7 Ways We’ll Connect to Talent in the Future Using Mobile

This article was originally written for Talent Napkin, the new e-magazine of the International Association of Employment Web Sites (IAEWS).  IAEWS is the trade association for the global online employment services industry.  Download the full PDF version of the emagazine at EmploymentWebSites.org.

According to the Pew Research Cell Phone Activities 2012 report, 85% of American Adults own a cell phone, and these devices now play a central role in many aspects of their owner’s lives. Today’s children will have grown up experiencing a fully connected, fully wireless, cell phone–centric lifestyle. Pew’s Teens and Technology 2013 report finds that 78% of teens now have a cell phone, and almost half (47%) of those own smart phones, translating into 37% of all teens who have smart phones.

Today’s teens will be tomorrow’s workforce.

In the ecosystem of online recruitment products & services, there’s been a lot of buzz around the use of smart phones for job search, and most of the major career sites have invested in mobile offerings. But true innovation—game changing innovation in how employers connect with candidates—is pretty lacking.

Most of the major career sites have typically done one of two things: build a job search app that lets job seekers search for jobs and get push alerts, or develop a mobile-friendly version of their job board.  Boring.  We’ve stuffed a lackluster desktop experience into a mobile device, forcing job seekers to read job descriptions on a tiny screen only to have them email it to themselves and complete the convoluted apply process from their desktop
computer at home. Lame.

Today’s mobile devices can do more, and the online recruiting & sourcing marketplace needs to be thinking bigger. How do we change the way that job search is done using mobile? How do we facilitate better communications between recruiter & qualified applicant? It starts with looking at the features that make the mobile platform fundamentally different than the desktop:

  • Instant: Check your email, receive text messages, interact with your social channels.
  • Geo-aware: With GPS, compasses and accelerometers, the phone is aware of its environment.
  • Portable: It’s with you all the time, every day, and is your lifeline.
  • Easy: Apps and OSs are intuitive, easy to use, and have virtually no learning curve.

I recently had the pleasure of sitting on a panel for the Spring Employment Web Sites (IAEWS) Congress in Las Vegas titled “The 411 on the Use of Mobile Technology by Employment Sites”. Basically, each of the panelists spent a few minutes showing the audience our own companies’ mobile offerings, and we talked about a few interesting trends using mobile for recruiting. But we didn’t spend too much time talking about what could be.

So, I thought it would be fun to fast forward a few years. Here are 7 blue-sky ways that mobile could help employers connect with great talent in the future:

1.     Real-Time Employment-based Networking
You’ve been trying to hire a senior developer. What if you’re at a ball game, or a business conference and the perfect candidate is 4 rows in front of you? By combining the mobile capabilities of geolocation and availability broadcasting, your phone could instantly alert both you and the candidate that there’s a possible connection, sitting only rows away! The app on your device handles the skill & experience matching, makes the introduction, and a real life conversation occurs! Sourcing becomes real time, 24/7, and—aided by mobile
technology—provides accurate and instant matching of candidates.


2.     Mobile Talent Referral Army
Your company has 17 openings. There are 140 employees in your organization.  Your employees have downloaded your company’s geo-aware referral app on their phone, and as they go to church, the grocery store, or their kid’s soccer game, they’re acting as broadcast beacons for your jobs! As your employee is picking out tomatoes at the grocery store, they will get a push-alert that there’s a perfect candidate in the frozen food section. With 140 employees broadcasting your jobs via their mobile device, it brings a living dynamic to an employee referral plan and creates a mobile talent referral army.

 3.     A Visual Way to Search and Save Jobs
What if jobs were represented on your device, not by boring text, but by visual icons that represent the skills & requirements necessary for the job? What if instead of combing through some wordy job descriptions in a tiny font on your mobile device, you simply use your “Pinterest for Jobs” or a Flipboard-type app to flip through job descriptions or browse jobs based on a collection of pictures, logos, and icons? What if your resume was also like an infographic that represented the skills or experience you have? Find a job you like? Cool! Just pin it to your “Pinterest for Jobs” app so you can research and apply later.

4.     Convert Your Patrons into Hires
Let’s pretend that you’re a retail buyer or merchandise planner. You walk into the Gap on Saturday to do a little shopping, and BAM! The Gap hits up your phone with a push alert indicating they’ve got a planner job available that’s a perfect fit. The Gap store manager is alerted, who approaches you to start talking about company culture, offers to make an introduction to the recruiter, and invites you to apply instantly via your phone.

 5.     BumpApply & AirApply
See a job posting on a store window, or get a push alert as you walk by the building of a company that’s hiring? BumpApply or AirApply to instantly have your professional profile sent to the recruiter to indicate interest. At a job fair? Paper resumes are a thing of the past. Bump the recruiter’s phone instead to pass on your resume or online profile instantly and electronically.

6.     Compass Mode WorkPlace
Want to show prospective candidates a tour of your facilities before they even apply? Using the Compass mode feature on their phone, job seekers can get a 3D walkthrough of your work environment.

7.      Jobseeker Gamification
What if instead boring questionnaires and a lengthy application process, job seekers could
download a mobile app that made the apply process a game?

Solve a math problem, figure out the most efficient way to code in as few lines as possible, or stack a warehouse most efficiently – and compete with other jobseekers while playing.

If you win, you’ll not only get the top score in the game, but a call from a recruiter!

It’s gonna be a fun ride!  Mobile—and more specifically—smart phones,  have changed the way people share, communicate, and stay connected. It’s time to start a mobile job search revolution!

About the Author:

Vice President, Recruitment Media Sales at Nexxt.

Joe has a long and varied career in the online recruitment and sourcing space. He loves working with clients to help them make killer hiring decisions. Get him talking on any topic and Joe will turn it towards talent acquisition technology. Prospects should pick his brain—he helps sell Nexxt but will also give you a primer on who is doing great things in tech. Joe’s entrepreneurial spirit and positive attitude allow him to approach each day as an opportunity. He is a proud dad, passionate boater, U2 super fan and fashion guru. Joe studied accounting at Clarion University and always makes sure that his watch doesn’t clash with his shoes.

Nexxt is a recruitment media company that uses today’s most effective marketing tactics to reach the full spectrum of talent – from active to passive, and everything in between. Learn more about hiring with Nexxt.

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