Mobile Recruiting, will it work? Can it work? Is there a market there?

Depending on who you talk to, mobile is either the next best thing to hit talent acquisition or a silly fad that can’t really affect how we recruit. The smart money may lay with what jobseekers are doing and saying. A 2011 survey by PotentialPark showed that 19% of jobseekers have used their mobile phone for career purposes, while only 3-7% of job sites are mobile in nature. Now, midway through 2012, we can be sure that the number of jobseekers who turn to mobile devices to manage their jobsearch will rise to more than 1 in 5.

The parallels between recruiting and marketing are often used to create predictions as to what the recruiting landscape will look like in 6-18 months, marketing being a precursor to recruiting trends.

So what are we seeing in the mobile marketing landscape? The future is very promising when it comes to mobile device usage. Consider this:

91% of mobile workers use a smartphone for work. Talk about passive candidates.

Email, social and search are all very mobile. Those are significant activities for the jobseeker, and therefore should be important to those looking to use this platform to hire. Social in particular is popular on mobile devices, with a recent report from Comscore¬†showing that consumers spend less time browsing social on their computers and more accessing social networks from their smartphones. When you pull in the stats from iPads and tablets, the numbers continue to climb. How are HR Technology vendors dealing with the spike in mobile “customers”?

Companies like Jobvite, OptiJob, and Jobs2Web are trying to create ever sleeker applications that work well for jobseekers and recruiters across the candidate spectrum. A new debate that is starting to bubble to the surface has much to do with whether or not companies should focus on building native applications that jobseekers will download (a no-brainer for big job boards like Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed and Beyond) to access company specific jobs or whether private companies should simply build a better more user friendly mobile version of their website.

Again, looking to B2B marketing as a crystal ball helps shed some light on this skirmish:

…apps are still a major focus in mobile, however few are widely downloaded and even fewer are regularly used. According to research from Flurry, the average user uses only 15 applications per week, and those 15 include Facebook, Twitter, email apps, Instagram, Pandora, etc.

In fact, many recruiting analysts are pointing out that applications for mobile don’t need to replicate what already exists on the website. For years, we’ve been talking about smaller and faster and neglecting to have a conversation about what mobile users expect.

Mobile devices support a number of functions that are not widely used on desktops, such as clicking to call a phone number or provide directions to a specific address. Mobile visitors have come to expect these functions and they need to work as expected.

U.S. wireless penetration is now at 96%, the fact that mobile has invaded every aspect of our society can’t be ignored for much longer. And while it seemed unthinkable just a few years ago that resumes could be stored and edited in the cloud, cover letters could be customized and flipped to recruiters from a park, HR managers could port applicants en masse into an ATS, but those options are all available now (albeit sometimes a little bit buggy). It stands to reason that innovation will continue to hammer away at a distribution channel that not only affects the United States, but the globe.

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