Guest Blog: Talkback Mobile Recruiting

Posted on May 10, 2010 by

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Guest Blog from @lesanto

AllTheTopBananas.com has already helped 20 UK job boards take their first steps into mobile recruitment applications. They wanted to drive discussion and get feedback on the future of mobile recruiting so they held a seminar at the wonderful RIBA building in London. The event introduced information and ideas on the subject of mobile recruiting and listened to the back channel from the industry, who were represented both by the delegates gathered in the room at RIBA and those participating online via Twitter. Although the delegates were there by specific invitation the discussion was made transparent by live tweeting the event on the #tbMobRec hashtag. This helped to facilitate the virtual involvement of the many informed industry experts who were following the hashtag live.

Dave Martin from TopBananas lead the discussion with an informative presentation that clearly illustrated the need for recruiters of all types to get with the mobile program. The rapid spread of mobile internet access was made apparent by the statistics he presented in his slide show. Mobile internet access is rapidly catching up with desktop, if current growth is sustained the world will use mobile more than desktop internet by 2014. It’s not just about numbers, it’s also about when and where we are connecting. The mobile helps us to ‘fill the gaps’ and connect to the internet even when we are away from our fixed lines. They may also allow personal and private browsing in situation where a ‘work’ computer is behind a firewall and disallowing certain connection, or where the user feels the need for more privacy.

Dave made it clear that “we need to be in both places in online business or we are missing a trick”. Dave is absolutely right, if you have a website you must provide a mobile version or risk losing half your audience. Those watching the conversation online included Andrew Gerrard (@andrewgerrard) He stressed the need for mobile content saying: “Publishers must build mobile into their platforms and content. Create once – publish everywhere.”
It would seem difficult to argue with the wisdom of Andrew’s comment but a quick scan of many urls reveals that very few website owners are building mobile enabled websites. This must change and the next couple of years are likely to see a big move to produce mobile specific versions of websites.

Statistics suggest that Nokia still sell more ‘smart’ handsets worldwide than any other manufacturer but there was some discussion on what makes a phone ‘smart’ in today’s market. It was agreed (within the room) that for a phone to be considered smart in today’s market it needs to run apps. Mobile web developers are increasingly concentrating their firepower on apps for iPhones and Android phones. Dave Martin suggested that iPhone users are the most active on the internet, gobbling up as much as two thirds of the bandwidth used. Stuart Witts (@stuartwitts) commented via Twitter suggesting that, regardless of sales figures, iPhone users have lead the way in using a mobile handset as a smart phone. Apple may have taken the lead here but the panel were in agreement that Android is on it’s way up and the consensus in the room was that it will probably overtake iPhone. The suggested future scenario was one where iPhone dominates the high ground (on price), while Android fills the much larger market that exists at the lower price points.

Lots of smart phones means plenty of opportunity for the developers and recruiters. The ability of smart phones to run location-based applications is a boon to job app developers, there’s a definite synergy between location and job hunting. Increasingly powerful smart phones and a steady migration of internet use to mobile is likely lead to an explosion of job apps, which could lead to confusion. An app that aggregates the content of other job apps could well prove to be a killer app in the near future.

The room, both present and virtual, then mulled the problem of online applications. Guy Hancox, Head of Media at Monster, was adamant that it is the duty of the job boards and recruiters to give the customer (the job seeker) just what they want. His advice is to deliver all the conveniences such as online application and then work out the problems that may arise from it. Obvious among these are security, which is an issue of huge importance but also the one likely to create the biggest logistical nightmare. CV spam is another problem. Regardless of the challenges posed, Guy insists the candidate must be put first and the services they want must be delivered.
The event proved interesting and informative. The timeline was lively with plenty of participation both in the room and virtually. Events such as the Talkback Mobile Recruiting provide a useful opportunity to share information, opinions and ideas. Being able to run events like this both live and virtually gives a far greater reach and participation than ever before. I asked Dave Martin of AllTheTopBananas.com if he felt the event had gone well and will end this article with his answer:

“The event was a great success,” said Dave. “We reached a wide audience to communicate where Mobile Recruiting is going,” he continued. “The discussion confirmed how critical it is for candidates to apply via mobile. We were surprised by the high focus on iPhone and Android vs the reset of the mobile market, this supports our roll-out priority across platforms but does not alter our plans to support a wide mobile audience. The return that job boards illustrated from mobile apps was very positive.”

The slideshare for Allthetopbananas.com candidate mobile research presentation is here:

http://www.slideshare.net/samato/attb-mobile-recruitment-candidate-research-results

(@Topbananas – Thanks @Lesanto for the post and the live tweeting, also a big thank you to @BillBoorman and @AlanWhitford for their support)