DGG Interviews

DGG Interviews: A Chat With CEO of SHIFT Job App, Mark Pickard

SHIFT job app header

Jobseekers, be excited about this interview today! With fun and easy-to-use features making the job search speedy and interactive, SHIFT Job App is definitely an application you do not want to miss! Today, we talk to Mark Pickard, CEO and Co-founder of SHIFT Job App. In this interview, he shares his stories, the beginnings and future developments of the app, as well as some great advice for jobseekers. https://www.shiftapp.sg/  

You can also go to the app store and simply search for:  SHIFT jobs to download your next potential career opportunity!


About Mark Pickard

SHIFT Job app founders
Mark (left) and co-founder Sethu (right) at the Echelon Asia Summit 2017


Q: Can you tell the audience more about yourself and what you do?


I am a husband, a father and an evangelist of sorts for job seekers. As the founder of SHIFT Job App, I lead a team of dedicated people who are always looking for ways to impact people in a positive way through human resources. SHIFT Job App was founded when I was inspired to better the job-seeking process.


Ever since I can remember I have always had a curiosity and a love for people. HR tech gives me the opportunity and the platform to meet a lot of really interesting people from all over the world and most importantly it allows us the ability to impact their lives in a positive way through the SHIFT platform.


Q: Why did you start to have interest in Human Resources?


I started my career a few years back. Okay, many years back, as an aspiring university student who was determined to land a sales job in the pharmaceutical industry at the age of 21 with a marketing degree.


There was no social media then. The equivalent to Facebook at that time was actually knocking on doors and asking people to be your friend (lol). I acquired a list of all the pharmaceutical salespeople in the city and I started making direct phone calls to them and asking them if I could take them out for a coffee. I did this over 75 times (persistence) in the first 4 months and they all said that I did not meet the qualifications. It was tedious.


My purpose of starting SHIFT was to make the often-painful process of job hunting easier and faster for the job seekers. With SHIFT, jobseekers simply need to connect their Facebook account to SHIFT to create their unique but standardized profile/resume.  Next, swipe through jobs, just as they would swipe through prospective dates on Tinder! No more emails, no more waiting for reply. The concept is easy: “Great talent meets great opportunity”.


In a nutshell, finding a job used to be tedious and time consuming. But SHIFT is here to change that because the platform is easy and and mobile first. Gone are the days of using the outdated job boards, sending your resumes into the oblivion and waiting for a response.


Q: How is technology changing the way Human Resources is done today?


We save lots of paper! Resumes are all submitted online these days. Haha!


Serious though, technology has improved and sped up the process of applying for a job. Now, information is fast and at your fingertips making finding a job much easier.


You know the cool thing about technology today is that it is always evolving. Technology is the reason why job seekers can always be informed. For example, in an upcoming version of SHIFT, you will be able to set personal filters such as your preferred location, specific company, salary, and even your skills that you want to filter.  When the job posting of a  company matches your filter, you will get notifications via your mobile device and then directly apply. You can also use it on “stealth mode” to keep track of the job market out there! This is a huge change compared to even 5 years ago where you had to keep checking into websites, emails and even wait for that possible phone call.


Q: For job seekers, how can they make better use of technology in their job search?


Our goal at SHIFT is to connect the right talent to the right jobs seamlessly across the world and what we have done is made it super easy for a job seeker to register. All they need to do is to complete their profile which is also their resume and start applying for their next job. I often say; “what Tinder is for love, SHIFT is for a career”.


All about SHIFT Job App

SHIFT Job app mobile
Pictures of the SHIFT Job mobile app


Q: When did you start SHIFT?


In October of 2015, my co-founder and I came up with the idea that we wanted to make it much easier for a job seekers to apply and get a job directly with a hiring manager. At the time we were finding it quite difficult to find the right talent with the first generation job portals.


Not only were we not finding the right talent, we found that there was a communication breakdown in the process. Either we could not reach the candidate for an interview or that the candidate wouldn’t see our email, until it was too late.


So we decided to build an app that would create a fast, fun, and social experience for both the job seekers and the employers. SHIFT officially launched July 1st of this year and as of today we have over 200 employers posting jobs in Singapore and over 1,600 skilled job seekers swiping “applying”, matching, and chatting with employers.


Q: What was the key factor that motivated you to start SHIFT?


TIME was the most important factor when it came to creating SHIFT. We just felt that the process of finding a job takes too long. Now with the huge adoption of smartphones there is no reason why there should not be a tool like SHIFT that brings a job to the job seekers in real time.


Q: Who should be using the SHIFT Job app?


SHIFT is for anyone looking for a shift in their professional career. This includes polytechnic/university students who are looking for that special internship to gain that much needed experience, to that senior manager who is looking for a change in career. SHIFT really benefits everyone when it comes to shifting their career.


Q: What makes SHIFT unique from other job search platforms?


SPEED, as well as the ability for job seekers to make direct social connection to the potential hiring manager are what make SHIFT unique. Plus, we added some Singaporean flavour to it too!


Also, because we are a team of people-lovers, we are always encouraging job seekers to stay in touch with us. We hope that they will feel less alone in their journey to find a job. We know it can be quite daunting sometimes.


Q: What are some of the future developments of the SHIFT Job app?


We are currently working on making SHIFT even smarter by working on algorithms that will recommend jobs that your skills, education and location closely match.


We are also in the works of giving the job seekers that ability to choose to be an active or a passive job seeker. Active seekers are people who are aggressively looking to find their next job while the passive seeker is only looking for a very specific job that they might consider.


Advice for Jobseekers

Co-founder Sethu (far right) introducing the SHIFT Job app to NUS students


Q: For many of the young adults just starting on their careers, what is one piece of advice you would give?


Be persistent. Persist in your pursuit to reach your goals by staying up to date with the job market. Persist in being better by learning new skills. Persist and take failure as an opportunity to improve instead of a personal attack.


Q: What do you think are some traits that quality employees today need to have?


Since we are in an ever-changing era, employees definitely need to be flexible in order to adapt well.


Being an analytical thinker is another trait that employers look out for because people who can solve problems fast save the company from a lot of unnecessary cost.


Also, keep the desire to learn burning. Constantly upgrade yourself, today’s job might not be there tomorrow. By learning new things and upgrading yourself, the chance of you being made obsolete is significantly reduced.


Q: If you could go back in time and start your career over again, what are some things you would do differently?


I would first strongly embrace technology. People used to be against technology because they didn’t see the potential. I wasn’t against it but I wish I had took more initiative.


I would be more curious. There were times where I just took things as they were. But I realized later in life that making the effort to find out more about things opens me to new perspectives.


I would also read more books of different genres, travel more, push myself out of the comfort zone to take up courses and learn different skills.


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Job search need not always be a long and tedious process. Leave the job application troubles to us. Find out more about DGG Resume’s services here: https://dggresume.com/ourservices


Inspired by Mark’s stories and advice? Start your job search by giving SHIFT Job App a try today! Explore the many jobs that they offer here: https://shiftapp.sg/internship . Download the app now to explore both full-time and internship positions.