Mobile is Free
Have you noticed that all of the heavy breathing and evangelism isn’t working in mobile? My research suggests that 11 of the Fortune 50 have usable mobile recruiting tools and that about 10% of the fortune 500 have done anything at all. My committed pals (most of whom are consultants) beat the drum loudly. It doesn’t seem to increase the adoption rate.
Mobile recruiting is a bad idea in most of the cases where organizations spend money on that kind of thing. It doesn’t work and is more expensive than the alternatives. I hear that the cost per hire using mobile exceeds job board averages by $600 to $1,000.
While I’m bullish on the long term prospects for mobile, it’s at least three to five years away. Those figures of 10% adoption? Why, they are exactly the limits of the early adopter category.
Early adopters see risk very differently from other adopters. They go first because competitive value accrues to people who do. You can’t produce a spreadsheet-able ROI calculation when it’s an early adopter phase.
Mobile has a place today in the hourly world. Companies like PeopleMatter are figuring out shrewd approaches to mobile scheduling and job application. It works in a world that can be managed as text messages.
Mobile separates fast work from slow.
That means that there are serious limitations to what can be done with mobile recruiting today. Ultimately, the consumer side of the equation will look like a tool that filters the crap that a job hunter is exposed to while directing her towards the most beneficial job spam. For recruiters, mobile will ultimately be a place where algorithm driven decisions are approved.
The work between here and there involves collecting enough data to make currently slow decisions into fast ones. The current crop of mobile initiatives are all about surface issues. The work of making mobile actually produce value involves a good deal of heavy lifting.
Today’s mobile recruiting advocates get their panties in a bunch over the idea of ‘mobile apply’. For the initiated, that’s code for the fact that you can’t actually apply for a job on your phone yet (in most cases). An army of competing entrepreneurs are hot on that task.
Because there are so many competitors, it’s just a matter of time before the mobile function becomes a give away. It’s likely to happen before this year’s HRTech. Some well funded startup will drop its price to $0 and everyone who wants to stay in the market will have to follow suit.
And then we’ll discover that the problem isn’t really mobile apply after all. Removing that obstacle will show us evermore clearly that mobile recruiting is just one more rectangle. (Unless you want to add real value)
I write using an HTML generator called Dreamweaver. At the bottom of the work window are three rectangles. You click on them to see how your content looks on a variety of platforms. Mobile is one of the choices.
That means if I want to care about it, I have tools that will make my content mobile-friendly. There is no difference between mobile and not- mobile. In other words, creating content for mobile is not different from creating it for a desktop. You already can do both without any extra effort.
This is what they mean by responsive design. It’s a content design that works well on all screen sizes. It doesn’t cost more than a regular design.
The real bugaboo in mobile design is traffic acquisition. You can make it look pretty but it’s useless without traffic.
Nobody just goes to your mobile site. You have to acquire the traffic and persuade it to go where you want it to.
This is where all of the expense in both mobile and social really lies. The cost of traffic acquisition (which is buried in the cost of a job posting on job boards) is way higher when you’re an individual buyer (and not a job board). Learning how to acquire and segment traffic is very far beyond the current work practices of recruiters.
The traffic isn’t free, it’s expensive.
The other stuff in mobile is basically free.
John Sumser is the founder, principal author and editor-in-chief of the HRExaminer Online Magazine. John explores the people, technology, ideas and careers of senior leaders in Human Resources and Human Capital. John is the also principal of Two Color Hat where he routinely advises Human Resources, Recruiting Departments and Talent Management teams with product analysis, market segmentation, positioning, strategy and branding guidance.