Five key ways to engage job seekers on their mobile devices.
By Jessica Stephenson
Remember life before smartphones and tablets? It shouldn’t be too hard; it has only been a decade since the mass adoption of smartphone technology. However, despite the fact that not much time has passed since they came into the market, these devices have significantly changes society’s behavioral tendencies. Although they started a revolution capable of propelling organizations to success, their proliferation also challenges companies to continuously stay abreast of technological innovations.
For better or worse, modern technology creates a societal expectation that information should be immediately available and visually pleasing—and accessible from anywhere.
Modern, tech-enabled job seekers have increasingly high expectations for the candidate recruitment experience. What does this mean for organizations? Employers must embrace technology and modernize the process to find future employees wherever they are and while they are on the go. So what is most important for successful mobile recruiting?
An amazing applicant experience. One of the best ways for an employer to gain a competitive advantage during the hiring process is by enhancing the applicant experience for job-seekers who use mobile devices in their search. Adopt a three-pronged approach can position organizations for success:
• Research. Use job portal recruiting analytics to compare the time it takes mobile applicants to complete an employment application to the same respective metrics for desktop users. These comparisons will help illustrate the necessary changes to improve the mobile applicant experience. Also keep an eye on the number of mobile application abandonments, which speaks volumes about the likeability of the process.
• User experience. Images and text in the careers section of a website should be formatted appropriately for smartphone, tablet and laptop/ desktop viewing. The mobile-friendly page should also feature a menu icon with collapsible links that mirror the desktop navigation experience. Features such as a progress bar, social sharing, employee referral links, and the ability to quickly filter the job list will also improve the mobile candidate’s experience. An enhanced user experience will make it easy for job-seekers to navigate to different pages, submit an application, share the opportunity on social media, and subscribe to future job alerts via email or text.
• Quality assurance. Valuable perspective can be gained from first-hand experience. It is important to test an organization’s employment application on various mobile devices. Was the experience frustrating? Was it too long? Was the site easy to navigate? A number of web-based tools exist to streamline the process of populating candidate profile information and/or resume files to standalone applicant tracking systems or HRIS portals (e.g. Indeed Apply, Apply with LinkedIn, Dropbox, and Google Drive). Additionally, the application process can potentially be split into two phases, with the second step reserved for select candidates that move beyond a preliminary screening step.
Sound HR technology infrastructure. While heightening the user experience is of paramount importance, from a technical standpoint, many major job boards and search engines favor mobile-friendly career site design, too. If a job portal is not built using responsive web design principles, then the placement of job listings in search results may not be as favorable when viewed from mobile devices. The degree to which this affects listings will of course depend on the technology being used by competitors posting similar types of jobs.
In April of 2015, Google officially started rewarding mobile-optimized web pages with more authority in its mobile search results. And while many job seekers will initiate a position search on an external job board, some individuals prefer to begin a job search with a query on a search engine. In light of Google’s significant algorithm update, the chances of a job listing appearing in a prospective applicant’s search results will improve when the employer’s recruitment site is designed for the mobile user (so that it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the user’s device).
Job candidate email messages also carry weight. Messaging should incorporate a mobile-responsive approach so that recipients can easily digest the content on their smartphones and tablets.
Collaborative communication with internal stakeholders. As with any process that involves multiple individuals, the recruiting and hiring process should include regular communication between HR and applicants, as well as internal stakeholders such as hiring managers.
This is critical because in order to have a mobile-first recruiting mentality, all individuals involved in the screening, interviewing, and management activities of the organization must be prepared to meet mobile job seekers’ expectations for responsiveness, transparency, and efficiency in their respective areas. For example, if an applicant uses LinkedIn to populate their employment history to a job application and this takes less than 60 seconds, then how would they feel if it took the hiring manager weeks to respond with an email saying that the hiring process is “on hold”? Have regular conversations to set internal expectations for application response time, communication methods, and degree of detail appropriate for applicant correspondence.
Compliance conscientiousness. An inherent component of human resources is risk management. Because the market of mobile-friendly technology solutions is rapidly expanding, the onus is on the employer to ensure that their organization chooses the right tactics and tools to suit any unique compliance considerations. For example, if a business is a federal contractor or subcontractor subject to Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) reporting, its HR staff must understand how mobile recruitment activities could affect their ability to capture key applicant information at the appropriate stage. Doublecheck whether any software integrations in use will offer applicants the ability to self-identify as veterans or as having a disability per VEVRAA and Section 503 requirements before an employment application is marked complete.
Actionable analysis. An analytics platform is a must-have for the modern recruiter because it provides justification for new recruitment expenditures and uncovers trends that will lead to actionable decisions. Use a metrics dashboard (via a recruiting software platform or a tool like Google Analytics) to answer questions such as:
• What is the breakdown of site visitors by device type?
• Which channels provide the most mobile traffic to the jobs portal?
• What actions do visitors take while they browse job listings?
Armed with answers to these questions, consider new opportunities with the greatest potential return on investment. Understand that an analysis of specific job listings may elicit individual trends that aren’t representative of traffic to the overall job site. For example, posting a display advertisement for a job listing on a behavioral ad network such as Google AdWords or Facebook may be an optimal choice for a digital marketing director position, but not as fruitful as using an external recruiter to source candidates for a controller position. The outcome will be unique for each organization.
Embracing these mobile-minded competencies can help an organization align its recruitment approach with the expectations of today’s job seekers and gain a competitive advantage through excellence in attracting top talent.