Seeking a job? Apply, be screened via SMS

Ms Joelle Pang, start-up FastJobs' regional business development director, showing Radin Mas MP Sam Tan how to use a FastKiosk at the Radin Mas Community Club yesterday. The kiosk lists job vacancies in the Radin Mas neighbourhood.
Ms Joelle Pang, start-up FastJobs' regional business development director, showing Radin Mas MP Sam Tan how to use a FastKiosk at the Radin Mas Community Club yesterday. The kiosk lists job vacancies in the Radin Mas neighbourhood.ST PHOTO: SONG TAO

SPH start-up to roll out network of 15 to 20 job kiosks in community clubs by year end

Radin Mas residents seeking temporary, part-time, contract and full-time jobs in their neighbourhood can now apply for them via Short Message Service (SMS).

Mobile job portal FastJobs launched its first kiosk at Radin Mas Community Club yesterday as part of efforts to connect older workers with job opportunities near their homes.

Another 15 to 20 FastKiosks will be set up at other community centres by the end of the year.

To use the kiosk, residents select a job they are interested in, send a text message to the mobile phone number provided and answer questions from employers sent by an SMS bot. Employers can then contact the applicants directly.

There are plans to expand the network of kiosks - built with a simple user interface to cater to older residents - to more community clubs, vocational schools, malls and residents' corners, the firm's regional business development director Joelle Pang said.

The kiosks will also be made available in more languages over time, she added.

But for a start, the pilot kiosk will offer job opportunities such as retail assistant and customer service associate positions from 10 employers in and around the Radin Mas neighbourhood, including Cheers, KFC and Sasa.

A larger pool of jobs, suitable for older workers, will be added in the future, said Ms Pang.

FastJobs, a Singapore Press Holdings start-up, focuses on blue-collar workforce recruitment and sees an average of 5,000 jobs posted a month. Its mobile app has been downloaded more than one million times since its launch in 2015.

The FastKiosk was launched at a National Day observance event attended by some 500 residents.

Radin Mas MP Sam Tan said at the launch that the community club's partnership with FastJobs is part of a move to "enable the community, especially the older workers, with digital literacy skills", a move which is in line with Singapore's Smart Nation initiative.

Mr Tan, who is Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Social and Family Development, said Radin Mas is a good area to launch the kiosk as it is a mature estate with about a third of its residents aged 50 and above, many of whom seek transitional or part-time jobs.

"Hopefully this platform can provide flexible working arrangements for the elderly who only need to work on a part-time basis, while helping local companies to fill manpower needs," he said.

Mr Tan Kheng Hoe, who was at the event yesterday, said he would consider using the kiosk to look for part-time work in customer service where he can put his language skills in English, Mandarin, Malay and dialect to good use.

The 72-year-old, who has worked as a security supervisor, shipyard worker and taxi driver, said it has been difficult to find work because of his age and secondary school qualifications.

"I want to keep working because it is boring to retire and stay at home. But when I apply or leave my number with the person in charge (of hiring), they never call me back," said Mr Tan.

"This platform is more convenient to use, but it would be better to have a Chinese language option or someone to assist as some of the elderly may not know how to use it," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 10, 2018, with the headline 'Seeking a job? Apply, be screened via SMS'. Print Edition | Subscribe