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This Thai Hiring Marketplace Will Pay You If You Get a Job From Them

GetLinks: Building out Asia’s tech ecosystem one hire at a time

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BY Lian Kyla Dyogi - 05 Jun 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Back to the Future 2 almost got it right—from hoverboards to smart clothing, tech-based innovations, and the people behind them, are running the world. However, up until the time AI puts us all out of jobs, tech companies still need to find capable and creative humans to bring their vision forward. Fostering these connections in Asia is a mission Thailand based tech-hiring marketplace GetLinks believes in.

“Our team is a bunch of geeks who finds it meaningful and sexy to drive the future of everything by connecting innovators and disruptors,” says Polpat Songthamjitti, CMO and co-founder of GetLinks.

The reverse-hiring tech-focused platform differentiates itself from the likes of other job marketplaces in the region, such as Philippine-based Kalibrr. If a talent finds a job through the platform, they receive $150 from GetLinks after their probation. Polpat shares this is “a small act of appreciation and encouragement, and also a celebration of their new exciting journey ahead, with a hope to keep being part of their goals and dreams.”

They currently have 300,000 talents and 2,000 companies on the platform, and half of their users are from Southeast Asia, with Thailand, Vietnam and India being the top three countries where they have the largest user base.

The company generates revenue by offering various pricing models where companies can either pay after hiring or pay a fixed monthly rate. GetLinks’ partners can choose among the top 5% of tech talents, which is determined in-house by their “talent management team comprised of industry experts,” says Polpat.

He adds that defining the top 5% isn’t based on traditional criteria, like education or professional background, but on technical skills. Especially when “anyone passionate about tech can learn anything from the Internet” and where tech companies need agile learners, Master’s degree or not, he relates.

Case in point? Says Polpat, “A farmer-turned-developer from the rural point of Thailand, who learned coding all by himself, got a job at [one of the] the world’s leading messaging app companies through us and tripled his annual earnings...his life-changing story helped us to differentiate our process of screening candidates from the conventional way.”

It’s telling of their hiring philosophy, which is based on the quality of the connections versus the quantity. When asked what the percentage or chance of a talent finding a job is, Polpat says, “It’s hard to disclose the actual percentage because finding a job is not only about talents but demands of the market, which is seasonal,” adding that this particular metric has never been their focus. “As a candidate-centric platform, we prefer having 100 candidates who found meaningful, life-changing jobs through us, to 500 candidates who found some jobs!”

Creating the Next Silicon Valley

The team has four founders: Polpat; CEO Djoann Fal, who along with Polpat were former leads of an online marketing team at Lazada Southeast Asia; CTO Pichaya Srifar, an entrepreneur and former full stack developer lead at a major Thai bank; and CFO Keenan Kwo, with over ten years of experience in legal and finance with major banks in Hong Kong and the U.S.

The company has raised seed funding from CyberAgents Ventures and 500 Startups as reported by TechCrunch and e27 early in 2016. According to DealStreetAsia, they are raising Series A funding this 2017.

With Thailand as their home base, the two-and-a-half-year-old start-up has already expanded to Vietnam, Singapore, India, South Korea, and Hong Kong. The reason for an aggressive expansion at such a young age?

First is the drive to address “the most painful problem in the tech world: quality tech hiring” and second, by connecting talents to tech companies across the region (including the likes of Google, Alibaba, Grab, and Uber), is “to grow Asia, as the united entity, into the next Silicon Valley.” It’s an ambitious vision that the company is vocal about.

It tells of the potential they see in the region’s relatively young tech ecosystem, and how it can be harnessed. Says Polpat, “We’ve helped an Indian data scientist to bring his entire family to Singapore where local data scientist talents are extremely rare...and many more. Taking advantage of such potential synergies would be the fastest shortcut towards economic growth and inclusion in Asia.” 

When asked how the tech community in Asia differs from that of Silicon Valley, Polpat says it’s a lack of mentorship, especially the kind that comes from those who have gone “from seed to exit.” That’s why they provide mentorship opportunities through events or one-on-one mentorship sessions, though the latter is currently “private and on-demand”.

Polpat shares that the biggest challenge they’ve faced is the cultural differences not only varying per country but also sometimes across cities. In response, Polpat says they work with local market experts who help with the day-to-day operations, product optimization, and help differentiate themselves from other local players. They find them through referrals, events, and social campaigns. While these experts are difficult to find, Polpat says “it’s more than worth it, and that’s why GetLinks is helping tens of companies expanding to new markets [at] the moment.”