By Monica Mehta
Sheryl, a highly skilled software engineer with several years of experience in Silicon Valley, waits in line at the coffee shop, checking her e-mail on her smartphone.
After staying up all night working on a project, she arrived in the office at 9:13 a.m. only to listen to her boss yell at her for the umpteenth time about coming in late.
She sees she has received yet another e-mail from a recruiter who has been contacting her for months. This time, instead of pressing Delete, she decides to follow a link the recruiter provides. By the time she gets her coffee, Sheryl has decided she likes the look and feel of the recruiting company's career site, has determined that the job suggested may be a great fit for her, and has started the application process.
Sheryl is not an anomaly. Nine out of ten job seekers say they're likely to use a mobile device during their job search, and 45% of job seekers use their mobile device to search for jobs at least once a day, according to a 2014 Glassdoor survey.
Mobile Is Most Popular Platform
This is in line with the general skyrocketing of digital media consumption on mobile devices. According to comScore, over the past four years, mobile has overtaken desktop as the most-used digital platform in the US.
"Smartphone usage is up 394%, and tablet usage is up a whopping 1,721% as these platforms now combine to account for 60% of digital media time spent," writes Kate Dreyer in a comScore blog post.
Pair this information with Google's recent move to update its algorithms so that a site's ?mobile-friendliness? determines how high it appears in search results, and the takeaway is clear: If your recruiting site isn't optimized for mobile, you're getting left behind in the hunt for talent.
"It's critical that you have an experience for the potential job candidate that's built for a mobile device--the interface, the messaging, the content?so that it all isn't lost in a clunky experience," says Jeff Haynes, Oracle vice president of HCM transformation.
If someone's experience with your company is bad within the first ten seconds, what kind of an impression does that leave with them in terms of what it's going to be like working for your company?
Millennials Expect Mobile Optimization
Much of the increase in mobile device usage is attributed to millennials. An estimated 21% of this demographic no longer use desktop computers to go online, according to comScore. After growing up cyberliterate, they expect a high level of usability and ease in their interactions with businesses.
This group, born between the early 1980s and the early 2000s, makes up 30% of the workforce. In 10 years, it will make up 75%. Obviously, companies must optimize not only their recruiting websites, but all of their recruiting processes, so that they're mobile-friendly.
Haynes offered an example of a company at a college job fair, vetting potential job candidates. Traditionally, the hiring manager would take the paper candidate's resume, or point her to the company website to submit an application.
Now, however, more savvy companies might have a poster with a QR code. By scanning the code on her mobile device, the candidate can immediately launch into the application process.
"To us, that's a more modern job application process. To a 22-year-old, that's the experience that she's expecting, and it is a critical step in recruiting top talent," says Haynes. "If company A requires me to come back later to a website, and company B enables me to immediately launch in with my handheld device, who am I going to be more attracted to?"
Meanwhile, by the time she gets home that evening, Sheryl has already received a reply from the recruiter asking when she's available for a first interview.