Desktop vs. Mobile Recruiting: When Do Job Seekers Search Online?

The Evolution of Mobile Recruiting

Check out our mobile webinar. It’s worth 1.0 HRCI general credits. It’s also free and always on demand.

A Move to a Mobile Recruiting World

The world is mobile with over 50% of all internet activity now happening via a mobile device. Tablets, smartphones, and e-book readers comfortably fit into the palms of our hands making it easy to integrate technology including social media and internet into the real time pieces and moments of our lives. It’s happening as we tweet, text and use Siri to find the answers in real time to the questions that we think. Mobile allows us to phone a friend just like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire using the power of modern mobile technology.

For recruiters and those looking at integrating not only social media but mobile into their recruiting strategy, companies must consider the activities of two types of very different job search activities happening online and in real time.

  • Desktop Job Search. Large screens and keyboards provide opportunities to comfortably sit and apply online. This is obviously a more traditional job search where job seekers can fully interact, engage and apply without screen restriction to what’s happening at your company from a laptop or desktop.
  • Mobile Job Search. Whether it’s with text job alerts, using social media or job searching the internet by their mobile phone, mobile savvy consumers are doing everything including the job search online via their device. Using mobile, job seekers pinch and zoom to their hearts content spending more time on websites than on our desktops to search. 

While not mutually exclusive, these activities can happen separate or together where typically consumers interact in multiple mediums mobile, desktop, tablet or television and at the same time.  Defined as multi-screen experience, already 50% of consumers are now engaging in technology this way while watching tv or shows online. As we move towards a multi-screen world, it’s only natural as job seekers that we would expect to engage and search for employment this way too online. Does your recruitment strategy integrate multi-screen in addition to mobile? No, probably not yet.

The Best Time to Post Job Openings Online

As a recruiter, I can tell you that I have always been interested in finding the best time to publish and post my jobs online. Just like blog posts, fresh content and information that is optimized for SEO is best in adding to reaching your audience through viral marketing or reach. Equally important is providing the available resources for your audience at the best moment in time which is why we post content here on the blog at different times. There’s a science to reaching markets online, job seekers included.

For the desktop job search, data from tells us that best day to publish a job opening is Monday to reach the largest active audience online. Job seekers are searching for jobs on their mobile device on Tuesdays with the majority of search activity happening before and after work.


I find mobile job search activity very interesting as most employers are led to believe that their employees are searching for jobs during work and on company time. You can see from the chart below, that job seekers are actively searching for work after traditional working hours. This is also the time they would most likely be at home and have access to their personal desktop with a much larger screen. And yet, we’re still using mobile likely because we are searching for jobs while also watching television  or multi-tasking engaging in multi-screen activities in our spare time.


Mobile recruiting is a new frontier that will surely begin to evolve over time. The key is to understand that the desktop and mobile job search are very different and should be considered as such when developing your recruitment strategy over time.

Check out our mobile webinar. It’s worth 1.0 HRCI general credits. It’s also free and always on demand. Click here

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. William says

    Jessica – Can you clarify if the % of mobile traffic over 24 hours graph is for within a given time zone? If so this could be an opportunity to better target presenting of advertisement/social media based on the location/zone of your audience.

  2. Blake McCammon says

    Hey William! The % of mobile traffic was for the local time during Indeed’s research. From my experience especially with doing any type of advertisement(paid or not) and social media, each account follows their own activity levels and spikes during random days. For instance, I have clients who see more activities on Wednesday whereas others see a spike on Monday.

    Having good data and analytics behind mobile trends, social media, and advertising definetly allows someone to track and purpose their message a lot more effectively.



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