The Mobile Recruiting Market Is About to Get Very Hot

Jun 29, 2012
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

The social recruiting hype went huge and has not burst, but mobile has followed a stealth, almost, cult adoption. Over the next 12 months the continued convergence of mobile and social will catapult mobile to the front of recruiters’ minds.

As an industry, recruitment is suffering the growing pains of mobile web. You know you need to support mobile, and reap the rewards of the powerful digital marketing and engagement channel, but it is not clear what the objective is, or how to go about it.

Is mobile the ultimate connectivity tool providing employer information and candidate communication? Or is it the new way to apply for jobs? Maybe it is the next best referral tool? Perhaps it is the ideal back-office device allowing the candidate database to be carried in your pocket! Perhaps the true jackpot mobile recruiting solution is still waiting to be discovered.

Recent research shows that 31% of the global $5.3 billion mobile advertising spend is to achieve market presence, while 25% is for lead generation. If recruitment followed the same pattern, this would be 31% for employer branding and 25% to attract applications; but today most companies have pushed mobile off the agenda in place of social media. The problem with this typical approach is social media is rapidly morphing into mobile!

When recruiters first started to experiment with social media the challenge was around what candidates wanted. On mobile the problem is not what do candidates want to do via mobile, because the answer to this is very easy — everything and anything! We only need to look at other sectors such as finance, retail, classifieds, vouchers, restaurants, travel, healthcare, education, publishing, etc. to realize that the user already knows the power of their handset. It is the recruitment industry which is slow to fulfil the candidate demand.

The recruitment industry’s difficulty is that today’s candidate processing workflows and systems are not always mobile friendly. This is no shock, as they were designed to solve a different problem: mass volume of resumes sent by email.

So what innovation is coming out of the marketplace to maximize candidate engagement via mobile? Where can you start using connected smartphones to make a difference?

Jibe, the firm from New York better known for its social recruiting solutions, has launched a branded mobile website solution which it feels opens up mobile as a job application channel. Its approach integrates with the ATS and mashes up “LinkedIn Apply.” The end result allows candidates to “import” their LinkedIn profile as a resume to the ATS application process. This works very well and for simple online application journeys is a great approach.

It is of course not the only vendor to recognize LinkedIn as a mobile-friendly CV, but it is one of the few to integrate with the ATS to support things like “filter questions.” When I watched the Jibe demo, I was grinning from ear to ear. It answered all the challenges I have never seen good solutions for.

CareerBuilder, who we typically consider to be a “traditional” job board, is making waves in mobile. Instead of flirting with social media gambles such as Monster with BeKnown, it has invested in mobile recruiting services. The latest service is known as “Mobile Ambasador,” which is a mobile intranet spiced up with social networking features such as chat and video. On the surface it would appear that CareerBuilder is moving into the social collaboration space, going head to head with Yammer. It has kept its recruitment roots in this new product with a great recruitment referral feature. With some top global 100 companies achieving 40% referral/ internal/alumni hires, the opportunity to maximize each and every employee as a recruiter is very powerful. I am sure this space of mobile-based corporate collaboration with recruiting undertones will be a boom space.

Now that we have an internal referral tool and a public application solution, what about mobilizing our back-office operations? I recently chatted with Bullhorn about its mobile features. It has delivered a feature-full, mobile-friendly solution to provide recruiters full access to candidate databases and customer databases. This allows edits to made directly to customer records during on-site meetings or straight after a call. It provides the very latest information of potential candidates prior to a company meeting. CRM is a powerful tool, but carrying it in your pocket is going to enhance the service that recruiting firms can deliver to companies and to candidates.

I see the missing piece to the puzzle being great brand and campaign management tool on mobile. But guess what? I spoke the other day to a seedling startup focused on that exact issue.

My final thought is a question posed to each reader: How long is it before you start  focusing on mobile web as a recruitment channel? Via email and your website, your candidates are already finding new jobs via mobile with you, but the experience is not good. The recruiting industry is lagging far behind other industries when it comes to maximizing potential returns from the mobile Internet, with Facebook about to play big time in mobile (read up on the Facebook App Center); now is the time for you to start scheduling those plans and fishing where the fish are!

This article is part of a series called Opinion.