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The iPad Revolution and Recruiting

Before I get started, let’s get it out of the way. I love Apple. Their products truly inspire me. I live in Northern California, and I root for companies in Northern California. So, label me biased. Now that this is out of the way, I want to share why I believe the iPad will become THE device for recruiters over the next five years.

The pioneering SaaS Talent Management vendors have done a good job building out global platforms. I know first hand how hard it is to be a vendor and to balance customer demands requests with innovative market features. It is a job of difficult, heated choices on a daily basis. And then when you add in the layer of post 9/11 security, well, it isn’t a free-wheeling environment. Adding new technology platforms is not an insignificant investment. It’s hard. The ships are big at this point, and they don’t turn quickly.

We have seen the ATS vendors really commit to the mobile platform. They paid it lip service five years ago. It was all sales features that never got adopted. The critical mass of the smartphone movement has changed all that. Delivering iPhone solutions is now par for the course. We are officially living in a post-Microsoft monopoly world. I know that vendors now are considering that the mobile device may be the primary device in the future. I know this gives them heartburn, but they know that it’s a possibility.

But let’s be honest, approving a requisition on your phone isn’t really game-changing. It’s not even really exciting. And I don’t think that reviewing candidates on a mobile device is that usable. Usability is everything. Recruiters are not generally technology people. If the software isn’t very usable, they won’t use it unless they have to.

The other challenge with ATS vendors [warning, strong opinion coming] is that they have lost focus on the most important exchange between the hiring manager and the recruiter. They haven’t done much to improve the quality of that interaction. The focus has been on improving selection at scale: such as infusing assessments into the recruiting process. That is a laudable goal but it still doesn’t help the recruiter to have effective conversations with the hiring team. The “notes” functionality in all the solutions is almost never adopted. Interview guide functionality makes tremendous sense, but it also isn’t widely adopted.

Sometimes the most basic features produce the greatest benefit. So why am I so excited about the iPad for recruiting? Because it is a significant improvement in usability. A recruiter can pick up their iPad and walk down the hall to a manager’s office and then record the entire conversation with the manager. I know that is basic, but that is a huge difference that helps a recruiter to manage their interaction with the manager. With the recording going, they can simply be present and listen. This is just one example of how the iPad provides basic, powerful functionality.

I believe that people like to touch things. I believe that touchscreen will become the dominant user interface going forward. Recruiters don’t tend to be technology people. But with a portable, touch-screen driven experience, recruiters will use it. Someone is going to build an iPad recruiter product and they are going to leapfrog everyone focused on point-and-click usability. In the coming months I will be writing more on the iPad and recruiting. Stay tuned.