A Dose of Mobile Recruitment Reality

It was a great pleasure to attend and speak at The Mobile Recruiting Conference 2013 in Atlanta last week. This was the third year the event has run and Michael Marlatt did a great job of ensuring it was as valuable in terms of insight as the previous two. 

I'm now back in the UK and reflecting on some key issues and themes that will define how mobile recruiting will develop over the coming 12 months. It's likely that I'll do separate more in depth blog posts on all of these areas in the coming weeks but here is the top line view:

1) The audience is there and the UK leads the way

Stats on mobile audience growth are ubiquitous these days with the global numbers and growth impossible to ignore. During their conference presentation LinkedIn added some specific recruitment related numbers into the mix on the back of a recent survey of their members. Their stats showed that 23% of the users surveyed had applied for a job on a smart phone and 29% had applied for a job on a tablet. The metrics went into much more detail than this and there was an interesting split between the US and UK user base with the UK users further ahead with their use of the mobile web for recruitment. While this was massively encouraging to hear I couldn't help but be frustrated at the current speed of travel of UK employers in comparison. Many organisations are missing out on talent and potentially damaging their brands by not being mobile savvy

2) Social and Mobile are inseparable

This wasn't even up for debate, the speakers and audience recognised that, with such high levels of social consumption being mobile, when you talk about social recruiting you are by default talking about mobile recruiting at the same time. Outside the MRec bubble though I don't think this is still as widely understood and I see many organisations effectively wasting the time and effort they put into their social activity because they don't back it up with a strong mobile presence

3) Employers already doing mobile well are reaping huge rewards

It was great to see meaningful case studies coming through and the absolute star of the show here was UPS. Having created a simple yet robust mobile apply process they are reaping huge rewards. In 2012 UPS made 14k trackable hires using their social media channels, 10k of these people hired applied via the mobile apply process. This wasn't just hourly workers either and they have mobile apply working across all of their hiring activity. Overall 27% of their hourly hires and roughly 17% of their office based hires applied from a mobile device. Not only that, the quality of mobile applications was actually higher with a larger proportion making it through to interview. This should be a wake-up call to employers everywhere!

4) Mobile Apply is Easy Apply and the common objections to it aren't standing up to reality

Mobile apply and its related problems and debates seemed to dominate the conference. In the last few months I've heard the theoretical objection a lot that a mobile enabled apply process will open the floodgates and leave employers with loads of inappropriate applications. It was great to see the real life evidence not supporting this and we need to quickly move on from this misconception. Also, as Chris Hoyt said in what was my favourite tweet of the conference:

6) Context and Content are King and Queen

With all the debate about mobile apply the vital areas of context and content in mobile recruiting were slightly overshadowed but there was still some very useful discussion in this area. As this was the topic of my presentation I'll write more in a separate post but in the meantime it is worth reflecting that any mobile recruiting content and experience needs to reflect the context of where the users are at that given point in time and what their immediate needs are.

7) Responsive Design  and Adaptive Design are not very well understood

This was perhaps my biggest frustration, even among the mobile geek attendees of MRec there seemed to be much confusion about these two concepts. I'll be writing more to help explain the difference, it is something that is going to be incredibly important in the months and years to come!

Lots to ponder on here and as I said I'll be expanding these themes much further in future writing, speaking and of course my work with clients

Finally if you are looking for a great list of practical mobile recruiting tips Jason Buss has distilled the collective MRec wisdom into 45 bite size Tips and Trends which you can find here

Overall I was very encouraged by the discussions and debates at MRec and am already looking forward to next year's event!