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Don’t Overthink Mobile Recruiting

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By Nicole Cox, Chief Recruitment Officer
and Dominick Bernal, Director of Technology
With Tom Brennan, Master Writer


The topic of mobile recruitment is getting plenty of attention across social media, with messages ranging from “It’s the holy grail and you’d better be on a quest to find it” to “It’s an exotic new animal that needs to be tamed and chained.”

We think a better approach is to demystify it and recognize that mobile is just another part of our lives. Pop quiz: What percentage of Americans now own smartphones? If you reached for your own phone to google the answer, you’ve helped us make our point. Smartphones have become integrated into our daily activities. The answer, by the way, is 64% of American adults in 2015, compared to 35% in 2011 — this is according to a Pew Research Center report, U.S Smartphone Use in 2015.

Many developers and recruiters are overthinking mobile. Instead, we recommend putting yourself in the shoes of the candidates, understanding their behaviors, and then creating a mobile platform that makes it easy . . . for candidates and for you.

Easy is the key concept

Job applications necessarily require a lot of information, for decision-making and legal compliance. The behavior of candidates bears this out. Another 2015 Pew report, Searching for Work in the Digital Era, indicates that 94% of smartphone users have searched for jobs on their device, but only about 50% have submitted their résumé using their phone. It seems likely that many prefer a full-sized keyboard when it comes to typing anything complex. 

Streamlining the application process is especially important if you hire a large number of non-exempt workers. A smartphone is the only way to go online for about 18% of owners, either because they don’t have broadband at home or access to a computer at work. According to the Pew report on smartphone use, this population includes young adults and people with lower income and education levels. This population also is less likely than others to have a résumé in their back pocket.

Streamline the engagement

So simpler is better. But let’s take it a step further, considering the fast pace of the talent market. Suppose Candie Candidate is searching, finds your posting, and is interested — but she doesn’t have time, just then, to go through the whole application process. Why not offer her a quick way to express interest right now, and then come back later to finish the application? That way a recruiter could reach out to start the engagement process.

Since you don’t yet know if Candie is qualified, engagement at this point would focus on keeping her interested and encouraging her to complete the application. Yet that small gesture could distinguish you from the competition and help create a positive candidate experience. By the way, make sure you get candidates to opt in before contacting them.

Another way to simplify the process is to allow candidates to apply using a social media profile. We’re seeing more and more merging of social profiles — people used to keep their personal (like Facebook) and professional (like LinkedIn) profiles separate, but that is diminishing. Candidates are becoming more sophisticated about cultivating a personal brand on social media. It’s fairly simple to incorporate a button for “Apply with LinkedIn,” for example.

It doesn’t have to be hard

Creating a mobile platform that is easy for you can also be, well, easy. In fact, you don’t need a separate platform at all. Thanks to flexible front-end frameworks, you can employ responsive design to create one-size-fits-all code. Responsive design means your web pages will scale to any size screen. One of the more popular front-end frameworks is Bootstrap, with is also fee and open source.

Keep in mind that complex pages that look great on bigger screens may become cumbersome on smaller ones. While most of your company’s website can be chock full of bells and whistles, the pages for job postings and applications should be fairly simple.

We’ll leave you with one last thought: Content is king. The easiest process and the slickest interfaces won’t make up for boring content. Make sure your content is lively and engaging, and highlights selling points. Lead with the hook that will make your posting stand out — on any size screen.

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