Mobile Recruiting: Ignore the Waffle and Just Do These 4 Things

Apr 29, 2014

Before you leap to hire those mega-expensive web developers to work oh so hard on a mobile-optimized website on your behalf, stop and read this and save yourself a lot of money. There are just four simple things you need to do.

Because of the business we’re in, we are constantly looking at company careers sites to see what ingenious ideas have appeared. One of those has been to optimize careers websites so they can be used on a mobile phone. There’s no doubt that a lot of searches for jobs are now done on mobiles. Sitting on the train or bus going to work, or waiting to pick up the kids in the school parking lot, it’s just so tempting to look around and see if that dream job has appeared at you major competitor yet.

So the message to corporate recruiters is a resounding “Yes.” Yes, you need to make your site work on a mobile, but radical changes are not required. In fact, whatever you do, don’t listen to those expensively hired consultants who tell you that you need to radically alter the look, feel, design, etc. of your site. You don’t!

Nor do you need an app in the iTunes store. An app is good for someone who is going to use it constantly, like maps. How many times a year will someone apply to you? It’s just an unnecessary expense. Save your money.

We’ve looked at over 30 major company sites, including some really big names, on both a computer and a mobile device (screen size varied from 4 – 5.3 inches). Many of them had very attractive and generally excellent careers sites packed with information to attract potential candidates, but were a total disaster if you’re using a mobile. Take the example of one well-known retailer we looked at. Its careers site looks exactly the same on a laptop as it does on a small mobile device, and that’s how it should be. The details, look and feel are identical. So far so good. The reality is in the next 12 months almost everyone will be using a device with a screen size in excess of four inches. Typically the smartphone sweetspot will be 4.5 – 5.5 inches (all phones are getting bigger, not smaller) and with easy pinch and zoom functionality that’s easily enough screen real estate to browse around even the most packed careers site and view pretty much everything.

So: You do not need to alter the design of your career site. Don’t let them lure you into thinking you need to spend a fortune redesigning everything.

Anyway, back to the retailer’s careers site. It also allows me to apply with my Linkedin profile, extracting bits of information. That’s good, but this is where is starts to go wrong. Remember, we were testing on a mobile phone. When I saw the LinkedIn symbol I thought, “Ah, this is good. They will simply look at my profile on Linkedin and the application process will be a matter of seconds.”

How I wish it was that simple. Drop down after drop down, boxes to fill in ,and this, that, and the other, not forgetting the box to upload my resume … which I don’t keep on my phone. If you don’t have your resume on your phone (does anyone?), then applying is near impossible. Why so many boxes to fill in, check, and generally muck around with? Can’t you see I’m on a 4.3-inch mobile? It’s too fiddly. Stop making me do things that are physically awkward, if not impossible. Make life easy for me. I’m the applicant, so make it easy for me to want to join you and stop putting barriers in my way.

We also looked at a well-known online retailer. Will they do a better job? Marginally, in the sense that you can extract your CV from online sources like Google Drive and Dropbox, but again, way too many boxes to fill in and stuff to do. If I can’t apply in under 30 seconds, it’s too complicated.

And so it went on, big company after big company making me complete detailed application forms and asking me to upload a resume that I don’t have stored on my phone. In short, applying for a job with these companies was a non starter on a mobile. Now all of these companies are using an ATS, so the blame should at least partly be allocated to the ATS. But come on corporates: demand they put in place a mobile friendly application process.

Here’s how.

  1. Don’t worry about adjusting the design or layout. All modern smartphones above four inches can handle it.

  2. Get rid of lengthy application forms. It’s just impossible to complete them on a mobile. A few simple drop-down questions or yes/no is fine (that should cover EEO questions) but no big text boxes. If you need them to complete more, get an automated email after their initial quick application to include a link so they can return later to fill in the remaining details on a laptop.

  3. Don’t ask someone to upload a resume. Most won’t have it on a mobile. Instead, add in links to Google Drive, Onedrive, SugarSync, and Dropbox so they access a resume from where it’s stored online.

  4. Add in quick apply buttons from Indeed, Monster, and Linkedin allowing the user to apply with an online profile already created.