What Google’s Big Mobile News (Not Mobilegeddon) Means for Recruiters

What Google’s Big Mobile News (Not Mobilegeddon) Means for Recruiters

Mike Roberts

search engine recruitingAs smartphone technology has become better, cheaper, and more accessible, desktops have been waning as the primary source for computing and connecting to the Internet. The recruiting community has been discussing this shift for years now, and its impact on acquiring talent. However, on May 5, Google made the announcement that smartphones and desktops have officially traded places as the top source for searches.

This news is exciting, but doesn’t come as much of a shock to anyone whose profession involves connecting with people on the Internet. Everything’s been moving toward mobile—not to mention, Google pretty much tipped us all off to the impending switch with its April 21 “Mobilegeddon” deadline. Though, for any recruiters still skeptical, we recently came across some data you’ll want to see.

In this post, we’ll dig deeper into Google’s new announcement and share some interesting job board traffic data we compiled. We’ll also discuss why the mobile vs. desktop topic is actually losing relevancy in some cases, in addition to what that means for careers sites.

Meeting Consumers (and Job Applicants) Where They Are

Google’s Vice President of Product Management, Jerry Dischler, made the announcement on Google’s AdWords blog.

He said, “More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan. This presents a tremendous opportunity for marketers to reach people throughout all the new touchpoints of a consumer’s path to purchase.”

Of course, Google has a focus on marketing because of AdWords, but this brings up several important topics for recruiting organizations. First, when someone is interested in working for your company, one of the initial things they’re going to do is Google your company name plus the word “jobs.” And this announcement goes to show that action is taking place on a smartphone more than ever.

And second, like consumers on paths to purchases, job seekers are on paths to new positions. And as these new “touchpoints” created by the Internet and mobility continue to play larger roles in those paths, it’s becoming increasingly clear that talent acquisition strategies need to update accordingly—this is particularly true when it comes to the candidate experience of careers sites and companies’ mobile apply flows.

The Shift to Mobile Has Been a Long Time Coming

To provide some perspective on why the mobile vs. desktop conversation has become so popular among recruiters in recent years, let’s take a look at some data that our Director of Engineering, Boris Kozak, dug up from a few years ago (from the early years of Jibe when we used to have a job board).

mobile vs desktop traffic recruiting
As shown above, mobile traffic to the job board was virtually non-existent back in 2010. But over the course of three years, desktop’s share of total traffic dropped from almost 100% to just over 60%. At the same time, mobile traffic rose quickly. A similar story can be shown for most job boards during that time—and this data only goes to mid-2013!

Aligning with the momentum depicted above, research shows that in 2014 80% of job seekers expected to be able to do part of their search from a mobile phone. 70% actually expressed a willingness to apply for a job on one. But despite these numbers, many companies have yet to do anything about the mobile-friendliness of their careers site. Consequently, they’re undoubtedly missing out on candidates conducting their search from mobile devices.

The Mobile Vs. Desktop Conversation Is Becoming Less Relevant

Despite this big news about mobile vs. desktop traffic, interestingly the conversation is becoming less relevant because of a relatively new approach to web design called responsive web design. Responsive web design means the content on the site adapts to whichever device the user is on (mobile, desktop—it doesn’t matter), so it avoids that frustrating experience of zooming in and out when the site is not mobile optimized.

Most consumer-facing websites have now made the move to responsive web design. And, ideally, this device-agnostic approach is really what organizations should be serving up to candidates on their careers sites. The challenge, as we’ve written about extensively in the past, is most careers sites are built upon Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). These ATS’ are backend solutions that were originally created to be systems of record, but more recently have been also playing the role of systems of engagement.

The candidate experience offered by most ATS’ is so outdated, it’s leaving many companies in a bit of a pickle. They’re unable to optimize the candidate experiences at the various touchpoints Google’s Dischler mentioned above, but they have little control of that because of the extent of their ATS’ engagement capabilities.

The first step to overcoming this challenge, though, is understanding where your career site stands today. If you’re interested in learning what a poor mobile candidate experience looks like—and how you can improve yours—take a look at our new eBook, 10 Ways Your Mobile Experience Is Driving Top Talent Away. It can be downloaded by following the link below.

candidate experience toolkitcareer site assessment


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