A part-time success

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Chang on JOBi: “To be the go-to site for Malaysians when they need part-time jobs or internships.”Chang on JOBi: “To be the go-to site for Malaysians when they need part-time jobs or internships.”

If you’ve ever needed to hire some extra hands to work an event, or handle a short-term project, you would know just how hard it is to get reliable people who fit the bill.

Speak to employers and they will relate horror stories of temp workers unable to follow simple instructions, messing up deliveries, sporting a bad attitude or even not showing up at all.

But part-time workers are needed in many situations. For instance, a company that has a handful of employees cannot be expected to hire full-time workers just because a one-off project demands more hands on deck.

Likewise, an event management company hired to organise a nationwide campaign would have to source additional workers to man the booths, etc.

So where can you find reliable workers? There are some companies that specialise in providing temporary staff, but employers have little way of knowing if the person coming in is reliable or suitable for the work.

Helping employers find part-time staff

They might want to turn to JOBi for help. JOBi hopes to make part-time work sourcing painless and ensure a good fit between employer and temp staff. Its tagline is “Choose the part-time jobs you actually want. Anytime, anywhere,” and founder Lih Ren Chang and his team have been working hard to ensure the site, which has been in its beta stage for the past few months, delivers on its promise when it launches in January.

Part time job2

Chang knows all about the importance of finding good help at short notice. This engineer-turned-tech entrepreneur has an impressive track record using social media as a marketing tool. He is one of the co-founders of the wildly successful myBurgerLab, which now has three outlets.

JOBi came out partly from his experience running myBurgerLab, which relies a lot on part-timers, namely college students, to prepare the food and keep the queue of hungry hordes moving.

In an interview with Business Circle, founder and executive director Ren, 31, explained that it has taken nine to 10 months for JOBi to get from conception to launch, at a cost of around RM20,000.

The idea is simple – find a way to bring part-time workers and prospective employers together in a reliable, no frills, no fuss platform that allows users to get accurate information and provide feedback in the form of reviews. After all, employers will more likely hire someone with good reviews for a part-time position than not.

The bespectacled entrepreneur believes in putting his money where his mouth is – JOBi has seven people working to launch the service, and unsurprisingly, most work on a part-time basis.

Talent waiting to be tapped

When you listen to Ren speak, it becomes clear that this Mentakab, Pahang lad is passionate about youth development. “I was the online marketing consultant project manager for this year’s TEDxKL. I met a lot of students in the course of my work. It made me realise that there’s a lot of talent out there waiting to be tapped,” he says over coffee.

Lih Ren2Ren graduated from Multimedia University with an honours degree in Software Engineering and Games Design, and started working as a systems engineer. He also began moonlighting as a freelance videographer and became quite skilled at shooting and editing videos for YouTube. He also director a short film that won 2nd prize in a national short film contest organised by theStar+Canon.

Ren realised early on the power of social media and how it could be shaped into a strong marketing tool. To learn more about the business side of things, he took an MBA from the University of the West of England. Since then, he has worked in a few start-ups, and has given numerous talks on the power of social media.

Leveraging on user reviews

Now, he is putting it to good use to launch JOBi. But will reviews be enough to draw employers and part-timers to use the site, which will be free for three to six months before starting to charge for postings.

“When we first started JOBi, the team already had the same mission, (that is) to increase reliability for both end; how can we help businesses to get the right part timers and vice versa. And to do that we believe the user reviews would help.

“It would be our USP (unique selling point) for now but our core focus is still finding solutions to help improve reliability for both ends. It would only allow employers to rate – users can’t rate themselves or their friends can’t rate them,” explains Ren.

On whether there will be anyone monitoring the reviews to ensure everything is on the up and up, Ren said there will be a team to govern the reviews “and ready to support if there’s any complaint or issue on the ratings”.

JOBi currently has around 50 companies offering part-time work or internships on its site. “We are looking at getting around 30,000 users before moving forward with plans to charge for postings, or offer a subscription service,” says Ren.

What is the long-term vision for the site?

“To be the go-to site for Malaysians when they need part-time jobs or internships. And of course, we hope we can expand regionally when the time is right.”

With a growing number of millennials who are not keen to take the traditional work route and prefer instead to work in a variety of different companies and positions to find one that’s the best fit, JOBi should be a godsend.

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