I’m lucky (or unlucky) enough to have gone to enough recruiting related events and conferences over the past few years to realize that while mobile has progressed to the point of ubiquity, for some reason, the “thought leaders” thoughtlessly keep offering up the same old drivel as ever about “mobile recruiting.”
If you need that business case made for you, look up from your smartphone screen and pay attention. You probably won’t have to look far to see the impact of mobile in the real world, without some pundit or “practitioner” (whatever the hell that actually means) shoving a bunch of statistics and surveys in your face to realize, yeah, mobile is kind of a big deal.
Just look for the person who’s completely lacking in tact or self-awareness readjusting their selfie stick. Unfortunately, they’re pretty much everywhere these days – an indictment, for better or for worse, of the fact that while we’ve been talking about moving to mobile for recruiting, pretty much the entire pool of candidates we’re ostensibly recruiting for have already made the move. Any discussion about “mobile recruiting” is about as asinine and antiquated as your average employee handbook.
From here on out, let’s just agree on the simple fact that, ready or not, and whether or not you like it, all recruiting is mobile. It’s your systems that are still inexplicably stuck on premise.
I know, you’re probably rolling your eyes right now. But take a deep breath, because, well, the first rule of mobile is go where the people are, and for some reason, this audience is still stuck on the antiquated belief that “mobile recruiting” is a thing.
Fun fact: over my career, blog posts on mobile recruiting are about twice as likely to be viewed on a “mobile device” (another obnoxious term – my “mobile bill,” turns out, is just another bill that seems to go up every month.
Talk about mobility) as a post on another oh so exciting and cutting edge talking point. Like how those darned Gen Y kids are coming – speaking of (let’s not) another misconception we should clear up right now – the rise of mobile has nothing to do with “Millennials.” It’s got to do with convenience, flexibility and affordability – the exact opposite baseline, apparently, by which we select the core systems that stymie so many “mobile recruiting” initiatives and piss off so many candidates in the process.
The mobile you can’t measure is the fact that these potentially viable and qualified potential new hires move on without a second thought if they hit some Luddite landing page after coming in through any online recruitment advertising campaign. You’ll never know how much this opportunity costs really costs (spoiler alert: it’s a lot).
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Like so many other aspects of our lives in the digital era, recruiting is set to finally be taken over by mobile devices. It should come as no surprise that mobile devices are quickly becoming a primary access point to career sites for job seekers. After all, a Deloitte survey found that half of people check their smartphones 25 times a day and 10 percent check them 100 times or more. With that being said, learn how mobile recruitment is rapidly changing the hiring processes of HR departments.
Mobile Recruiting: Press 1 for “Duh.”
These were simpler times – and even as little as a year ago, the “mobile recruiting” conversation was about if, not how.
Obviously, a lot can change in the age of constant connectivity and a two second news cycle, which is why citing any data or reports about mobile recruiting adoption or market maturity will inevitably miss the mark – a lagging indicator of a market growing faster than the “influencers” can crank out content.
But, for the sake of the argument, let’s do the time warp (again) to 2014, when a survey by strategic consulting and research firm Kelton Global found that fully 70% of respondents felt that looking for or applying for a job online took too much time or added an unnecessary layer of stress to an already arduous death march to an offer letter; more than half reported to deciding against applying for a job due to technical hurdles such as the inability to upload a resume via mobile phone.
Talk about turnoffs. Meanwhile, while many recruiters are wondering why no candidates call them back or respond to their InMails, a recent Deloitte study found that the average smart phone user checks their cell phone around 25 times a day (and 10%, ostensibly that ‘hard to find’ top talent, checked their phone a full 100 times or more a day. Guilty).
You don’t have to be smart, much less use a smart phone, to realize the math on mobile recruiting just doesn’t add up to dollars or sense at most employers. Instead, you get “thought leadership” drivel like:
“Today’s professional is constantly capable of connecting from a mobile device. They can apply, send resumes, respond to emails and networking via social media all from their Galaxy S6.”
-You Don’t Care. But the link will pay me like a penny from T-Mobile’s ad budget for backlinks.
With so much crap out there, what should real recruiters and employers really be doing to make mobile recruiting work? Glad you asked.
A Handy Dandy Mobile Recruiting Checklist.
First off, if you’re reading this, you’re probably reading it from a mobile device, but if you’re like a Jitterbug user, a 60 Minutes enthusiast or a SHRM member, feel free to print this off if you’d like – and then, pull out that cell phone. Yeah, we all have them – and if you don’t, all I can say is, what the hell? Really? Then, pull up your mobile careers site.
OK, so you’ve got some fancy, responsive design career site that you just spent way too much to have some agency build. Pat yourself on the back – and realize that when it comes to the most endemic problems facing recruitment as pertains to mobile, you’ve really done nothing more than slap some lipstick on the proverbial pig.
I mean, it’s awesome and all that your “employer brand” is out there, but the goal of any recruitment advertising, marketing or talent attraction efforts is simple: to increase the volume of qualified, interested and available applicants. If these candidates are unable to apply directly via their mobile device, even the world’s best branded mobile experience can’t fix what’s really broken in your mobile recruiting process.
Perhaps the most critical step to ensuring your potential future employees aren’t abandoning your mobile process is to ensure that you’ve created a mobile friendly application form. This means cutting down the page after page of specious, often unnecessary questions (hint: you don’t need reference contact information or a candidate’s social security number to figure out whether or not they’re a potential fit for a position) and require only the bare minimum that you’ll need to decide whether or not they’ve got the qualifications and skills required to actually become a candidate for the position for which they’re applying.
If you haven’t done so, consider auditing your process and looking critically at what information is “nice to have” versus what’s actually necessary. You’ll likely be surprised at the number of fields, forms and information that could easily be eliminated in order to drive up applicants and push down the often arduous amount of time it takes to start and complete an application.
Next, make sure that, if you require a resume (and chances are, you do), that it’s easy for candidates to upload and/or connect their social profiles to any application process. While it’s unlikely many candidates have a .pdf or .doc of their resume on their phones, there’s a good chance that many have access to these documents through cloud services like Box.net, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Docs or Windows Live (depending on the device and OS), and these integrations are easily built via API.
Most applicant tracking systems support these integrations on desktop, so if yours isn’t doing this through mobile, ask your vendor to turn on these capabilities. If they can’t, it might be time to start shopping for a new ATS (or at least a point solution capable of handling these simple workflow workarounds. These enable easy recovery, uploading and parsing of candidate resumes via mobile devices – often in a single click.
Because if it takes more than one click to enter a resume, chances are the next click is going to be your candidates moving on from your application process.
Push It Real Good.
One of the best parts about the ubiquity of mobile devices is that, since we’re constantly connected, they offer an ideal way to not only pull candidates in via streamlined applications, but also to push out information about available jobs as well as applicant status updates, in real time, all the time.
While most “talent community” updates are sent in the form of e-mail notifications, SMS notifications can dramatically improve open and click through rates for these candidate communications.
A recent survey from Experian found that while the average e-mail open rate is around 9%, with the average time to open as long as 17 hours (which means they’re a whole lot quicker in getting to their inbox than many of us), the average open rate for an SMS notification is 96%, with an average response time of 4.2 minutes.
You don’t have to be a data scientist to realize that when it comes to pulling in candidates, push notifications are a far more effective solution than standard e-mail alerts.
If your ATS or workflows aren’t yet fully mobile enabled, consider using an integration with social media apps or other professional networks, such as the “Apply with LinkedIn,” “Apply with Indeed” or Facebook Connect features, which generally can be configured for any application instance with minimal work and technical know how.
These aren’t the ideal long term solution, but with 43% of active candidates and 21% of passive candidates reporting to uploading their resumes to job applications via mobile devices, this often free and relatively painless workaround is a no brainer when considering the steep opportunity costs associated with doing nothing – or waiting for your vendor “roadmap” to finally figure out a solution for a fairly simple problem that’s quite easily fixed.
Mobile for recruiting, obviously, solves a ton of issues inherent to the talent attraction and application process, but like everything else in recruitment, there’s no silver bullet when it comes to mobile – and before moving forward, there are a few issues you should be aware of.
One obvious example is that while advertising an open position via social media can help enable easy mobile workarounds and visibility to your job ad, it also eliminates any discretion your organization might have about an impending personnel chance or selectively target candidates instead of simply posting and praying, as it were.
Similarly, if the position you’re looking to fill has had a high rate of turnover or has been posted previously over the past few months, the instant automated notification capabilities of mobile – particularly when sent to the same group or talent network – can raise a red flag about either the position in question or your larger organization’s talent challenges.
No one wants professional sloppy seconds, after all, and these are far harder to hide on mobile than desktop, if only due to the highly improved open and response rates generated by these devices.
In these cases, consider choosing a more traditional talent acquisition strategy requiring direct sourcing – or targeted communications – as a more subtle, and more effective, mechanism for recruiting the right talent.
Furthermore, most mobile devices have different security and privacy considerations and capabilities than desktop instances, meaning that you’re going to have to do some due diligence to ensure these mobile recruiting experiences are not only compliant, but that your candidate data is as safe and secure as if they were applying from their PCs.
All that said, however, these considerations are small potatoes when it comes to the huge possibilities inherent in mobile recruiting – and if you still need a business case built for why you should be considering mobile, well, you’ve clearly not been paying attention (or work for Taleo).