BranchOut is a Facebook-based job app which I have been invited to many times before (I found out when I accepted the invite that I had 30+ Facebook friends on there already). I was intrigued, as it was designed really well and I wanted to truly see whether it was easy to use – and who it was aimed for.
When you first ‘enter’ BranchOut, you are shown different workplaces for your Facebook friends, the amount of ‘connections’ you have and whether you want to ‘grow’ your network – this is all on the ‘People’ tab. There is only one other tab – the ‘Jobs’ tab. This ensures that the app is simple, easy to use and Facebook user friendly. However, it starts to show a lot of the same qualities as the biggest social recruitment site on the internet – LinkedIn.
The Profile – or ‘Resume’ section as it is known on BranchOut – is the first massive similarity to LinkedIn. You enter a ‘Headline’ (normally your latest job title), receive a personalised URL (branchout.com/…), choose your location, and then input a ‘Summary’ of your talents and ‘Specialities’ too.
The two main sections of the ‘Profile’ are the ‘Work History’ and the ‘Education’ – this information is grabbed from the information on your Facebook profile, and can be updated, edited, deleted or changed. You are also given a picture (which is your current Facebook profile picture at first, but can be changed to something more ‘professional’, as BranchOut put it) as well as a box telling you how many connections you have and who they are (in my case, I have 38, which according to their statistics, gives further connections of 724).
The final addition is skills (one or two word options such as ‘Marketing’ or ‘Networking) – and this is what is good about this section. It is not overloaded with pointless information (such as hobbies), but gives all the details a job-seeker needs to let an employer know without getting too personal.
The jobs section is also simple but detailed at the same time – you can search for jobs by keywords, titles or company, and they present an easy to understand and read table of results.
When you open up a particular job, there is a general informational paragraph outlining what is necessary for the position, as well as your ‘connections’ to the company (including which degree – ie a friend of a friend is a 2nd degree connection), and the options to apply to the job, to save it for later viewing, or to share it on Facebook and Twitter. This is the first example of how modern this website is – they want job-seekers to share jobs of interest to them and their friends, helping the app to grow in numbers.
There are no advertisements on the app, so sharing is the only way of gaining interest. At the bottom of the job post, you are also shown the ‘Source’ – the job board from which it was taken. In a similar fashion to the profile section, it gives all the information you would want from a job opportunity, but is not filled with pointless graphics or rubbish.
As mentioned earlier, the ‘People’ tab shows the work locations of some of your Facebook friends (the ones which have added BranchOut), and gives the option to add more friends. When this is carried out, the user is only given the option to add a group of friends from a particular school, university or workplace. You cannot choose particular friends to invite, or remove them from the app invitation. This is not a good feature – users will only want to include certain friends on apps such as this (ie no current employers or colleagues if they were looking for a new job!). The option for apps such as this really needs to be selective down to each Facebook friend, not a whole group invite.
There are many positive points about this application:
- It is all within Facebook – you don’t need to leave the website at all, and it means you can still chat to Facebook friends and receive the normal notifications.
- The colour scheme of the website – green and grey (to coincide with the logo) – is eye catching but also nice to look at.
- The website is simple with the two tabs – no extra unnecessary pages.
- There are no advertisements on the app – meaning that people only see the app and the surroundings of Facebook.
- The various pages – job postings, profiles etc – are not filled with rubbish. They contain the necessary information and are well laid out.
There is only one main negative point about this app – the invite friends option. Users do not want to spam their friends with Facebook invites (and if the friend receiving the invite has not spoken to the person for years, it’ll seem like spam). BranchOut should not risk sending out a negative message with this option.
BranchOut is extremely similar to LinkedIn, and seems to be a LinkedIn for the Facebook generation. It is simpler, and eye catching with the colour scheme and layout – however it has all the points a recruitment and job-seeking app needs, and does not clutter up the user’s screen. A very good app, which has taken the positive points of other websites and built on them in their own style.
What do you think of the app, have you used it to find a job? Let us know in the comments below.