If you’re part of the 97% of the US population with a cell phone, you most likely use it for more than phoning. And if you’re part of the burgeoning subset with an iPhone, Android, or other smartphone, I can guarantee that you use it for all sorts of serious (and silly) stuff.
Looking for work (or keeping your fingers on your neck of the employment market) is possible on a smart phone. It may not be able to replace the desktop experience (yet), but it can be done. (And if you run a job board, you should realize that much of your candidate audience is moving to this platform – whether you do or not).
I looked at 7 different apps for the Android (I don’t have an iPhone – if you do and have an opinion about a job board app, let me know). They ranged from moderately sophisticated to fairly rudimentary. Being relatively new to smartphones but somewhat knowledgeable about job search, I tried to approach the apps like a job seeker. I was looking for ease of use, ability to deliver results, and ability to do on a smartphone what I can do on a desktop. In essence, I wanted to know if I would considering using one of these apps for job hunting – or if I would rely on my trusty desktop instead. Here’s what I found:
Indeed: Just like the website, it has a simple ‘what’ and ‘where’ interface. When looking at a detailed view of a job, you also get a non-Indeed ad at the bottom of the screen. The buttons are nice and large – good for those of use with larger fingers. You can email a job without an account, but to save a job, you have to set up an Indeed account. There’s no way to refine the search as is possible via the desktop – but for a quick and dirty way to find and save jobs, the apps works. Grade: B+
Beyond: Immediately after tapping the Beyond app button, you are presented with a sign-up screen – no way to search or browse…unless you scroll to the bottom of the screen (hidden on my phone without scrolling), where there is a ‘Skip’ button. Yep, I’m gonna skip before I give up info! You next find yourself on a Job Search screen, with a job title box, location box, and distance drop-down (nice). Results pop up fairly quickly – and amazingly enough, they’ve figured out how to put a banner ad at the top of the results! Click to view a job, and you’ll see another banner at the top. Job details include a “Learn more and Apply” button, which leads to a mobile account signup page – basically, you have to give up your name, address, etc. to apply or get a job alert. Yep, it’s a multi-page form. So…the entire process seems a bit complicated and you have to give up a lot of info to get your job alert. The ads are distracting. Grade: C+
Monster: Monster knows where you live – at least if you let them know. When you click the Monster app button, you end up on a simple search screen – job title, skills, location. Next to the location is an unnamed button that, if you click it, gathers your location from the phone – a nice feature. Search results pop up in a simple, no-frills display. Clicking on a job takes you to the detailed description – which inevitably requires some scrolling (employers haven’t gotten the memo yet about shorter job ads!). The ‘Apply’ button is impossible to miss – static and stuck to the bottom of the screen – so you don’t have to scroll to get to it. Don’t like the job? Just click the right arrow to move to the next one. The app holds your session’s searches – convenient. If you have (or want) a Monster account, you can sign in or create one. Monster wants less info up front than Beyond – just name, email, and zip – which makes sense. After all, as I said, they know where you live. Grade: A-
Linkup: You may (or may not) know that LinkUp is a bit different from the average job board – it pulls listings directly from company sites, wraps them inside the LinkUp interface – then sends you back to the company site if you decide to apply. The initial screen for the LinkUp app is simple – keyword and location entry boxes. There’s also a job search tip of the day, and a button for ‘Advanced Mode’ – which turned out to be an advanced search function, complete with options for a radius search and company search – nice features. After entering a search, the results come up in a simple scrollable list with a rotating ‘Sponsored by’ listing at the top. Click on a job to see the detail, and you get an abbreviated description (a bit confusing, since I thought I was getting the detail), and 3 buttons: Learn More and Apply; Send to Friend; and Add to Favorites. The Learn more button sends you to the company site (and it took some quick back-clicking to return to the LU site!). The Send to a Friend feature gets kudos because it didn’t require a registration; the Add to Favorites quickly put it in my favorites – no double-checking here, so don’t make a mistake. That was pretty much it – short and sweet. Grade: B+
CareerJet: This is another job aggregator, similar to Indeed, with a similar but less effective approach. Upon clicking the app, you’re presented with the Keyword and Location boxes (and being an international site, you can also select your country – a good idea). Search results come up in a simple listing, complete with the site they originated on. Click a job and your taken to a more detailed description of the job. If you click the “More Details or Apply” button, you are sent to the company site – but still framed in the CareerJet app. This is not good (at least on my phone), as you can’t magnify the display, and are thus reduced to deciphering tiny lettering designed for a 15″ monitor instead of a 4″ cell phone. Ouch. Grade: C
LinkedIn: Yes, it’s a social network – but it’s also a job board. Since it’s tied to your Linkedin account, the first screen you see after clicking the app is your login page. Once you’ve done that, you’re presented with an attractive page of icons for Updates, Connections, Invitations, News, Messages, and Reconnect. But…no Jobs. Recruiting activity is a central focus of the desktop-based LinkedIn, but it hasn’t found its way onto this app. Maybe it’s coming? For the time being, this app isn’t much good for finding your next job. Grade: D-
CareerBuilder: When you click the CareerBuilder app, you are asked if you want to ‘sync’ with your CB account (or create one). Turns out you can actually create a CB account via your phone – a nice feature. The job search offers both basic (keyword/location) and advanced (company, radius, date of job posting, and type of employment) – a good representation of the desktop experience. The search results display with titles and brief info; at the top of the screen are tabs for Search, Recommendation, Favorites, Resumes, and More (which gives your account info and application history). These tabs are persistent no matter where you are – a nice feature. On the detailed view of the job, you can send the job to yourself (no registration required). You can actually apply for some jobs via your mobile device if you have a CB account – but others require going to a desktop. Overall, the app certainly lets you cover the basics and then some, but it feels a bit incomplete. I suspect Version 2 will be more useful. Grade: B+[Want to get Job Board Doctor posts via email? Subscribe here.].