Mobile jobseeking has never been simpler, but there are also other platforms that need to be catered for in the future. Sue Weekes investigates
The talk in many recruitment circles at the moment may centre around the candidate experience on smartphones but with smartTV ownership on the rise, the discussion is likely to switch to jobseeking on a somewhat bigger screen in the not too distant future.
“At the moment we can look at embedded video on a job board on a PC but how will a 52-in HD-ready plasma screen change the way content is served up?” says John Salt, website director of Totaljobs. “We have to follow the consumer and the technology trends and make sure we can provide our content and functionality through every kind of consumer platform.”
Salt neatly sums up the next set of challenges for the job boards, which are by now used to evolving. The emergence of social media and a raft of new potential sourcing channels led many to predict their demise but almost 20 years after the early boards were launched, they remain the starting point for most job searches. Recent weeks has seen a rash of developments from some of the major players. Reed.co.uk has just launched its new mobile site, Monster has integrated BeKnown into its core product, while a few months back Totaljobs announced a partnership with BranchOut, which allows career networking on Facebook. Following restructuring, Evenbase (previously Jobsite Group), whose brands include Jobsite and niche sites OilCareers, CityJobs and JustEngineers, says its development roadmap for the next 18 months will enhance its products across areas such as mobile, social and search. Echoing Salt’s sentiments, Mike Wall, managing director of Evenbase’s job boards division, believes boards need to monitor developments across all online sites as well as the changes in the way consumers interact online. “This learning should then be rolled into how job boards develop,” he says.
In short, job boards are not only competing with each other but are also being judged by users on how they measure up against other online experiences. At the moment, one of the big challenges is how to provide candidates with a positive experience on a mobile device. Figures from comScore reveal that Jobsite was the most visited mobile job site each month this year until April when it was second to the aggregator, Indeed. Wall is far from complacent about the mobile space though and suggests that in many ways recruitment is just at the beginning of the mobile movement. “There is still some way to go before the candidate and recruiter experience on mobile can match the desktop and that’s the goal for us,” he says. “At present the focus has generally been the candidate experience, and that needs to continue, but there are opportunities for recruiters too.
“For us the key is to understand how mobile will, and is, changing recruitment for both audiences. We’ve already conducted some research with recruiters to establish what requirements they have on mobile and this will be a continuing process for us.”
Reed.co.uk has just introduced its new mobile site and marketing director Mark Rhodes reports that 40,000 applications were generated in the first week it went live. “Which certainly suggests jobseekers are comfortable making applications from their mobile devices,” he says. Reed.co.uk has held back from incorporating full jobseeker registration but says it has worked hard to include the features from the desktop site that users most value. “The first version includes all the job search filters we offer on the full site, as well as useful features, such as being able to save jobs for later, view similar jobs, run recent mobile searches, edit covering letters and download stored CVs,” explains Rhodes.
As already mentioned, the jobs search engine Indeed nabbed the top spot in comScore’s monthly survey of mobile traffic for April and it also has the number one free business iPhone app in 15 countries, including the US, Canada, Brazil and Japan. David Rudick, Indeed’s vice president of international markets, says its mobile job search application is one of the site’s most popular features. The aggregator has also recently launched IndeedCV on its UK site, which allows jobseekers to create a CV from scratch or upload an existing one. Rudick claims that after creating your IndeedCV, you can apply for certain jobs with just one click.
Alongside mobile, integration with social media sites will continue to be an area of development. Perhaps the biggest move yet towards this was by Monster last year when it developed BeKnown, an app that allows you to create a professional networking profile and area on Facebook. Its recent integration of BeKnown with the Monster job board itself means jobseekers can log on to the job site [Monster] via Facebook. “What that means as a consumer is you can create a professional profile which you can share and use to network with people,” says David Henry, VP marketing UK & Ireland, Monster. “More importantly, it allows you to see how you are connected to individuals at the companies of the jobs you are looking at.”
It also allows those with a BeKnown profile to use Monster’s semantic search technology to look for jobs. For employers and recruiters, the integration means that their social recruiting reach is extended because jobs are put in front of those on the BeKnown network on Facebook. In terms of sourcing, it allows recruiters to access public profiles of candidates who are linked between Monster and BeKnown.
BranchOut with which Totaljobs has partnered similarly allows Facebook users to create a separate profile for professional networking. Salt says it is assessing the appetite for a social media platform such as Facebook and at the moment feels recruiters may see more value in such links than candidates. “Do people find a value by knowing someone socially at another company and do they know how to use make the most of such a connection?” he asks. “Maybe if it’s their brother-in-law they might but I’m not sure they would if it’s their brother-in-law’s mate from university.” In general, he says Totaljobs is seeing less engagement and “reaching out” by jobseekers when it comes to social media. “This may change though as people are still learning how to use these connections.”
One of Totaljobs’ major ongoing areas of focus is being able to deliver relevant local content. The site already has a full database of postcodes and provides maps of jobs locations but Salt says this is what users expect given online consumer experiences such as looking for a hotel or booking a concert have long provided this. “A consumer’s expectations is raised so what a jobseeker wants to know is if they are walking down a road in a particular locality is ‘what live vacancy am I near and how will this local content be served up to me’,” he says. “Capabilities like this are becoming increasingly important.”
Without doubt, technology will continue to play an important part in the future of job boards but Giles Guest, director of Enhance Media which publishes the National Online Recruitment Audience Survey (NORAS), says there are other factors determining their level of success. He reckons this lies in a change of model towards quality and “offering reach beyond their own platforms” rather than competing on price. “Remember, a single successful candidate saves an employer a recruitment fee averaging £8k — there is a job board model where that is a reasonable fee to charge, it’s just a model few job boards seem to be embracing.”