Swipe Right for Talent: Recruitment Apps on the Rise

By Amy Gulati Sep 25, 2015

In 2015, recruiting professionals are well-aware of how mobile technology has changed the job search process. Candidates are increasingly searching and applying to jobs with mobile devices and companies that want to compete for this talent have responded with mobile-friendly career sites and streamlined job applications.

Over the past several years, a new wave of mobile apps has emerged, applying the functionality often associated with dating sites to the job search process. That’s right, you need only swipe right to find your next rock star hire.

Connie Wong, co-founder and chief operating officer of Planted, explained the value proposition of the app her company developed: “We curate both sides of the equation. Job seekers get opportunities delivered directly to their phones. Employers get a carefully matched list of qualified candidates.”

Wong’s company targets recent college graduates who are looking for junior roles.. The focused service approach reflects a trend: Applications are becoming more specialized along with the labor market overall. Specialization benefits job seekers and recruiters alike. After all, recruiters wouldn’t source an entry-level associate using the same resources as they would for a senior manager, so it makes sense that job search applications are narrower in focus.

In focusing its application on a specific demographic, Planted makes the task of sourcing entry-level candidates easier by applying technology and matching logic—giving it two huge advantages over more-traditional means of outsourcing the recruiting process. Just as online dating app Tinder or online dating website eHarmony employ algorithms to help them determine which romantic partners are best suited for each other, these applications can make use of similar technology, eliminating the element of human subjectivity. For any recruiter who has ever struggled to understand the ideal profile for a job candidate as written by a hiring manager, having a self-improving algorithm to help with that process could be revolutionary.

The app Savvy, currently targeting experienced professional women, also demonstrates the way in which the market for job search apps is becoming more niche. Savvy started out as an app called Poacht, marketing itself as a platform where job seekers could input information about their desired position and anonymously search for available positions. A job seeker’s identity would only be revealed if the inputted specifications matched an opening in which he or she indicated interest.

After noticing the popularity of the application with female users, co-founder and CEO Maisie Devine decided to pivot the focus to cater exclusively to females. Renamed Savvy, the app offers the same job search features and also provides content to female job seekers and the employers that want to hire them.

“Women follow a different job search process. When a woman looks at a job description, she will apply only if she feels 80 percent qualified, whereas men feel comfortable applying if they’re only 20 percent qualified,” Devine said in summarizing the app’s appeal.

In the traditional world of online job postings, employers may be losing out on high-potential female candidates because they are self-selecting out of the process. Given the value placed on gender equality in many companies, Savvy gives employers a new outlet to specifically target a sometimes-harder-to-reach subset of talent. This could be a boon for employers because, essentially, the app serves as a means of affirmative action outreach.

Devine said she listens to her customers, noting that she kept the anonymity offered by Poacht when establishing Savvy. She heard feedback from female job seekers that the anonymity made them feel more confident that they were truly being judged on their credentials and qualifications and not something more superficial. This anonymity also alleviates risk for the employer, as other social media platforms give recruiters easy access to information that could lead to biased decisions, even on a subconscious level.

Amy Gulati, SHRM-SCP, is a freelance writer based in the Washington, D.C., area.

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