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The Importance of Mobile on the Job Apply Process

The Importance of Mobile on the Job Apply Process

By: John Rossheim
 
Mobile platforms are evolving the recruitment process, and along with it, the job apply.

Today, job seekers expect to view jobs seamlessly on their mobile devices and apply to them quickly and easily. So have all companies' career sites jumped on the mobile-friendly bandwagon? Not by a long shot.

“There are all kinds of excuses why companies aren’t doing mobile recruiting, but it’s a must to remain competitive,” says Michael Marlatt, executive recruiting partner at Cognizant Technology Solutions and founder of MREC, an annual mobile recruiting conference.
 
Job seekers are voting with their mobiles. According to a Pew Internet study, 43 percent of smartphone owners used their mobile to look up information about jobs. The study points to an even more urgent message for employers that have taken it slow with mobile: 18 percent of smartphone users submitted a job apply via mobile.

Adding to the urgency, Google announced that, beginning in late April 2015, they will penalize web sites that fail the search giant's mobile responsive test. The result will downgrade these sites' placement in search results served to mobile devices.  “Some estimates say 81 percent of company sites will be affected by Google’s new algorithm,” says Marlatt, “If you care about your ranking, and want to be seen as innovative, you want to be mobile-ready."

So if your company hasn't revamped its mobile recruiting process recently, it's time. Here are some pointers.
 
Complexity kills candidate interest. Pare down your career site to bare essentials. “Many job seekers fail to complete the job apply because of its complexity,” says Amy Hughes, director of client adoption at Monster. “An average of 60 to 70 percent of seekers applying to Monster jobs through company career sites will never complete the apply process.”

Assess candidates’ priorities. Ask recent hires which elements of your career site attracted them and which didn't. “Think about what’s going to be important to users,” says Marlatt. “Make the things that most people want as easy as possible to find. You need to minimize fluff.”

In 2015, mobile job search is an expected convenience. Cater to the lifestyles of your ideal candidates. “If I’m waiting to pick up my daughter from a music lesson and I see all these jobs on my smartphone, I want to be able to apply from my phone,” says Barry Wu, a senior product manager at Monster.

Test-drive your career site on your phone. Play the part of the mobile seeker. “The first thing companies need to do is assess their sites’ mobile friendliness,” says Marlatt. “Go and navigate the career site from a mobile device, a smartphone or tablet. How does it render? What does the candidate experience from the first point of entry? What’s it like to navigate?”

Ensure that your site is mobile-responsive. Put your site through Google's test for mobile-responsiveness. “If you realize you’re not mobile friendly, you need to consider a mobile-responsive design,” says Marlatt. “It may be too much for IBM to rebuild their site from the ground up for mobile – that’s a huge undertaking. The workaround is to have a redirect to a simplified mobile site.”

The best sites respond to the mobile device in the user's hand. After you've made your career site at least minimally mobile-responsive, refine it for all the devices used by your target candidates. “Apply with Monster, a one-button apply solution, is smart enough to determine what’s the best experience for the particular mobile device that the user is on," says Wu.

Consider the nothing-but-mobile apply. Can you decide which applicants to screen with a phone interview, based solely on their input via mobile? Make this your next goal. “People are doing quick searches on their phones, just to see what jobs are new since yesterday,” says Wu. “If you put the whole apply on the phone, candidates won’t be forced to set a task to complete the process on a laptop or desktop."

On the flip side, avoid trying to fully vet the candidate from her mobile apply. Don't front-load your application workflow with processes that can wait. “Details like background checks often can be covered during the interview process,” says Hughes.
 
If you neglect mobile, you may miss out on diversity. Finally, keep in mind that if your career site turns off mobile users, your workforce demographics may suffer. “Hispanics, African-Americans and women are the heaviest users of mobile technology," says Marlatt. "So when you think about diversity recruiting, mobile is key.”