Builder Glen Beh had a eureka moment after trying to hire yet another worker on one of his sites.
He put in an advertisement for a "hammer hand" online and in newspapers and got a huge response from a broad range of people who should never have responded in the first place.
People were just giving it a go whether under-qualified or over-qualified, and Glen found himself spending heaps of time wading through all the applicants.
Glen knew there was a better way and so took his idea to his sister Danny, a recruiting specialist, and JobJam was born, a website that puts together employers and job hunters in the residential building sector a more efficient way.
It was formally launched three weeks ago and already has 100 employers signed up.
Danielle coins it "DIY recruitment" for the industry. Job seekers fill out their details which appear as standardised CVs, which employers can then purchase. Employers can view the CVs of builders to see if they are suitable which means that they often don't have to go through the hassle of placing an advertisement.
It hasn't been without challenges. Glen and Danny spent two years refining the website by testing out different job seeker application forms with the industry.
Most people hate filling out forms, but builders are particularly averse. Most didn't want to write a single word, just tick a box.
"We've had to adapt the registration form so that it gives the information and asks the right questions and asks them to tick boxes otherwise they won't fill it in," said Danny.
Likewise, they found employers' needs were unexpected.
"You'd think they'd be interested in pay range, but that doesn't factor. Its things like what tools do you have, do you have a builders vehicle and are you trade-qualified?" she said.
JobJam's target market is building companies that employ 1-50 staff who can't justify spending alot of money on recruitment and might hire once every three months.
The website covers the residential building market in Auckland and Christchurch, but the goal is to expand other trades and in to Australia.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I had my own boutique specialist recruitment agency, Danny Beh Recruitment, for about two years before having children so was already enjoying the benefits of working for myself. After seven years at home with my sons I was looking for an idea from which to create a business when my brother approached me with the idea of JobJam. It was
perfect - he worked in the industry we would be targeting, he experienced the problem we would be solving, and we both felt the idea had strength.
What have been the biggest obstacles in running your company?
Having our clients trust us. There is an inherent lack of trust when any business is approached about a new product or service so we had to find a way to reassure the building companies that we were a couple of local entrepreneurs who were genuinely offering a service that we believed would help them. Thankfully the problem we were trying to solve was a real problem that these companies felt often so we could trigger a positive response quite early in a conversation.
Name one thing you've learnt while in business and from who?
I've learnt that you must be able to ride out the highs and lows as there are many of both and if you can't persevere through them both you won't last. I remember being told this by Nick Egerton, Incubator Manager at The Icehouse, in one of our first meetings with them and I remind myself of it often. It's so true.
What are your business and personal goals?
We know the service we're offering is well designed and a useful tool for building companies who are hiring. Our goal is to have this recognised across the building industry in New Zealand and to become the first stop for those building companies when they need to hire.
Do you have any tips for budding entrepreneurs?
If I can borrow Nick's advice above - be prepared for a roller coaster. You will have to persevere, be flexible, have large amounts of inner strength and determination to make it through the highs and lows.
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