Predictions for the Future of Digital Talent Acquisition: Mobile (Part 3 of 3)

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 5.11.37 AMThis is the third part of a three-part series on the future of digital talent acquisition. Previously, I looked at the power of content and social media. While content has power in itself, that power is enhanced when driven via social channels. Today, I move from content to content’s best friend: mobile technology.

It has been a long-running joke in digital circles that it has been the “Year of Mobile” for five years now. And while mobile technology is one of the fastest-growing technologies since the invention of the wheel, we’re nowhere near done.

The stats imply that we might be at some equilibrium or plateau point — that because half of all email is read on a phone, that because we now spend as much time looking at our mobile screens as we do any other screen — that we must have reached some natural market penetration point. After all, do you even know any adults without a smart phone? Who’s left to sell them to?

This is backward-facing thinking. It implies that because we’ve had desktops and laptops for so long, they must be our “standard” computing tool. But look around: when was the last time you saw a true desktop computer, much less saw someone buy one? PC sales continue to fall. And the laptops keep getting smaller, even if they are getting hooked up to nice big monitors on our desks. If you had to choose, would you throw away your phone to save your laptop? Probably not. Phones are far more ubiquitous, more personal, and more valuable for almost any situation that doesn’t require you to write a lot.

Whether you’re talking about phones or tablets, the ability to be always connected is measured in response time, in the ability to validate information or ask a question, and to hold entire conversations across distance, time, and medium. How long will it be before we stop doing phone interviews, but instead ask a question via email or text in the morning and assume an answer within the hour? Recruiters will assume that hot recruit will have the ability to hold slow text interviews over the course of a day, with minutes or an hour between responses, all while that recruit is already at work. Information can be collected, recorded, and annotated for use in the next phase of the interview process.

We’ve quietly entered the “mobile-first” world. It was so quiet in fact, we might have slipped straight through to the “mobile-only” world. This is a world where we only touch our “real computers” at work or to do larger tasks. We do all our other work via apps and the mobile web.

Mobile is international-friendly. Looking to recruit in Asia? We have heard from ATS providers that Asian recruiters demand an application system that is completely mobile, from creating a profile to the ability to upload a resume from cloud-based file server systems like DropBox. In the current world, we all have resumes that we built with Microsoft Word or even InDesign. But in the mobile world, those tools aren’t readily available. Are you prepared for a resume-free application process? That may be the end result as mobile only people become more and more common and more and more valuable.

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Mobile implies a whole new use and understanding of time. So much work being done on our phones means that we can’t expect people to spend a lot of time on tasks. They will get done between meetings, walking to the car, while on another call, etc. Things need to be broken into smaller components or they will get ignored altogether.

This means anything that lets you type less will be adopted and used faster. Think about that when you consider how you reach out to selective candidates who are tech savvy: they will not want to spend 45 minutes filling out your ATS application. They will expect to apply with a few clicks, importing data from LinkedIn or other profiles. They will be responding to your emails via the phone. They will be reading about your company on their phone. Are you ready for them? Are you prepared for all communication and content to be delivered and absorbed via these phones?

This leads us back to our prediction that people will be expecting your content to be available to them on their terms, not yours. Those terms might be about what devices they use, what channels they listen to and how they engage with you, or even what they choose to listen to.

That’s the ultimate talent acquisition prediction: the company that truly and meaningfully puts their prospect’s needs before their own will draw the best candidates. That’s who the next big winners will be.

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