Mastering the art of social media utilization isn’t the only key to implementing an enviable mobile recruiting strategy. Factors such as external job boards, search engines, jobs page design and other communication channels can’t be ignored either. In order to thrive in what might be called the “mobile recruiting wild,” these elements must be addressed. In this post, I’ll present a survival guide for successfully incorporating additional external resources into your mobile recruiting strategy.
#1 – Your Resources
When it comes to utilizing tools other than social media in your mobile recruiting toolkit, you need to consider the mechanism(s) by which your job listings are publicized, as well as how your own job portal may impact your use of third party resources.
Posting Opportunities to External Job Boards
Time is an ultra-valuable commodity today. Job seekers, especially mobile users, quickly disengage from employer sites and job boards that don’t make it easy to navigate opportunities and submit employment applications. Likewise, busy HR administrators and recruiters don’t want to use hiring tools that make pushing jobs to external job boards time-consuming and tiresome.
To expedite the process for employers, some job boards offer a pared down version of screening questions and therefore a means for candidates to “apply” to an organization’s positions right on the job board, itself. However, with this job-board hosted application approach HR professionals may feel restricted in their ability to customize their employment application experience to the extent they wish. Nevertheless, this may be inconsequential if an employer only wishes to gather basic information at an early point in the screening process.
For employers that have more robust application needs and/or wish to push a position to a number of different external job boards, a mobile-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS) or human resources information system (HRIS) with a recruiting component may be a better solution. These types of solutions will allow you to build a job listing within the portal, and then easily push that listing to many different external job boards with minimal effort.
Moving to Mobile Responsive Web Design
Even though this chapter especially focuses on your relationship with external recruiting resources, don’t neglect the fact that your “owned” resources (i.e. your own corporate website and/or jobs portal) can impact the success of your external resource utilization. Specifically, if the pages on which you feature your organization’s job listings aren’t designed to be mobile responsive so that job seekers don’t have to pinch and zoom all over the place with their fingers, then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to reaping the benefits offered by third party hiring partners.
Job Boards Favor Responsive Design
Most major job boards already have mobile-friendly sites and/or smartphone applications that make it easy for job seekers to view positions advertised on their sites. If you choose to push your listing to any of these boards, then your listing will be visible to mobile job seekers, too. However, you may not realize that if your own careers page is not mobile responsive, then the listing position for your job on the external job boards may not be as favorable.
For example, many organizations elect to post their positions to Indeed.com; however, if the Indeed listing redirects job seekers to a careers page description on your own site that Indeed detects as not mobile responsive, then your listing will probably appear low in Indeed’s job listing search results compared to employers with responsive web design. As a result, your job listings will likely be noticed by fewer job seekers on Indeed. Additionally, when it is seen by job seekers it won’t be marked with the notable orange text “Apply from your phone” that serves as a signal to job seekers that it will be relatively painless to apply for the position. To get the coveted orange text on your job listings, you’ll need to either post your jobs directly on Indeed or use an applicant tracking system that is integrated with Indeed Apply.
Search Engines Reward Mobile Responsive Design
In April of 2015, the biggest search engine player, Google, officially started rewarding mobile-optimized web pages with more authority in its mobile search results. And while many job seekers will initiate a position search on an external job board, there are definitely individuals who prefer to begin a job seeking quest with a query on a search engine such as Google. In light of Google’s significant algorithm update, know that the chances of your job listings page and specific job description pages appearing in a prospective applicant’s search results will improve when your recruiting software is designed for the mobile user…so that it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device on which it is used.
RWD Benefits UX
While this nod to mobile dominance by Google certainly warrants the redesign of a static desktop careers page, be sure and consider the applicant user experience (UX) when executing the site rebrand with responsive web design (RWD) principles. Images and text should be spaced appropriately when viewing the site from a smartphone, tablet and laptop/desktop; but, the mobile devices should also feature a menu icon with collapsed links that mirror the navigation experience from a desktop.
An enhanced user experience will mean it’s easy for job seekers to navigate to different pages of the jobs portal, submit a complete employment application, share the opportunity on social media and/or subscribe to future job alerts via email and/or text message.
#2 – Your Strategy
The overall talent acquisition strategy your organization chooses to use will obviously influence the methods you employ in your mobile recruiting efforts. Your approach to connecting with candidates, as well as the budget available for recruitment spending are critical factors for consideration.
Push vs. Pull Candidate Connections
Which scenario best describes the approach you take when it comes to sourcing talent for your entire organization: push or pull? Does your answer change if you ask the same question for specific job categories within your business?
The Job-Centric Push
A common approach among corporate talent acquisition specialists is to focus on open job requisitions that need to be filled immediately. This job-centric activity involves pushing details about specific job listings to the job seeker community. The intent is often just-in-time-focused and can be aided by recruiting tools such as
- automatic job alert push notifications,
- responsive web design to aid job description discovery by job seekers via search engine results,
- and the ability to pool candidates for future database search since they won’t always be hired for the initial position to which they apply.
The Headhunting Pull
Prevalent in the agency recruiting space, when recruiters proactively seek out talented candidates but not necessarily for a specific position, they are in “pull” mode. Organizations utilizing this approach will make the most of tools such as
- third party job boards with apps allowing resume database searches;
- social media networks that allow frequent connections with unknown contacts (for example, LinkedIn Recruiter);
- and, staffing agency-focused recruiting software platforms that make it easy to pull or “inhale” resumes and general applications into the platform.
There’s no shortage of places for human resource professionals to spend money on advertising job postings. What works for one employer may fail miserably for another company. Here are some quick suggestions on how to prioritize your recruitment budget spending based on the needs and reputation of your organization.
Site Design First
If your job description web pages aren’t already mobile responsive, then spend money on a site redesign first. Or, if you use an applicant tracking system to manage your job listings, then work with an ATS partner that has a software platform already built using responsive web design.
Optimize Job Descriptions for Organic Search
While re-writing your job descriptions and job titles to be keyword-relevant may not result in a hard cost, it will take your HR staff time…and time is money. However, if your recruiting budget is restrictive or virtually non-existent, then attention paid to job description elements such as job titles, description headers, meta descriptions and interactive content will put you in a better position for organic (i.e. unpaid or unsponsored) search success.
Traditionally, many recruiting budgets have had a significant portion of dollars allocated to paying external job boards to feature specific job listings. While employers will surely continue to take advantage of external job board listings on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice; and, sponsored jobs on otherwise “free” job board aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired, other paid options are available.
Small- to mid-sized employers who have not ventured beyond traditional job boards yet may also consider sponsored social messaging, or paid search and display ads through behavioral ad networks such as Google AdWords. For example, if you discover that you have a large number of applicants viewing a specific job listing but then failing to apply for it, that job description page could be a good option for a display remarketing ad. With this approach, the job seekers who visited your page would then see text and/or display ads redirecting them back to your job description page as they view other websites that are a part of the Google Display Network.
#3 – Your Compromises
As your organization adjusts to a mobile-first mentality, it won’t come without compromise. However, considering some of the potential changes before they are in your lap will better prepare you to realign your expectations for what effective recruiting looks like with mobile technology as a driving force.
Employment Application Brevity
If your applicant tracking system utilizes integrations such as Indeed Apply and Apply with LinkedIn, then you’ll find that applications from those sources may have less robust information because the candidate hasn’t customized all of his information especially for your application. Additionally, even with a mobile-optimized employment application, mobile users are less likely to spend as much time typing answers to your screening-focused essay questions than they would on a desktop or laptop.
Compliance Reporting Conflict
If your business is a federal contractor or subcontractor subject to Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) reporting, than be sure and understand how your mobile implementation plans could affect your ability to capture key applicant information at the appropriate stage. For example, you should double check whether the mobile integrations you use will allow you to offer applicants the ability to self-identify veteran and disability information per VEVRAA and Section 503 requirements before an application is marked complete.
Candidate Communication Preferences
We live in a society of people with increasingly shorter attention spans. By making the job search and application process a better, faster experience for mobile users, you can expect to improve the time to fill metric for your organization. However, be prepared to field inquiries from job applicants about the status of their application earlier in the process and perhaps more frequently, too. Look for hiring software that allows you to easily and quickly communicate candidate status to individuals — either via email templates with personalization strings or an automatic external status that displays to candidates once they login to an application profile.
#4 – Your Compass
Any Discovery Channel survival show worth its salt teaches you that to survive in the wild you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’ve been and then find the path with the best chance of leading you in the right direction. Likewise, to improve the outcome of your mobile recruiting activities, you need to evaluate progress and then forge ahead with the tactics that yield the best results.
Spend some time setting up a spreadsheet or reporting interface that allows you to easily monitor the impact of your mobile-minded improvements on your recruiting process. If you use an applicant tracking system, this may already be available to you. Build upon overall recruiting key performance indicators (that you hopefully already have in place) by looking at the ratio of mobile applicants to mobile job site visitors compared to the same ratio for non-mobile users, as a start. Dig deep in your hiring analytics to look for irregularities, unexpected changes and notable trends. Then take action to improve your activities as a result of your insights.