Why Your Recruiting Needs to Go Mobile and How to Do It

Nov 19, 2013

If I were looking for a job and searched one at for your company on my mobile phone, what would I find? If you are like most firms, I will find a site heavy with text and hard to read on a phone screen. If I get even get to the stage of applying for a job, I would find it impossible without going to your career site.

If that describes your firm, you might want to think about developing a mobile-friendly recruiting process.

While no mobile strategy will totally replace what you do now for some time, more and more candidates expect to be able to search for jobs, apply for jobs, schedule interviews, and receive feedback through their phone or tablet.

We live in a mobile world. A recent study by the Pew Research Center indicates that 56 percent of Americans now own a smart phone. And, 79 percent of people between the ages of 18-44 have them with them 22 hours each day. Many young people no longer own a computer and rely on their tablet or phone instead. Over 77 percent of job seekers have used a smart phone to search for a job. Talented, working professionals are hard to engage and pay little attention to job ads or branding messages. However, targeted messages and videos that look good on a small screen can make a difference.

By not having a mobile-friendly web presence, you are reducing your ability to connect with skilled, employed people and weakening your ability to attract, engage, and assess a large number of people.

A Change of Mindset

Moving from computer-based recruitment to mobile-based recruitment is as large and as difficult a change as it was to move from paper and the telephone to the computer.

Those of us old enough to remember recruitment ads, paper brochures, and long interviews over lunches know how hard it was to transition. And, even today not everyone has made the change to online branding and candidate engagement.

A mobile recruitment strategy requires that you change just about everything you now do. Information has to be concise, visually attractive, and graphic. Job descriptions need to be engaging and assessment needs to be online. It needs to offer a way for candidates to show you their qualifications and skills and make it easy to apply from a phone or tablet.

Branding Your Firm and Position

How does a candidate learn about a position in your firm?

If candidates are not actively looking for a new position, they will be most apt to find out about your opportunity through a pop-up ad on LinkedIn or Facebook, a picture or event you post on Pinterest, from a YouTube video, or through a friend. Maybe a friend suggests they take a look at your Facebook page or they might be referred at a party. However they find you, it will be casual and accidently and therefore the ad or video needs to be instantly engaging. It will need to have an obvious link to your mobile-enabled career site and it will need to offer relevant information easily.

Easily clicked-on links might offer information through a video or offer to let them download a PDF about the position. Everything they see and hear needs to be tailored to the position that attracted them, designed for the small screen, and offer interactivity. This interactivity would allow them to enter their email for a follow-up communication, ask you to call them, put them in touch with someone who could tell them more about the position, or allow for some other action that will connect you to them.

You could develop a tag that would let them receive an alert to jobs when they are available. Or, perhaps you have decided that people who shop at a nearby Starbucks are potential candidates. So, whenever someone who has searched for your firm enters that Starbucks, a message arrives on their screen about an opportunity or about your company. Perhaps it’s a link to a video or it’s a game they can play and get a small discount on a Starbucks coffee.

Here are a few of the possible ways you could brand your company and get out the message about the position.

  • Short two- to five-minute videos about the position, company, and the hiring manager. Here’s one from Apple. Some firms have done virtual tours or interviewed an employee. These can be a series of videos, but they need to be small and fun.
  • Photographs on Pinterest and Facebook showing the company, people at your firm, and anything relevant to the position such as equipment, facilities, and tools. Picture of quotes about your company or about something your company has done. General Electric and Taco Bell have built excellent Pinterest sites.
  • Instant messages that can be served up automatically and periodically once the potential candidate has agreed to receive them and has provided the information you would need.
  • Geolocation messaging works well for retail or jobs where working in a specific store or place is critical. If someone has indicated interest and is nearby, a reminder can get them into action.
  • Offer links to a place where they can download longer videos or documents about your firm.
  • Testimonials — maybe in video format — that pop up on your career page, Facebook page, or corporate pages talking about working at your firm.
  • But best of all would be to develop an employment app they could download. Take a look at Sodexo’s app, which has been downloaded thousands of times and has had great success. This app would include videos, interviews with current employees, testimonials, and links to screening tools and a way to apply for the position.


Once they have connected with you, what then? Perhaps the hardest part is to engage a candidate in meaningful conversation, answer a question, or provide information in a way that keeps them interested.

At this stage these are only interested people, not yet candidates. You know very little about them and they know very little about the opportunity. A good first step is to offer them a video that provides a deeper description about the position and your firm. This is especially important if your firm is not well known or the opportunity is in a part of your firm that is not well understood. For example, if your organization were entering a new market or starting some new project, you might need a bit more explanation than if it were something you were known for.

Here are some things you can offer that will not only get them engaged, but also give you more information about them.

  • Provide a link to your career site, which should be optimized for mobile devices.
  • Allow candidates to schedule their own interviews with you or a hiring manager. Put them in control.
  • Let them apply for a position by linking their LinkedIn profile to your ATS.
  • Link them to a quick assessment before you spend more time with them.
  • Allow them to send a photograph of their resume to you and provide them feedback on it.
  • Ask them to submit a question via instant messaging and respond right away.
  • Direct them to a forum you have where candidates and employees discuss topics relevant to what the position will do. An example is Microsoft Channel 9 that lets technical professionals discuss operating systems, but also serves as a recruitment and engagement channel.

The idea is to quickly get them involved in your firm and even to commit to some further action that will allow you to learn about them and for them to learn more about you and the position. 


You can easily determine a candidate’s basic qualification for the position without an interview. A variety of short tests, games, and simulations have been developed to help screen candidates.

Marriott developed a cartoon-like game in several languages that serves as both a branding tool as well as a way to assess basic skills of kitchen workers.

Starbucks is using simulations developed by Shaker Consulting Group.

The U.S. Army has been a pioneer in developing and using games to screen recruits.

Mobile is a key methodology that will grow and expand over the next few years. If you have not started thinking about mobile and begun incorporating it into your strategy, you will be losing hundreds of candidates to your competitors who have.

Just remember that whatever you do, it has to be fun, quick, and something a candidate can do on his or her phone while having a cup of coffee or relaxing.