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It’s all mobile: Results from the 2011 mobile recruiting survey

Mobile is omnipresent – at times it seems as though more people are on their mobile devices that actually talking to each other. But what role is mobile playing in recruitment?

This was the question I set out to answer a few months back. (Thanks again to my co-sponsor on this endeavor, AllTheTopBananas!). The survey, which was targeted at HR and recruiting professionals in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, garnered a solid response of 155 completed questionnaires. Of these, 63% said they were using mobile in their recruiting efforts. 63% of the respondents were recruiters; the remainder were either some type of HR or hiring managers.

So, what did we learn?

  • Direct text messages to candidates is the most popular use of mobile (66% of respondents)
  • 40% of respondents have mobile versions of their career site
  • 89% are using mobile in combination with social media
  • Respondents are using mobile because it’s ‘always on’ (64%), immediate (58%), and provides another choice for the job seeker (57%)
  • Spending plans are split: 37% have no plans for spending on mobile – but 34% plan to increase spending on mobile.
  • The top three barriers to implementing mobile recruiting are: Lack of knowledge about mobile recruiting options (54%); lack of a mobile recruiting strategy (52%); and lack of knowledge about mobile recruiting technology (51%)

You can download the complete results here. (Free registration and Adobe Reader is required).

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This Post Has 13 Comments

  1. Jeff, very nice work pulling this together! It’s nice to see another perspective.

    There’s a lot of interesting data within this report and it does seem to validate a key topic we already know about mobile (e.g., text-messaging still proves to be the most relevant and widely used across various groups). The other data points re: “barriers to entry” are also very eye-opening. While I realize this report only tracks 155 responses, it does provide a glimpse at how mobile recruiting is perceived within our industry.

    Thanks for taking the lead.

  2. I recently partnered with Job Rooster to implement mobile into our regional job board Registered users are opting in but employers are slow to use the features and create text campaigns. We are planning on a series of employer educational webinars on the benefits and how to. I would be interested in coastal trends. Is it something west coast recruiters are more familiar and comfortable with? ~Karla

  3. It is surprising how many websites are not mobile freindly – and not just recruiter sites. In fact many recruiter sites are not even web1.0 friendly! If the future is about engagement and converstaion with our target audience and the audience is upwardly mobile, then the work is cut out for us for sure but we need to overcome the barriers and mindsets. In many respects the c-suit bosses need to first enable some dynamics to enable the purse strings to be pulled. Those that do will continue into the furture (but many traditional types whom never send sms’s and whos latest tecnology investement is a fax machine may not!).

    SMS implementation and take up [certainly in the UK] has been a slow adoption. Intitially is was seen as phone spam by recipients as many less scrupulous recruiters used it to to bulk sms candidate ‘longlists’… where longlists are at the start of the selection process rather than a more refined shorter list after some due selection process.

    Although we may now sms more sensibly, maybe a handful or so of our best people in one shot or for 1:1 general comunications when sorting our interviews perhaps, SMS is begining to be increasingly be used wisely and more generally more accepted as 1:1 ‘alerts’. That is to say, an inbound alert from a recruiter that the candidate/recipient has opted in to receive from thier ‘approved’ network.

    I find recruiters are more likely to get a response sooner from an SMS [or direct message eg IM] than an email or indeed sooner than would otherwise be called back from a missed call or a left A/P message. Recipients can see details more imediately and communicate back from thier smartphones when on the move or at work – when convenient. Nor do they have to pay to listen to a voicvemail or indeed wirte something in ink since now having a permanent record on thier device.

    I also note in the wider comms view, recruiters make a lot of calls and dont leave voice messages but rather prefer to leave a direct social or SMS message. The SMS being considered more an ‘alert’ means it is also is generally accepted that there is no return route via sms to the sender so as not to encourage a two way converation over sms – the SMS prompts or reverts further coms via voice or messaging over email or social media.

    Email is nearing (or must be) the bottom of the pecking order for communication to people on the move.. Its ok for desk to desk but not desk to mobile. Smartphones are in candidates (and clients) pockets when on the move which im sure have overtaken the laptop and certainbly overtaken the PC at home. That PC I imagine is full of cobwebs and probably causes a power surge on the national grid during the habitual weekly boot-up!

    Also, note that comunications from recruiters certainly in larger businesses, are generated from a central systems where the tracking, as well as the CRM & database live – so integration is required at the recruiter end and inevitably this slows the take up development.

    Now and in future then, as well as pushing messaging and alerts to candidates phones, the apps and web 2.0 integration will need to inbound attract & markket the right candidates to recruiters and visa versa!

    I’m just a bit worried that the guy who just come to fix our new cloud Server has a FiloFax and is asking how he gets an outside line!

  4. We just launched an SMS job alert option for our job seeker community about 1 month ago. The job seeker can pick their category and location. The response for sign up (its free) had been slow. Job Seekers are opting instead for job alerts to be sent to their email accounts. Here they can opt into choosing up to 5 categories and 5 locations. I believe the reason for this is that we can send one text a day with a single job post.

    We like others are trying to still figure this out. Any thoughts, please send them to


  5. Smart phones these days have access to email etc so its difficult to find out why a person would be opting out of mobile texts. I for one wouldn’t want to receive an email alert and a text alert as my phone would just show them one after another in the list of messages. I would opt out of the mobile text just to save the company money and not waste their time but would happily receive the email.

  6. It is surprising since mobile phone usage will surpass desktop and laptop users pretty soon. The studies and stats show this trend is for real not stopping. Nowadays, a laptop is kind of a dinosaur compared to an IPad. I guess I can grid my my belt pager. 🙂

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