In this interview, we find out more about Kelly Louw (COO of Job Crystal), her business journey and why she believes South Africa should support small business.
Job Crystal is a recruitment technology solution that combines their human touch (recruiters) with their AI Recruitment Tool (Crystal) to create a one-stop recruitment solution for SMEs and corporates.
Job Crystal is owner-run, and as such they are involved in every transaction, whether it be mentoring or assisting to ensure a successful client and candidate journey, making them their preferred, long-standing, and trusted recruitment partner – bridging the gap between talent and entrepreneurs, and making a dent in unemployment.
Why did you start your business?
Sasha Knott (current CEO and business partner) and I bought Job Crystal in 2015. We were a perfect business match with my experience in recruitment and the ability to find all types of candidates, and Sasha’s knowledge of technology with her business experience and contacts. Job Crystal has been steadily growing ever since 2015 and took a huge growth curve in 2020 when we took on investors, Enygma Ventures.
In our experience with starting businesses, we discovered that finding staff took far too long, and that this was often the breaking point for many businesses. After further research we found that for smaller companies, agencies were often too expensive and didn’t provide realistic payment plans. In short, there was no specific recruitment solution support tailored for SMEs.
This led into the core drive of Job Crystal:
1. A passion for helping people find jobs.
2. Focus on the SME market with an agency who understands cash flow (Job Crystal was an industry leader in offering a payment period on recruiting fees to SMEs, knowing how tight cash flow and budgets can be in business), and an AI tool that understands the value of time (Crystal, our AI-driven tool that can search and screen 34 million employable people across 43 websites including job boards, job portals and social media sites, reaching active job seekers and passive hiders).
What do you love the most about running your business?
I get to make a difference, whether it is placing talent in their dream job or assisting a company in building their perfect team.
What is one of the biggest lessons you have learnt on your business journey?
Running a business on your own can be a very lonely and daunting path. I have realised having a co-founder or business partner to bounce ideas off and strategize with makes all the difference in driving your growth. In my experience, Sasha and I are the ‘Ying and Yang’ of Job Crystal, both bringing a very different combination of expertise, as well as experience together. Indeed, a force to be reckoned with in the RecTech space.
What is your why? Why do you do what you do and what do you focus on to help you persevere and get through tough times?
The Job Crystal vision and my why each day is to make a dent in unemployment. With the combination of our agency and AI tool called Crystal, I foresee the team doing just that.
Our goal is to make job seekers lives easier while helping SMEs find talent fast and effortlessly.
During 2020 when COVID-19 was in full swing, we had to “get back to basics”. Focus on the things that will move the needle. Time is money so make your efforts count. Be consistent and show up!
Why should South Africa support small businesses now and beyond?
SMEs are the moving force of South Africa’s economy – and the most at risk.
SMEs across South Africa represent more than 98 percent of businesses, employ between 50 and 60 percent of the country’s workforce across all sectors, and are responsible for a quarter of job growth in the private sector. And while the GDP contributions from South Africa’s SMEs lag other regions – 39 percent compared to 57 percent in the EU – there is no doubt that this sector is a critical engine of the economy. *(Reference McKinsey.com)