If your business doesn’t have a mobile hiring strategy yet, you are behind the times. A 2015 study from Pew Research surveyed 2,001 adults 18 or older in the U.S. and found that 79 percent of Americans who looked for a job in the last two years used online resources and 34 percent of them reported that “online resources were the most important tool available to them.” Additionally, 94 percent of job seekers have looked for and researched jobs online using their mobile device.
According to the study, 28 percent of Americans have used a smartphone to search for a job and half of this group report applying for a job using their mobile device. It makes sense that people are increasingly using their smartphones in the job search process -- especially considering job seekers rely on the Internet to search for openings, email to contact employers either and phone calls to interview. Those are all things that can be done on a smartphone. But it goes beyond that, with 50 percent of job seekers reporting filling out online job applications using their smartphones and another 23 percent of job seekers reporting using their smartphone to create a resume or craft a cover letter.
Tap or swipe to a new tech job
Online resources have become the most important tool for job seekers of every age, pulling ahead of personal connections, employment agencies and job fairs. “Everyone from millennials through Gen X are increasingly reliant on their mobile phones for instant gratification, speed and efficiency, and the mobile job search is gradually offering the same values. These are people who have become accustomed to doing everything with a tap or a swipe of a smartphone, from banking to dating to ordering take-out,” says Yarden Tadmor, CEO of Switch, a mobile job application platform.
Part of the rise in mobile job searching can also be attributed to a rise in social networking, according to Smith. Job seekers are browsing social media for openings and reaching out to connections through these networks. Out of those surveyed, 35 percent of job seekers have used social media to look for or research jobs, 21 percent have applied directly through a social network and 34 percent have shared available jobs at their companies with connections. It stands to reason as mobile users flip through apps like LinkedIn and Twitter, it’s natural that they’d continue the process on the device they are using at that time.
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For some job seekers, using a mobile device to find work isn’t a preference, it’s a necessity. Smith points out in the study that thanks to decreased adoption of home broadband services, many people are turning to their smartphones and cellular data for an Internet connection. Ultimately, for plenty of job seekers, a mobile device is the only option when it comes to finding and applying for new jobs.
Gear talent searches for mobile
That’s great news for companies that have optimized their job listings for mobile users. But unfortunately, a number of companies are lacking in their mobile hiring strategies. Sure, you might be posting on LinkedIn or other job boards, but you also need to consider the user experience once a job seeker gets to your native application page.
Although job seekers report that they are increasingly reliant on smartphones to apply for jobs, many are left frustrated with the user experience. The two biggest gripes reported by 47 percent of those polled revealed problems with content displaying properly in a mobile format and being able to read job content that wasn’t optimized for mobile users. Furthermore, 38 percent found it difficult to enter large blocks of text, 37 percent said it was difficult to submit files or supporting documents and 23 percent had issues bookmarking jobs to come back to later.
Ultimately, what this means for businesses, is that if they ignore their application platform, they might be missing out on key applicants who abandon the process because it isn’t optimized for mobile. “It’s really important for companies to realize that mobile should not be disregarded or considered a secondary tool, and the way to make mobile right is not simply transferring the desktop experience to the smaller screen, but creating a truly native user experience,” says Tadmor.
Whether it means adopting apps like Switch for the recruitment process or implementing a complete overhaul of the native application system, businesses need to take the mobile job search seriously. As more job seekers abandon desktop Web applications for mobile devices, be it smartphones or tablets, companies may find their postings overlooked due to a poor user experience. At the end of the day, it can make a difference between filling positions with the best talent quickly and having postings hang around for months before the right candidate applies.