You can watch a video, listen to music, surf the Web and, of course, make a phone call from a smartphone. What you can't do much is find a job.
While employers are using social media such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to advertise jobs, search for potential candidates, and promote their employer brands, they've failed to capitalize on the smartphone revolution, according to a new report from Potentialpark Communications, a market-research firm based in Stockholm.
Eighty percent of 3,500 recent graduates and college and graduate students surveyed said that they either use their smartphones for career-related purposes or could imagine themselves doing so, according to the 2012 Online Talent Communication study conducted by Potentialpark. Yet just a quarter of the 117 American companies surveyed by Potentialpark had either a mobile application or mobile-enabled website.
This poses a problem for companies that haven't developed mobile-ready versions of their career sites, says Joe Essenfeld, chief executive of New York-based social recruiting start-up JIBE Inc. If a company sends out a job alert through email with a link back to the company's careers page, users often find that the site doesn't function correctly or crashes on their mobile browser because the company hasn't optimized the site for mobile viewing. Rarely is there a way to actually apply for a job when using a smartphone, Essenfeld says.
JIBE is trying to change that with its JIBE Apply product, which it released this month. It allows companies to create mobile-friendly versions of the career pages and lets applicants apply for jobs using their smartphones. Essenfeld says that many companies are just starting to think about optimizing their sites for mobile as they see data showing that about 10% of their career page traffic comes from mobile users.
"Everyone has been focused on social [networking] for so long that they didn't realize that mobile might be an even more powerful platform," Essenfeld says.
Some companies are updating their career sites for mobile use. Intel, for example, has already created an iPad application for its recruiters to collect candidate information at career fairs. The company is also readying a smartphone mobile app for job seekers, said Keith Molesworth (pictured above), program manager for recruiting channels at the company.
AT&T, in 2009 optimized portions of its careers site for mobile users. It uses "sniffer" technology to detect what device someone is using and then directs them to a page designed for that particular smartphone. In the coming months, it will release a new version of its mobile site that will make even more content from its desktop site available to mobile users, said Jennifer Terry, director of staffing strategic initiatives.
The company has also enhanced its search engine so that when searching for AT&T jobs from a smartphone, pages optimized for mobile use will be among the top results. Using GPS technology, the site will be able to return listings for jobs within a certain distance of a user's location.
Other companies have focused on developing download-able applications. In addition to the mobile-optimized job pages it launched over a year ago, General Electric is in the process of developing a GE Careers app that will be available in the iTunes app store later this year, said Michael Tresca, who leads the company's online recruiting efforts. He predicts that the company's recruiting will increasingly take into account the growing popularity of smartphones.
"In the future we're going to have to provide more and more mobile access," Tresca says.
Write to Joseph Walker at Joseph.Walker@dowjones.com