Mobile Job Applications - How to make it short enough?!

Recently, my organization went down the path of researching various vendors that can take our job application and make it accessible on a mobile device.  There is only one problem - and it has us stuck!  Our application (like many I have seen) is a long one with many required fields and lots of legalese at the bottom. 

Some questions we are struggling with - would love your input and thoughts:

1) Would you complete a long application from your phone or mobile device?  I don't think I would - therefore what has stumped my team.

2) How do you reconcile what information is needed to evaluate a candidate with the information needed later for background check?  Does anyone do this in 2 parts?

3) How many fields is TOO many to do on a mobile device? I am impatient so my limit is low (2 or 3) and then I click out...

4) What companies do this particularly well?

5) What is your company doing to "go mobile"?  Are you simply taking your current application and moving it to mobile?

I would love to connect with others struggling with or that have solved this issue.

Views: 413

Comment by Jerry Albright on August 8, 2013 at 4:14pm

Hi Molly.

I have no experience using mobile for job applications whatsoever....so would you mind if I just add my 2 cents?

Do people REALLY keep their resume handy on their mobile?  Are they serious about looking for jobs on a 4" screen? 

I picture someone finding their way to the "job" via a link their friend might send....or an email from some sort of talent community, etc.  While they may check it out on their phone - wouldn't they really want to get in front of their PC (or tablet) and take a more "focused" look at it?  And take action from there?

If I were applying for a job I would NOT do it by typing a bunch of info in tiny little mobile boxes.  Too many mistakes are possible.  I would rather look at the job, decide my interest level, and then most likely reserve my "action" for my real work space.

Just thinking out loud.....it's an interesting topic.

At what point is mobile just a bit too "small"?

Comment by Molly on August 8, 2013 at 4:41pm

Jerry - I actually agree - but all the stats show that this is where people are going... Here are a couple of articles...

http://www.hcareers.com/us/resourcecenter/tabid/306/articleid/877/d...

http://thehiringsite.careerbuilder.com/2013/03/11/forty-percent-of-...

Comment by Jerry Albright on August 8, 2013 at 4:56pm

I'm pretty sure all the mobile prophets are going to be singing the same song. 

Comment by Amy Ala Miller on August 8, 2013 at 5:51pm

I'm w/ Jerry. No way I would apply to a job (or anything requiring more than 1 or 2 clicks, maybe a finger swipe or two) on a PHONE. How would you access your resume?

The only possible exception (and more a meet in the middle, really) is maybe a tablet. A good tablet will have a decent size screen and probably a USB port and maybe even a keyboard so really functions as a mini-PC anyway.

Candidates should be able to set up searches / email alerts and maybe "save" jobs to go back and apply to, but I can't see anyone seriously doing a real job application on a phone.

Comment by Kelly Blokdijk on August 8, 2013 at 11:21pm

As much as my phone and I are essentially inseparable, there are things I still prefer to do on a proper screen and keyboard. To me, applying for a job is already tough enough on standard sized equipment. 

Unless someone is using a cloud based file storage system or perhaps has their resume and cover letter saved on email, I don't know how they would send those through mobile device. Either way, it most certainly wouldn't be simple to customize any of that for specific positions or employers. And, IMHO way too easy to make typos and end up looking like a fool. 

Molly - the only thing I can think of that might be a possible way to get around all of the things you listed would be to allow people to simply add their LinkedIn profile URL to be reviewed. If your company likes what they see, they can have the person complete a formal application. 

As for the application and background info being combined, I get how that is more convenient for the employer. But for the applicants, it is rather intrusive to request/require more info than you need to evaluate qualifications. Therefore, I'd be in favor of having those steps separate, if possible. 

Comment by Chris Brablc on August 9, 2013 at 10:36am

To Jerry's and Amy's point, you may also consider setting up a mobile capture process with a trigger email campaign as the action step.

So you have a mobile optimized Career Site that enables candidates to easily search and find jobs.  Once they find a job that is a good fit, they click to "apply".  This takes them to a mobile form where they put basic contact information in to opt-in for the job. 

It's here that you set up a process with the technology you use.  Your back-end system knows the job they opted in from and sends them an email immediately with a link to complete the application from their computer (where they most likely have their resume.)  Depending on the technology, you could also set up a reminder to go out 48 hours after they opt-in if they don't complete the application.

This should be a better alternative from a candidate's perspective as they are prompted to take action vs. having to remember to take action later when they get to a computer.

Comment by Martin Ellis on August 11, 2013 at 1:21am

Good questions Molly. The comments above deal (in the main) with the way the comment writers would prefer to behave. The world is going mobile, so it's a good idea to think about this stuff. So to answer your questions:

1) Short application - on ANY device, mobile or otherwise.

2) I do this in 2 parts. I don't want any hurdles that stop people applying (although that comes at the cost of too many poorly qualified replies, but they're easy to spot and cut out of the herd)

3) 2 preferably. 3 max.

4) Don't know anybody doing this well. In fact I know too many doing this badly in general terms. I just applied for a position (I do that to learn how people handle these things) and gave up after an hour! Too many applications are information greedy. You can imagine the meeting held before they decided on this route "OK everybody. What ELSE can we possible ask for - we need more information" I'm afraid that what HR do.

5) The issue isn't mobile vs the rest, but how you you make it easy and attractive. I now wouldn't buy a product or service from the outfit I cite in number 4 above (If they deal with a job application in such a poor way, what else is 'poor' in the organisation? - don't hang around to find out!)

So sorry. I've not solved this. But nor has anybody else I've come across.

First rule of solving stuff: Keep it as simple as you dare.

Comment by RecruitingBlogs on August 11, 2013 at 7:51pm

Kinda surprised...is anyone applying for jobs with mobile?  Really?  yeah, http://blog.linkedin.com/2013/08/05/apply-for-a-job-on-linkedin-mob... 

Now maybe its just me, but I have dropbox and google drive along with evernote on my phone.   Want me resume?  click.  Seriously but this is WAAAAY past is it going to happen.  

Comment by Kristi Young on September 3, 2013 at 2:59pm

I would definitely apply on my phone. I prefer my phone to a computer any day! LIke the previous poster I have dropbox and can access my resume just by checking my email which I've done several times! It doesn't even seem to be weird at all.

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