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How Smartphone technology is changing recruitment

While it took 14 years to sell the first billion mobile phones, it took just one more year to sell the second billion mobile phones. The sale of mobile devices has already exceeded the sale of PCs, and by 2013, mobile phones would surpass PCs as the most common device with which users access the internet.

The popularity of mobile phones has made it the device of choice to undertake many online activities hitherto done through the desktop PC. Online shopping has already migrated to the mobile in a big way. By the end of 2013, 62 percent of all online transactions would be through mobile devices.

Another online activity where mobile has gained huge acceptance is recruitment. More and more jobseekers now use their mobile devices to search for jobs, and research on potential employees. CareerBuilder, a popular online job portal, estimates 25 percent of their traffic coming from mobile devices, as of October 2012. This figure is set to increase to more than 50 percent in the near future.

The Shift to Mobile

Jobseekers prefer the mobile to conventional PCs owing to better reach, convenience, privacy and freedom. Mobile devices offer jobseekers accessibility to job listings from anywhere, at improved convenience. They can easily search for new jobs when commuting or when on the move. They can also search for jobs when doing anything else, a marked departure from having to sit down in front of a desktop terminal, and devote time specifically to search for jobs. The mobile, being a personal device, also offers privacy. Jobseekers can search for jobs without the fear of someone snooping over the desktop screen, or an ever-inquisitive boss getting to know of the job hunt, by analyzing browsing history. Then, there is also the freedom from corporate firewalls and access restrictions, when trying to access job portals from the office desktop.

Jobseekers leverage the advantages that the mobile brings about to not just search for more jobs, but also to research available jobs in-depth, expand their networks across various social media and professional channels, follow preferred companies, and build their online presence. In short, the convenience offered by the mobile device raises the stakes, increases the bar, and makes the job market all the more competitive.

The Rise of Mobile Portals

The increasing usage of mobile devices for job hunting has far wider implications than added convenience for the jobseeker. It is churning the recruitment industry more than ever before.

More and more recruiters are now creating mobile-friendly websites, and web apps, for recruitment. A recent CareerBuilder survey reveals 57 percent of employers with 1,000 or more employees are now developing mobile-friendly versions of their career sites.

Mobile optimised portals and apps are fast becoming indispensable for recruiters. A September 2012 Google study reveals that 61 percent of people would move to another portal immediately, if they do not find what they seek in a mobile website, and 79 percent would search for another mobile site to do the job. Recruiters clearly stand the risk of losing traffic if they do not have a mobile optimised website. In fact, the Google study reveals that 52 percent of respondents are less likely to engage with a company without a mobile portal.

The most apparent change brought about by mobile optimized recruitment portals is a greater level of activity. The traffic to traditional job portals peaks during lunchtime. With mobile, the traffic peaks during a much broader commute time, and after hours.

The smart technology fostered by mobile devices allows better response, including instant communications. This generates faster and very often instant responses, diametrically reducing lead-times.

The Rise of Recruitment Apps

To reach out to the mobile audience, many career portals roll out smartphone apps, most of them free. Such apps allow many possibilities, beyond what conventional job portals offer. Apart from the usual option of searching relevant jobs, storing CVs, shortlisting jobs, keyword matching and more, there are some innovative options that have been made available through recruitment apps including:

  • The facility to share CV by SMS, apart from email

  • Meeting scheduling tools, which allows recruiters to schedule interviews with candidates seamlessly. The app automatically updates and synchronizes the calendar of both the recruiter and the candidate.

  • Remote Interviews. The recruiters are able to film interview questionnaires on the phone and send it to the candidates. The candidates view the questions, video their answers and send them to the recruiter. This function alone can transform the recruitment industry in a big way, by doing away with the logistical hassles connected with interviews.

  • A built in GPS system, which lists the available jobs in the candidates’ area, or conversely, potential candidates in a particular area

  • Apps with QED code scanners, allowing jobseekers to download the info from recruitment ads. Other apps offer mock interviews, helping the jobseeker prepare for the interview.

The possibilities are endless.

Stanley Albrighton has worked in the interim management industry for several years and has enjoyed working alongside a number of prestigious organisations. He currently works for Marble Hill Partners.

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