it in a general way (City, State and Country). User’s email address is the most secured element – and we respect that fact. People (those who are not even registered on Switch Idea) will be able to contact user on his/her vCard directly without knowing user’s email address. And yeah..We take complete care of SPAM !
I did a bit of experiment with my own account on their service. And I was fine with the privacy controls that the service has provided until now :
The service allows you to integrate all your social accounts, yet gives you controls of what is posted on your behalf. The service is in beta until now but is active enough to fix bugs and implement important features regularly. The main concern of the startup should be its future strategy and how do they plan to grow as a product. When confronted with the question, this is what Niranjan had to say:
Well, our goal isn’t to get rich quickly but to build something that other people will value enough to pay for. We’re not just creating jobs for ourselves, we’re crafting legacy in how recruiting works and how people use social media for getting jobs.
Lastly I had asked Niranjan about his views on Entrepreneurship and this is what he has to say:
Rather than being an “entrepreneur”- I’ve been a “self-employed” kid since the age of 16. More than four years ago, when I was done with my class 10th – I began a lifelong journey of self-employment by any necessary means. I never planned to be an entrepreneur; I just didn’t want to work for someone else.
This distinction was critical, because most budgets start by looking at the income and then defining the available choices. I did it differently – starting with a list of what I wanted to do, and then figuring out how to make it happen. The approach didn’t make me rich, but it paid the bills and brought me something more valuable than money: freedom. And to be this straight-forward, there’s no rehab program for being addicted to freedom (which I think I am).