Job seekers are increasingly relying on their smartphones to conduct their searches — a fact that recruiters can't afford to ignore in this market.
In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that in 2015, almost half of smartphone users used their phones to look up information about a job, and almost 20% applied via their phones. And those numbers are only expected to climb, according to job site Indeed.
But the statistics for employers are far from encouraging. A variety of surveys show that business' recruiting processes and career sites are not mobile optimized, resulting in major missed opportunities.
Recruiters going mobile
Traditional online applications became all the rage not that long ago, but they may not be the most promising form of recruitment. In fact, according to one report, 60% of job seekers abandon online job applications before completion. The reason? Applications are often either too lengthy or too complex.
Compounding the problem, Google announced a change in its algorithms in 2015, downgrading results that didn't pass a mobile-responsiveness test.
In response, smartphone applications are taking hold, with companies either optimizing their application process to work with mobile devices or setting up new mobile pathways altogether.
“Especially when the labor market is as tight as it is right now, you can’t afford to ignore mobile," Ryan Eberhard, SVP of product at ZipRecruiter, told HR Dive.
McDonald's for example, introduced Snaplications for a seasonal hiring push — a partnership with Snapchat to link the app's users to the company's career pages and give users instructions on how to apply. And it seems like it worked: During last year’s summer hiring cycle, McDonald's applications increased 35%, and the company's career page traffic jumped 30%
In addition to apps and mobile-optimized career pages, employers are making texting a bigger part of the recruiting process than ever before, says Carolyn Betts Fleming, CEO of Betts Recruiting. "It speeds up the scheduling process, and allows us to get interviews on the calendar faster," she told HR Dive. "Communicating directly with recruiters via text also allows constant communication when calibrating on the roles.”
Both established companies and third-party platforms are joining the text recruitment wave. iCIMS recently purchased TextRecruit to “integrate messaging applications with their talent acquisition suite.” Birch Faber, VP of marketing at TextRecruit, tells HR Dive that in addition to using texting to apply, companies are also using text messages to automate screening and candidate scheduling through text-enabled chatbots.
And according to Grant Fuellenbach, director of sales operations at TextUs, recruiters need not merely hope that these tools are working. In so-called conversation-driven recruiting, employers can analyze which messaging leads to placements and can decide which methods should be duplicated and scaled across teams.
The candidate experience
Meanwhile, the advent of mobile-friendly candidate scheduling platforms has freed up a wealth of time for recruiters and hiring managers. With its own mobile interview scheduling tool, MobileToApply, The Home Depot increased its candidate numbers by 50%. In all, 80% of the company's job candidates used the self-scheduling tool, it says.
Today’s candidates are looking for speed and convenience when communicating with recruiters, and people already spend a great deal of time on their phones, Faber notes. Why not meet them there? Speeding up the process is a win for everyone, he said.
A discrete hiring process also will be beneficial to some candidates, Fuellenbach said. “Texting can be a way to communicate with a candidate, even on the job, that doesn’t put their employment at risk.”
Betts Fleming points to quicker response and feedback times for canidates, too. “The company is showing that they are moving with urgency and are serious about this hire,” she said. From the candidate’s point of view, “that will translate to a great fast experience — keeping the momentum up on their side, getting them more excited about the opportunity.”
There's a night and day difference between desktop and mobile when it comes to candidate experience, Eberhard says, noting that ZipRecruiter is focused on mobile-optimized features like one-click apply, SMS push notifications and the ability to ask for references directly from the app. “A frictionless mobile experience,” he says, “reflects positively on the company posting the job, which improves application rates.”
What's on the horizon?
Those aforementioned chatbots may find their niche in text, especially as more companies engage with them; the more conversations that flow through bots, the more skilled they become, Faber explained.
Fuellenbach predicts big data will revolutionize aspects of hiring, too. Developers are working to match positions with people and once companies understand how active people are on social and professional media sites, businesses will be able to tailor messaging to passive candidates based on data. “You’ll be able to take data from a variety of sources,” he said, “to create a custom, to-the-point, message that will resonate with each individual candidate.”
Smartphones are not only revolutionizing the way recruiters work but also opening the door for possibilities not yet imagined. If you haven't created one yet, now is the time for a mobile recruiting strategy.