Today on Latin Interactive World, Portada talks with Alberto Alesi, Commercial Director of ZonaJobs in Mexico, the online job search and recruitment site. This interview is a follow-up to the Dridco article Portada published a few weeks ago for its Digital Powerhouses series.
At a Glance:
Description: Online job search and recruitment
Offices: Headquarters in Argentina and regional offices in Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela.
Market presence: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Panama, and Spain.
Languages: Spanish and Portuguese
Investors: ZonaJobs is owned by Grupo Dridco, which in turn belongs to Argentinean newspaper La Nación.
Sites owned by Dridco: DeMotores (purchase and sale of autos, motorcycles and boats), ZonaJobs (jobs site), ZonaProp (property sales and rentals), ZonaCitas (online dating site), and NexoLOCAL (classifieds site).
ZonaJobs is new to Mexico, having started its operations in the country less than 2 years ago. Still, in a very short time it has become the No. 2 online job search and recruitment site in the country, posting 2.5 million monthly visits and the largest number of Facebook fans for a site its kind anywhere in the world, according to company figures.
Portada: What have you achieved and what are your growth targets for the future?
Alberto Alesi: "In less than two years in the market we have positioned ourselves as the number two job site with the most traffic in all Mexico. Today, we’re generating a traffic total of 2.5 million visitors a month. In terms of growth, our billings have grown tenfold compared to last year. ZonaJobs has already expanded across the entire country and companies quickly identify us. We participate in most job fairs and human resources conferences, and just closed a partnership deal with AMEDIRH, the human resources association, to provide ZonaJobs technology for their job market."
Portada: What future launches can we expect from ZonaJobs?
Alberto Alesi: "In Mexico, we’ll be launching our first virtual job fair this year in conjunction with AMEDIRH, to be held October 17-23. We expect to receive 100,000 new resumes and 600,000 total visits. Fifty companies will be participating and the Department of Labor is also supporting us in promoting the event."
Bonanza of acquisitions and investments
Portada also spoke to Alesi about how the company measures up vis-á-vis our recent analysis on acquisitions and investments in digital companies in the Latin American market. "We have already been contacted by several U.S. investment funds that are beginning to set their sights on us, having seen growth at the Latin American level. However, company executives are not interested in any type of transaction at this time, as we believe in auto-financing the sustained growth our sites," he explained.
Alesi added that "the labor market in the U.S. and Europe is in a period of recession and therefore, investment funds are migrating to the Latin American market, where most countries in the region are experiencing significant growth."
Digital Strategies for conquering new markets
With a predominantly digital strategy, ZonaJobs has conquered many Latin American countries. According to Alesi, "our strategy has largely been to target all browsing sources such as Google, Yahoo, and high-traffic social networks. The way we penetrate markets is by first launching free use of the site for both job seekers (which is always the case) and employers. In addition, during the first 8 or 10 months after launching we also inject a lot of investment into Google Adwords, to pull people to the site and pad our databases. We do the same thing with Facebook."
But the company is not limiting itself to only digital just yet. Alesi recognized that in some regions, print media is still predominant: "Eighty percent of our efforts are in the digital sphere, where the trend is that more people will migrate from paper to the online world. But in some areas of the country, print media is still very important so we also invest in offline media there; but the figure is no more than 20%."
Technology and innovation in social networks
Among the company’s innovations: using and integrating existing social networks with their own tools. Alesi told us about the company’s new Facebook application, called Professional. "It is separate from the candidate’s personal profile and focuses on his academic and professional background." This allows the user to separate his personal and professional world within his or her own profile, by importing resumes through ZonaJobs or even LinkedIn.
On his motivation for developing this technology, Alesi told us that "little by little, the trend among companies has been to use this medium (Facebook) as a source for recruiting or reviewing references."
Alesi also recognized the importance of mobile technology and said that "in the Mexican market, our studies have pointed to a significant opportunity for these technologies. Our development department is on it and we expect to launch them early next year."
LinkedIn: competition or complement?
Given LinkedIn’s growth as an employment clearinghouse, it is obvious that the social network could pose very strong competition for these types of job sites, but Alesi believes that will not be happening anytime soon. "LinkedIn has not yet become competition for those of us in the world of online recruitment. We know they're releasing a beta version to allow companies to post their job offerings…but for now, we see them as a complementary offering, and not direct competition."
Alberto Alesi is Commercial Director of ZonaJobs.com in Mexico. He was formerly National Director of Bumeran.com in Colombia.