The latest thinking, news and events from the world of Recruitment

The Future of Mobile Recruitment

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I have worked in recruitment marketing for the best part of 15 years and during this time, our industry has changed and developed at a faster pace than at any other time in its history.

From the birth of online recruitment in the early 1990s which paved the way for recruiters and employers to target those in the market and on the market, to the use of mobile technology as a primary search tool by candidates, you have – as recruiters – become more efficient and equally more effective in how you search & select candidates and deliver an improved service for clients.

Over the last 12 months I have been watching the mobile market with great anticipation. Suppliers in this space have increased ten-fold. There are some great mobile solutions on offer and even more arriving from the US and as one who runs a digital agency, I have had the pleasure of road testing most. If any TEAM members or suppliers have uncertainties about mobile, feel free to get in touch.

The use of mobile as part of the recruitment process is gaining momentum and it was this that formed the central topic of our recent debate on www.recruitmentbuzz.co.uk.

The panel included Stephen O’Donnell, Founder and MD of PC Evaluate and perhaps best known to many for  his role in running the National Online Recruitment Awards (NORAs); Alan Whitford, Managing Partner of Abtech Partnership; Lee Biggins, Founder and MD of one of the UK’s leading online recruitment websites, CV Library; Mike Taylor, Founder of Web based Recruitment; Ian Knowlson, Managing Director of Selling Success; Mike Gorshkov, Director of Linea Resourcing; Tony Restell, Founder of Social-Hire; Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt, Former Director of Employment Branding Monsanto; Dave Martin, Co-Founder of Pocket Recruit and one of the pioneers of mobile recruitment; and two major influencers in our market Liz Longman, Managing Director of TEAM and Ann Swain, CEO of APSCO.

During the discussion, we touched on where mobile recruitment has come from, where it is now and where it is going. But kick-starting the debate was the assertion by Alan Whitford that the “future of mobile in recruitment is now”. He made the point that tomorrow’s technology is already here today and the figures we see regarding the increased use in smart phones by job seekers very clearly supports this.

Indeed, many of us will be familiar with the report from Google earlier this year which showed that 1 in 5 of all jobs searches are carried out on a mobile device – impressive yes, but some of the figures being reported by UK-based job boards are even more spectacular. Mike Taylor pointed out that two of the leading careers portals – Jobsite and CV-Library – each claim that 30% of all their traffic comes from mobile devices. These figures, according to Taylor, will only get bigger and this led Ian Knowlson to pose the question, ‘Will this alter the way that we as recruiters engage with clients, applicants and non-permanent workers alike?’ In short, yes.

Knowlson went on to state that 70% of searches made via a mobile device lead to action within 60 minutes. In other words, mobile serves to quench the users’ thirst for instantaneous action. To illustrate his point, Knowlson said that ‘as people, when we are subjected to our boss reprimanding us unfairly, previously we had to wait till we got home to react. Now we go to the bathroom and can search for jobs and register our interest.’ Lee Biggins agreed. He said that mobile innovation can no longer be ignored ‘especially within the online recruitment industry where candidates and recruiters continually require instant and easy access to a pool of jobs or CVs.’

But it’s not just the job boards benefitting from increased traffic volumes; recruiters are also seeing a surge in visitor numbers.

Mike Gorshkov stated that 1 in 4 of all visitors to Linea Resourcing’s website now come from a mobile or tablet device, with this figure set to rise if industry projections are realised, as mobile internet usage overtakes desktop internet usage by the end of 2014. However, not everyone is sold on idea of mobile.

Tony Restell suggested that it may take as much as a decade for mobile to become fully ingrained in the psyche. He argued that while getting to grips with this technology in the short term will enable organisations to gain a competitive advantage over the long term, the very fact that only 13% of the world’s top companies have invested in having a careers section of their website which is fully optimised for mobile suggests that it has some way to go before it ‘proves’ itself a tour de force.

Restell added that as long as companies can continue to successfully fill their vacancies at an acceptable cost-per-hire, ‘there’s no compelling reason forcing them to change their careers pages… or to adapt to the needs of mobile users.’ But is this sentiment reminiscent of the skepticism which permeated the industry when job boards first came onto the scene?

Johnny Torrance-Nesbitt echoed Restell’s somewhat reserved stance on the impact mobile is having on the recruitment industry and argued that mobile certainly has some way to go. He suggested that as mobile devices are fast becoming the primary tool for workplace communication, employers need to work harder to format their career sites and enable candidates to quickly view information and apply for jobs.

So is mobile a passing fad, does it have a future? Although our discussion didn’t evolve into a resounding chorus of overwhelming support about the impact of mobile recruiting in the here and now, there was consensus of opinion over the increasingly influential role it will play over the coming years. As Dave Martin noted in his concluding remarks, ‘Three years ago the main question from recruiters was “Why would I go mobile”. Today the key question is “How do I go mobile?” He added: ‘Talent is already on the mobile web and recruiters simply need to open the doors!’

Mobile is not only the future, it’s also the here and now and those recruiters who embrace its technology now will be the ones who gain the competitive advantage as the war for talent continues to hot up.