The adoption of mobile recruiting practices has been slower than predicted, but it’s time to move at technology’s pace. Here’s how.
By Audrey Roth
In today’s technology driven age, organizations need to stay one step ahead in order to maintain a competitive edge in recruiting. Within the last few years, there has been a deluge of mobile technology coming to market to assist in the talent acquisition process. And it’s with good reason: According to Jibe’s 2014 Talent Acquisition Survey, 80 percent of job seekers expect to be able to do part of their job search easily on a smartphone. But is it working?
There seems to be a bit of a dichotomy. There has been a continual disconnect between the candidates who are interested in accessing mobile recruiting platforms and organizations providing this technology. The 2013 LinkedIn Global Recruiting Trends survey finds that 72 percent of active job seekers and 62 percent of passive job seekers have visited a company site to learn about careers on a mobile device. Yet that same survey reports 49 percent of talent acquisition leaders say mobile recruiting is not a top priority for their company.
But more and more companies are recognizing this gap and getting on board. A good sign: 34 percent of recruiters say their career sites are mobile optimized. This is up 14 percent from the 2013 LinkedIn report US Recruiting Trends: 3 Must-Know Talent Acquisition Trends for 2015. This trend should continue to rise as the need to keep technology up to par with applicant mobile usage grows.
“The largest benefit of mobile versus other methods is the immediacy of the channel. Smartphones are the one device that every person, and thus candidate, has on them nearly all the time,” says Michael Hennessy, founder and CEO of recruiting marketing platform provider Smashfly Technologies.
And candidates want to jump on their phone—during a break and in their free time—and experience the same ease they do while searching and/or applying for jobs on a desktop. Research from Compuware.com finds that 74 percent of mobile users are only willing to wait five seconds or less for a page to load before leaving, so if your website or career portal is not optimized for mobile, it won’t make the cut.
“The most fundamental change is what the job seeker expects,” says Ivan Casanova, SVP of product and marketing for recruiting technology solution provider Jibe. “We live in a world of immediacy, where a website taking too long to load may cause [job seekers] to go to the next site. The moment your candidates reach a site that isn’t optimized, they’re going to abandon your careers site and move onto the next opportunity.”
Developments among the recruiting platforms are helping to ease such discretions. Casanova says that integration with social profiles and alternative calls to action are delivering a more positive candidate experience. “To use marketing speak, the traditional call to action on a job description is [an] apply now [button],” says Casanova. “But now we are seeing alternatives to that.”
Casanova give an example. Today’s platforms can now provide candidates an area that offers them the opportunity to share basic information if they aren’t ready to apply. Technology houses these details and will connect back to the job seeker when a better fit becomes available. This also provides the benefit of engaging with coveted passive candidates who aren’t necessarily looking for a job, but will make a move for the right opportunity.
As the mobile recruiting process begins to mature, there are some best practices organizations should consider when improving or implementing a strategy:
Optimize across devices. One in three HR professionals believe that if candidates are not able to apply for jobs on their smartphones, they’ll be less interested in working for that company, finds Jibe’s 2014 Talent Acquisition Survey. And it’s pretty clear when a website is not optimized.
Hennessey says companies are beginning to think about a multi-screen strategy. To ensure a positive candidate experience, it must be reliable even if on a different device. “We cannot control which screens candidates use to engage with our employer brand, messaging, and jobs, but we can provide an optimal and consistent experience for candidates per device or screen size,” he says. “Your first focus should be creating a career site that is responsive, meaning easily navigable via PC, tablet, and mobile. Your site should have strong content and SEO, as well as a simple, streamlined interface and functionality for converting candidates on each device.”
Incorporate mobile into the entire strategy. Mobile cannot just be taking the place of other strategies in the process, but should be tactically integrated into the talent strategy as a whole. “Like any other initiative, success in mobile recruiting starts with how you incorporate it into your overall recruiting strategy, ensuring you leverage your channel efforts in ways that make sense for your recruiters and qualified candidates. Most organizations are in the early stages of using mobile as part of a holistic strategy,” says Hennessy.
Streamline the application process. In the world where users expect immediate gratification from technology, be it a page loading, taking a picture, or sending an email, simplification of the application process will boost the number of completed entries. The LinkedIn September 2013 survey finds the two most common reasons active candidates have not applied for a job on a mobile device is not having their resume stored or not being able to customize their resume. Job applications should allow options for uploading resumes. Does the technology allow candidates to integrate another social media platform’s profile? Can it use a resume from the cloud? Can applicants take a picture of their resume and attach the image from their phone instead? “We have begun to move away from formal resumes,” says Casanova. “Often times, we see scenarios where candidates don’t upload a resume; they simply share their LinkedIn profile.”
Having less clicks and entry boxes, the more inclined mobile candidates will be to apply. Casanova advises organizations to focus on the time that it takes to complete an application. “We’ve processed over 3 million job applications at this point, and we’ve found a linear correlation between time in apply flow and application conversion rate. This means you should consider moving your assessments to a later stage in the process, after the application has been submitted,” he says.
Form talent communities and networks from your mobile recruiting efforts. Career fairs have existed long before the initiation of mobile recruitment, but smartphones can be an additional benefit to these events. Hennessy says mobile capture can be advantageous at these types of events by using mobile talent network forms or custom apps. “Organizations can leverage their own or candidate mobile devices to easily capture, segment, and communicate back to candidates they networked with,” he says. Candidates can then be engaged with over a longer period of time.
Recruiters should also look to maintain engagement when candidates are trying the mobile apply. If applicants don’t finish the process, take advantage of those who tired. “In general, 60 to 70 percent of candidates will drop off during the application process. This occurs across channels, but can be even higher for mobile due to outdated apply processes that don’t function well on smartphones,” says Hennessy. “While adding or optimizing mobile apply can help reduce this, many organizations are also leveraging simple talent network forms to capture contact information on candidates before the application process. This has led to significant increases in talent pipelines and applications by enabling future communication to these contacts.”
Focus on the career website, not necessarily a career application. According to LinkedIn’s 2013 survey, only about 11 percent of candidates downloaded a company career application on their mobile device, whereas over 62 percent of them went to the company’s career site.
Investment can be applied to a career app, but it may be more productive to make sure the website has a positive mobile experience first.
Optimize your website to help bolster SEO. On April 21, or what the Internet has coined “Mobilegeddon,” the algorithm calculating search results from Google will be altered to provide mobile users more relevant and mobile friendly websites in their searches. This means a mobile optimized website will rank higher than its non- mobile optimized counterpart, affecting searches in all languages worldwide.
The new ranking will certainly encourage mobile friendly websites for global organizations across all industries. “For recruiting organizations, this update means stricter analysis of career sites. If your career site is not deemed mobile-friendly by Google, then your site is at risk of not being indexed and searchable on mobile devices,” says Hennessy. “Mobile accounts for more than 60 percent of all searches, so if mobile optimization isn’t a focus, this algorithm change surely is an impetus to address it.” Google shares guidance for the change and even provides a mobile friendly test where users can enter a URL and it will let you know if its design is mobile friendly.
The growing benefits of a mobile recruitment platform combined with the newly implemented Google search results algorithm are paving the way for an increase in mobile recruitment efforts. “Every day, we see more and more mobile applications coming through for our customers,” says Casanova.
“We are seeing progress in organizations, whether it’s beginning research on potential tactics and solutions or actually implementing some initiatives in their recruiting strategy. The industry realizes that mobile isn’t just a fad, it’s a constantly growing reality that needs to be addressed in their strategies,” Hennessy says. With employers moving beyond less relevant recruiting methods, the combined energies will lead to more intentional and successful mobile recruitment in total.
The increase in usage all around is leading to an optimistic future for the industry. “2015 is the year we’re going to see more job applications submitted via mobile than on desktop,” predicts Casanova.
Ivan Casanova, SVP of product and marketing, Jibe
Earlier this year Facebook revealed some staggering statistics: 745 million daily users and 1.19 billion monthly users access the site from mobile devices, and these numbers are only expected to grow in the coming years. This is the mobile world we live in today—and many of those users are the same people looking to fill out job applications. However, only a fraction of today’s leading companies have dedicated the resources needed to optimize their mobile recruiting experience.
In today’s highly competitive job market, it’s safe to say that companies who continue to put off mobile optimization are likely to miss out on an increasing number of quality candidates. Mobile recruiting isn’t a trend, it’s a tool with real recruiting returns.
Not convinced? Think about these three reasons:
1. Today’s job seekers expect a consumer-grade experience. Living in a digital society, we’ve come to expect an exceptional experience when interacting with and using technology. We can now use our smartphones to reserve a table at a restaurant or order a sweater or pair of shoes. Many websites are focused on optimizing user experience and making everything as intuitive and easy as possible.
Eighty percent of job seekers expect to be able to do part of their job search from a smartphone, finds a new study from Jibe, and providing a non-responsive, non-optimized interface is far more likely to turn off candidates than to entice them to apply for a position.
2. An increasing number of people are now mobile-only.
The billion Facebook users referenced above who access the site exclusively from a mobile device do so for more reasons than just preference or convenience. In many cases today, a smartphone or tablet is a person’s only connection to the Internet.
A recent study from Jibe revealed that two in five Hispanic Millennials in the U.S. are mobile-only. That is a vast pool of applicants that may never even get the opportunity to apply for positions on your site or forego spending the time to do so because of bad user experience.
3. A bad mobile apply experience may harm your brand.
Research from Jibe shows that 25 percent of talent acquisition professionals think that not being able to apply for a job over a mobile device might prevent candidates from buying products or services from an organization. That same study showed that talent acquisition professionals also think a bad mobile experience could lead to negative company feedback shared by applicants among their friends and family as well as publicly on social media.
If you’re lagging behind in your mobile experience, the good thing is that you’re not alone. It remains an issue with many companies today. The bad thing is that job seekers don’t care what most companies are doing, and won’t cut you any slack. This is an issue that should be prioritized.