To say that mobile technology is "fast-growing" is a bit of an understatement. Smart phone subscriptions across the globe are projected to hit around 5.6 billion by 2019. That means roughly 75 percent of the entire world's population will have smart phones. If you think that's astounding, try this fact: A full 90 percent of the population over age 6 is expected to have some type of mobile phone by 2020. Numbers like this make it easy to understand that mobile broadband is the fastest growing technology in all of history. Faster than regular phones, faster than television, faster than the internet itself, even.
Not surprisingly, with such ubiquitous adoption, mobile has literally changed how we live our lives. It's changed how we read (e-books) and how we learn (mobile education apps). It's changed how we manage our money and how we pay for goods (bank apps, trading apps, mobile check deposit, and ApplePay). It has even changed how we look for jobs--in more ways than you might think--and because of that, it's changing how we need to recruit.
Let's explore that.
First, mobile made online access convenient.
Think about it: Thirty years ago (or more), we would see people during their lunch hours, at doctors' offices, on the train, walking down the street, all with newspapers tucked under their arms. The moment they had a chance to sit down, the paper came out, and they would read. Today, of course, we carry phones instead of papers--but the concept is the same. We take our phones everywhere, and we use them everywhere. This is how we stay in touch with the world.
Naturally, this made job searching more convenient, too.
Back in my CareerBuilder.com and Yahoo HotJobs days, we would see the predominant amount of job search traffic during times when people were either at home or at lunch, but today's online career sites see traffic all the time. People use mobile devices to job hunt whenever and wherever they feel like it. They don't need to be on a break or at a home computer, purposefully "looking for jobs." A quick peek at a cell phone is all it takes these days.
That's because mobile technology has changed how we engage with and digest content.
In my opinion, it's not solely the 24/7 accessibility factor that makes mobile such a game-changer when it comes to job searching and recruiting: It's that our smart phones have brought back the love of browsing content.
You remember browsing--it's what we used to do before Google changed our behavior to be intentional, driven by keywords and queries. Prior to Google, we just "surfed the Web" for "stuff," browsing directories and links. And now, thanks to smart phones providing us with a constant online companion to turn to during any few fleeting seconds of boredom, we are free to browse again--and discover things we did not intend to find. We have mobile-optimized UIs and apps galore, and scrolling is as easy as swiping a finger.
And that, in turn, changes how we need to market jobs.
This is a huge and high-impact change for job seekers and for employers. Back when we were stuck with older online job boards, people would have to type in search words--like "marketing analyst"--and then be stuck sifting through only the listings that applied. Companies seeking talent needed only to submit job descriptions to these big boards and let the candidates find them. That won't cut it anymore.
People are now scrolling through--and browsing--social media posts, blog posts, career pages, LinkedIn--any number of places where they can see what your company offers...and discovering jobs and companies for which they might not have searched.
Some of them will be actively looking for work; others won't be. But if you're competing for today's in-demand, highly skilled candidates, you have to present your content in a way that people will want to browse. You need career pages that are attractive when displayed on mobile devices. You need eye-catching job description titles. You need compelling photos, and maybe even a video embedded from the hiring manager or the CEO. The bottom line: Content has to be interesting. You want people to linger while they're browsing your pages, rather than go quickly to competitors' sites.
Also--and this is pretty important--you have to assume that all your existing employees are doing the same thing. If they've got smart phones (and you know they do), they likely can't help but browse (because research shows they're thinking about their next opportunity anyway). So remember: You can't take any skilled employee for granted.
Thanks to mobile technology, it's not just easier than ever to find a job--it's easier than ever for employees to jump ship. The best talent doesn't (only) schedule time to actively search jobs on a Sunday night anymore. They confidently browse opportunities all the time, anywhere. Companies who are serious about finding (and keeping) top talent should pay heed.