Social and Mobile

November 21, 2012 7:21 pm Published by Bill Boorman

A couple of weeks ago I posted how social has become mobile, based purely on the data of the % of updates that get posted to all of the social channels via a mobile device. This has a big impact on recruiting because, if the visitors are clicking on a link via a mobile device, then they are going to expect to go to a mobile-optimized environment. This means building all websites and social places for mobile first, and desktop second—and that means the whole experience including application.

The data right now shows that applicants store jobs found through browsing in the downtimes during the day and apply in the evening from a desktop. The indication is that browsing and searching is a mobile experience, where as applying is a desktop experience. The question that we have to ask is if this pattern of behaviour occurs because it is what the job-seekers want, or if it is because this is what they are restricted to doing by technology and process. My own feeling is that the answer is very much the latter.

Let’s consider what a mobile recruiting experience should or could be, and how this changes recruitment process. The big sticking point is the requirement by many companies for a cover letter with an application. This makes very little sense to me. Firstly, many recruiters place very little importance on the cover letter (particularly when recruiting for technical positions), and the resume often ends up in the applicant tracking system anyway.

Cover letters prevent applying for jobs on mobile for obvious reasons. It is worth considering and tracking how many people actually apply out of those who bookmark your jobs. My experience is that only about 40% of applicants actually go through with the application, and there is a distinct drop in quality of application when you put in this barrier. Less people, less quality.

Two important stats that are worth noting in this discussion is that 70% of e-mail is opened on a mobile device, with AppleMail being by far the most popular mail channel this year, and 60% of Google searches are conducted on a mobile device in some countries. Now we know that Google is by far the most dominant search channel, but this gets me thinking that it is not just a case of social being mobile, but more the web being mobile.

Mobile should not be a talking point any more. We should always be building for mobile, with desktop being the default option. All e-mails should be written for mobile, and that means shorter content, with all links going to a mobile-optimized site. The discussion then is the best mobile strategy: responsive web design, a dedicated mobile site for each device, and asking if mobile applications are essential or just useful. I will be discussing this in my next post in the mobile series for Work4.

What is worth thinking about as a strategy in relation to this is that through Facebook, sponsored posts can be targeted to specific device types, and if this links to an mobile site or app built for the device type, then you can offer a totally optimized experience for the users end to end. This might sound expensive but when you consider the volume of users coming via mobile, it makes a lot of sense to create device specific channels. The other consideration in this must be that up to 60% of Google searches come via a mobile device, and mobile search results give preference to sites optimized for the device. The results you get on a desktop search will be very different to a mobile search, and in this way mobile optimization by device is very effective SEO.


This post was written by Bill Boorman

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