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Internship portal matches students, employers based on personality, hobbies

SINGAPORE — For students with no working experience, landing an internship can be tough — not just for the applicant but also for the employer who has little information on hand to gauge whether the student would be a right fit for the company.

Co-founders of MatcHub: (from left) Ms Rayse Yeo, 23; Ms Jolies Tan, 23; Ms Vivian Chan, 23; and Mr Noel Wong, 25.

Co-founders of MatcHub: (from left) Ms Rayse Yeo, 23; Ms Jolies Tan, 23; Ms Vivian Chan, 23; and Mr Noel Wong, 25.

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SINGAPORE — For students with no working experience, landing an internship can be tough — not just for the applicant but also for the employer who has little information on hand to gauge whether the student would be a right fit for the company.

That was the idea behind MatcHub, an internship-matching portal that links applicants to companies based on personality, skills and even hobbies.

It was created by a team of students from the National University of Singapore (NUS) who officially launched it in March.

Although the portal is still in its early development and has matched just close to 100 applicants, some of its successful matches have given the team hope that the focus on qualities outside of applicants’ resumes could be what sets MatcHub apart from other job-matching sites.

“There was this first-year undergraduate who signed up, who had no internship experience before and didn’t really know what he wanted to do,” co-founder Rayse Yeo, 23, said in an interview with TODAY.

“But he put soccer as his interest and we matched him to this startup called Stranger Soccer”, an online platform that helps football enthusiasts find enough people to play a game, she added.

MatcHub’s algorithm assigns applicants with a match score for different internship roles based on their hard skills, such as design or engineering ability, as well as their soft skills through a psychometric test.

This way, applicants are provided with internship opportunities in fields they would not have thought of applying for based on their hard skills alone, said Ms Jolies Tan, 23, one of its five co-founders.

Having themselves gone through internships that made them realise their chosen industry was not right for them, the team’s goal with MatcHub is to make it easier for students to find suitable jobs that the students would enjoy doing.

The team behind the portal had gone to Shanghai, China, on the NUS Overseas Colleges entrepreneurship programme. That programme has produced students who have gone on to build some of Singapore’s most well-known startups such as Carousell, ShopBack and 99.co.

The site’s matching process limits the number of applications a company receives only to those MatcHub’s algorithms believe will be a good fit for the role.

This has proven helpful especially for smaller companies that may not have recruiting departments to sift through large volumes of internship applications.

“Small startups have fewer resources, so we can’t compete for the same talents with MNCs,” said Ms Christina Yip, co-founder of livestream e-commerce platform AirVTing.

The startup headquartered in Berlin, Germany, had returned to Singapore amid the pandemic and hired five interns in Singapore through MatcHub.

In February this year, the MatcHub team received a grant totalling close to S$10,000 from NUS Enterprise — the entrepreneurial arm of the university. The team has started testing how it can best monetise its service.

The team said MatcHub gained a spike in sign-ups around April and May, when many university students were searching for internships for the three-month vacation before school reopened in August. About 60 companies have signed up with them.

That period also coincided with the implementation of circuit breaker measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, which confined most people to their homes. The team was able to match six students with remote internships for a fashion company based in China that needed English-speaking interns.

Now freshly graduated from university, the team wants to work towards expanding their portal into China, while focusing on internships for now.

Asked what they, as fresh graduates themselves, thought about the debate over whether millennials in the job market have too much of a sense of entitlement, Ms Yeo said: “You shouldn’t accept a job just because it’s hard to find a job during this pandemic.

“I’d rather you do another internship or even do volunteer work that can help you achieve your career goals. Unless your family urgently needs to make ends meet, I feel that you shouldn’t just look at the short-term.”

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students MatcHub Internship

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