The Business Standard (TBS): How was Kormo born and what was the idea behind it?
Bickey Russell (BR): In 2017, Kormo was founded by me and three other Googlers, as an experimental product in Area 120, Google's in-house incubator where a lot of great ideas begin.
Motivated by Google's long standing commitment to build an inclusive internet where everyone can experience its many benefits like being connected to economic opportunities, we designed Kormo with the aim to improve the way people and job opportunities are connected.
We saw that conventional methods of finding a job are not efficient, but given that there is a rapid smartphone penetration, we thought it would be helpful if we could provide a tool that can match job seekers to jobs and skills directly from their phones.
It has gone a long way since its early inception. Today, it is available in Bangladesh, Indonesia and India as a Google app whose mission is to organise labour markets in emerging countries, especially in areas where the next billion internet users are coming from.
Market trends indicate that demographics in these countries skew younger and more urban. Employers tend to be mostly in the service sectors across verticals like retail, logistics, and hospitality.
Kormo is a two-sided marketplace with a corresponding web app for employers. Primarily, the app assists employers to post blue-collar and entry-level jobs that are not often posted online, which are surfaced to job seekers whose qualifications match the role requirements.
TBS: Kormo aims to find employment for 86 percent of the labour force that works in the informal sector. Can you please explain this idea a bit more?
BR: Based on the International Labour Organization, more than 60 percent of the world's labour population are in the informal sector. Of course, the number changes from region to region, country by country. But the idea is, it's a substantial percentage that brings a rising need to organise an unstructured marketplace.
As a jobs and career development tool, Kormo would like to help match seekers and employers based on a variety of signals. It brings:
Personalised job and learning recommendations for seekers, presented in a feed based on each seeker's digital "professional profile."
Automated hiring processes for employers, including standardised job posting and applicant tracking features that simplify candidate qualification and communication.
Through this, Kormo is helping the informal labour sector be as structured and accessible as it could, providing more opportunities to those who need it most.
TBS: As an alternative platform, how is Kormo different from other job marketplaces?
BR: We are aware of quite a few companies working on addressing this need for employers, job seekers or both. Some focus their efforts online and others are doing impactful work through offline channels. Some prioritise specific verticals, locations and specific aspects of the jobs marketplace. Our objective is to improve job matching in our specific target markets and categories. This is a really big, complex problem to solve and we have to work hand-in-hand with the ecosystem at large, which also includes skilling organisations and staffing companies.
TBS: How has Kormo made job searches easier from other platforms?
BR: Our experience for job seekers is focused on making it as easy as possible for job seekers to register onto the app, start seeing relevant jobs that match their interests and then help them land the job. Kormo's personalised job feed considers skills, experience, location and even compensation preferences, which makes it helpful for seekers to browse through options. And it also provides opportunities for skills development and certification that widens opportunities for seekers.
TBS: How does the employer-Kormo-job applicant relationship work?
BR: Employers get to see all candidates that apply to their job posts and Kormo helps employers manage their candidate pipeline effectively. Job seekers get notified as they go through the recruiting process via the app, or employers can contact candidates directly (provided the candidate has agreed for their number to be shared).
TBS: How many people have been employed through Kormo till now?
BR: We are connecting thousands of job seekers to open roles every month, with employers ranging from retailers like Meena Bazar and Shwapno, startups like Chaldal and Shohoz to BPO market leaders like Genex and Digicon.
TBS: Tell us a bit about the special features added to the platform to help employers and employees navigate through the difficult period of the pandemic.
BR: Where businesses continue to recruit, our goal is to help those employers maintain business continuity as seamlessly as possible during these challenging times. We have employers who used our remote interviewing functionality recruit without any physical interviews.
We also enabled a new "Remote Jobs" category to encourage employers to consider more work-from-home staff. We've been surprised by the adoption of these features and we will improving them to help employers and job seekers further.