Cell phone penetration in South Africa is massive and, with the Internet fast becoming the preferred way of searching for career opportunities among job seekers, it makes sense that mobile technology would be the natural extension to online recruitment.

This is according to Inge de Klerk general sales manager at Job Mail, a dedicated career classified service available online, in print and via mobile technology.

"Almost every South African has a cell phone and the level of technology available to local users, such as 3G, HSDPA broadband and mobile TV, is very much cutting edge. As such, mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular for data acquisition and for browsing the Internet," she says.

“Job seekers are particularly mobile-active and it just makes sense to enable them to access the Job Mail website and conveniently search for jobs using their mobile handsets, 24 hours a day and from anywhere."

According to de Klerk, the uptake of Job Mail’s mobile service has been tremendous, with the number of page impressions per week on the mini-browser jumping from 18 994 during the first week of the service being launched in April 2006, to an average of 95 000 per week now.

Since April 2006, close to 1 500 unique job seekers have applied for positions via the mobile site. The number of unique visitors has also grown substantially, increasing from 187 to 855 in the last six months – although de Klerk says this figure is probably higher.

“It is difficult to determine exactly how many unique visitors there are on the mini-browser because logging-in is not compulsory. Furthermore, our web analysis software only counts unique IP addresses, which is erroneous for mobile usage as many users are likely to be coming through a single IP address due to the nature of GPRS and 3G connectivity,” she says.

De Klerk explains that the technology employed allows for similar functionality to what users have become accustomed to on the Job Mail website. At the same time, viewing and navigating the content on the site remains simple and fast. This is because the mini-browser was designed with the mobile user specifically in mind, using reduced graphics and text.

As with the online website, using the mini-browser site is free and there is no need to register or subscribe in order to scan for jobs. However, to apply for jobs, jobseekers must register for the service.

“Users don’t have to register specifically for Job Mail mobile. Instead, they automatically have access to it when they register via the standard website. Once they are registered on the Job Mail website and have successfully uploaded their CVs, jobseekers are able to apply for jobs using their WAP-enabled mobile handsets. There is no charge for searching for jobs, uploading CVs or applying for jobs,” says de Klerk.

Using the mobile service is easy. Job seekers just have to enter Job Mail’s website address (www.jobmail.co.za) into any cell phone web browser and connect to the site. Once connected, users can select to search vacancies advertised on the site. Searches can be broad or specific, according to region and industry. Vacancies are then displayed in an easy-to-read format that has been optimised to load quickly in a mobile browser, with the same detail available in Job mail’s print and online products.

The mobile service not only boosts jobseekers’ ability to conveniently search and apply for jobs but, it also allows for enhanced exposure of recruiters’ vacancies advertised on the Job Mail website.

“Competition in the online recruitment industry is fierce and we believe that our mobile offering is what puts us heads and shoulders above the rest. Our mini-browser allows mobile-users to search for career opportunities advertised online even if they do not have access to the internet,” says de Klerk.