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Mobile apps for job boards: a scorecard for job seekers

mobile apps for job boardsWhy should you care about mobile apps for job boards? Well, 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+

Dice: Click the Dice app and you get the same simple interface as the other apps (keyword + location), but with a twist – there are three recurrent links at the bottom for Search, News, and Settings.  Clicking News drops you into the Dice ‘Blog Network’ with some fairly useful info; clicking Settings takes you into ‘About’ and ‘Terms of Use’ (horrors!!), and an on/off switch for Location.  Back to Search: after entering your search terms, you go to a results screen with a twist – it allows you to sort by relevance or date (just like the desktop) AND to refine the search – extremely useful and strangely absent on the other apps.  Clicking on a job brings up the detail view – with icons for applying, emailing, or locating similar jobs. Nothing earthshattering, but a nice replication of the desktop experience.  If you want to apply, you need a Dice account – and this was where I found the biggest hitch. I didn’t have an account, and wanted to create one – but the app didn’t have that option. Bummer. I was reduced to emailing the job to myself – not the end of the world, but given the polish and functionality of the app otherwise, it was an unfortunate absence. Nonetheless, I think this is by far the most full-featured job board app I’ve seen. Grade: A

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+

This is a first pass for mobile apps for job boards. As you probably know, things will change!

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This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Interesting. Thanks for the info! Careerbuilder didn’t make your list of contenders? Do they even have one?

  2. You can certainly browse the sites via their web interfaces, but it can be tedious. The apps are supposed to make the process more mobile-friendly. I did not look at Simply Hired’s app, but will try that for the next go-around.

  3. Next version of the Dice app will let you create an account on your phone. Should be out in less than a month.

  4. Do job seekers really want to browse job postings on their phone so the pages load a lot slower and are a lot harder to read and the functionality is a lot worse than on a computer, or can the job boards get more inventive in what information they present to job seekers?

    We’ve had a mobile site for years and are about to re-launch it but we’re also working on a slick app that we think will actually be something that job seekers want to use rather than something that job boards want job seekers to want to use.

  5. great list !
    you can also check out giga-cv for IOS devices.
    including resume, cover letter & cover email.

  6. It is just UK based but cvlibrary app is excellent in terms of usability and let you send your application through the app by using your resume uploaded to the site and a cover letter you may create easily with the app…

  7. I find Civet App innovative due to its push technology based approach; jobs suitable to your profile drop on to your device. It also has Geo-location feature ; which finds job within 100KM of radius of your location
    I have recently installed it on my Android device and works good..

  8. I prefer GetAJob because it aggregates the content of all the apps in the list in a single app and also I can use Evernote to annotate the jobs.

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