We have built a job portal that connects students and graduates with top companies for internships, freelance and full-time job opportunities in the UAE region. We have provided design, front-end and back-end development for this project.

Project details

Unemployment rates in the MENA region have remained stubbornly high, particularly among youth, and are currently at 28% a young group of entrepreneurs, while struggling to hire youth talent for their small business, had the idea of an online platform as a solution to their problem.

Thus, InternsME was born. The founders of Oliv (formerly InternsME) came up with the idea to help young people in finding placements early on, for the purpose of those placements turning into milestones in the future. They decided to launch a job portal to connect students and new graduates with leading employers for internships part-time and graduate jobs. After a few years of rapid growth, the online portal was re-launched with a completely new brand, a new platform made from scratch, and a refreshed drive to defeat the region’s youth unemployment rate.

After meeting with around a dozen different agencies, the team decided Desmart was best aligned with Oliv’s mission and vision for the change. Desmart’s task was two-fold: to create an intuitive, career marketplace for candidates and a fast, talent sourcing platform for employers.

The aim of the platform, for employers, was to act as a comprehensive candidate tracking system to help manage different applications, set up interviews and hire - everything on one screen.

After a successful launch of the new Oliv platform on April 4, 2018, both the Oliv and Desmart teams remain invested in further developing, maintaining, and adding new features to the product.





Our challenges

The existing version of the website (former InternsME) no longer met the expectations of its users and founders.

  • Oliv team expected a high-end, reliable solution to be implemented within a specified budget. The planned launch date of the new release required implementing fast and reliable solutions.
  • One of the main features of the service is an advanced search engine that allows candidates to view employers' job offers. The relatively long time for loading the search results raised concerns about users leaving the platform.
  • One of the purposes of building Oliv was introducing in-app messaging system to improve communication and make launching careers more personal and engaging.
  • When we started working on Oliv, it had more than 150,000 screened university students, including recent graduates, and over 1,000 employees hiring on the platform.
  • The old version of the portal relied on dated technology and had been designed in accordance with old brand guidelines. The goal of our cooperation with Oliv was not only development, but also a change in UX and UI design. The logo design and branding was provided by our client, but the UX/UI work was handled by the creative team of designers from Desmart.

Our solutions

We were excited to welcome the creation of a new project that would make a significant impact on many young people. We knew that our development team had to take a holistic approach in solving the problem.

  • We decided to build a portal from scratch with modern technology. We used Node.js and React.js for back- and front-end respectively. Analyzing the technical data of the current code, we assumed that the better solution would be to write the application from the ground up.
  • We knew that to make the search engine faster we had to use the right tool for the right job. Algolia turned out to be the best solution - a full-text, numerical and faceted search engine capable of delivering real-time results from the first keystroke. On the old platform, search queries took an average of 6–10 seconds to return results. After applying our solution, the load time decreased to 6–8 milliseconds. This made Oliv the fastest and most competitive job platforms in the world, and returned some previous users and welcomed the inflow of new ones.
  • We knew that the communicator must include many options that could be customized and configured according to client’s needs. Instead of reinventing the wheel, we took advantage of Twilio - a custom solution enabling software developers to include e.g. text messaging into web and mobile applications.
  • The challenge was to manage a large number of accounts and simultaneously streamline the data migration process. To avoid data loss when making certain schema changes, our developers wrote migration scripts. Migration tasks required a huge amount of work from the developers to keep in sync with new functionalities and properly transform data through new data models. Our developers wrote scripts to migrate a whopping amount of 60 tables, each with several gigabytes of data.
  • In the process of designing a brand that reflects and communicates Oliv’s values our first step was conducting usability user research as well as stakeholder research. Oliv’s team was highly involved in the process of redesigning. Our team of designers carried out changes according to Oliv’s brand book.

About the client

Since launching in 2012 (formerly as InternsME), the startup has extended its services from intern recruitment to volunteering, part-time jobs and graduate jobs. With more than 150,000 registered students and graduates Oliv helps companies grow their teams with the brightest young talent in the region so that they can become more successful. Now, Oliv is a bridge between the youth and regional employment opportunities.

Behind the scenes

We’ve been working together since October 2017 and the new version of the platform went live in April 2018. During that time we had the pleasure to work with the extremely committed Product Owner. He was accustomed with the Scrum methodology, so we could get started quickly and co-operate smoothly. Despite the differences in time - with the working week in UAE being Sunday to Thursday - we were able to efficiently run sprints. We were constantly in touch via Slack.

Search return time was significantly reduced and old customers have returned. DeSmart flexibly managed changing project requirements and was highly-responsive to bugs. Their wide-range of technical knowledge, as well as their transparency about potential challenges, make them an ideal partner

Supratik Mukherjee

VP of Product


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