More and more organizations are getting in the game of mobile recruiting. Advice on how to do it right.

By Ward Christman

With 77 percent of the workforce open to seeking better job opportunities according to CareerBuilder’s 2013 Candidate Behavior Study, it’s no wonder that companies are positioning themselves with as many as outlets as possible to reach that talent. One readily emerging market is mobile devices. Chris Hoyt, PepsiCo’s global director of talent engagement and marketing, says, “We noticed some time ago that over 90 percent of the responses to our recruiter emails were handled via mobile, plus an increasing number of people on mobile devices were surfing our career site and trying to complete an application, so we knew that a fully mobile optimized solution was our next logical step. We continue to see mobile users spending more time on our site, visiting double the pages than previously viewed, and now completing the application right from their devices.”

And Hoyt is not alone -the user base continues to grow. Ed Newman, vice president of strategy at iMomentous, says that companies are seeing 20 percent of career site traffic linked to mobile, and job aggregators like Indeed report 45 percent of job searches happening on mobile.

“It’s a major shift in HR technology,” says Newman. “Mobile is a major catalyst unhinging us from the desktop. People are being conditioned by consumer apps.”
But this shift in HR technology requires optimization in order to deliver a seamless application process on a smartphone or tablet. “Analytics are showing a 90 percent drop-off rate or more when they land on a non-mobile application process,” says Scott Garrett, co- founder and chief sales officer for MoBolt, Inc., a Texas- based provide of mobile recruiting, acquired by Indeed in June. “Employers that offer a mobile apply process at this point have a tremendous competitive advantage in recruitment over their competitors that do not offer a mobile apply.”

It’s time for employers to clean up their process, advises Jason Buss, head of talent acquisition for PEO provider TriNet and chief blogger on Buss reports that his organization is seeing a greater volume of applicants on their website, but is also experiencing a greater drop off of finished applications since it often takes more time to apply. Mobile completion rates are much stronger: 151 percent greater than desktop. Mobile job seekers are also more inclined to click the apply button -45 percent more candidates do compared to desktop users.

Industries in which mobile is especially taking off include healthcare, travel, retail, and those typically associated with high turnover, says Adam Gent. “Those with high turnover jobs are seeing a higher ROI with a mobile solution,” notes the co-founder of SnapHop, a mobile and social recruiting solution. “Our clients on average are seeing two to three times the number of mobile applications than their previous apply process.”

Meghan Leube, manager of recruitment services at Einstein Healthcare Network, is seeing between 4 and 7 percent of applicants coming from a mobile device. It varies by position, ranging from IT to registered nurses to physical therapists, clerical and medical assistants, and pharmacy technicians. “Our external hires from mobile are around 4.3 percent of the 2,000 hires we make annually,” she says.

Like any new HR technology, companies deciding to incorporate mobile into their application process have to build a strong business case to support it. Organizations should know their demographic -and the type of talent they are trying to attract.

“You have to have a way to help people find you and interact with you on mobile. As a media company our business case was easy, we knew we had to do it to be in the game,” says Kevin McDonald, vice president of BPO governance at The E.W. Scripps Company.

Stanton Dumin, VP of HR and talent acquisition at Alorica, a BPO with 20,000 employees worldwide, echoes McDonald’s sentiment: “Our target demographic for recruitment in the call center industry tends to be younger, entry-level candidates who live on their smartphones. Time-to-hire and fill rates are critical to our revenue model, so we knew we needed a strong mobile presence and an easy to submit application to capture applicants we may have been missing.”

Mobile can also help build employment brand and showcase a company as innovative and forward-thinking, attracting the right candidates. “If you don’t support mobile today you are degrading the quality of hires you make,” notes Ziv Eliraz, CEO at Zao, a referral recruiting platform offering mobile capabilities. “Having mobile capabilities is particularly critical to people in roles who don’t sit at a desk. Without mobile you will chop off Talent Acquisition anywhere from 10 to 50 percent of your funnel.” Today Zao sees about 30 percent of their clients’ traffic coming through mobile devices.

Key Business Benefits

Application rates. Many organizations are finding application rates actually going up. “When we go out to job fairs (and) people ask what jobs we have open, they can now scan a QR code that takes them directly to the mobile jobs site,” says Leube at Einstein Healthcare Network.

Getting more applicants can be a huge benefit. Alorica’s Dumin says, “Our mobile employment application is bringing in 6,000 new applicants per month, which is about 10 percent of our total applicant flow and it’s growing quickly. Before we offered a mobile interface, it’s likely most of these applicants dropped off.”

Simplicity. Leube says their platform, iMomentous, is fully integrated with their applicant tracking system provided by PeopleFluent. Both mobile applicants and web applicants will appear in the same database. “It’s great because recruiters can see who is interested and can then ask for a resume when appropriate,” she says. “If an applicant uses apply with LinkedIn or via Dropbox, then recruiters have more info up front.”

Anytime access. Smartphones and tablets provide an outlet for engaging people whenever and wherever. “Most referrals happen while they’re out of the office so a mobile app allows for them to do it on the spot versus having to wait until they are back in the office,” says Laurie Spieler, vice president sales at Gooodjob, a U.K.- based company with a mobile app that leverages both social and referral recruiting.

Improving the hiring process. Some technology offers the ability to measure activity through drill-down analytics -and the results can offer actionable insights. Mike Pauletich, SVP of strategic alliances and business development for Jibe, says, “We have clients who have seen mobile conversion rates jump after using our analytics to identify and close the gaps in their mobile apply process.”

Ease of use. TriNet’s Buss says that with the mobile platform, it only takes 60 seconds to apply since the system is intuititve, creating a name and password for applicants. One minute to apply is pretty tough to beat.

And when it’s easy, they will apply. “When candidates complain how they’re struggling to complete the application on the web, we tell them they can apply more quickly via their smartphone,” says Leube.

Getting In The Game

With the tremendous access that mobile offers, an improved hiring process will only come when organizations put the candidate first and ensure that applying is seamless and optimized. Newman says you are essentially throwing away money on recruiting if candidates are having a bad experience. According to CareerBuilder’s 2013 Candidate Behavior Study, 70 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that the experience during the application process impacts their decision about accepting a job offer.

“I believe that mobile will simply become part of a larger consideration to savvy recruiting marketers and recruiting teams when we talk about the candidate experience,” says PepsiCo’s Hoyt. “The creation of hybrid apps, versus native and/or web apps, for engaging experiences, will continue to evolve across platforms and into the wearable space. It won’t be about marketing to mobile for much longer. We’ll soon get to the point that engagement and experience via mobile for recruiting trumps everything else.”

An important factor is to make sure your system is optimized on all platforms. “Comparing mobile versus tablets is similar to looking at browser market share – you need to look at all of them,” says Eliraz. Since the experience of mobile can be different on different devices, it’s important to have a platform that is tailored to the device.

Considerations for the Future

While companies have mobile career sites, many lack the ability for candidates to apply. But adoption is quickly on the rise. Newman says that 45 percent of Fortune 500 companies have a mobile career site, but only 10 percent offer the ability to apply. This was at 5 percent six months ago, so adoption rates are headed in the right direction.

As mobile apps evolve to offer the ability to apply, ease of application should be duly noted. As mobile moves into the future, solutions needs to tighten up forms and ensure that existing candidate profiles from social networks can be imported.

“Apply rates will continue to grow,” says Leube. “Einstein was one of the first healthcare organizations in the Philly area to embrace mobile, which gives us a leg up on some of the harder-to-fill jobs. More clinical people are setting up LinkedIn profiles so that will help make it easier for them to apply.”

Successful e-commerce technology is likely to be incorporated into mobile offerings and strategy. Newman says that iMomentous is working on capturing what jobseekers are looking for when seeking a nursing job, then posting banners, imagery, relocation info etc., when that jobseeker returns. “This will drive better engagement and make the career center an active candidate pipeline machine,” he says.

Alorica’s Dumin believes that the industry is merely scratching the surface when it comes to mobile ads through social media, pay-per-click technology, and QR codes. “They will all drive applicants to the mobile site,” he says.

As mobile moves into the future, strategies, technologies, and releases will all center around the candidate and their experience. What it boils down to is mobile is simply another way to ensure organizaitons have top talent and a competitive edge. “Our goal will be to ensure we have ability to deliver a message by whatever means [it takes to] help us find the best candidates,” says McDonald from E.W. Scripps.

Tags: Innovation, Mobile, RPO Staffing

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