Recruiters, Not HR Tech Companies, Should Drive Innovation

The term “mobile apply” means the process by which a candidate may apply for a for a specific job opening through a company directly or via a career site, using their personal mobile or tablet device. When using these devices instead of a regular personal computer or laptop, candidates are restricted by the size of their screen and the ability to upload and/or store resumes, CVs and cover letters on the mobile technology. Even still, there are increasing options to store and edit documents on mobile devices and people are readily willing to utilize the smaller screens. At this point, many companies already utilize the use of mobile websites that make their websites easier to navigate on these smaller devices.


Recruiters, Not HR Tech Companies, Should Drive Innovation


With recent technological developments and the continued increase in use of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices to browse the internet, the demand for candidates to be able mobily apply for jobs continues to increase. Because of this, the ability to use mobile devices to apply for jobs is becoming more or a necessity for employers to continue to attract highly qualified talent. As more candidates view career sites, connect with potential employers and use their mobile device as their primary personal computer, recruiting teams have to adapt or die, and by die, I mean be prepared to potentially lose these great candidates to competitors who have adapted ahead of them.

Mobile Use: The Numbers

Seven out of ten people searching for jobs, use mobile technology to do so while only 13% of employers have mobile friendly application options. That means that those 13% are one step ahead of everyone else in the game. in 2013 only 26 of The Fortune 500 offered the ability to apply online. Companies like those 26 have the leg up and will thus reap benefits that that those who are behind will not.

The consumer base is there. The people are already using their devices to obtain information on prospective jobs.  At this point the only thing needed to turn the numbers in your favor is to create the ability for your prospective candidates to use their devices to apply for jobs, or at least start the process. In order to engage top talent, we need to make the hiring process easy with the understanding we’ll have to kiss a few frogs while we search for our prince or princess for that job requisition we are pressed with filling. 

Unfortunately, in my HR Technology Conference briefings or conversations, mobile career sites, mobile apply or applications aren’t where the innovation is happening this year. Innovation is happening in either process streamlining or the CRM but not when it comes to mobile recruiting sans mobile sourcing.


The Future of Mobile in Recruiting and HR

It can definitely be argued that this is a trend that will catch on. However, the HR tech advancements I’ve been hoping for just aren’t where they need to be. In the consumer side of the business, we are a culture that continues to progress toward ease-of-use options. However, mobile in the HR and recruiting industry is moving S-L-O-O-W-L-Y and really at a snail’s pace. From both the candidate perspective and the employer perspective, it pays to have everything available at the push of a button or two. These strides forward will only happen if recruiters either build the HR tech themselves or demand it from the HR technology companies they are working with currently and be prepared to walk away. 

Career Sites Must Be Mobile Enabled

Mobile career sites and recruiting processes help recruiters cater and capture candidate information and applications. In this tight job market, companies can’t afford to have ninety percent of candidates not apply and leave the website. A mobile friendly career site can be extremely complex depending on the applicant tracking technology being used. Career sites are retrofitted with mobile enabled features. They are mobile enabled to the user but don’t offer the true mobile functionality for the recruiter. It’s the difference between new construction or an addition. Sometimes the wiring or copper plumbing of that old charming house can get in the way.

Mobile Apply is Good Business

Recruiters miss opportunities for candidate conversion when we don’t make the hiring process mobile and easy. I understand this is in conflict with most hiring practices. We like to make the hiring process difficult because we believe only the most qualified will remain when in fact, only the most with time or patience not necessarily the most qualified complete the application process for your company.

Personally, I’d rather make my application process mobile friendly and invest money into qualifying these candidates. They are already a viable job seeker by the simple fact they have visited our website, expressed and interest and took the time to upload a profile for a specific position at our company. Maybe we invest in an internal sourcer to help with qualifying or a machine learning sourcing and qualifying technology.

Job Boards Must Be Mobile Enabled.

Candidates expect that job boards will also be mobile enabled to assist with mobile job searching as well as application. Job boards outside of the major aggregators aren’t mobile enabled and in my experience most job boards are hesitant to do so. They are completely fine with business as usual which relies on the purchasing of web traffic and candidates from competitor sites. As job aggregator sites like Indeed continues to grow in use and popularity, other job boards aren’t following suit. They are benefiting from the traffic and the mobile first features of Indeed and the other major job aggregator players. They don’t want to invest the money in the tech to be mobile enabled because it’s not impacting their revenue. The only way to drive other job boards forward is by recruiters being able to play their poker face but be prepared to walk away.

As of late, I have seen more and more companies having the one click option of “Use your LinkedIn profile to apply.” This is a smart idea and there is a lot of development to be seen in features like that. Unfortunately, even LinkedIn doesn’t have their own hiring process figured out. I encourage you to apply for a job at LinkedIn which allows the ability to use your LinkedIn profile in lieu of a resume or application. It’s not perfect either but at least they are making the candidate application process more pleasant keeping in mind that a growing number of job seekers are using their mobile device, Ipad or smartphone as their single source of technology.

There are a lot of different ways it could go and it will be interesting to watch as technology develops and more and more employers jump on this bandwagon. The advancement in mobile HR technology when it comes to the hiring and apply process is really up to the recruiting and talent acquisition leaders. It’s a simple economic process of supply and demand. Work with your existing HR technology company. SUPPLY them with feedback. Ask for the updates. And if that doesn’t work, DEMAND product enhancements and changes. And finally, be prepared to walk away.

It is likely that more options for this sort of application will start to show up. To stay ahead of the game, or at least at the front of it, the HR technologies that support will have to adapt, evolve and update. Sooner than later, it is likely that mobile apply will become the norm. It’s really up to us when we make this change a standard offering for HR tech. 

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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.


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