One website that has become synonymous with online job applications in the Gambia is Gamjobs.com. Launched in Oct 2014, the site is unique in its user-friendly outlay and a range of job opportunities in almost every sector of the Gambia. From graduates to top executive positions, Gamjobs.com has rich content that caters to various needs.
Business-in-Gambia recently chat with one of the brains behind Gambjobs and he shared the story of this popular site.
Kindly introduce yourself to the readers
My name is Ebrima S. Dem. I consider myself as a social rights activist, entrepreneur and author. I have strong passion for humanitarian services and human rights. I am the founder of Gamjobs.com- a career website registered in the Gambia in October 2014. It is one of most popular social sites in the country, connecting people to their dream jobs, while offering local businesses the opportunity to improve their online presence even those without websites.
I started the site with Modou NS Njie, an ICT enthusiast and social entrepreneur and we had since then been working together day and night in bridging the job information gap between job seekers and job providers in the country. We reach out to employers, encouraging them to post their job vacancies to the site and then connect these available jobs to registered job seekers, via the website, email alerts and social media such as Facebook where we have over 5000 followers. By this, we try to provide equal access to job information to all.
From its inception to date, thousands of professionals (home and abroad) have registered on the website and their resumes are accessible for free in our database for all registered employers.
What inspired you to start GamJobs.com online recruitment website in the Gambia?
As an HR specialist, I always believe that the recruitment process can be easier and fun, if recruiters have the right channel to reach their audience. Considering that everybody is now connected to the internet, I thought one of the best ways to bridge the communication gap between employers and job seekers is to setup an online job platform.
I was inspired to start the website, first to break the age old belief in Gambia that access to jobs is only via “whom you know”. Secondly, having worked in administration and human resources for some nonprofits for many years, there were instances I came across job opportunities in the Gambia, but advertised only in international job websites. Since these site were not known in the Gambia, many qualified Gambians, were kept of the out of the loop of these opportunities. Thus, I thought by having a localized career website targeting local audience I will be contributing in improving job prospects for local talents, hence the need for starting Gamjobs.com
Approximately how many registered user does Gamjobs.com have?
Currently we have 3,010 registered users. The site also has unregistered regular visitors of approximately 20,000 a month.
Could you share with us the number of people who were able to get jobs through your site.
Twenty-two people have so far got hired through Gamjobs.com, some by Gambian companies and others by international companies looking for offshore staff in the country. This figure only refers to feedback we received from people. However, since, professionals are connected directly to employers, we assume the number of people hired through the website could be higher, considering the fact many never revert to us after getting hired.
Aside posting jobs on the website, does Gamjob.com have any additional service it renders?
Yeah, absolutely! We provide businesses the opportunity to advertise their products and services on the website, capitalizing on the numerous visitors the website has. We are also partnering with DMS Associates to provide payroll management services to small and medium size enterprises. We also do email marketing, whereby we send targeted and customized adverts to our subscribers on behalf of companies.
In addition, we do a career counseling and CV evaluation for young professionals. Through these services, we help fresh graduates to prepare good resumes and cover letters in relation to their job interest and qualification. We also have a virtual forum on the website that provide job search tips and interview tips etc. to job seekers.
What in your opinion has been the site’s most significant accomplishment since inception?
To me, our ability to introduce and maintain a career website – an entirely new concept in The Gambian society is our biggest achievement. Since most Gambians (job seekers and job providers alike) are used to the paper version and hand delivery of job applications, enhancing a shift from these practices to virtual job application was a big challenge. Gradually, more and more people are convinced that this new alternative, which is not only easier, cost effective but also environmentally friendly. Other significant achievements include our ability of keeping a track record of quality services delivery to our clients and maintaining top SEO (search engine optimization) in google and other search engines.
Do job applicants pay for any fees on registration?
It is 100% free for job applicants. For job seekers, all it requires is to register, upload a CV and then apply for jobs.
What do you think job seekers/applicants are doing wrong which they need to correct to make their CV look more favorable?
I think there are many qualified professionals in The Gambia, but many don’t spend enough time in polishing their CVs and making it look better and appealing to potential employers. The little time dedicated on improving CVs results to numerous spelling mistakes, poor or unclear statements, which reduces their chances to get hired, even though they might have qualified for the job.
What do you think should be the paramount thing to remember/do in a job interview?
Well, various interview skills exist and there may not be any perfect and straightforward formula. However, in my view, maintaining a relaxed posture and speaking clearly can improve the interviewee’s chances many fold. Also, little research about the company, history and product and services, and getting fully prepared before attending the interview can help boost confidence.
It is important for the interviewee to be factual, talk within the interview topic and avoid as best as possible exaggerating qualification and experience. Don’t portray yourself as “super human” just impress the interviewer. Just be bold, confident and natural!!
Opinions about the job market industry in the Gambia
In my view, the job market in The Gambia is relatively small compared to other countries in Africa. One factor responsible for this, probably is the size of population and low foreign investments. However, having said that, I think, there is potential for growth and competitiveness in the online job advertisement and recruitment sector, if local businesses are convinced this is a viable alternative and patronize it. We have seen countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and south Africa, where career websites have dramatically changed the way people search and find top talents. I think we can do the same in the Gambia, if we work harder.
So, what do you think is the challenge for most startups and small business in the Gambia?
Though the problem each start up faces is unique, multi-faceted, and depending on types of startup in question and the sector it focuses on, most startups in the country share common challenges of scaling up their businesses. This is could be as result of low level of experience in managing a business, lack of funds or both. It is important to note that no business can grow overnight. It takes time, efforts, money and strategies to grow a business, which most start up entrepreneurs in the country don’t have.
How do you think investors can help tech startups in Gambia?
First, I think tech start ups should be run by people who have what it takes to push things forward. This will help create a credible start up, that investors can feel safe to put in their money. The government also has a role to play and help in building start up credibility by having a database of all innovative startups. Investors can use this information as reference, when deciding to invest in particular start up. I have seen this in many countries, where local government authorities and city council have established offices dedicated to supporting innovative startups with resources (finance and technical) to propel that start up to maturity.
If you are to devise a logical means that will help tackle unemployment rate in Gambia; what will that be?
To reduce unemployment, I think key approaches include encouraging entrepreneurship and self-employment endeavors in the country. There is need for change of mindset of expecting employment from the government to creating your business and employ others. It is high time we change our approach as job seeker to job creators for ourselves and for others. For that to happen, first, people need to be encouraged, trained and mentored to realize their business ideas. Innovative business should also be supported with capital to scale up. This, in addition to lessening taxes, can provide an ideal environment for start ups to grow and generate more employment.
Thank you,Ebrima. Good luck in your endeavours.