Going Mobile: Are We Finally Moving Beyond the Marketing Hype?

© Robert Lehmann - Fotolia.com
© Robert Lehmann - Fotolia.com

Mobile has the potential to be the big game changer in talent acquisition.

With Apple selling more smart phones than PCs, it is no surprise that leading organizations are expecting mobile capabilities from their talent acquisition solution providers. Mobile creates new efficiencies, increases communication, and provides a more effective way to reach passive candidates. When asking “where” to find top talent, the answer seems clear — go mobile.

Yet, what exactly does “go mobile” mean in the world of talent acquisition? Are organizations really getting what they need?

Solution providers want you to think so. They are announcing new job apps, integration capabilities, and are including mobile on their product road maps. Sound promising? Well, think again.

Given the level of marketing hype, it is understandable that evolving mobile solutions fall short in many areas of promise. Capabilities simply have not yet matched the enthusiasm, so what will it take to bring the promised benefits of mobile to life? The answer may come down to the fundamentals.

The fundamentals include a strong link with social media, and, a way for job seekers to actually search and apply for jobs. Unfortunately for most talent acquisition system providers, these fundamentals require an investment in research and product development, a forward-looking approach, and a team dedicated to understanding the mobile web. To make it simpler for you, it needs to become more complicated for them.

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Not every provider facing internal and external pressures is able to make that commitment. Kenexa, a leading talent management provider, is an exception. Recently, the company has taken significant steps in enhancing fundamental areas of talent acquisition. These include candidate experience solutions, sourcing, and, most importantly, investment in research and development.

Will Kenexa be able to obtain and keep a lead in the market for mobile talent acquisition? Only time will tell, but its commitment signals a recognition by solutions providers that mobile applications for talent acquisition have great potential—and significant room for improvement. Here’s a quick overview of the market, what it means to you, and how Kenexa is approaching the opportunity.

Why mobile, why now?

  • Target audience: Mobile can help target the right audience because it hits every audience, particularly younger generations that rely on mobile devices as their primary communication tool. Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2013, there will be 1.82 billion smartphones compared to 1.78 billion PC’s.
  • Global reach: Globalization not only creates new opportunities, but it also forces organizations to move beyond their comfort zones. Mobile is helping them achieve this goal by extending their global footprint and increasing communication between customers, stakeholders and job candidates. According to a study by Advertising Age, mobile penetration rates outshine PC penetration around the world:
    • China (57% mobile vs. 20% PC)
    • India (41% mobile vs. 4% PC)
    • Brazil (86 mobile vs. 32% PC)
    • Indonesia (66% mobile vs. 5% PC)

What organizations should consider

  • Social media: The link between social and mobile is hard to deny. When considering a mobile recruiting solution, organizations should look for a way to improve the recruiter visibility into candidates’ social profiles as well as source directly from these sites. In addition, candidates should be able to utilize their existing Facebook and Linked profiles to apply for jobs
  • Beyond the job ad: Mobile solutions need to engage job candidates and recruiters and provide some level of two-way communication. By simply broadcasting job ads, these solutions are serving as an extension of the career site without improving the candidate experience. It’s important to note that few solutions allow candidates to apply for jobs. Instead, they are adding another step in the process by forcing candidates to visit career sites from their PCs to apply for a job.
  • Career Site: Speaking of career sites, the first step in adopting a mobile recruiting strategy (or any social media or SEO strategy for that matter) is to tackle the career site. When thinking of mobile and social, organizations need to improve their career sites and create a way to engage candidates through a positive experience. Ideally, organizations should consider one provider to assist in both areas: career site and mobile.

How Kenexa is leading the way

  • Employer branding: Kenexa is taking its expertise in employer branding and applying this insight to its mobile solution. Kenexa 2xMobile has a fully branded candidate experience with the ability for job candidates to search and apply for jobs (functionality missing from most of the leading talent acquisition system providers in the market). Candidates also have the option to upload their LinkedIn, Facebook and ResumePal profiles.
  • Social Source: This year, Kenexa announced a much anticipated sourcing solution as part of its 2xBrassRing talent acquisition system . Social Source allows organizations to target messages to key demographics, source from social media and provide visibility into job candidates’ social profiles. One of the key differentiators in the talent acquisition systems landscape includes CRM capabilities..
  • Research and product development: Developing mobile solutions requires a different mindset and strong investment. For example, small changes can have a huge impact to the user experience and battery life that would not impact a typical web-based solution. Kenexa has made this investment with mobile web enabled and native applications for the iPhone, Droid, Blackberry and tablets.

The benefits of a mobile recruiting solution are hard to deny. With a myriad of job apps and mobile solutions in the market, the challenge for most organizations is to select a provider that offers more than a way to broadcast job descriptions.

Kenexa’s investment in a mobile solution not only addresses the needs of the recruiter, hiring manager and job candidate, it points the way to a future where talent acquisition as a business process truly lies in the hands of the users it was meant to serve.

Madeline Laurano is the Research Director, Talent Acquisition Solutions, within Aberdeen's Human Capital Management research practice, and is responsible for leading and collaborating on Aberdeen's research coverage across a range of HCM topics, including talent mobility, workforce planning, sourcing strategy, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), employer branding, onboarding and talent acquisition. Additionally she is responsible for delivering research findings via published works, speaking engagements, on-line events, and Aberdeen's annual Human Capital Management Summit. Before joining the Aberdeen Group, Madeline was a talent systems analyst for the Newman Group, driving the company's success in the area of Talent Management Technology Evaluation and Selection. Madeline joined The Newman Group from Bersin & Associates, where she served as Principal Analyst of Talent Acquisition. Prior to joining Bersin, Madeline served as the Research Director for ERE Media where she created the ERE webinar series, published the Talent Acquisition Industry Analysis and Buyers Guide, lead the community discussion groups, and conducted various research products and services.


6 Comments on “Going Mobile: Are We Finally Moving Beyond the Marketing Hype?

  1. We’ve seen a huge increase in the number and quality of cell phone text messaging campaigns that we deliver on behalf of our clients over the past five or so years.

    We’ve discovered that the percentage of candidates who open the message is almost always over 90 percent but almost all of the click throughs to the employer’s web site tends to come from the accompanying email that we send to the same candidates. I think that’s because the recipient of the text assume — mostly correctly — that the employer web sites aren’t mobile compatible and it is excruciating to apply to a job from a mobile. But the percentage of those clicks which turn into applications seems to be significantly higher than if the candidates only received an email and the percentage of hires from those applications also seems to be significantly higher. It is only logical from a marketing perspective as that employer has touched the candidate three times (sms, email, web site) rather than just twice (email, web site) so you’d expect with 50 percent more touches to see a better response rate.

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