Mobile Recruiting: How and Where to Start

During the November 2013 RecruitDC conference, I had the esteemed privilege of participating on a  panel alongside Jessica Lee, director of digital talent strategy for Marriott International, and Gary Cluff, recruiting director at MITRE.  The topic? Developing and implementing a mobile optimized career site — based on the experiences of three corporate practitioners.


There are lots of stats available online about the growing mobile trend:

  • By 2016, the number of smartphones is expected to surpass the world’s population.
  • 70% of job seekers are using their mobile phones to find jobs.
  • 70% of Fortune 100 companies do not have mobile optimized career pages.
  • 5% of Fortune 500 companies offer mobile apply.
  • 80% of U.S. citizens will have smartphones by the end of 2013.

“Thirty percent of SimplyHired’s job seeker traffic comes from a mobile device,” stated Craig Katz, director of enterprise sales for the online job aggregator. “Over 300 million searches occur on our site each month with 30% of those searches starting from mobile devices. We believe there is a bright future for mobile and expect it to grow to half of our total traffic by 2015.” The team at SimplyHired expects that mobile will grow to half of the site’s total traffic by 2015.


During RecruitDC, based on a show of hands, we asked the audience who was already implementing, planning or wanting to plan something related to mobile in 2014. I believe every hand in the audience raised. So, it seems, mobile recruiting, mobile apply and mobile optimized career sites are among the hottest of hot topics in recruiting. Here are some questions to consider when it comes to developing your mobile strategy:

  • What is your main objective and clearly defined goals in going mobile?
  • What’s the best approach for your organization? It is an app, mobile site or using responsive web design?
  • Do you have the internal IT resources or should you use a vendor?
  • Can your current ATS provider help you in your mobile goals?
  • Who will champion the project?
  • What’s your budget?
  • Do you have or need executive sponsorship?
  • What teams, internally and/or externally, may be affected by going mobile?

A critical piece to your overall plan will be the user experience. Once job seekers access your mobile site or app … what happens next?

  • Will they be able to search jobs in a thumb-friendly fashion?
  • Can they actually complete the application on their smartphones?
  • Will they have to email the job to themselves to then complete from a desktop?
  • Will the ATS be mobile optimized or just your career site?
  • Do you have online assessments as part of your initial application?

When it comes to developing and executing your mobile career strategy, there are a lot of moving parts that all need to work together to achieve your goals. There are different systems, teams and vendors that may need to help you plan the work and work the plan. Some vendors might promise a “plug in and play” solution, but when you actually get started, it could get more complex.

Going mobile needs to be a priority, for all parts of the business, not just HR.  Realistically, going mobile could take months, if not a year or more. Factors to the timeline may include the size of your organization or length of application. It may be worth considering a phased approach: start with your career site, then mobilize the job search function, and then tackle the ATS-mobile-apply-elephant-in-the-room.

Will your company go mobile in 2014? What tips do you have for other practitioners who are planning their mobile strategies?

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Shannon Smedstad

Shannon Smedstad has nearly 20 years of recruitment, employer branding, and communications experience. Currently, she serves as the Principal Employer Brand Strategist at exaqueo. Previously, she held employer branding and recruiting leadership roles at CEB and GEICO. She’s a work at home mom raising two awesome girls who also enjoys reading, running, leading a Girl Scout troop, and her morning coffee. You can connect with Shannon on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Reader Interactions


  1. Vinay says

    Mobile recruiting has taken HR to next dimension. In era of smartphones mostly websites are optimized for mobile viewing and inputs. So Recruiters, Companies must come with their mobile strategy for 2014 as this will be the trend to watch-out.

    • Nancy Ritzman says

      Lots of companies know to make their websites mobile-responsive, but it is that gap a non-mobile responsive ATS leaves in the apply process which really causes defection. Seek a vendor who fills that gap – without requiring an expensive native app purchase.



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