What is Mobile Recruiting & How to Use it Effectively

Female professional holding an iPhone and tapping on a professional on the screen

Mobile internet has grown 504% in daily media consumption since 2011. In 2019, internet use outpaced television viewership for the first time ever. When using their smartphones, consumers spend close to 90% of their time in apps.

The bottom line? Everyone is on their phones—a lot—and that includes the top-tier candidates you’re looking to hire. If you’re not implementing a mobile recruiting strategy, you’re behind the curve. Here, we’ll lay out the basics of mobile recruiting and share some creative ways to use it effectively to win top talent.

What is Mobile Recruiting?

First and foremost, mobile recruiting is the umbrella term for recruitment strategies that aim to attract, engage, and convert candidates via mobile device. If you’re one of the 82% of Americans who own a smartphone, you’re probably already well-versed in some of the most common mobile recruiting channels like job-posting sites and social media.

Traditionally, recruiters have relied on phone calls and emails to engage candidates, but those mediums come with limitations. With 90% of job seekers using their smartphone to hunt for their dream job (and 79% using social media), mobile recruiting represents a significant and growing opportunity for staffing professionals to connect with candidates.

What’s even more noteworthy is that candidates expect to be able to use their smartphones to easily find and apply for a job. One in five candidates drops off if the mobile application process requires them to click through more than two to three screens.

Yet even though almost all candidates use their mobile devices to look for jobs, many employers still haven’t embraced a mobile recruiting experience.

We use our phones for everything; from doing research to ordering products to looking up the nearest pizza place. Can you imagine if you were looking to book a hotel and they didn’t have a website? Most of us would immediately look elsewhere, concerned about the legitimacy or turned off by the inconvenience or both. So why would we expect candidates to act any differently?

If your recruiting process isn’t mobile-friendly—and not only that but engaging on mobile—don’t expect top prospects to stick around hunting for another way to apply.

Benefits of Mobile Recruiting

Now that we’ve established why mobile recruiting is such a necessity, let’s take a closer look at all the great things it can do for you.

It demonstrates that you’re up to date with technology

Having a clunky, outdated process for submitting applications can turn off candidates and hurt your image. A convenient and mobile-friendly application process contributes to a positive candidate experience.

Related: The Case For Creating A Great Candidate Experience

It enables access from anywhere

If a great application hits your inbox, you don’t want to have to wait until you’re back in the office to take action on it. With tools like a mobile-friendly ATS, you can approve or reject candidates with the tap of a finger, triggering the next steps like an email response to keep things moving along efficiently.

It can shorten your response time

Speaking of moving things along, 69% percent of candidates think employers can improve their response times. Anything you can do to greenlight a top candidate more quickly increases your chance of making the hire.

It gives you more ways to keep candidates engaged

Inboxes get cluttered and phone calls often go to voicemail. Mobile recruiting gives you additional ways to engage with candidates like text messaging, social media and even app-based alerts.

It helps keep your team on the same page

Mobile recruiting apps are particularly useful when there are many hands involved in hiring. An app allows all parties to easily check in on a candidate’s progression through the hiring funnel in real time, closing gaps that can sometimes occur among staffing teams.

Six Steps to Effective Mobile Recruiting 

Sure, you post your job openings on LinkedIn, but there’s far more to mobile recruiting. To use it effectively, follow these six steps.

1. Audit yourself

The first step is to analyze exactly where you stand in the mobile recruiting game. Begin with your application process.

Using a smartphone, navigate to your website and act as a candidate would act when looking to apply. Is it easy to find where your open positions are listed? Is the candidate able to take the next step, like submitting an application from their smartphone? If so, how long/complex is the process?

If possible, it’s a great idea to have several people (or better yet, a focus group) undertake this exercise and share their feedback.

2. Analyze your competitors

Next, take a look at what your competitors are doing. While you don’t necessarily want to mimic their mobile recruitment strategy, it’s a helpful way to assess how you stack up against the companies you’re going head to head with when hiring.

Your competitors are also a good source of inspiration for creative recruiting methods. For example, if you’re not yet using an app for mobile applications, looking at examples used by similar firms in your field can help you get an idea of the mobile application experience you’re looking for.

3. Develop specifically for mobile 

This is a best practice not just for your recruitment efforts, but for your entire business in general.

The application process Is tedious enough as it is, with candidates often forced to click through multiple screens and enter the same information several times. Add in a website that’s not mobile optimized and it’s enough to make even the most motivated applicant abandon ship.

Instead of trying to finagle your desktop website into a mobile-friendly version, instead, develop a version specifically for users on mobile devices. Alternatively, consider using an app that enables easy mobile applications. Job listing site Indeed has its own mobile app for this purpose, as do many applicant tracking systems.

4. Don’t make assumptions about your mobile audience 

Some employers resist a mobile-first approach to recruiting on the grounds that it’s only useful for reaching candidates under a certain age. While millennials and their successors, Gen Z, make up the largest segment of mobile users, adults over 40 represent an ever-growing portion of mobile users.

Between 2014 and 2020, for example, the number of smartphone users aged 45 to 54 grew by 40%. During that same time frame, the number of users over 54 grew by 85%.

5. Integrate with your ATS

As we mentioned above, choosing an ATS that has a corresponding mobile app can be uber handy. As we all know, applications come in 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The amount of time when you’re at your desk with a dedicated window to review applications, on the other hand, is much smaller. Using an applicant tracking system that has a mobile component enables a seamless transition between the times when you’re at your desk and when you’re, well, pretty much anywhere else.

6. Consider all the options

Are you making use of text message recruiting? It has the potential to dramatically raise your response rates. One talent acquisition manager reported a consistent response rate near 90% since adding text messaging to its recruiting strategy.

Gamification is another creative option. Brainstorm which elements of your hiring process—screening tests or behavioral assessments, for example—lend themselves to mobile gamification.

Related: How Can Gamification Be Used for More Effective Recruiting?

Mobile Recruiting Limitations

Bear in mind that not every step of your hiring process needs to be accessible by phone. While it comes with many upsides, mobile recruiting does have its limitations.

When posting new job openings, for example, you want the listings to look as good as possible (have you ever sent an email via phone then been surprised to see some funky formatting when you viewed it later on a desktop?). To put your best foot forward with job openings, the safest bet is usually to post them from a desktop.

Sensitive conversations like discussions about pay are best done face-to-face or via phone rather than text or an app. The same goes for the most important conversation of all: making an offer.

Remember, mobile is not the be-all, end-all of recruiting. Rather, it’s one more tool in a diligent recruiter’s toolbox that, when combined with other elements of a strong recruiting strategy, can position you for success in the competitive talent marketplace.

Hire More Effectively with 4 Corner Resources

Amplify your recruiting efforts with 4 Corner Resources, a nationally recognized professional staffing firm. We have more than a decade of experience helping companies small and large recruit for success today and sustained growth tomorrow.

We offer a full-service menu of staffing options to suit your needs, including direct hire recruiting, temporary staffing, and contract-to-hire. From entry-level positions all the way up to the c-suite, we’ll help you attract, engage and hire the perfect candidate to join your team. Ready to take the next step and meet qualified candidates in your field?

Contact us today to get started!

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the president of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. His mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way, while building an organization with boundless opportunities for ingenuity and advancement. When not managing 4 Corner’s growth or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his sales and business expertise though public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Hire Calling podcast.