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Dec 2, 2015
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

If your website isn’t mobile friendly and word of mouth is your marketing plan, then you may be doomed, at least as far as attracting candidates.

A study by the Pew Research Center says family, friends and connections are important to jobseekers, but not nearly as much as is the internet.. You can read the report for yourself here. However, its essential message for agency recruiters is that jobseekers are getting their information about your jobs from the internet. And 4 in 10 are using their phones to search and apply.

What that means for you is that if your jobs aren’t posted to your site, and it’s not been reworked for mobile devices, savvy jobseekers are going to seek jobs elsewhere.

Pew internet jobseeker usageSurveying 2,001 adults, Pew researchers found that 54% of Americans have at some time used the Internet to look for a job; 45% have applied for a job online. And those numbers are rising. Among those who have looked for a job in the last two years, 90% went online and 84% applied that way.

They also turned to their friends and family and professional connections and friends of friends. But even adding them all up, the total — 80% — comes to  just one percentage more than those who used the internet in their most recent search.

A majority, of course, used multiple methods to find work. But no one source came close to the 79% who searched online. Even more significant is that 34% of the online users considered it their most important single resource. That’s well ahead of family, friends. and professional connections.

There’s a second message for recruiters in the report: Don’t ignore social media.

And a third: You must be mobile friendly.Didn’t I already say that? Not convinced, here’s the statistic from Pew: 28% of all adults have used a phone to job search.

As you might expect, millennial jobseekers — those between 18 and 29 — are the heaviest phone users; 54% have used their phone for job hunting.

What you might not have expected is that those between 30 and 49, the mid-careerists who have the background and experience to step into management or step up the ladder — the candidates agencies most covet — are also using their smartphones to job hunt. Pew found that 37% of those in that age group have searched by phone; and the more they earn and the better educated they are, the more likely they are to use a phone.

Pew smartphone using jobseekersWhat’s also interesting is that as a group, Blacks are more likely than whites or Hispanics to search by phone.

They are also more likely to use social media in their search. The Pew report found Blacks exceeded whites and Hispanics in searching and researching jobs, in letting friends know of jobs, and in applying for jobs found on social media.

There’s also not a huge difference in social media job activity between the 18-29 age group and the 30-49 group. Pew found that both age groups use social media equally in letting friends know about opportunities. Millennials are more aggressive in using social media in their job search (43% to 36%) and more likely to apply to a job they found there.

What are the takeaways from Pew’s “Searching for Work in the Digital Era” report?

  1. The Internet is a key resource for reaching active job seekers. You must update your website to make it enticing and to attract talent.
  2. You have to make your website mobile friendly. It’s not hard, though it’s not a job for just any designer. Millennials and diversity candidates, especially Blacks, are the highest users of phones to job search. But, with almost 3 in 10 Americans having used a smartphone in their job search, the reach of a mobile-friendly site is broad.
  3. You can’t overlook the importance of social media in connecting with candidates and spreading the word about your opportunities. Merely posting your jobs there is a first step. Don’t stop there, though. Social media needs attention and management.
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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