The Mobile Moment Has Passed: What Recruiters Need to Know

By Roy Maurer Nov 2, 2015
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NASHVILLE—It has become critically important to offer candidates mobile-optimized search options that allow them to easily find and apply for jobs using mobile devices. That’s not news, according to Kevin Walker, director of employer insights for job search engine Indeed. He said the mobile moment—that moment in time when one technology disrupts the status quo—has already passed.

“Whether you’re on the front lines making calls trying to put people in seats or you’re leading an entire organization of recruiters, keeping up is a big challenge,” Walker said Oct. 28 at the American Staffing Association’s Staffing World 2015 Convention & Expo.

The problem is that only 10 percent of Fortune 500 companies have the capabilities for mobile job applications today. “If you can’t engage with a mobile job seeker with your content or job postings,” you’re losing out, he said.

Digital media consumption on mobile devices has skyrocketed in recent years, according to Web analytics company comScore. Smartphone usage is up 394 percent from 2010 and tablet usage is up 1,721 percent, as these platforms now combine to account for 60 percent of digital media time spent.

About 60 percent of Indeed’s 180 million unique visitors are querying jobs via a mobile device, Walker said. That percentage is higher in some countries with younger average workforces, like South Korea (83 percent) and Japan (74 percent), and where mobile device adoption skipped ahead of personal computers, such as South Africa (70 percent). About one-quarter of Millennials have never used anything other than a mobile device to search for jobs on Indeed.

Sliced by generation, 76 percent of Millennials and 74 percent of Generation X members in the U.S. use a mobile device to access Indeed. “Even if adoption stops, as Baby Boomers exit the workforce and Millennials backfill them, you can see we’re clearly going to reach the 75 percent range overall,” Walker said.

Mobile Recruiting No-No’s

Bounce rates are one metric used to measure the effectiveness of a careers site. When job seekers click on an ad from a job board and are directed to the company’s careers site, the amount of time typically spent on that site provides context as to how relevant the content is, and as to whether prospective job candidates are finding information that’s valuable to them. “If they go to your site, don’t like what they see and bounce back to ours within 3-8 seconds, we know that the job we showed them probably isn’t relevant, or there are other issues with the site,” Walker said.

Employers should not ask job seekers who are using mobile devices:

  • To apply later from a desktop. “This is like shopping on Amazon from your phone and then being told to check out later from your desktop,” Walker said.
  • To attach a resume when applying, which creates all kinds of formatting and accessibility problems between different operating systems and employers’ applicant tracking systems.
  • To type in all their resume information using “two fat thumbs and a two-inch keyboard.”

What You Can Do About It

If an employer can find itself within the small percentage of companies that can engage with job seekers via mobile devices effectively, “you can address a market that your competitors can’t, and likely make placements that your competitors can’t,” Walker said. It’s also a “huge service” that staffing and recruiting firms can bring to potential clients.

To be effective with mobile recruiting, employers will have to:

  • Ensure that careers site content is readable and that applications are easily usable for mobile users. “You own the candidate experience,” he said. “There’s a direct correlation between how many questions you ask in the application process and how many people drop out after starting an application.”
  • Focus on optimizing for mobile search instead of creating an app for your company. “Why would an individual want to download multiple apps from multiple potential employers to search for jobs?” Walker asked.
  • Integrate the processes for mobile and desktop applicants. “You need to aggregate the two pools into one, so you have a holistic view into your candidate pool.”

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.

Follow him @SHRMRoy​​

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