Linking Kashmir

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In an overcrowded job market finding a right opportunity is daunting task. Not anymore. Meet a social entrepreneur who will help find right job for you. Zafar Aafaq reports

EOA

In 2014, Bilal Wani, 37, a computer engineer, left his job in Bangalore, and started a social enterprise to help bridge the gap between patients in rural areas and city doctors. The idea was to help a patient find a good doctor keeping in view his ailment. The service was entirely free of cost for a patient. But it didn’t work. Bilal had to wind up his project as nobody was willing to sponsor it. However, failure did not discourage Bilal from taking more risks. Next, Bilal started a Kashmir centric recruitment agency for local educated jobless youth. Ask him why he chose this particular profession and he is quick to say: first it is still in its infancy in Kashmir. Second, a job seeker in Kashmir is looked down upon, as if he is a criminal. “A job seeker is humiliated and his majhboori (helplessness) is often exploited by the employer,” said Bilal.

Despite the humiliation, a private employee is underpaid; condition is same across all fields in private sector.

In March, 2016, Bilal’s new venture EAO-IT started its operations from its office in Nowgam, Srinagar.

Bilal says, EAO-IT helps connect a job seeker with an employer.

After a job seeker’s résumé is scanned properly, he is formally registered by the agency. In order to reduce the paperwork involved, all registration process is done online. In last three months more than 400 jobseekers have registered themselves with the agency.

The agency has built an online data-base of the registered candidates. The institution with job opening approaches the agency for suitable candidates. “We then scan our database to find candidates who fulfill the employer’s requirements,” says Bilal.

Once the employer and employees’ requirements match, a meeting is fixed. “It is a centralized agency with advantage for both employer and a jobseeker,” claims Bilal.

The best part about such an agency according to Bilal is that a jobseeker doesn’t have to get him/her registered again and again. “He/she is called for the interview whenever an opening is there,” says Bilal. “It saves a jobseeker money and time.”

The agency charges onetime registration fee of Rs 300 from a jobseeker. “A candidate doesn’t need to apply every now and then, we keep tab on market on his behalf,” says Bilal.

Before a candidate is sent for an interview, the agency carries out a screen test. It gives agency insight into the capabilities of the candidate. “If he is worthy, we demand better salary on behalf of candidate,” says Bilal.

Afroza Rasool, an MBA, who is registered with EOA-IT, has already cleared the screening test conducted by the agency. “This reduces the cost of forms I have to fill otherwise every now and then,” says Bilal.

If a candidate, who gets himself registered with the agency, lacks any skill, he/she is coached and counseled by the experts.

“We carry out coaching and counseling sessions for our candidates to prepare them for interview,” says Bilal.

So far, EAO-IT has helped private schools, colleges, hospitals and small business establishments in Srinagar find suitable candidates. The agency is currently dealing with teachers, medicos, managers etc.

“We charge an employer less than they have to spend on advertisements,” claims Bilal.

The job of the agency, according to Bilal, is to reduce the burden an employer has to undertake in order to find fresh talent. “We save them the pain of going through hundreds of résumés.”

 An employer is charged by the agency only if a candidate is selected.

With almost forty successful placements in last three months, Bilal and his team is planning to expand it base.

“We get queries from areas like Islamabad and Kupwara,” says Bilal. “Soon we will open centers in these areas as well.”

At present, consultancies operating in Kashmir help jobseekers in get placed in countries like UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc. “But the job profile they offer is of waiters, office boys, drivers, cleaners etc.,” claims Bilal. “They even send highly educated guys for such menial jobs.”

Bilal wants to change the trend. “I want to help them find dignified jobs.”

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