Smartphone, Dumb Recruiting: Why Mobile is a Must


Guess what, humans? We’re becoming outnumbered by cell phones and tablets—and no, that’s not science fiction. Researchers actually predict that the world’s population (roughly 7.5 billion1 ) will be surpassed by the number of mobile devices by 2016, as their quantities proliferate drastically with no sign of slowing.2

By 2016, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people.

This rapid rise is indicative of several things:

  • Practically everyone has a mobile device, and we’re pretty addicted to them. In fact, a recent Nielsen report found that 91 percent of adults have a mobile phone within arm’s reach around the clock.3
  • While laptops offer some portable connectivity, people prefer the truly on-the-go accessibility that mobile devices offer. Consider this: In 2012, the amount of mobile data traffic “was nearly 18 times the size of the global Internet in 2000.”4 By mid-2013, over 17% of global web traffic came through mobile devices.5 And by 2018, that figure is expected to grow by 11 times. Bottom line: We’re clearly attached to accessing data on our mobile devices, and that’s not likely to change.
  • Businesses that don’t adapt their strategies to accommodate mobile users will not only be grossly behind the times—they’ll be edged out by competitors that do. One recent survey found that 84% of businesses with standalone mobile sites have seen an increase in business due to their mobile marketing efforts.6 Another report from Google found that 20% of users complete a purchase after looking up local info on their smartphones.7

You might think these numbers would have recruiters scrambling. After all, the war for talent is raging. Skills are in short supply and high demand. Sourcing candidates is like marketing to consumers, so if it matters in commerce, it matters in recruiting. And job seekers are most definitely among the 91% of adults attached at the hip to their mobile devices, right?

Surprisingly, however, many recruiters are still perplexed by mobile. Lacking solid direction and imprisoned by piecemeal technology, they aren’t sure how to prioritize their efforts—and as a result, they tend to make mistakes. Here are five of the most common mobile recruiting blunders, along with valuable tips on how to avoid them.

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Mistake 1: Failure to get a grip

The biggest mistake recruiters can make with respect to mobile is failing to understand the changing landscape. If you are going to succeed in adapting to a new environment, you need to get the lay of the land and answer questions like:

  • Why is mobile important to job seekers? It’s fast, easy, and extremely convenient. In addition, mobile devices are often personal devices—which makes a big difference to people who are currently employed and want to explore new opportunities, but don’t feel comfortable using their company computers to search.
  • How are they using mobile to look for jobs? They get on search engines, to begin with. One Forbes contributor found that, based on Google AdWords, 23% of searches containing the word “job” come from mobile devices.8 The mobile accessibility of social networks also makes it easy for candidates to find job openings or referrals from friends that are posted on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
  • How many people are actually looking for jobs on mobile? According to the latest job seeker survey from Jobvite, 43% of job seekers have used their mobile device to engage in a job search.9 That’s a pretty hefty amount.
  • Which devices and platforms do they use? This can vary by age. Younger job seekers (18-29) are slightly leaning toward Android devices (54%) over iPhones (43%), and older job seekers (30-39) are more likely to own an iPad.10
  • How do they expect companies to help? Oh, they have high expectations. Among Millennials, for example, 37% expect mobile-optimized career sites. And 27% of job seekers expect to be able to apply for jobs online.11


Follow the research or conduct your own. There are plenty of organizations out there keeping track of mobile statistics and users on a regular basis.

Jobvite offers a great resource on mobile job seekers as well and will continue to survey people to keep data current and useful. Take a look here.

Mistake 2: No mobile career site

A mobile career site is one designed specifically for mobile users. Companies that don’t offer a mobile career site are simply allowing their existing career sites—those designed for desktop or laptop access—to render on a smartphone or tablet.

There are many reasons why that’s a big mistake:

  • It doesn’t display right. If you’ve ever looked at a mobile site and been forced to turn your phone, resize, and scroll repeatedly in order to view it, you know how annoying it is when a site isn’t designed to be responsive.
  • It won’t load. Non-responsive sites can take longer to load on mobile devices because they aren’t designed to be lean. Unfortunately, the majority of mobile users (30%) will abandon a site after 6-10 seconds if it hasn’t loaded—and that’s being generous. 19% of mobile users will only give a mobile site a five-second max load time.12
  • It just doesn’t work. Let’s not forget that certain tools, file types, and software components won’t function on mobile platforms no matter how much time you give them. They just aren’t compatible.

Does this mean you’re better off creating a mobile app, rather than a responsive mobile site? One contributor thinks it can be a good investment—but cautions that it’s also a commitment. He writes, “Offering consumers a responsive-designed Web experience is a must, but a native app gives you a permanent home on their phones, a new communication channel, and the ability to deliver functionality that goes beyond what a mobile optimized site can do….” Nevertheless, he also points out that mobile apps “need constant improvements for stability, speed, and functionality.”13 In other words, you can’t just build them and walk away.

Whichever direction you decide, remember this: without an intentionally designed and functional mobile career site— and a staggering 80% of businesses today don’t have one—you risk alienating, frustrating, and deterring potentially high-quality prospects.14


Be accessible to everyone by ensuring full compatibility with both Android and iOS devices. You know Apple products don’t play Flash video, so don’t use it for mobile.

Don’t forget about your employment brand! Be sure that your mobile career site provides a seamless, branded experience for users that reinforces the look and messaging of your other sites. This will help instill candidate confidence and loyalty.


Mistake 3: No mobile apply process

While some recruiters are ready to embrace the importance of the mobile career site, they’re not sure how far to take it. Should you use it just to list job openings? Or to show off a few videos about your corporate culture?

Think of it this way: If you were running an online store, and your mobile site offered a full product catalog but no ability to make a purchase, would you be successful? Probably not. The growing consensus is that you need to go all the way with mobile recruiting. In fact, an increasing number of job seekers—many of them within the highly sought after and skilled Millennial demographic—now expect the job hunt to be accessible end-to-end from their mobile devices. In other words, they don’t just want to look for jobs or hear about jobs; they want to apply for them from wherever they are, whenever they feel like it. Yet, shockingly, 95% of Fortune 500 companies don’t yet offer this functionality.15 What—or more importantly, who—are they missing out on?

27% of Millennial job seekers expect to be able to apply for jobs on their mobile devices.16


Keep your application content simple and tailored to the mobile experience. As one TalentHQ editor put it, “Mobile users want a snack, not a 7-course meal.”17

Minimize form length and the number of clicks required—and that doesn’t just mean whittling down your word count. Make use of things that are specific to mobile devices, like cameras and social networking apps. Jobvite offers a mobile career site solution that enables users to upload resume photos or connect to LinkedIn profiles or Dropbox accounts via their mobile apps, so users don’t need to access offline documents to complete an application. With 38% of candidates stating they couldn’t apply via mobile device because they don’t have a resume stored there, this could open up tremendous advantages.18

Remember it’s not an all or nothing game. While some candidates will be ready to apply from their phones or tablets, others might not be—and that’s okay. You can still accommodate their needs and capture their interest right from a mobile device. Jobvite offers options that allow mobile prospects to opt into your talent pool from wherever they are, so they stay updated on new opportunities as they arise.

Mistake 4: Neglect for the hiring manager

The more efficient you can make the hiring process, the faster you can find and hire top talent. It stands to reason, then, that providing hiring managers with mobile accessibility and functionality is also important to your success. Yet some organizations, eager to launch a mobile strategy for their applicants, forget that recruiting is a two-way street. They go gung-ho on a mobile career site designed to increase application flow, while hobbling themselves on the backend with a non-mobile-friendly ATS.

Hiring managers, like job seekers and recruiters, are looking for ways to boost productivity with mobile devices. If your ATS isn’t equipped to be accessible via smartphones or tablets, it’s going to create bottlenecks.


Maximize the amount of the hiring process that can be handled via mobile. For example, Jobvite technology enables hiring managers to respond to requests and take action via email, so they can continue to move candidates through the workflow and even send offer letters on their mobile devices.

As always, technology is only as good as its users allow it to be. Make sure hiring managers know about any mobile-friendly tools, features and benefits you offer.

Mistake 5: Blinded by old technology

Many recruiters have good intentions when it comes to mobile, but they don’t know how to get started or if they even have the resources to make mobile work. This often happens when recruiting technology is outdated or piecemealed together, which makes it extremely difficult—if not impossible—to see how the problems in one area flow into the next. Truth be told, you won’t have any idea how bad the situation is at your organization until you scope it out. And a lot of recruiters, faced with that daunting prospect and a lack of time and money, choose to place the whole mobile approach on the back-burner. Obviously, this isn’t a wise decision, but it’s understandable.

If you want to succeed in mobile recruiting, you need to be realistic about what you’re undertaking, and plan accordingly, with sensible timelines. Often, there are Band-Aid solutions you can use when budget is scarce. For example, if you don’t have money to build a full-scale mobile career site, try for a bare bones page—something that says you’re still paying attention to your mobile presence. You can engage basic engineering, IT, or consulting help to get started. You can also build your own starter talent pool with an eNewsletter opt-in direct from your mobile page. The point is to not ignore the importance of mobile job seekers. If you work toward executive buy-in, you can eventually justify the expenses and resources you might need in order to implement the right recruiting technology.


Avoid recruiting technology that was assembled by acquisition. Odds are, deployment and integration will be a nightmare, and your dreams of a successful mobile recruiting strategy can be further delayed as those headaches are sorted out.

If you have available resources or are willing to work toward executive support, consider moving to an integrated, best-of-breed recruiting platform that’s designed for recruiters and that already incorporates mobile career sites. Integrated recruiting technology also helps ensure a seamless, branded user experience from source to hire, while simplifying the workflow for candidates, recruiters and hiring managers.


We might not be ready to run the world entirely by cell phones, but we’re getting close. The statistics very clearly show that mobile device usage is skyrocketing—and the more we use our devices, the more we expect to do with them.

Recruiting is no exception to this phenomenon. In fact, it might be the most critical area for mobile business strategy, as the economy improves and the job market grows ridiculously competitive. If companies want to reach younger applicants with more modern and technical skill sets, they must be able to communicate with them in their language. Right now, it appears that language is mobile—and the task for recruiters is learning to speak it with fluency. The tips presented here should help you master the basics and avoid common pitfalls and misconceptions, so you can take full advantage of what mobile recruiting has to offer.

For more information on how Jobvite can help you build and execute a successful mobile recruiting strategy, visit www.jobvite.comor email us at .


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