To Recruit Your Next Great Candidate, Just Swipe RightMarch 17, 2014
by Stephanie Walden
Alex Douzet, CEO and co-founder of TheLadders.com, remembers the days of "old-school recruiting," when recruiters had to reach out to prospective candidates by stealthily tracking down their work extensions or personal home phone numbers.
Those days are long gone, and — as Douzet recognized nearly two years ago — there's a platform shift on the rise when it comes to developing an efficient and reliable method of matching candidates with careers.
"If you look at most categories — games, social media, photos, maps -– about 70-90% of usage comes from mobile devices," says Douzet. He places the distribution of career search activity on mobile at about 35% today, with around 65% still relying on desktop; but he anticipates that a rapid shift will occur in the coming months and years, landing the eventual numbers for mobile job search at closer to the 70-90% mark. When this shift occurs, Douzet plans to be ready — and make TheLadders first in the space. With the launch of TheLadders Recruiter, its new mobile app for recruiters, the company has a good head start.
A '100% mobile' job search network
Last year, TheLadders introduced its mobile app for job seekers, called Job Search by TheLadders, on iOS, and two months ago it debuted the version for Android. Now, the company is focusing its mobile efforts on the other side of the quandary: employers and recruiters.
"Our vision is really to create a network for career that’s 100% mobile," says Douzet. "And obviously there has to be an element — a dedicated app — for the person who is a heavy recruiter, whose job 40-50 hours a week is to find and recruit people. But you want to make it as frictionless as possible. Mobile is perfect for that; it’s designed to be simple."
Simplicity isn't always the scenario on desktop, where many companies — especially larger ones — utilize "applicant-tracking systems" that can be frustrating for both employers, who are bombarded with hundreds of applications each day, and qualified job seekers, who dedicate serious time and effort applying to online jobs and hardly ever hear a word in response. "It’s full of noise -– the process is completely unsocial and frustrating," says Douzet, adding that these inefficient systems often overlook quality candidates. "People have become very distrustful of the whole experience."
The move to mobile
With the rise of mobile comes the opportunity to create an entirely new system. TheLadders' job search app deviates from the way many online job search sites operate, eliminating keywords and instead matching candidates to relevant jobs through detailed individual profiles.
"If you want to make mobile work, you have to rethink the experience entirely," says Douzet.
Apps such as Job Search by TheLadders that are directed at job seekers are a start; but in reality, they're only half of the equation. "It's still primarily a mobile app talking to a recruiter behind a desktop," he says. "If you analyze recruiters' schedules, they might spend three hours a day in front of a computer — the rest of the day is in meetings, interviewing candidates and filling out paperwork. They don't spend that much time actually in front of their computer sourcing candidates." But, he points out, these days, most people have their phones on-and-in hand at virtually all times. With the recruiter app, employers can spend as much time as they'd like browsing through prospective candidates — when they have a spare five minutes, are waiting in line or just want to kill time.
How it works
Recruiters must create an account on TheLadders first, and once they've downloaded the app and logged in, they’re prompted to enter a short job title describing the position they wish to fill and some basic information about the desired candidate (areas of expertise, salary range, zip code and location radius, etc.). There's very little typing involved, which Douzet says helps make the process as seamless as possible.
To browse through candidates, recruiters can swipe left or right depending on if they're interested in a candidate (similar to another "swipe-right-or-left" app you may be familiar with). A left swipe dismisses the candidate; right saves the person in a queue recruiters can later access.
Hit dismiss by accident? An "undo" link appears for a few seconds after a left swipe — or recruiters can access a portfolio of every candidate they've ever viewed on the app by logging into the web version of the site. "It’s a very simple, very intuitive experience — I like to say that a five-year-old could recruit with it," says Douzet. "We've really streamlined the process."
The other advantage the app offers is a simple way to contact candidates. It saves each candidate’s phone number upon download, and swiping up on a candidate’s mobile profile brings up a prompt to call, text or email (and the "email" option utilizes pre-determined text, further eliminating the need to type extensively on your phone). The app also identifies which candidates in the "saved" queue you’ve already contacted, which proves a useful tool that prevents recruiters from accidentally sending repeat messages.
The ability to easily reach out to candidates by calling or texting is crucial from a strategic standpoint, says Douzet, explaining that many candidates are wary of email due to privacy issues, and that recruiters often get less than a 10% response rate when they reach out by email alone.
Another major appeal is that the app is free for both job seekers and recruiters. "We're the only company in the world that has built a mobile network — a two-sided marketplace — between employers and professionals, where they can interact and nobody has to pay anything," says Douzet.