Use of mobile device for job search grows among applicants, employers

Remember the "good ol’ days"? You know, the days where you really only had one way to find the perfect job, or any job for that matter. Sure, you could ask a friend of a friend, but the tried and true way was to use the local newspaper.

We all know the drill; you sit down at the kitchen table with your Sunday paper, a red Sharpie marker, along with a freshly brewed pot of coffee and start your career search. After you had completely gone through the selection of available jobs, you go update your resume and start dialing all those prospective employers.

After several long hours and a few unproductive calls, which didn’t go the way you expected them to, you get an interview.

The process an employer went through to fill a position was just as daunting. As a prospective employer preparing to make your trip to the local newspaper to place your ad, there were several steps you had to go through. After all, the main objective was to write a compelling employment ad stating why you were the absolute best company to work for, while still keeping the number of lines you use in your classified ad to a minimum. How hard could it be with all those great acronyms at your disposal like FT/PT, DOE and, my personal favorite, EVES? Now that you have your perfect ad maximizing the minimal amount of space you’re ready for the phone calls to start pouring in.

Times have changed and the digital age has forced both job seekers and employers to take a second look at the way they are approaching the job/employee search. With the rise of social media and mobile dependency, employers are being pushed into the unfamiliar and often overwhelming waters of digital recruiting.

The process of recruiting a qualified candidate online through your local newspaper website has been around for several years; then we saw the onset of specialty employments sites such as Monster and CareerBuilder. The latest trend in digital recruiting is mobile recruiting. The recruitment section of the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s mobile website had an amazing 31,841 visitors alone in the month of November.

Although 41 percent of job seekers in Clark County still use the traditional newspaper method, according to Scarborough Research, the number of job seekers who use their mobile device for their job search is growing rapidly. While a few companies have mastered the art of mobile recruiting, many still find the concept far-fetched and confusing. The lack of information available to employers regarding how, when and why job seekers have chosen to gravitate towards mobile job search leaves many employers questioning whether they really need to invest in the latest mobile technology available to them.

People have become dependent on their mobile devices to manage their day-to-day lives. It stands to reason the dependency would carry over to their job search as well.

With a mobile device, job seekers are able to search for jobs in the areas where they are located at the time of the search by using geographic locating technology. This helps job seekers manage their time better by canvassing an area they are already in.

Mobile devices also allow the job seeker to react almost immediately to a job posting. It’s private and discreet, which helps them greatly when they are seeking to better themselves. One of the best features of mobile job search is the 24/7 access. No matter where job seekers are or what they are doing, they can always access the Internet on their mobile device.

Not only can job seekers search for jobs on their mobile devices, but with new technologies from companies such as AppVault, job seekers are also able to apply instantly on their mobile devices. This technology allows job seekers to upload the most recent version of their resumes into personal accounts they set up; then when they see a job posting they are interested in or qualified for, they simply log into the system and apply for the job.

This eliminates the need for the job seeker to save the listing and go back to it later when they have computer access. The ability to apply for a position on the go also helps employers by increasing the number of ways they are able to receive resumes and, in return, giving them more applicants from which to choose.

A study conducted by Potentialpark Communications in 2011 revealed that 19 percent of the 30,000 job seekers surveyed worldwide currently used their mobile device to search for jobs but that 50 percent of them could see themselves using this process. Even as high as that number is, the same survey found that only 7 percent of the 350 employers surveyed in the United States, Europe and Asia had mobile-enabled websites, and only 3 percent had a mobile job application. You may not think that reaching every one out of five job seekers is that important, but with the rate of mobile usage growing at a rapid pace, that number is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.

Now I bet you’re wondering exactly how job seekers use their mobile devices to search for jobs. The same study by Potentialpark Communications showed 57 percent of repondents regard job search as the most appealing mobile recruiting activity.

Here’s a look at how the Potentialpark survey respondents rated the key advantages of mobile recruiting:

n Search for jobs, 57 percent.

n Receive job alerts (receive new open positions by SMS/email), 51 percent.

n Track application status, 39 percent.

n Check calendar with career-related events, 39 percent.

n Read about the recruitment process, 39 percent.

n Look for tips and hints for a good application, 33 percent.

n Contact the recruitment team, 33 percent.

n Apply for jobs, 30 percent.

n Get updates based on my location, such as job ads, 30 percent.

n Email page to a friend, 16 percent.

n Share contents with friends on social networks and platforms, 1 percent

The mobile recruitment process isn’t limited to "traditional" mobile sites belonging to the local newspaper or job site. Mobile technology has completely torn down all of the walls which once dictated where people had to look for jobs and where employers had to look for applicants. Some of the newest trends in mobile job search involve the use of mobile applications (apps), quick reference (QR) codes, and social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Why do mobile apps work so well? Some mobile apps allow the job seeker to save all of his or her knowledge, skills and abilities in one place, and then the app sends the job seeker potential jobs matching those skills when the positions are posted, regardless of whether the job seeker is signed into the app at the moment or not. It’s possible for job seekers to not even be using their mobile devices at the time they receive the new job postings. Mobile apps help employers receive better prospects by matching jobs specifically to qualified candidates.

What in the world is a QR code? QR codes are another growing trend. QR codes that resemble very difficult crossword puzzles without any hints or clues can easily be "scanned" by job seekers with their mobile devices and saved for review later. Once scanned, the QR code can direct the job seeker to a mobile enabled landing page with the job position.

The largest benefit to the employer is the low cost and versatility of QR codes. They can be placed virtually anywhere from print ads to billboards, and the cost of the QR code and the landing page are often less expensive than traditional advertising. QR codes are also an innovative way to attract passive job seekers. A majority of people who scan a QR code do so only to see where it takes them.

Why social media? Every social media platform being used today is available in a mobile version. Active social media users check their accounts from their mobile devices more often than from desktop computers.

The appeal of social media is the ability to rapidly share information to a large group on people. With social media, if users see a job listing they aren’t interested in but have a friend who it would be "perfect" for, they can easily send that listing over to their friend and inadvertently share it with hundreds of other people at the same time.

The advantage of using social media as an employer is the low cost and the exclusivity. For example, if an employer places an available position on his or her Facebook page, he or she is going to be the only person posting a job there. Also, the people who would see the listing have already expressed an interest in that company by being associated with its Facebook.

So, now that you have the basics of why mobile recruiting is on the rise and why it’s so important for you as an employer to be actively recruiting using mobile technology, where do you begin? The first step is to make sure wherever you choose to start your mobile recruitment campaign that the site is mobile enhanced.

If the site is not set up to be viewed on a mobile device your success rate will fall dramatically. One key component of mobile recruiting is the ease of being able to do everything from the mobile device. A nonmobile site offers no ease at all.

Once you have your mobile site set up, you should experiment with several mobile platforms to deliver your job vacancy. What works best will depend on your business model, the position you are looking to fill and your target audience. Certain methods work better with certain audiences based on technological knowledge, mobile awareness and general education level.

If you are completely new to the digital world and your "mobile" phone is still in a bag in your car, work with your trusted advertising consultant and he or she will be happy to help you get started. The digital world is changing every day and the evolution can often leave people feeling like they can’t keep up and the process just isn’t worth it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from the ones who master the new rules and changing trends every day.

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