One Hour with Putra Nababan

idtalent, and His Restlessness of Indonesia's Talent Crisis

Insaf Albert Tarigan    •    25 April 2017 17:05 WIB
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idtalent, and His Restlessness of Indonesia's Talent Crisis
Senior journalist Putra Nababan recently established idtalent, a startup in the talent acquisition sector, Jakarta: “If a doctor gives the wrong diagnosis, he/she will harm one patient. But a journalist has the potential of degrading the morale of an entire community. Even destroying an entire nation.”

These words opened my conversation with senior journalist, Putra Nababan, who is now venturing to become a digital entrepreneur. With 23 years of experience in journalism and the media industry, Putra understands the full extent of challenges faced by the sector. Those challenges come not only from gathering, managing, and broadcasting the news to the public, but also in managing human resources in a news organization.

“The toughest challenge is finding journalists and broadcasters with potential, especially passion for their profession. Those who are passionate about their work,” said the journalist who has experience in print, television, and news portals.

Putra understands that a passionate journalist benefits not only him/herself, but also the media organization he/she works for, as well as the public. The main benefit is of course a journalist’s function to educate millions of people, enlightening them by encouraging public discourse.

It is difficult for Putra to imagine a society that can be educated and enlightened by journalists who are not passionate about their work, those who work the news beat because they can’t find other work. Or individuals who become journalists as a mere status.

Putra, who is the only Indonesian journalist to have interviewed U.S. President Barack Obama, is now developing the digital start-up, idtalent, with two partners. While Putra is known to the public as a seasoned journalist with expertise in political and social issues, he is in fact also knowledgeable in the impending talent crisis faced by Indonesia.

According to Putra, Indonesia will experience an era of demographic bonus by 2025. This means Indonesia will have a surplus of productive individuals to boost development, positioning the country to become among 15 of the world’s strongest economies. However, it is predicted that Indonesia will face a talent crisis in the next three years by as much as 56%. This deficiency encompasses quantity as well as quality.

If the prediction becomes reality Indonesia will face a huge gap between industry demands for quality output and supplies of high-performing human resources. This concern about quality human resources is backed the Global Talent Competitiveness Index, which puts Indonesia at number 90 in a ranking of 118 countries. Based on such data and predictions, Indonesian professionals may soon find themselves as mere guests in their own homes.

“It is these experiences and challenges that have motivated myself and my two partners – one, a senior in human resources management, the other an IT architect – to create idtalent, a digital platform that connects potential employment seekers with the needs from corporations,” Putra said.

idtalent is a manifestation of Putra’s dream to give back to the industry that has made him into a household name, and his love for Indonesia. The company wants to make it easier for university graduates to access employment opportunities and strive for their dream career. On the other hand, the start-up provides companies with the most efficient access to the best candidates.

Unlike other job-seeking sites, idtalent offers Self-Development and Career Preparation features. Employment seekers take a series of tests, packaged as fun assessments, to identify their potentials, which would then become the basis for an individual’s self-development. Results of these initial tests will also be a reference for a company seeking employees.

Another service also not available in other job-seeking sites in Indonesia is the online interface interview feature. Interviews are conducted by selected Recruiters specifically trained by idtalent. The combination of the self-potential tests and self-development features, complimented by the online interview, can safe time and costs for both job-seeking candidates and companies.

“idtalent has a ‘job matching’ service that will help professionals find the right work based on their competence, and enables companies to recruit the most suitable candidate. The idtalent platform expedites a company’s recruitment process,” Putra explained. Test materials have been designed to meet company standards and periodically updated by idtalent’s experts who have extensive experience in human resources.

Putra hopes idtalent will make it easier for companies to recruit the best talents from various cities around Indonesia. In this context idtalent also gives the country’s young professionals access to participate in recruitment selections in any company. Putra added, “Further more, idtalent gives an opportunity for those who want to become recruiters. They can work from anywhere and at any time with just an internet connection.”

Putra’s decision to create idtalent is timely. A 2016 research by Deloitte found that talent acquisition is one of the disruptive future trends in technology-driven human resources management. The market potential is huge. Focusing on this sector of the industry provides a solution in seeking out and evaluating the best candidates, conducting personality and psychology tests, managing online and video interviews, and organizing the entire complex recruitment process.

According to Deloitte, talent acquisition has a sizeable market value and is a strategic element to many companies. Technology companies that grow exponentially, for example, can succeed or fail in implementing their business plan depending on how fast they obtain the best engineers, marketing and sales officers. The same case applies to other industries. In essence, companies will require quick, effective and efficient recruitment solutions.

idtalent has the potential to become a market leader in Indonesia because they are relatively pioneers in the sector. The company’s services are developed from the start to accommodate the Indonesian landscape, not imported from abroad which would require adjustments that are often difficult. This can be concluded based on an assessment of services offered by other companies such as Entelo, Gild, Glassdor,, HireVue, Layer, Pymetrics, and SmartRecruiters.

idtalent does still have a long way to go. They have just launched their beta website, and have only begun a national campaign to introduce themselves in various regions of the country. “We hope the arrival of idtalent can help Indonesia become a leader and have a stronger competitive advantage with other nations by producing more talents in the industry, and not just workers,” Putra concluded.