Time Spent Creating Mobile Recruiting Applications Is Time Wasted

May 16, 2012
This article is part of a series called Opinion.

The use of the Internet with a smartphone is fast becoming the next mass media channel. That’s particular true with social media such as Facebook. Recents statistics from a company called comScore show the mobile Internet audience is using Facebook nearly an hour more a month than they’re using it on a desktop.

Facebook mobile users have a choice of downloading an application, or using the mobile Facebook. Eighty percent of mobile Facebook users use the application. With Twitter, users prefer the application, too. This data has confused many industry commentators, with many bloggers writing that applications are “winning the battle.” This interpretation is wrong.

Unfortunately such mistaken onlookers have driven many talent acquisition directors to ask me if they should develop a mobile recruiting application and forget about optimizing their mobile websites. After all, a mobile social media application, downloaded from Google Play or Apple AppStore, offers us a better experience so we can more easily enjoy and interact with social media.

On the contrary: your mobile recruiting strategies should have nothing more important than offering your candidates an optimized mobile website. Here’s why.

Facebook, Twitter, etc. are channels. We all “browse” media through these social channels. The people and businesses we follow within social channels curate web content, which we discover and consume. The Twitter and Facebook apps are our preferred window to consume the web; not only do these apps direct us to new content, they fetch it and display it for us in one place.

Frequently we click links on Twitter from our mobile app. The webpage loads in our Twitter app. We do not take the URL and open a web browser and read the content. Social channels are the true “browsers.” We do not have to search or have a pre-conceived idea of what we are looking for. Instead we browse the social channel and when we see something we like, we order up more content by tapping the hyperlink.

Empowered with the knowledge that Twitter and Facebook apps on our mobile are the new browser, and knowing the enormous volume of users and time spent consuming these channels, what do you feel matters when it comes to mobile recruiting optimization? As recruiters wishing to reach a market it is very simple: a mobile-optimized career site/recruitment campaign coupled with social media activity puts your message in front the audience.

Check out the top mobile native apps: Instagram, Angry Birds, Facebook, Twitter, Ebay, etc. As a user I expect to return to these apps frequently either for fun or social interaction or new content. Looking for a new job at a single company is not a repeat process. The effort and reward of downloading an app to work at just one company does not add up. The native app will attract downloads from those doing additional research, those really interested in your firm, but these people have probably already applied for a job. Unless your employer brand creates incredible hunger and has millions of people desperate to work for you, an app in AppStore or Android is unlikely to deliver high ROI when it comes to talent attraction.

The mobile site is becoming a must-have for candidate marketing. The mobile application is typically better positioned to assist the selection and onboarding process.

This article is part of a series called Opinion.