Mar 31, 2015

Mobile recruiting in the dark ages

How many times in a given day do you access the web on your phone? You do it so often that you don’t even think about it. Americans spend an average of three hours a day on the phone, 55 percent of that time accessing the Internet from a mobile device: paying bills, house hunting, getting a ride, shopping and streaming music. And at some point, you and 70 percent of the U.S. population will conduct a mobile job search to pay all those bills! Our phones are with us 24/7, becoming an extension that connects us to the world.

Yet, mobile recruitment is still in the dark ages.

How dark? Research done by Jibe found that 60 percent of respondents believe that, even if mobile friendly, job applications are more difficult to fill out than mortgage, student loan or health insurance applications.The complexity is not necessarily related to the difficult questions that are asked, but the actual functionality of the job application.

In their 2014 summary job report of large enterprises, which processed close to one million mobile job applications, Jobaline data shows that 80 percent of applicants abandon job applications that are non-mobile. This is because they find themselves trying to type in tiny spaces designed for PC interface, having to take unnecessary steps in the application or going through too many changes of context, including advertisements in the middle of a job application.

The result: Job seekers waste too much time and employers have a large negative financial impact on their operations. This is especially true in the hourly jobs sector, where attrition rates are up to 200 percent per year, and part time jobs or seasonal jobs result in a continuous hiring cycle. Mobile job applications done wrong cost large employers over 80 percent of their job advertising budget.

Simply Shrinking the Job Application Interface for Mobile Delivers the Same 80 Percent Dropout Rate of the larger screen.

Just like the e-commerce or entertainment industries, which went through significant changes to embrace the mobile web, mobile recruitment must go beyond just making the job application fit into a smaller screen.

An inefficient process in a big screen is just as inefficient in the smaller screen. Online recruitment requires reinventing the experience, while taking advantage of the many other dimensions that mobile brings to enrich the job recruitment process. Otherwise, employers are wasting time and money creating online application experiences that, even if mobile, still results in a wasteful 80 percent of their advertising dollars and recruiters’ time.

If you just apply a responsive design to the old “taxi” web pages, we get “taxi” mobile - it’s the same old and dated process, with the same business results, just in the small screen. By reinventing the experience, you get Uber or Lyft, instant match of people that need a ride with people that want to make a living out of offering rides to others. In this context, advanced mobile matching technologies will be the dominant factor in the Human Capital Management sector over the next decade.

Thanks to the ubiquitous nature of mobile devices that are attached to us almost 24/7, we can capture voice, images, location, time, activities and assess skills in real time. We can combine the power of observed information, which is often more meaningful for matching purposes than the declared information captured through standard online or paper-based applications. Observed or inferred information can often paint a more complete picture of a job applicant, resulting in better matches that hopefully result in long lasting employment relations.

In a side-by-side comparison of people completing interviews from mobile devices, the completion rate is five times higher and the quality of candidates is up to eight times better when the proper mobile experience is enabled.

Taking things one step ahead, the use of advanced technologies for algorithmic analysis of the voice of job applicants can take the quality of the match to a whole new dimension. On the other hand, just doing a mobile redesign or a mobile app of an existing Applicant Tracking System process results in only marginal improvement in applicant volume, quality or satisfaction.

If the web is mobile, why aren’t employers embracing it faster? CareerBuilder found a variety of reasons employers don’t use mobile application processes: 38 percent of employers haven’t invested in the required technology; and more than 35 percent don’t have the resources or can't find a mobile solution that does more than take their Applicant Tracking System and make it mobile. Interestingly, more than one-fifth of employers aren’t sure why they don’t offer a mobile application process.

The web is mobile and recruitment is mobile, especially in the hourly-jobs segment. Beyond the obvious difference in the screen size, if technology is leveraged properly, mobile recruitment allows for a richer experience that can remove friction from the job application process.

With close to half-a-billion job applications processed every year to hire over 55 million people, properly using mobile recruitment technologies represents a multibillion-dollar cost savings opportunity for the U.S. economy.

Aug 16, 2014

Life after Microsoft - Create and Nurture


It’s a big risk, leaving a big company to join the ever-evolving startup world.  This past month journalist Rachel Lerman from the Puget Sound Business Journal interviewed me and other leaders on the subject. This is what we talked about.



by Rachel Lerman, who covers technology and retail for the Puget Sound Business Journal.

Luis Salazar still remembers when he was in the process of leaving in 2008 to join a startup. Going from a guaranteed, very high salary at Microsoft, where he was general manager of what is now Office 365, to a world with no guarantees was stressful, but it was worth it because he wanted to build something from scratch.

In 2012, Salazar started Jobaline.com, a Kirkland-based software company that connects hourly wage workers with companies that are hiring.

Life after Microsoft is all about passion, he said — if you don’t care about what you’re doing, the money is not going to come.

“Make sure you are running into something,” he said, “and not that you are running away from something.” That’s how he hires people: passion first, then experience, then skills.

Things change rapidly in the start-up world, and that’s not for everyone. But Microsoft did help him prepare for that — plans may be useless, but planning is not, and Microsoft teaches that skill over and over.

It’s a difficult shift from thinking in billions to thinking in single units, he said. That meant the first $5 his start-up made were a big deal.

At Microsoft, he never worried about cash flow; it was all about profit and loss. But decision-making changes dramatically when all of a sudden you have to worry about cash.

“The start-up world is way more agile, there is no place to hide,” he said. “Starting a start-up, your results are seen by everybody.”

It’s not common to be much in touch with the start-up world while at Microsoft, he said.
“You don’t know what you’re missing.”

He wishes he knew: “That it was going to be this much fun.”

His best quality post-Microsoft: “I have an insatiable curiosity that drives some people nuts.”

  • Left Microsoft: 2008
  • Now: CEO & Cofounder, Jobaline.com the largest and faster growing mobile & bilingual marketplace for hourly-wage jobs
  • Jobaline employees: 20
  • Jobaline total funding raised:$11.3 million Survival skill: Tapping passion

LESSONS LEARNED
  1. Make sure you understand the culture of the company you are about to join— it matters. 
  2. Take your time to decide what kind of opportunity you want next.
  3. Don’t waste your time joining a startup if you like predictability and a big paycheck.

Mar 4, 2014

Monetizing Apps - Insights from Jobaline.com

We had the opportunity to participate in a panel representing Jobaline.com to share our learnings on how we’ve made money with apps. My cofounder  and VP of Technology Miki Mullor was one of the day’s panelists - joined by Allrecipes.com, GameHouse and Glympse - allowing attendees a chance for a direct Q&A on how these companies took their concept from code to completion. 

After the workshop, Miki and I, co-founders shared our perspective on the key things to consider when it comes to monetizing apps.

The benefits of responsive web design vs. an actual app: Many developers’ first choice is to build an app, because everybody does, without first asking some tough questions:
  • Is an app really needed?
  • Will an app encourage adoption? Or hinder it?
  • Who are my target users and which devices are they using?
Unless the product is designed specifically for a mobile device - for example a picture taking app - going responsive/mobile web provides a quicker path to market. You’ll have less friction because nothing needs to be downloaded and shorter iterations because you’re avoiding the app store approvals and the required user upgrades.

Since 2013, there have been more people accessing the web from mobile devices than from personal computers. For start up companies, mobile web is key to staying agile with a single and simpler code base that is used across all devices. Less code to write, means less code to maintain and less engineers needed!

When is the right time to monetize?
It’s important to think about the user experience first and the monetization of your application second. Successful companies will optimize for great user experience and sustainable monetization is a consequence of doing do; it never works the other way around no matter if you’re building apps at a large Fortune 500 company or a startup. The principle is the same.

There’s no easy answer to the question: “When is the right time to start monetizing?” It all depends on the customer segment you’re trying to reach. In some cases a freemium model is actually conducive to a negative outcome, and in B2B there is such a thing as the "too cheap to be good" mentality. With more than 25 successful (and some not so successful) technology product launches we’ve led over the years, many times price increases will actually result in more adoption, even when it sounds counterintuitive.

In the consumer space, things are a bit different. Monetization often creates friction, even implemented in its most elegant way, but in general people are always happy to open their wallets if the user experience is pleasant and focused on delivering value. At the beginning, you want to learn about how well your service is addressing a core need and often monetization will evolve from there. 

Don’t put a good idea in a box: "advertising is the only monetization" or we have to charge per minute" or we have to charge per transaction", but rather let the user experience and frequent testing to best inform the monetization path... and don't be afraid to increase prices! as we have experience several times before, price increases can result in more traction!

Jobaline.com  has over 250,000 active workers in just 5 months and it is the fastest growing and most successful mobile-first, bilingual jobs marketplace that makes it easy for the more than 75 million hourly workers in the United States to find and apply for jobs from any mobile phone, tablet or computer.

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