05 Nov 2017
3 min read
When Shailendra Raj Giri, founder and CEO of MeroJob.com, completed his BBA in 1999, he had no idea how to go about finding a job. “I wanted a job that would pay me at least Rs 10,000 a month. I had a degree, but my college never taught me anything about job-hunting, let alone other basic skills like preparing a CV, filling up applications and preparing for job interviews,” says Giri.
Today, Shailendra Raj Giri runs MeroJob.com—one of Nepal’s most seamless online job portals and a leading career-management service provider—which helps thousands of job-seekers get closer to finding their dream jobs.
Catching the elusive dream
When Giri was just a fresh grad, he was hardly equipped with the skills required to land a job. He wasn’t even sure about what a ‘walk-in interview’ meant. As he gradually taught himself the ropes, he started to feel better equipped to navigate through the cut-throat job-hunting ecosystem. It was only with his sixth walk-in interview that he finally landed a job as a salesman for Vijay Motors, with a starting salary of Rs 3,000. By the end of that year, he’d become such a good salesman that his salary was increased to Rs 5,000. Giri, however, wasn’t satisfied with the life of a salesman and quit the job.
From first job to first business
“I wanted to pursue an MBA course in the US, but I didn’t get a visa. I then started Royal Homes, my first venture and probably my silliest mistake,” says Giri. The idea was to sell home appliances through equated monthly installment (EMI), without the support of a bank. But Giri and his friends were unaware of the countless problems in the sector. The sales at one point was pretty decent, but Royal Homes soon started to face a cash crunch. Girl also came to realise later that most of their customers were people from outside the city, people who lived in rented rooms and moved quite often. Raising the EMIs from them was next to impossible. The business burned through more than Rs 20 lakhs in its first few months of operation.
In the wake of that unsuccessful initiative, Giri partnered with some of his friends to start printing and selling motivational posters. He noticed that many people then used posters of actors and artists to personalise their rooms, and he figured he had a ready market; he thought his new initiative would help him cover the losses from his first venture. Giri and his team first registered a company called Real Solutions, but they’d forgotten to take properly into consideration the costs that such a venture would involve. They couldn’t gather enough capital to purchase the machines and cameras required for the poster-printing business.
Solving problems of all kinds
The company fell apart in the end. However, Giri still had a registered company called Real Solutions. One day, one of his partners was asked about the types of solutions that Real Solutions provided. “We provide all kinds of solutions,” he’d said, just to save face. He was then asked if he could help find a receptionist and a mechanic. The partner told the rest of the team about how he had been requested to find potential receptionists and mechanics. Giri and his team decided to help out, and that’s how Real Solutions, without initially meaning to, got into the human resources business.
Later, Real Solutions began reaching out to companies that had job openings, and provided complete or partial HR support. They slowly managed to get cash flowing into their business and their landlords supported them by extending the rent-payment deadlines. “Our landlords were really nice people; they even invited us for meals from time to time, but even after eight months of operation, we could not pay the rent,” says Giri. After they finally rustled up the required amount, the team decided to move to a cheaper space.
Strategic change and shifting to the next gear
After shifting to their new space, they decided to recalibrate their strategies and started to review their operating strategies. In the early days, Giri and his team had been simply advertising their services in the print media and waiting for customers to come to them. They soon figured that that wasn’t working, and they decided to go to the customers themselves. They started to send letters about themselves to potential clients. One of those letters reached NIC Bank (now NIC Asia Bank).
The bank had received around 150 job applications, and they wanted to outsource the recruitment process to another party. NIC Bank was aware about the solutions that Real Solutions provided—owing to the letter Giri and his team had sent—and they called Giri and asked him to come up with a proposal. “That was the first time I created a proposal. It was three pages long, and in retrospect, very childish,” says Giri. “But I wanted to land the contract at any cost; I decided to go to NIC Bank that very day. That day, however, happened to be a Nepal bandh, and I had to walk all the way from my office in Anamnagar to NIC Bank in Kamaladi. They probably recognised the effort I put into getting there and figured that I was serious about the job. That’s probably also why I was allowed to meet Sachin Joshi, the CEO of the bank.”
Lasting first impression
Upon receiving this opportunity, Giri made sure to say all that he needed to in the few minutes that he was allowed to see the CEO. Impressed by Giri’s enthusiasm, the CEO promised Giri he’d get him 10 more clients if he could get the job done. “I worked tirelessly on that project, and delivered. Sachin Joshi didn’t just give us 10 clients. He was our first satisfied customer, and the work we put into satisfying him became the institutional knowledge we would draw from in dealing with our thousands of customers in the future,” says Giri.
Real Solutions then started to focus solely on recruitment solutions; Giri and his team prepared thousands of proposals and received hundreds of contracts. But after six years of this, Giri and his team still weren’t where they wanted to be. “I felt like I hadn’t achieved anything. Many of my friends had raised their living standards just by working nine-to-five jobs, and I was still nowhere as an entrepreneur, with no money or future,” says Giri. “I wanted to quit.”
To quit or not to quit
Giri was deeply frustrated by his lack of progress. He thought about quitting his enterprise. He contacted one of his uncles and shared with him his plight, and requested him to find Giri a job. The uncle found him a job with a starting salary of Rs 100,000, but asked him to think clearly about abandoning Real Solutions, a venture he had put so much of his heart and soul into.
“I had barely Rs 1,500 with me then, and a salary that big was exactly what I needed. I started seeing big dreams and could not sleep very well that night, but as soon as I woke up, I called my uncle and rejected his offer. My instincts told me that I shouldn’t quit my company,” says Giri.
Later Giri’s uncle told him that the job offer wasn’t a real one. He’d simply made that up to test Giri. The test helped Giri realise the worth of his dream, and with newfound passion and energy, he immediately got back to work. He started to dream, once again, of working with the biggest clients and of making it big.
Real solutions to online recruitment solutions
Before resuming work at Real Solutions, Giri decided to set some things straight with his partners. He’d noticed that none of the partners, including himself, had ownership over their roles, because the company wasn’t entirely one person’s responsibility. So he came up with a challenge for all the partners. “I asked each of my partners to come up with an idea that could bring in a minimum of Rs 15 lakhs every year; I too had to meet this challenge,” says Giri. “The next day, I was the only one who came up with an idea. That idea was MeroJob.com—an online platform for connecting job seekers and employers.”
The partners who didn’t buy into the idea quit. Giri brought in other partners who brought more to the table than just money. For Giri, this was a pivotal moment, and he was not willing to entertain any nonsense. The idea was to build a portal through which people could easily find jobs in accordance with their skillsets, and to charge businesses for job listings. The idea was conceived in 2006. But the website, which was built in-house by Rajesh Shrestha—one of the first employees of Real Solutions—was completed in 2009.
Growing fast and growing strong
MeroJob.com quickly garnered popularity, and they quickly grew. Giri had previously estimated that it would take a minimum of a year for the website to have a thousand registered users, but that milestone was achieved in a month. Furthermore, the goals that Giri had wanted to achieve in five years, were achieved within two years.
Today, MeroJob.com has gotten over 100 million page views, with 1.5 million progressive visits every month. They have created over 150,000 success stories and registered over 350,000 job seekers on their website. And they have a strong team of more than 94 people and over 20,000 clients as employers.
MeroJob.com is constantly evolving. Just recently, the company revamped its website, changing the design and features to make the product more user-friendly. The company continues to grow, and Giri is now thinking of taking things to the next level by having MeroJob.com also operate as a career-management service provider.