HR and talent managers: it’s time to embrace the power of mobile. Companies that haven’t yet done so are at risk of falling behind in the fierce competition to recruit and retain the best candidates for their organization. Just as smartphones revolutionized day-to-day business communication, mobile devices are now changing the way talent is sourced and acquired.
As of January 2014, according to Pew Research, 90 percent of Americans have a mobile phone, creating an unparalleled opportunity for organizations to leverage mobile in their recruitment strategies to create:
- Visibility to talent
- Capabilities to connect with talent, and
- Reach to target the right talent
In fact, today’s jobs marketplace demands the use of mobile. According to Google, one in five jobseekers are now carrying out their searches on a mobile device, and four out of five smartphone users say they will use mobile to search for new job opportunities. Clearly, mobile technologies are not just “nice to have,” they’re a “must have.”
Evaluating the Challenges and Benefits of Going Mobile
So what, exactly, is mobile recruitment? At its core, mobile recruitment enables HR and talent managers to market to prospective employees through the use of mobile-enabled technology. In an increasingly connected world, mobile has become an important tool that helps companies stay competitive in the war for top talent; it enables them to prepare today for the candidate preferences of tomorrow.
There are many benefits to going mobile with your recruitment strategy. Not only does mobile enable targeted candidate marketing, it also allows companies to engage with candidates in two-way dialog and interaction. When proper investments are made, mobile recruitment can differentiate and enhance your candidate experience, while also reducing costs.
Some of the core benefits that come with integrating mobile into a company’s talent acquisition strategy include:
- Stronger brand recognition: An individual’s website experience can shape their opinions about a particular brand. With more and more consumers accessing the web via their mobile devices, it’s critical companies have established a strong mobile presence to engage candidates and enhance candidate experience.
- Better targeting: Mobile apps and optimized websites enable employers to enhance their social media recruitment efforts, engaging candidates through tools they are already using to interact online. In addition, through geolocation technology, recruiters can connect with job seekers to promote specific opportunities and events in their area.
- Lower costs: Although there are costs involved in developing and maintaining mobile platforms, they are often less than those associated with many traditional recruitment tactics. Mobile can also increase returns on overall investments in talent acquisition through increased efficiency, and shorter times-to-hire.
- Improved engagement: Mobile makes it possible for connections between recruiters and candidates to be more targeted and occur at a higher frequency. As such, companies can enhance candidate engagement by creating communications that are important to specific candidate pools and reaching them when needed.
- Enhanced candidate experience: Employers effectively using mobile recruitment are already realizing higher satisfaction ratings when it comes to candidate experience. By producing more targeted, efficient communications, companies are creating a seamless experience for candidates that improve their overall satisfaction with the hiring process.
UPS is one example of a company that’s leveraging mobile and reaping the benefits. In fact, as highlighted in a recent case study presented at the 2013 Mobile Recruiting Conference, more than 70 percent of the company’s 14,000 hires garnered through social media in 2012 came from mobile. Additionally, according to Metashift Limited, UPS found that the quality of mobile applications was higher than those received from a desktop.
Diane Smith, CEO and founder of gr8 People, a talent recruitment management software company, says that enabling a mobile strategy can pay dividends to companies looking to expand their reach, increase brand recognition and engage candidates before they walk in the door. “Having a robust mobile strategy can be a critical differentiator for companies recruiting in today’s increasingly competitive labor market. If your recruitment strategy does not include mobile, you’re missing a crucial opportunity to reach candidates where they are – which is increasingly on their mobile devices. And if you’re not reaching them there, I can guarantee your competitors are,” she says.
While there are considerable benefits to implementing a mobile recruitment strategy, only 7 percent of employers currently have a mobile version of their career website, and only 3 percent have a mobile app, according to Potentialpark’s Trend Report on mobile recruiting. If mobile recruitment is the wave of the future, why are so few companies embracing this growing opportunity? Mobile recruitment does not come without challenges that can make it difficult for talent acquisition leaders to develop and implement a mobile strategy:
- Internal buy-in: Many companies have pushed mobile off the agenda in place of broader social media recruitment efforts. LinkedIn found that 87 percent of organizations are not investing adequately enough in their mobile efforts. As such, HR managers often struggle to obtain buy-in from executives and senior managers who are not keen to spend additional budget on new platforms.
- Platform development: While mobile-enabled sites and apps are commonplace in today’s online environment, they require a certain skill set to develop, as well as time and dollars to create, implement and maintain effectively.
- Bandwidth: Time required to manage and maintain a mobile strategy aside, many HR functions don’t have the bandwidth to develop and fully integrate a mobile strategy into their talent acquisition efforts. For many best-in-class HR departments, having a strategic partner that can help them think about and pursue “next practices” is critical.
In 2011, when Prudential made the decision to go mobile, the first step was to gain buy-in and support from internal stakeholders. In order to vet concerns, the company developed a pilot program, which helped get the initiative off the ground and begin building momentum. By 2013, Prudential’s mobile career website was ranked top 7 as “front runner” among Fortune 500 companies by iMomentus, a mobile talent engagement platform.
Making Mobile a Part of the Organization’s Recruitment Strategy
When it comes to mobile recruitment today, the real question is no longer whether it’s a viable recruitment tool; the question now is how to make sure it’s effectively integrated into the overall recruitment strategy. To fully leverage the power of mobile, talent managers must approach it as they would any other recruitment strategy. Before launching a mobile website, developing a mobile app, or connecting with candidates on a mobile platform, it’s critical for HR to evaluate mobile within the context of their company’s overall talent acquisition strategy, asking:
- What are the company’s external recruitment objectives?
- Who is the mobile talent target?
- How does the talent target use mobile today?
Talent managers can then determine how best to leverage mobile as a tool to connect with prospective employees. When used effectively, mobile recruitment isn’t a one-off tactic, it’s an integrated part of an overall talent acquisition strategy. Best-in-class talent managers are using mobile to seamlessly enhance social media recruitment efforts that are already underway.
For talent managers looking to incorporate mobile into their talent acquisition strategies, as well as to reach and stay connected with specific talent pools, here are several tactics to consider:
Expand the Visibility of the Employment Brand to the Talent
- Mobile optimize your site
- Place custom URLs or QR codes linking to relevant online content on collateral materials
- Enhance business cards with mobile connection points
Invest in Generating Connectivity with Talent Using the Company’s Mobile Platform
- Implement text (SMS) campaigns
- Create a “check application status” or “ask a recruiter” live-chat feature
- Develop an interactive career app
Enhance Reach to Target Specific Talent Pools
- Develop generation or job vacancy-specific outreach campaigns
- Conduct geolocation targeting to engage candidates in specific locations
- Use analytics to target candidates with the content they need, when they need it
Realizing the Power of Going Mobile
Many employers are already successfully moving towards mobile integration as a means to underscore overarching recruitment strategies. They are gaining momentum in the marketplace as they build and refine their mobile platforms to meet the demand of prospective candidates.
“Mobile devices and apps are no longer the ‘hot new craze’,” said China Gorman, CEO of Great Place to Work. “They have become a critical communications tool that forward-thinking HR leaders are using to reach both passive and active job seekers who are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to hunt for jobs or search for job-related information.”
Whether managing the recruitment function of a Fortune 500 company or a mid-size start-up, reaching candidates where they are is essential. With more and more candidates going mobile, it’s critical that HR and talent managers follow.