#Mobilegeddon: Why Candidates Aren’t Going to Be Able to Find Your Jobs
There’s a lot of buzz—and panic—happening right now in the world of marketing. Earlier this year, Google announced a major algorithm update (dubbed “Mobilegeddon”) that will expand the use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This means that on April 21, 2015, when the changes take place, sites that have been optimized for mobile will perform better on search engine results pages, while those that haven’t should be ready to take a noticeable hit.
Why are we talking about this on a talent acquisition blog? The ever-growing use of search engines, coupled with rising adoption of mobile devices has dramatically transformed the top of the hiring funnel. As a result, the way recruiters attract, identify, and engage top talent has changed as well. However, since most recruiting departments aren’t up to date on the latest SEO trends, the impacts of Mobilegeddon are more likely to be an afterthought than a priority today.
In this post, we’ll discuss what recruiters should know about Mobilegeddon, and drill down into the steps you can take to both understand if you’ll be impacted by the algorithm updates and ensure good search performance in the future.
Why Recruiters Should Care About Google’s Algorithm Updates
The idea that websites should be more mobile-friendly is not a new one. In fact, Google and SEO experts have been suggesting that companies take the appropriate steps to optimize their mobile experience for quite some time. And as Adam Dorfman put it on Search Engine Land yesterday, forward-thinking brands have been proactive about this, “not because Google told them to, but because their customers did.”
The fact of the matter is, Google is always trying to deliver the best, most relevant results to users. The recently publicized prioritization of mobile-friendly search engine results is really just Google’s reaction to the way users are searching. In Dorfman’s article he went on to point out that last year Google’s Matt Cutts said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if mobile search exceeded desktop queries in 2015.
All that said, marketers have been talking about trends like the one pointed out below by Morgan Stanley’s Research team for years:
What does this mean for recruiters? Well, that’s an interesting question and perhaps a complex one to answer. First, it’s important to point out that 80% of job seekers now expect to do part of their search on a mobile device.
Second, while many of today’s leading brands are well aware of the general shift toward mobile and have taken the steps to mobile-optimize the customer-facing aspect of their sites, in more cases than not the careers section of their site is run on an entirely different platform and often not impacted by these changes.
Most large organizations use their Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to build job requisitions, and then host them on their careers site. In this scenario, the candidate does not know he or she is going through an apply flow hosted by the ATS—it’s a transition on the back end. The challenge is that most of the mobile experiences provided by these ATS’ are not built with responsive web design and most do not allow resume upload from a mobile device.
Several of the most widely adopted ATS’ do not offer any kind of mobile experience—it’s just the desktop experience on a mobile device. This ends up looking like the image shown to the right.
As a result, these requisitions are at risk of feeling the impact of Mobilegeddon. And as applicants continue to bring their job search to mobile, recruiters stuck in the past by the limitations of their ATS can expect a significant drop in traffic.
How to Tell If You’ll Be Impacted by Mobilegeddon (and What to Do About it)
The term “Mobilegeddon” may be ominous of impending doom. But in reality, it’s not going to completely eliminate mobile traffic to un-optimized sites on April 21. Applicants will still be able to find your requisitions via Google, though it will be much more difficult. And, consequently, your search engine traffic will likely start to wane in less than two weeks time.
Here are a few tips to determine if you’ll be impacted:
- Enter the URL of your careers homepage into Google’s mobile-friendly checker tool
- Do the same with one of your actual requisitions (because sometimes these are on different systems)
- Search for one of your requisitions on Google—it will actually say “mobile-friendly” in the search engine results page beneath the URL
- Go through the experience of completing one of your own applications on a smartphone—is it as easy and user-friendly as this one?
You may also want to walk down to your marketing department and find out what proportion of website traffic is coming to your career homepage and requisitions on mobile devices versus desktop computers. They should be able to easily pull that information up for you by looking at Google Analytics. Doing this will also allow you to baseline your performance now versus after April 21 and then into the future.
If you do feel like you’re at risk of being impacted by Mobilegeddon, the bad news is you should have already been thinking about your applicants’ mobile experience in the first place. The world has been shifting toward mobile for years. But the good news is there are steps you can take to improve your experience, as well as third-party solutions like Jibe Apply that integrate with the ATS to optimize the mobile experience for you.