How Mobile Apps Are Transforming The Job Search

Searching for a job is just like dating, banking or procrastinating on chores until someone else does them: It’s something we all have to do. So why shouldn’t the job search be the basis for mobile apps, like those other adult obligations? Over the past couple of years, it has.

As 2015 turns to 2016, the job search is now squarely the business of mobile technology, with the tedium of resumes, interviews and salary negotiations streamlined to help nervous job seekers breathe a sigh of relief.

Though it goes down differently for everybody, the job search can generally be split into four major categories: professional networking, job discovery, job applications and the employer communication and interview stage. Whether targeting one or more of these phases, mobile apps have emerged to streamline and simplify the entire job search, allowing an increasingly smartphone-dominated society to network, search, apply and communicate on their time and on their terms.

Simplifying The Social Web

For the better part of a decade, building a professional network has been squarely the realm of LinkedIn. While job fairs, meetups and industry-specific marketplaces like Stack Overflow and Mediabistro have successfully siphoned off some of that connectivity, LinkedIn’s presence still loomed large. Now, though, startups are beginning to build an audience of users who are choosing a different path to better protect their information and take control of their networks.

Caliber describes itself as a search engine for business contacts. The app sits on top of your social and professional networks (read: LinkedIn) and lets you search for and chat with connections based on their professional background.

As opposed to other networking apps that help you build, maintain and monitor a network, Caliber empowers users to maximize them through sleek, non-invasive and direct communication. Caliber CEO Andres Blank said the app has more than 4 million searchable profiles, including 1 million in New York City and San Francisco. The app facilitates communication at a rate of 23 percent, meaning one in five requests is accepted.

We are living in a world dominated by speed and efficiency, so why should we expect our job seekers and hiring managers to be any different?

Weave employs a Tinder-esque interface and a matching algorithm to allow users to swipe through potential professional contacts in their area. Founder Brian Ma said Weave provided a more discrete, convenient approach to networking than events or blind reach-outs, which can be a hassle even when done among friends. Ma said that, on average, users connect with someone within three days and meet within a week.

Reach takes things a step further, allowing networkers to find professionals by proximity, recently visited places or interests, in real time. Intro, an service, allows users to generate digital business cards from their profiles, select what information they want to share and share it with others.

Sharper Career Assessment

While every career adviser has his or her preferred career assessment test, often the results can be arbitrary or frustrating. This is especially the case when the assessments recommend a type of job but fail to provide any sample jobs to which the job seeker may apply.

Good&Co is out to change that. The app, which bills itself as a social network out to achieve workplace happiness for its users, runs its applicants through a battery of fun quizzes and assessments that are actually backed up by quite a bit of science. Users can then share results with friends and colleagues, but, more importantly, the app matches you with companies and positions that match your strengths.

Other traditional platform services like Pymetrics, in which job seekers play games to discover cognitive strengths and be matched with appropriate companies, have made the transition to mobile. But once a fit is determined, how can applicants safely search and apply on mobile?

More Efficient Job Applications

A major complaint among job users is the hours spent scrolling through endless job boards that feel impersonal and static. Where the Monsters and Indeeds of the world succeeded in consolidating millions of jobs and running them through a few high-level filters, they failed to create any sort of personalization for the job seeker. It could take weeks to hear back, if you heard at all.

The job search is now squarely the business of mobile technology.

When users were targeted personally, it was often by recruiters who blindly invaded personal email and LinkedIn inboxes, further turning off many would-be candidates. On the employer side, the biggest frustration is the number of irrelevant applications received for a given position.

Savvy, formerly Poacht, targets “motivated women” in business, and further explores the passive searching approach by working to place female talent in positions across the Fortune 1000. According to founder Maisie Devine, Savvy asks users to set their salary and benefits preferences — as well as harder-to-define traits like willingness to leave — then matches them with interested employers. Users can respond to interview requests within the app, as well. The app also is in the advice space, syndicating content through partners Huffington Post and Inc.

Interview From Anywhere

Even after getting an employer reply, the minefield continues into the interview stage. Whatever the extenuating circumstance, many a promising job prospect has broken down at the interview stage.

HireVue is more a tool for employers to conduct job interviews across platforms and at any time, but it can aid the job seeker, as well, in that it cuts down on time-to-hire. That means candidates wait in limbo for less time, and also increases their chances of impressing the hiring manager through a face-to-face digital interview.

The gig economy is the latest trend in the job search and hiring space.

InterviewJet is another exciting young company, this one geared toward in-demand “technologists” and the employers desperate to hire them. The company only requires a little information from candidates, whom it vets and then presents in front of its participating employers. While only available in New York City and still more of a tool for recruiters, InterviewJet further shows that hiring must not be limited to weeks-long slogs. Indeed, for the most in-demand job seekers, it can actually be something of a breeze.

The Transformation Continues

The gig economy, or as some call it, the “contingent workforce space,” is the latest trend in the job search and hiring space. Of course, this recent development was hastily followed by the spawn of a glut of mobile apps to serve the new sector. After all, there is a growing army of artists, freelancers and those simply looking to make a few extra bucks.

From TaskRabbit to Pinch to Postmates all the way to Gigwalk, those who want entry to the gig economy — whether as drivers, movers, couriers, cleaners or chore-doers — have plenty of marketplaces on which to sell their wares.

We are living in a world dominated by speed and efficiency, so why should we expect our job seekers and hiring managers to be any different? Gone are the days of months-long hiring processes spent weeding out irrelevant job positions, spending hours on a single application and struggling to schedule interviews. Thanks to the ballooning mobile sector and some hungry entrepreneurs, the job search might finally be finding its groove.