A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of listening to Crawford Del Prete, Executive Vice President and Chief Research Officer at IDC, talk about the challenges facing developers of mobile apps. What stuck with me was Crawford’s reminder that great products of all types, including apps, help people tackle specific, meaningful jobs and do them differently or better than their predecessors. That’s valuable advice that can help companies avoid the mistake of making a product just because they can, as opposed to making them because they should.
Today, I’m proud to be associated with an app for Nokia Lumia, Nokia’s smartphone running Windows Phone 8, that does a job that’s as important as any other at this point in time: find work. The app is called JobLens. My colleagues at Nokia built it, and my team and I are in the process of marketing it. You can watch a video of it in which I show what it does, or you can click here to download it from the Windows Phone Store if you have a Nokia Lumia.
JobLens was built on the premise that these days, it’s a lot harder to find a job without a mobile phone. If you didn’t have a phone, would an employer be able to invite you to an interview? Would you know if you got an offer? Beyond these most basic of functions, though, JobLens takes a mobile-first approach to every aspect of the job search. The app invites users to log-in using their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Windows Live accounts. It then allows them to search for jobs from Indeed.com’s network of postings by keyword or location. Users can view those jobs in a list, see them top-down on Nokia’s Here Maps, or, even cooler, through the phone’s camera lens. This is called “augmented reality,” which describes the combination of the real, physical world with information drawn from the Internet. Think of the stuff Ironman sees through his helmet, and you’ll get the idea of augmented reality.
Lots of apps can surface jobs, but JobLens goes beyond this and offers the most powerful tool in anyone’s search for work: her network. For every job it finds, JobLens looks for people in the job seeker’s network who work at the company and therefore might be in a position to make a connection with the hiring manager.
Let’s say a user sees a job that interests her, but it’s in a new industry or city. JobLens will show information from Zillow on neighborhood home prices, demographics, and average commuting times. It also draws on Salary.com to show how the job might pay.
Now let’s assume the job seekers lands an interview. JobLens offers news about the company from sources including Yahoo Finance, Smart Money and NASDAQ. That way, they’ll be ready to ask the interviewer intelligent questions. Because the app includes Here Maps, it also can help applicants get to the interview on-time.
I’ve spent a lot of time with the app, including all over Manhattan for the video shoot, and more than the app’s features and content, what pleased me most was the abundance of jobs available all around me. Though the economy has lost millions of jobs during the Great Recession, JobLens showed me just how much opportunity there is out there across a wide range of professions, including those that require relatively little education. It made me feel optimistic that with the right approach and tools, people can get back on their feet or leave a job they may not be crazy about for something better.
JobLens is available now in the Windows Phone Store for free for users in the US and Canada who have Nokia Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8. Check out the video or download the app, and let me know what you think.