Mobile Sourcing: Barely Touched

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mobile-touch

While we see an occasional post about obtaining a list of conference attendees from an app, I don’t think “mobile sourcing” has gotten the attention it deserves.

Mobile Recruiting has a great quick definition in a Smashfly post: “Deliver a mobile-responsive candidate experience, leverage SMS campaigns and capture leads from mobile devices at events.

However, if we step back from “recruiting” to “sourcing”, as in “finding professional information”, we’ll see that there is an aspect of sourcing, that the above definition mostly misses. Capturing leads from mobile devices at events is only one way of using mobile for sourcing – and most users don’t know how to download or search within that data.

Here is where the opportunity lies: many mobile sites and apps allow to discover and collect data that is not available from the usual “desktop” browser access, unless we make special efforts for access it. “Mobile-only” data remains largely untapped by Sourcers; discovering it undoubtedly belongs to Mobile Sourcing.

Interestingly,  some “mobile sourcing” can be done with no smartphone at hand, right from the desktop browser, using special URLs or changing the browser settings, as I am about to explain.

Getting data from mobile apps requires some technical knowledge. In this post, I won’t cover it (yet); let’s talk about mobile sites for starters.

For some sites, opening the site URL from a browser on a mobile device would automatically redirect to the “mobile” URL. For example,  linkedin.com redirects to touch.www.linkedin.com. By typing in URLs from the “mobile” pages (that start with touch.www…) we can reproduce the mobile site functionality in a desktop browser such as Chrome. The reason we might want to do so is that the mobile versions may have better – or different, complementary – functionality.

Here is a practical usage example. People who have reached a “commercial search limit”, would still see 25 search results in a search like this (I have guessed a working URL format. Interestingly, to the best of my knowledge, this is not what the current mobile LinkedIn search uses – it is an older version of the LI search that just continues to work). Here is a screenshot:

li-mobile-touch

…Other sites would keep the same site URL in a mobile browser, but the site would look and behave differently than its desktop version.

To reproduce the mobile-specific behavior on the desktop, use Chrome’s Developer Tools (CTRL-I) and toggle device (CTRL-M, help page). (It may sound complicated, but it is not; just ignore all the displayed code that you will see in the “Developer mode”!). Select the device to be emulated (such as iPhone 6-Plus, for example) from the drop-down menu, to see a close copy of the actual mobile screen. Even mouse movements behave differently when Chrome emulates “touch” devices.

As we access “mobile-only” functionality of a site via device emulation, we may find ourselves eventually looking at page URLs that never appear on the desktop. Here is screenshot of a page on LinkedIn, that can be viewed on the desktop because of the mobile emulation (notice the unfamiliar URL):

li-mobile

 

(Those with the “new” LinkedIn desktop UI tell us that it looks similar to the above mobile emulation-generated view.)

One attractive aspect of working with an emulated touch device is that some sites will switch from pages of search results to endless scrolling. So does LinkedIn; scrolling does not end at ten results per page as it does on the desktop. When we get a long list of results on one page, it is often easier to “digest” (or to collect into a table). 😉

We will continue Mobile Talent Sourcing exploration soon, in further posts and in an upcoming webinar – stay tuned!

 

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