When Bigger is Sometimes Still Best

Mobile is as mobile does. Despite what they say, there is a vocal school of thought that says that not everything is best served hot on your tablet or smartphone. And maybe candidate assessment is just one example of where this is true in the recruitment field.

We live, without doubt, in the age of mobile.  So overwhelmingly has the smartphone re-ordered our lives that it can feel hard to remember the still-recent days when phones were phones, computers were computers and, presumably, real men didn’t eat quiche.

So, anyone opting for a large-screen-only assessment tool has lost the plot, right?  Well, maybe not.  And this is where it pays anyone with a stake in the recruitment world to know the new tools of the trade and which is right for them.  Zoom out from the specific to the general and a pattern emerges.  That pattern is set by the forces and needs that shape our choices.  Our place in it is set by the role we play for our customers.

From bafflement to romance to practicality

New technologies appear in their infancy to meet no obvious need, in their ascendancy to meet all needs and, in their maturity, to meet specific needs.  In short, we go from bafflement to romance to practicality.  As the small screen slowly – but inevitably – travels from the oh-my-god-it-does-everything ‘universalist’ romance phase to the practical horses-for-courses segmentation that awaits all mature products, it’s helpful to stand back and take stock. Where is mobile unbeatable and where is big screen merely unfashionable?

Mobile is as mobile does. Which is on-the-go. Using life’s temporal nooks and crannies.  Carrying on through its noise and disruption.  Thus, the nick-of time emailed save, the whim of curiosity satisfied, the bus-stop downtime’s sixty seconds’ worth of distance run.

Less so, of course, the larger view, the longer read, the bigger task.  Larger screens let you see more of what you’re working on.  Laid out on a larger canvas, the links between things are more easily kept in view and so in mind.  With less scrolling, less distracting fiddling, they invite a sense of the whole.  They’re easier on the eye for those longer tasks – and it’s the more serious tasks that take more serious time.  Large screens are the tool for the serious.

The medium is the message

In recruitment, we see an diverse field emerging as both large and small-screen products hit the market.  Want to quickly grab candidate interest or check just a few key parameters?  Mobile all the way.  Need to exploit the full power of games to really get under the skin of a candidate?  Big-screen tools are built to do exactly that.

In a modern twist on Marshall McLuhan’s observation that ‘the medium is the message’, this dichotomy is signaled in the very products themselves.  Mobile assessment tools are short (15-20 minutes), use a recognisably ‘game’ context and report on one or two key metrics.  Big-screen games have longer play times (45-50 minutes), provide a full work-like simulated environment and yield a report card across the full range of the personality.

If your customers are looking to rapidly fill roles and you want a way to attract candidates signaling to them that you and your client are modern, engaged, exciting businesses, then the new mobile products coming out could provide candidates with the reason to pick you out from your competitors and put you a step ahead of the field.

If, on the other hand, your key service is selection, it’s likely that you think most about how to best sift candidates in order to offer your clients a level of insight and assurance that they will come to rely on.  Large-screen products can give a deeper analysis and report on a broader set of measurements so they are the most likely to fit with, and reinforce, your sales offer.

In short, mobile tools lend themselves to the candidate attraction task, big-screen to the serious candidate measurement job.  In this rapidly maturing horses-for-courses market, mobile and big-screen take up complementary places.  In the age of mobile, phones are for attraction, computers are for assessment and anyone can eat quiche if its suits them.

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