Mobile Recruiting And Candidate Experience

If there’s one thing I really, truly hate about using my smart phone, it’s when I go to look up some basic bit of information (should be easy enough), and get stuck playing a little game that I call “the mobile hokey pokey.” I’m pretty sure you’ve played it before; if you own a cell phone, then this should sound pretty familiar.

Here’s how this game goes (although since there seem to be no real rules, this might in fact be a misnomer).

You put your address in, you pull a shit site out, you squeeze and pinch the screen, and turn it all about. With the mobile hokey pokey, you want to scream and shout…this ain’t what it’s all about.

Remember to tip your waiters for that one. But seriously.

People use mobile for convenience, but for some reason, even in 2015, it’s often still a big pain in the ass, particularly since a surprising amount of sites seem to think “responsive design” means creating such a poor user experience that you can’t help but respond by being pretty pissed off and frustrated. These sites are about as anachronistic as that Hokey Pokey reference (you’re welcome).
But the thing is, I don’t have to do that dance; in fact, I steadfastly refuse to zoom in, then out, then have to quit and start over because my Google app directs me to some page that would take a 60 inch monitor to properly render. Rumors of “mobilegeddon,” turns out, were greatly exaggerated; I still waste a ton of time on sites that aren’t optimized for mobile, even after the April Google update to favor these sites in search results.

Mama ain’t got no time for that, y’all.

Seriously. Why do websites that don’t display on your standard smartphone even exist anymore?1 I could go through those boring ass stats, like “there are now more smartphones than toothbrushes,” or talk about the fact that people are using their phones to access the internet at a far greater clip than desktop users.

You want one of those posts, you’ve got a ton of options, so I won’t waste a ton of time making the business case for the fact that, yeah, mobile matters (and more so, every day).

Instead, just think about how you use your own smartphone. You probably go to sleep with it next to you, since you, like most people, probably use it as an alarm clock. It’s likely the first thing you check when you wake up in the morning, and the last thing you see before going to bed at night.

The ubiquity of smartphones define our existence; we’re no longer ever alone, since we’re always connected. We don’t even have to boot up our Macbooks or PCs to check Google; all we have to do when we have some random ass question or argument (like a recent disagreement i had with a friend over whether or not a starfish truly is a mammal or not) is hit a button and ask Siri.

Smartphones have created an expectation of information immediacy, that we can find the answers for any question we have at any time, from anywhere, really, in the world. That expectation is increasingly expanding from random ponderings to include our expectations around looking for and applying for a job, too.

And, in case you were wondering, no, a starfish isn’t a mammal. Thanks, Siri.

Missed Messages, Dropped Calls: Once Upon A Time In Mobile Recruiting…

OK, I know that title’s probably a little cheesy. Alright, it’s cheesy as shit. I can’t really help it, because the more I personally look at career sites these days on my own smartphone, the more I wonder why employers seem to be so dumb about the importance mobile plays in improving that “candidate experience” buzzword we all seem to be buzzing about. Because here’s the thing: mobile optimization and candidate experience, really, are two sides of the same coin.

Let me explain in a little greater detail. When we look at what a truly mobile candidate experience truly looks like, while many employers have already invested in optimizing career sites or building apps for candidates or even sending mobile job alerts or candidate updates via SMS, these solutions are disjointed and almost always only align with one part of the hiring process instead of providing mobile options and optimizations congruent with every stage in the candidate lifecycle and company recruitment process.

From researching an opportunity to onboarding, mobile must be an enterprise enablement rather than a disjointed point solution. Mobile isn’t a feature or function; it’s a mindset.I know most of you are thinking, “yeah, whatever. We’ve got mobile. I’m good.”

Bullshit. I mean, be honest. How many of you recruiters out there actually believe you could get a candidate through the entire application, interviewing, offer and onboarding process using just their smartphones or mobile devices?

Every time I ask this question to a room of recruiters (as I’ve done several times), I get, at most, 10% of the people in the room agreeing with this statement, and the fact is, those 10% are likely misled, overconfident or just ignorant about their own mobile apply capabilities. This makes sense, considering what a paucity have actually audited their own application processes on a smartphone.

If you haven’t done so, I suggest giving it a try as soon as possible – you’re likely going to be surprised at just how immobile your “mobile recruiting” solutions truly are. That is, if you’re in the minority of employers who have any sort of mobile optimization at all – most don’t, yet, which is ridiculous.

It’s 2015, people. And considering the paucity of qualified candidates, coupled with the huge sums employers are spending on driving applicants through recruitment advertising and employer branding, it’s unbelievable that so many employers are driving away so many potential hires simply by not providing them a way to view or apply for jobs on the same devices that they, like most consumers, are most likely accessing online information with.

Considering that just over 50% of candidates drop off at some point between starting and finishing their application, avoiding mobile optimization is the quickest way to ensure a reduced recruiting ROI on your current talent acquisition spend (and reduce your candidate flow into a comparative trickle, too). If you’re not asking for mobile recruiting solutions, you’re asking for trouble. Period.

As bad as the current state of mobile recruiting might be, though, there are some even scarier issues emerging on the horizon. I know, this is hard to believe, but if you think it’s bad now, unless we make some major changes as an industry, it’s about to get way worse.

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Kat Kibben View All →

Kat Kibben [they/them] is a keynote speaker, writing expert, and LGBTQIA+ advocate who teaches hiring teams how to write inclusive job postings that will get the right person to apply faster.

Before founding Three Ears Media, Katrina was a CMO, Technical Copywriter, and Managing Editor for leading companies like Monster,, and Randstad Worldwide. With 15+ years of recruitment marketing and training experience, Katrina knows how to turn talented recruiting teams into talented writers who write for people, not about work.

Today, Katrina is frequently featured as an HR and recruiting expert in publications like The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. They’ve been named to numerous lists, including LinkedIn’s Top Voices in Job Search & Careers. When not speaking, writing, or training, you’ll find Katrina traveling the country in their van or spending some much needed downtime with the dogs that inspired the name Three Ears Media.

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