As the use of mobile devices grows steadily, tech-savvy users are employing their smartphones and tablets in more areas of their lives, including employment. According to a 2012 report from data management company Knotice, 40% of all job-related information is now received or processed on smartphones, primarily through email alerts, referrals from friends and social media updates.
Where those potential candidates go after their initial exposure to a job posting can make a significant difference in a company’s recruitment results. In order to attract top talent, enterprises need to offer intelligent mobile applications that help prospects complete the application process on their preferred devices.
Demand for Mobile Recruiting
Many parts of the world are still suffering high unemployment rates, but across international borders, the pool of skilled workers remains shallow. The social, connected job candidate is more likely to use his or her mobile device to search and apply for positions.
In recognition of that, more organizations are scrambling to optimize the application process for mobile and integrate the resulting data into their applicant tracking and customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
The move toward mobile makes sense, but businesses need to make sure they are not only mobile-accessible, but also mobile-friendly. Based on A/B testing of more than 10 companies in a range of industries, we found that more than 80% of candidates will attempt to apply for a position if they are presented with a mobile-friendly application form.
That attempt rate falls to less than 30% when there is no such option. Additionally, up to 80% of job candidates will finish the application process if they’re having a good mobile experience. That’s at least 50% better conversion than when applicants access desktop versions via their mobile devices.
Next Gen Workforce
This is particularly important as enterprises look to attract the next generation of workers. At the end of 2013, we polled 150 members of the class of 2016 at three universities in Virginia, Texas and Washington, D.C. We asked participants whether they would consider pursuing jobs at companies that do not support mobile application processes. An overwhelming 83% said no.
The primary explanation focused on mobile’s status as the respondents’ devices of choice, but the second most popular reason was even more interesting. Survey participants said a company that didn’t offer the mobile apply option wouldn’t be cool enough to pursue. This points to a brand perception problem brewing in talent recruitment.
Prepping for Social, Connected Talent
Enterprises seeking out the right talent in a difficult recruiting environment can leverage mobile apps to access existing resumes, to personalize their outreach via video and photos, and to maximize conversions from job boards, social media networks and their own corporate websites.
A flexible mobile apply system can also help companies avoid known problem areas in the application process. For example, our surveys have found that anywhere from 20 to 30% of users abandon apps before they create user logins. The login requirement is a phantom of legacy job boards, and companies can get far more innovative today. Something as simple as asking for logins can dramatically reduce or even eliminate dropouts.
There are other straightforward choices and fixes companies can make to shepherd candidates all the way through the mobile application process. Tests on hundreds of applicants find that more than 50% will abandon their application on their mobile phone if the page takes more than five seconds to load on a mobile device, so speed should be one area of focus.
Using a professional network to auto-fill forms can also help, as can minimizing non-mandatory fields. Users should also be allowed to save their partially completed applications and return to them later, when they will see only the parts that still need completion. All of these tactics make it easier for candidates to apply.
In competitive markets, enterprises have to address the preferences and habits of their target workforce as part of the recruitment process. For the current and future crop of workers, that means one thing: mobile. The companies that do it well will gain the advantage over competitors.