The Future Of Mobile Recruitment: implications (part 2)

In four articles I’ll describe the developments in mobile recruitment. In Part 1 the explosion of mobile internet in the coming years and the evolution of online recruitment to mobile was discussed. The implications of mobile devices and the required actions for HR / Recruitment Managers are being described in this article.

A mobile device such as smartphone or tablet typically has:

1.     Mobile internet

2.     Small Screen

3.     Location determination (GPS)

4.     Camera

What are the opportunities and challenges of recruitment of this? Let’s have a look at the impact and actions that are required.

1. Mobile internet; people are always online


Information must be adapted for mobile devices to your target group to keep serving them. More and more users will become accustomed to ordering products through their smartphone (now 10%) and the recruitment industry can not stay behind. You should be there where your candidates are.

Tip: Examine the visitor trends in site traffic to your career site to better understand mobile internet usage.

Picture: website statistics of mobile users


2. Small screen


Mobile devices have in common that they have small(er) screens, low-speed internet access, no multitasking, interoperability issues and limited navigation (no mouse) possibilities. For all these reasons, a “regular” Web site is not sufficient anymore.

Mobile applications or mobile web sites ( are essential to provide the mobile user with information that suit these needs and circumstances. But experts are strongly divided on the chosen strategy. Do you choose a mobile applications or a mobile web site? Since both solutions have specific advantages and disadvantages, I consider it unwise to choose only one solution. Let me elaborate on this further.

Advantages and disadvantages of a mobile website:

PROS: Provides a greater reach than downloadable applications. A mobile-optimized site is not affected by the fragmentation of App Stores and many different mobile operating systems. It is easier to find through search engines (mobile search) and you are independent of the vagaries of the app-store owners who may decide to refuse or remove an App.

CONS: Functionality is limited and one should take into account the extremely wide range of screen resolutions.

Advantages and disadvantages of mobile applications (App):

PROS: Mobile applications are very popular and offer a richer product-specific experience that takes into account the specific nature of the mobile device, the unique interface or the way users interact with these devices. The speed is higher because the graphic elements are already installed in the app and only the content needs to be loaded. Moreover, which is important for employer branding, you conquer a spot in the pocket of your audience who are just a click away from direct interaction.

CONS: Each system has its own App Store (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, WP7, Ovi). The developments go fast and the smartphone market is a diffuse network.

Having said this, this is all theory. More important is how this works in practice. I personally have a strong preference to read news via an App and rarely visit a (mobile) website. Whether it be with my iPhone or my iPad makes no difference. For example, the Mashable App is much faster, easier to use and better to read than their website.

One of the leading news sites in The Netherlands, The Dutch Telegraph (Telegraaf), also prefers a mobile app suite because “because of its greater speed and convenience appear to visitors via an app relatively more news articles to read on a mobile site”. They offer an app for virtually any smartphone to readers.

Here’s another example. Have a look at the OTYS App in the iTunes Store or Android Market. All information is organized into five tabs; the latest vacancies, events, videos, #OTYS tweets on Twitter and a Facebook feed. Instead of 4-5 different websites to visit, all the information is available with one click. That’s the speed and convenience a mobile user is looking for!

The pros and cons between the two different solutions will fade away with HTML5 and other techniques in the future.

However, mobile technology is changing almost every six months so developing a long-term strategy is almost impossible. What is certaing is that you need at least one mobile solution. Waiting is not an option because you are running hopelessly behind on all the interesting new developments.

3. Location based services (LBS)

Impact: Low.

Besides some useful search tools for local jobs and geo-targeting of candidates, I don’t expect that location based services will make a great impact on recruiting. Marketers look with interest at Location based services for certain services because it certainly can add value. If you are looking for houses in a particular neighbourhood (with an AR Layer) or special offers of a shop nearby.

Savvy sourcers will make use of public information, available via applications such as FourSquare, where some employees are located or check. But it is not the killer application where jobseekers and recruiters are waiting for.

Picture: Canon Europe on Foursquare


4. Cameras, front or back

Impact: Low.

Video interviewing with a web camera was never popular in the desktop PC era so it is unrealistic that mobile devices are going to change this. But the good thing as that you will no longer depend on the IT organization to facilitate this because the possibilities are already abundantly present in the new generation of smartphones and tablets (IPAD2, Samsung Galaxy).

QR codes and similar newer techniques will slowly become more popular and used but who’s still advertising jobs in print? It’s a nice addition to your business card or recruitment brochure. Augmented Reality then? Ditto, although you can make great advertising campaigns with it!

© 2011 Jacco Valkenburg

About Jacco Valkenburg

Jacco Valkenburg is an international recruitment expert, trainer and author (5 books). He has more than 20 years experience in global recruitment strategies and execution spanning numerous countries for leading companies. As founder of Recruiter University and Recruit2 he provides companies with recruitment training and consultancy. His mission is helping companies ‘from good to great staffing’.