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How iPad Apps Are Transforming Job Search and Recruitment

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New apps make it easy for "discreet' job seekers to search for a new gig from the office, or find the most innovative companies at job fairs.

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Just one year after the release of the Apple (AAPL) iPad , more than 15 million people are now proud owners of the mobile tablet device. While emailing, web surfing, playing games, and reading e-books top the list of user activities on an iPad based on a survey conducted by NPD Group, companies are also integrating the iPad into their daily operations. On a January investors call, Apple shared that more than 80% of Fortune 100 companies were using or testing the iPad. Despite that an iPad actually has less traditional functionality than a PC, iPad users are increasingly drawn to it thanks to portability and ease of Wi-Fi connectivity. Its slick interface and ease of use by practically anyone with a fingertip has transformed doldrum tasks like web surfing, checking email, and reading into a more sensory experience.

It stands to reason that more and more job seekers are turning to the iPad to seek new opportunities. A recent survey conducted by Robert Half International indicated "Forty percent of seekers will be more inclined to look for new hiring opportunities once the recession is over." As such, companies who want to stay competitive must adjust their online recruitment functionality to work in tandem with iPads features.

Monster.com , the flagship brand of Monster Worldwide (MWW) reports that "the highest usage of Monsters website is during normal business hours." Searches are conducted by what it terms "discrete seekers" -- those who search and apply for jobs at work. What better place to conduct a secret job search than on the handheld mobile device, easily concealed from prying eyes? In January 2011, the company announced the release of Monster for iPad, a free app that integrates existing Monster user accounts to work with the best features of the iPad, including the ability to utilize GPS technology in job searches, access application history, and stored resumes and cover letters. In its review of the new app, PC Mag summed up the new service as one that "makes looking for a job less of a job."

LinkUp, a search platform that brings "hidden jobs" that are posted on company career pages also released a free iPad-friendly version of its site in 2010. The app now allows job seekers to apply for opportunities directly, and features an interface that adapts to both landscape and portrait orientations.

In addition to transforming the interface of online recruitment sites, iPads have forced companies to rethink the traditional "black-hole" approach to recruitment. In the "old days" (two years ago), applying for a job was essentially a one-way street, until one received a phone call to start the two-way process of interviewing. But largely as result of social media, smartphones and mobile tablets like the iPad, job seekers are increasingly tech-savvy and expect instant gratification. As a result, companies interested in snatching up top talent before they've moved onto the next opportunity are forced to adjust the way they woo candidates.

Reckitt Benckiser (RB) consumer products giant, competitor to Procter & Gamble (PG), and maker of 19 so-called "Powerbrands" like Clearasil, Woolite and Easy-Off, has positioned itself as a company at the forefront of continual innovation. Such a commitment to progress demands an equally progressive and competitive recruiting strategy. In March, it launched a global, multi-million dollar technology campaign aimed at recruiting fresh young talent, following the successful launch of its mobile "poweRBrands" game launched last year, which "enabled players to enter a fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) company and rise through the ranks, to eventually become global president," according to the official release. The game is accessible thru Facebook and allows the company to find like-minded candidates seeking what its culture offers.

The United States Marine Corps is even experimenting with the iPad in its recruitment, as a means to record the information of potential recruits found at job fairs and public events. Marine recruitment officials told Military Times that it was experimenting with recruiting via iPads to collect candidate data, once taken by hand.

Particularly for companies who are looking to build or deepen an online brand presence, social networking tools that are tailored for the iPad will begin to play an even greater role in recruitment in 2011. Brand-enhancing mobile technologies like FourSquare and Facebook Places can help to promote a company's presence at job fairs and recruitment events. They are easily accessed and implemented tools that small businesses with leaner recruitment budgets can also integrate into hiring strategies. For companies looking to recruit recent grads or the Gen Y population, known to be peer-influenced, these apps can be a powerful means of branding.

One critical functional adjustment that all recruiters must note is that iPad does not currently support Adobe Flash. Video on a site that uses the technology must be amended to accommodate iPad users, who will otherwise see a dead link. The issue is of particular importance for companies seeking IT talent. Naturally, these candidates seek companies who demonstrate that they are at the forefront of technological innovations. Job seekers in the technology field will base their impression of what an employer can offer in a career, based on the design and functionality of the online brand.

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