Mobile Sites Win the Battle Against Apps But Leave an Apply Time bomb

Mar 17, 2014
This article is part of a series called Wake-up Call.

We tracked the mobile recruiting efforts of 100 firms over the last three years. Mobile-recruiting-native apps (those you download and install) are in decline, while mobile-optimized websites are on the increase.

Here’s what else we learned:

The initial app-centric thinking from five years ago has matured and moved on. Downloading an app is an obstacle for the candidate during the discovery and application phases of job seeking.

Job search engines like Simply Hired and Indeed attract around 4 out of 10 job seekers on the mobile web. To effectively attract those candidates on mobile, employers need a single click from these search sites to the employer’s job details. Downloading an app is simply a distraction and takes too long. Apps still have a place in recruiting where there is increased repeat use, such as with a job board and similar services.

Over the last year recruitment technology vendors have developed a choice of “mobile apply” solutions. In 2012, only 1 percent of employers offered an “apply” feature, but by the start of 2014 nearly eight times that many offered it. Eighty percent of the employers who in the last year have invested in mobile-optimized job sites spent money on a recruiting solution that will not let candidates apply.

From speaking with a selection of those who launched mobile-optimized sites without the “apply” ability, the main obstacles included waiting for a new ATS install, or the cost to integrate with the ATS.

Google suggests mobile sites should load in one second; the average load time over 3G for the mobile-optimized sites was 15 seconds. The technology used for the majority of the mobile-optimized sites does not enhance performance on mobile when compared to desktop. Poorly executed mobile optimization can impact SEO.

The research started three years ago with an in-depth audit of 100 companies selected from the Fortune 100, FTSE 100, and those named as the best companies to work for. The full report “Mobile Recruiting Adoption” is available for free here.

This article is part of a series called Wake-up Call.