HRExaminer v3.20 May 18, 2012
Table of Contents
A mobile device is not an inferior younger sibling of the Internet. It is a media platform in and of itself. Much as the media types that preceded it, mobile technology transforms everything it touches. Mobile technology reduces friction, shifts time and modifies location.
As Marc Andreesson, founder of Netscape and noted investor, says,
“Software is eating the world. More and more major businesses and industries are being run on software and delivered as online services—from movies to agriculture to national defense. Many of the winners are Silicon Valley-style entrepreneurial technology companies that are invading and overturning established industry structures. …
Why is this happening now?
Six decades into the computer revolution, four decades since the invention of the microprocessor, and two decades into the rise of the modern Internet, all of the technology required to transform industries through software finally works and can be widely delivered at global scale.
Over two billion people now use the broadband Internet, up from perhaps 50 million a decade ago, when I was at Netscape, the company I co-founded. …I expect at least five billion people worldwide to own smartphones, giving every individual .. instant access to the full power of the Internet, every moment of every day.”
Wall Street Journal
The explosive growth of mobile technology is changing everything it touches. Increasingly the vanguard of the software revolution revolves around mobile devices. As they bring the broadband internet into every nook and cranny of human experience, they transform and disrupt.
Shackled with legacy tools, techniques and world views, Recruiting departments struggle to apply the lessons of the internet (reduced friction, decentralization, democratic communications, personalization, transparency and search). Meanwhile, the workforce is immersed in these factors in the rest of their lives. The combination of technology and workforce expectations will drive the coming changes.
Mobile Stats (2 of 5)
Mobile is not the future, it’s the present. Take a walk through these statistics:
- Every economically viable human being on the planet owns a mobile device. (TomiAhonen)
- 73% of Americans use their mobile devices to text and take pictures, 44% to access the internet, and 38% to send/receive email. (Pew Internet & American Life Project)
- Half of all American adults use a smartphone (Pew)
- U.S. citizens will use the mobile networks to access the Internet more than wireline networks by 2015 (IDC’s Worldwide New Media Market Model)
- By the end of this year, there could be more smartphones on the planet than humans, and by 2016 there could be 10 billion smartphones. That’s 1.4 mobile devices per capita.(Mashable)
- 40% of cell owners said they found themselves in an emergency situation in which having their phone with them helped.(Pew)
- 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile device within reach 24/7. Mobile devices replace wristwatches and alarm clocks. (Fiddlefly)
- It takes 1.5 hours for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message. (CTIA.org)
- Half of all adult cell owners (51%) had used their phone at least once to get information they needed right away. (Pew)
- The growth of the iPhone is 10 times faster than the growth of America Online. (Nielsen)
- In the 25-34 age range smartphone ownership is 62%. In Q3, 2011, smartphone sales reached 59% of handsets. (NPD Group)
- In many countries, including the US, mobile market penetration exceeds 100%. Significant numbers of people carry multiple devices. (Mobile Marketing Association, CTIA.org)
- 73% of American cell phone users send and receive text messages. The typical user sends and receives 10 messages. (Pew)
- 70% of all mobile searches result in action within 1 hour. (Mobile Marketer)
- It takes 26 hours for the average person to report a lost wallet. It takes 68 minutes for them to report a lost phone. (Wired)
- 30% of all American households are wireless only. They no longer use land lines. (CTIA.org)
- 50% of all cell phone owners have an app on their phone. (Pew)
While these numbers describe an increasingly mobile planet, they say little about the risks, opportunities and rewards associated with taking recruiting mobile. Evangelists offer heavy breathing and lots of arm waving. But, to date there are no role models or success stories in the world of mobile recruiting.
No Compelling Mobile Recruiting From The Usual Suspects
If you scan the web for information about mobile recruiting, what you find is a rehashing of these basic statistics. Indeed, software is eating the world and mobile technology is spreading faster than kudzu in America’s cropland. Still, no real model for the deployment of mobile technology in talent acquisition has emerged. While enthusiasts engage in cheerleading, sensible use cases seem to be a form of science fiction
Like early early experiments on the world wide web, most mobile recruiting experiments are attempts to mold existing business structures to the new media. The first job boards were long lists of job openings. Search, the single largest characteristic of web technology, did not make its appearance for many years.
As a mass media in its own right, mobile technology is most suited for handling quick, simple and repeatable tasks like scrolling through and checking off lists, setting appointments, publishing and consuming short email and other forms of message, indicating pleasure and displeasure, finding and connecting with local services, documenting and logging expenses, getting and following directions and progress monitoring.
As a result, the initial impact of mobile integration will be to start to cleave recruiting workflow into two major pieces: the quick and convenient and the thoughtful and deliberative. Expanded workflow flexibility will come from process redesign rather than the current strategy of overlaying mobile functionality on existing workflow.
Much of Recruiting workflow is broken. Employment website integration with the Applicant Tracking System creates a disjointed and badly designed experience for the company and the candidate. Heavy investment in Employment Brand is destroyed when a candidate leaves the well designed company website and heads into the ATS ghetto. Attempts to paint the company in a positive light are sabotaged by clumsy search results and ineffective process integration. The situation is so extreme that third party organizations devoted to championing the candidate’s right to a respectful process are gaining rapid traction.
Building a Mobile Strategy: 4 Key things to consider
The best time to start developing your mobile strategy is right now. The degree of fervor you apply to rolling out the change process should take a number of things into account. The right approach for your team and your organization is probably not a cookie cutter version of someone else’s project. Cautious timing reduces both risk and benefit.
- Are you trying to recruit from the dominant mobile demographics?
Just as you’d expect, the demographics of heavy mobile users skews towards a younger crowd. Sophisticated mobile usage is correlated with age. It’s more important to deploy mobile tools if that’s how your audience wants to communicate.
- How critical is your Recruiting need?
If your current approach to Recruiting is providing acceptable levels of quality and quantity, you may want to consider waiting. The over riding principle here is the expense or benefit to your Employment Brand. Adoption is necessary of you want to avoid being pigeonholed as stodgy.
- How comfortable is your organization with risk?
Technology adoption simultaneously rewards and punishes early adopters. When you are among the first organizations to deploy new tools and they work, the result is significant competitive differentiation. However, lots of false starts and public mistakes are often the price of being first.
- What does your current mobile traffic look like and how fast is it growing?
To the extent that you already have mobile visitors to yourt employment site, you are suffering brand erosion. Get a hold of the web logs and come to grips with the realities of your exposure.
Defining Your Goals
Running off and launching a mobile recruiting process without a framework of goals and objectives is career suicide. Unlike social media, which are discrete communications channels, mobile is a new mass media form. It is inevitable that this new medium will transform your enterprise just like earlier mass media. Deciding to get on board is a question of when, not whether.
Here are the questions you should consider when establishing the goals for your mobile recruiting program:
- What percentage of applicants do you expect will apply on mobile devices?
- Which mobile platforms will you support?
- Optimized mobile career site, native app or a combination of the two?
- Where does the jobs data come from?
- How can you keep job searching simple?
- How quickly do you need to get your program in place?
- Can you experiment or do you need to see best practices?
- What is your budget? What can you reasonably accomplish with the funds?
- Will you accept LinkedIn profiles and other resume alternatives?
- Which of your jobs are suitable for mobile recruiting?
- Will you pilot in a single area, roll out to the entire enterprise or a combination of the two?
- Will your mobile project be part of a larger rethinking of Recruiting workflow?
- How will you maintain and strengthen relationships with candidates once they have submitted their credentials?
- Do you want to offer job alerts and other content to your mobile audience?
- What kinds of content will you provide?
7 Action Steps you should take right now
Becoming effective with mobile recruiting is an ongoing process. Mobile devices are an entirely new class of mass media and are evolving at an extremely rapid pace. While there is no substitute for having a focused partner who keeps you up to speed, basic sustainability will require that you become a student of mobile recruiting.
Here’s how to get started:
- Start collecting and analyzing your employment website’s traffic. Evaluate it weekly. Look for trends in platforms, mobile traffic as a percentage of overall traffic, geographies.
- Identify mobile recruiting approaches from competitors and trend setters. Which of them look right for you?
- Become a student of mobile trends. Watch the people around you and the way that they use their mobile devices. Take notes.
- Ask candidates, during interviews, what they think about applying with a mobile device. Keep a log of the data and discuss with your team on a routine basis.
- Set up a Google alert for ‘mobile recruiting’ and monitor it every day.
- Start thinking about which components of your recruiting process require slow or deliberative decision making and which can be done quickly and conveniently.
- Identify your worst recruiting hangups (and those of your applicants). Keep a list. Mobile will give you the opportunity and the motive to straighten them out.