I Know You’re Concerned About Mobile Recruiting, But You Need to Move Faster

Dec 5, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-01 at 2.34.42 PMOnline recruitment marketing has progressed slowly, moving at the pace of a sloth when compared to e-retail. Mobile web is rapidly taking over desktop web and change is now at cheetah speeds. Can recruiting catch up candidate expectations?

For the last 15 years or so recruitment has relied on the Internet to attract talent. During that time we have seen huge technological and infrastructure changes surrounding the web. Above all the largest change has been speed of connection, costs, and confidence.

In the U.S. and Europe broadband is relatively cheap and has high population penetration. The cost of a laptop has dropped from four figures to a few hundred dollars or Pounds. The consumer in the street is no longer scared to click on links and is highly confident in search and web browsing. The success of social networks relied on the timing of these three areas converging to maturity.

While the ingredients of the Internet has been changing rapidly, the basic recruitment solutions have remained predominantly static. Some aesthetics have changed in order to  remain “fashionable” but the job board works the same way and the corporate career site now has video.

I am not saying there has been zero innovation: clearly job aggregators, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, etc are innovating, but these are not the majority.

It used to be that consumers would buy a PC and keep it for five years. The interface has been a keyboard and mouse (or trackpad) for decades.

But this is all changing.

The iPhone landed and the smartphone has boomed. Then the iPad landed and the tablet and phablet blossomed. Consumers change their devices annually or every two years, some even more frequently. The device operating system is changing every 6 months. The shape and sizes are changing all the time — the top 100 devices have 26 different sizes. Mobile web now moves at consumer electronics speed, which is fast like a cheetah.

The change to mobile web is beyond that of hardware. The consumer expectations and behavior has been transformed. Mobile users (referring to smartphone users and tablet users) expect it to be easier to achieve their goals. They expect relevance.

E-retailers have helped forge this expectation; they have optimized the buying process from advertisement to transaction. Ads track your behavior and are relevant to what your actions have been. Clicking on an ad or a link in Google serves up targeted relevant content, making it easier to influence your buying decisions. The transaction is simple: one click on Amazon or a few clicks using PayPal or Google Check Out, and the process is easy. The e-retailers have invested in easy and relevant — they have made enormous returns.

The after-effect of sophisticated marketing is that online recruitment feels out dated and difficult. Recruits are sitting on a huge potential to unlock better talent targeting and increased conversion rates. There are many relatively easy wins for example career-specific landing pages or targeted sites focusing on skills or functions. The value of the “one size fits all” mammoth career site is rapidly diminishing.

Mobile web is the catalyst for change. The journey for the candidate on mobile is broken. For example, the candidate may engage with an employer on social media (most likely from their mobile device), and click a link to a job, but the link will take the candidate to a career site that is frustrating to use on mobile. After putting up with the pain of using the career site on their mobile device, the candidate clicks to apply and is then the door is slammed in the candidate’s face as the site asks them to upload their resume/CV — something that is impossible from many devices such as an iPhone. This journey can be described as the candidate conversion funnel and it is broken on mobile web.

In absence of a clear solution a few have argued there is no need to fix the conversion funnel. In the face of exponentially growing mobile web traffic it is highly dangerous to ignore mobile web. Those few who have found an early solution have seen strong results and multiplied their return from social marketing. From our research (which agrees with other such research) more than 90 percent of companies have an online presence which makes it impossible for candidates apply from the mobile web. Not only is this unacceptable to candidates’ expectations, it is costing recruiters heavily in time, money, and damaged employer brands.

Recruitment online marketing as been like a sloth — reactive and moving only when it really has to. It is time for change. Recruitment needs to start optimizing the candidate conversion funnel!