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Tue, Apr 19, 2011

Talent Strategies

How To Get The Winning Edge Over Job Interview Competition With An iPhone

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No matter how far along you are in your career path, acing the job interview takes a smart, prepared approach. Not just for job seekers who want to make the best impression on the recruiter across the table from them, but recruiters want that interview time to get to the heart of the candidate sitting in front of them to make sure they’ll fit the company’s culture, but most importantly – that they are the best candidate for the job.

We had the chance to sit down with Jeff Greenler, Monster’s VP of Marketing and one of the creative minds behind the development of Monster’s newest mobile app – Monster Interviews – to discuss Monster’s strategy for mobile recruiting and just how the latest app in Monster’s mobile family will benefit both seekers and employers alike.

MonsterThinking: Why did Monster decide to develop a mobile interview app?  Where does this app fit into Monster’s overall business strategy?

Jeff Greenler: Our overall mission has always been to help job seekers improve their lives. The Interviews app is just one more tool we’ve created to help them land a great job. And to provide it in an app allows us to extend our value to seekers in a way that fits with their consumption preferences today.

Practically speaking, the interview process can be very stressful for job seekers as it’s the best opportunity to demonstrate to a potential employer how well-suited they are for the job.

To that end, we wanted to provide seekers with access to great content and interview techniques to give them a leg-up on their competition in an interview setting. We have great content for seekers on our site already, but we wanted to provide them with even easier access in a way that’s relevant to them.

More often than not, seekers today are on-the-go, tethered to their favorite mobile devices. By grouping together existing content from our site and building utility around it to help seekers use those tips and tricks to their advantage in an interview setting – that’s the goal with the Monster Interviews app.

MT: How can job seekers benefit from utilizing the Monster.com Interviews application?  What are some unique or cool features you developed to help them have an edge over the competition?

JG: The Interviews app is set up to guide seekers through every stage of the interview process, with awesome tools and functionality customized to each interview stage. In the pre-interview section, for example – you can research the company you’ll be interviewing with as well as the people you will be meeting with on the big day, and you can save all of that research right in the app itself.

Features included in the day-of interview section are largely focused on getting your head in the game – including things like relaxation techniques, last minute referencing of your research notes, or mapping technology to help you get to your interview (or to the coffee shop for a last minute jolt of caffeine before walking in the door).

One of my favorite features is the ability to practice interview questions – recording them by audio or even video. This feature takes the old notion of practicing your responses in the mirror by bringing it up to modern day standards.  Seeing/hearing how you respond to specific interview questions is so very important to how you come across to the person you’re interviewing with. If you respond with lots of “ums” and “ahs” or stumble through your response, you not only send the impression that you’re nervous, but worse yet – you come across as ill-prepared.

This section of the app includes straightforward – but always difficult to answer succinctly – questions like “Why do you want this job?” to questions that require more forethought and careful wording like “Tell me about your least favorite manager/colleague and how you worked with him/her.”

This not only lets you practice in mock-interview fashion, but it also gives you guidance on how to answer the question. That combination makes this section of the app especially powerful and will truly give seekers the edge over their competition.

MT: This app was developed specifically for job seekers, but are there any benefits for recruiters and employers on the other side of the table?

JG: Absolutely.

Employers get the most well-prepared, best talent from us. We’re making their job that much easier to choose the best candidate for the job. By delivering to them really well-prepared candidates that can answer questions succinctly, smartly and professionally can only help recruiters get a better understanding of what those candidates have to offer.

I also think that reviewing the interview questions is a great way for hiring managers to prep for interviews they are conducting. The questions are fundamentally a compilation of the most tried and true ones there are.

MT: There are a lot of resources out there to help people get through an interview.  What makes the Monster app unique?

JG: There are tons of great resources that help to prep seekers for their next interview, but what we’ve tried to do is to distill down what we think are the best and most important tips and guidance for seekers in one really easy-to-use, intuitive mobile app. If seekers follow the steps and the features that the app has to offer, they’ll be well on their way for a really successful outcome.

And while some of what we’ve included in the app is ideal for a job candidate that has less experience in interviewing (i.e. entry-level), the truth is – you aren’t in interview situations very often in your career, no matter how many years of professional experience you may have.

So, the advice we include in the app is practical advice with fundamentals that seekers at all levels can benefit from. Plus, every interview scenario is different. Truly, this app is all about getting seekers ready to make the right impression – something that everyone at all levels, in all industries, needs practice with.

MT: Now that the app’s available for download, how are you measuring its success?  What changes can we expect in future upgrades?

JG: We absolutely want to get this into the hands of as many people as we can. So, total downloads is definitely one of our key success factors. We’d love to get as much strong seeker feedback and/or insight into positive results from using the app in preparation for an interview, too. We want to know that seekers are landing jobs as a result of being super prepared for their interview. And, in fact, we’ve built a section into the app to gather that type of feedback from seekers so we hope they take advantage and share back with us.

What can you expect in the future? Well, most importantly, we’re building this app out for other mobile platforms, including the iPad (which is next) and Android, soon after. We’re also looking into enhancements and updates like having the ability to create your own playlists for the day of the interview, including changes to the interview reminders section.

MT: Why is Monster expanding rapidly into the mobile space, and what’s next for Monster when it comes to mobile?

JG: By now, everyone has seen the sheer growth of mobile, particularly for Apple and Android operating systems (in fact, Gartner just issued their predictions here).  My colleague, Vasu Nagalingam, touched on this in his recent post on mobile recruiting, as well. It’s nothing short of astonishing how quickly mobile is overtaking traditional operating platforms today. So, our move into mobile has been a very natural progression for us as it allows us to extend our value to seekers in a way that fits with their consumption preferences today.

To that end, we’re most certainly always looking at other applications to develop – both for seekers and for our customers – so rest assured that you’ll continue to hear from us on the mobile front in the future.

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