According the latest OFCOM report, smartphones are now the UK’s most popular device for getting online. Mobile Internet usage has been growing at a rapid rate for several years now but the recent take up of 4G services has now brought us to this highly significant tipping point. Mobile is no longer an alternative access point for use when a PC and Laptop aren’t available; it is the primary route to the internet for a majority of the population.
Why is this change occurring?
It is important to realize that this isn’t just about substituting one access point for another and behaving the same way, smartphones have fundamentally changed our relationship with the internet and the mechanics of how it works forever. More than a third of people use their smartphone within five minutes of waking up. Within the 18-24-year-old age range, this number creeps up to more than half. People are spending two hours a day on average on their smartphones, which now represent a crucial digital hub for both work and play.
Unfortunately, most employers are still struggling to keep up when it comes to effectively harnessing mobile in the recruitment process. It is often viewed as difficult, expensive or just an add on in a box ticking exercise. This is an unsustainable position with an overwhelming body of evidence now underlining the vital importance of mobile in the recruitment process.
My advice? Any change in talent acquisition strategy seems to work best when it is planned and done in stages. Instant revolutions are normally not possible. With that in mind, here are some key areas to focus on:
1. Optimise your recruitment marketing content.
The first connection you have with your audience, whether it’s via a proactive message or by someone being exposed to a job post, has a high probability of reaching them via a mobile device. There is a huge amount of competition for attention on someone’s screen and it’s important to make sure that you understand the needs of your audience and are being both empathetic and interesting.
Wherever possible, step away from text. Videos and images are now the currency in the new mobile world. For years, long-form text has been the default method for recruitment marketing, so this is a big change. However, it is a good change, as visual communication is a brilliant way of getting a huge amount of information across in a limited amount of time.
2. Plan to go mobile first with your careers site.
As an industry, we need to step away from the whole idea of a mobile-enabled career site and embrace the mobile-first careers site. Mobile can’t be seen as an afterthought — it needs to drive the whole concept, design and content of the corporate careers site.
It is important to give people what they want quickly. Don’t make them search for the information that is relevant to them as they are likely to go somewhere else instead. If you can engage user attention quickly, the evidence, from the clients that I have worked with, indicates that they will actually engage with more content on the mobile site than they ever would on a desktop.
If you recruit across a number of different disciplines, an alternative approach to consider would be to build several targeted microsites rather than one big site that is a constant compromise between the needs of different audiences.
3. Put mobile apply on your roadmap.
It’s nearly 2016 — you can’t dodge this one anymore. An Indeed survey from last year found 66% of job seekers would apply via their mobile device if they were able to. This is confirmed by recent Forrester Wave research, which reports that candidates expect to be able to search and fully apply for jobs on company careers sites using their mobiles. So what can you do to improve things if you don’t currently support mobile apply?
First, review your ATS provision. Can you really afford to continue to tolerate a legacy system that is not fit for your recruiters and your potential candidates? If you’re stuck in a long-term contract with your ATS vendor, put pressure on your provider and investigate the growing number of services that offer a technical workaround for mobile apply.
While this all might seem daunting, it important to do something to improve your mobile strategy. Unfortunately, going mobile isn’t easy and requires investment, however it’s essential in the long term. Based on my experience working with employers, the benefits are also enormous and companies that have started on their mobile journey already have a huge advantage in the market.