Mobile Recruiting: App or Mobile enabled Career Site?

This post was inspired by Keith McIllvaine’s blog post Recruiting on the Move.


With the number of smartphone owners rising by the year (by all accounts), it’s not hard to predict that mobile applications are the way that most people will interact with the web.  Conducting business functions, surfing the internet, interacting on social networks and in some cases finding and applying for jobs will be all commonplace with the piece of technology we carry in our pockets.


While the mobile phone (and more importantly smartphone) opens up recruiting organizations to utilize and better execute a number of different recruiting and sourcing functions, one of the most important aspects that organizations need to deal with is the best way for candidates to view their jobs and recruiting content on mobile platforms.  Most importantly, making sure their Career Sites hold-up to the strain and expectations of mobile job seekers that are looking to potentially apply for new positions.


Two Approaches

When you think about taking your job and recruitment marketing content and moving it to a mobile friendly solution, there are two typical schools of thought: Mobile Application or a Mobile Enabled Site.


Let’s quickly take a look at these two options:


Mobile Application: A mobile application is a stand alone “app” that a company makes available for candidates.  Candidates can download the app for free and open the app from their phone desktop to find new opportunities and jobs at the organization.  Candidates can also update their notifications so they receive reminders for new jobs that fit their interest and skill-set from the organization as well as other content.

Mobile enabled: Much like your company web site, this describes a web site that is optimized for mobile devices.  The site knows when a candidate visits it through a mobile device so that when they land on your Career Site, it appears clean and is easy to navigate from your phone.  Typically, these sites will maintain a similar look and feel to the original site but in some cases they will also update and change around the UI a bit to make it more easily accessible.

While we can definitely go deeper into each of these methods that is a general description of what you can expect from each.  Let’s take a look a look at what to think about when making a decision on the method you should use.


What to think about

When deciding on what type of mobile method to use so candidates can better find and navigate your jobs from their phones, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of the two approaches.  Here are a few areas to think about:


Cost: Overall, developing an app is more than likely going to be the more costly of the two options.  Hiring an outside developer create the app will incur a large up front cost for your organization and the preceding cost to mange and update the application.  The one exception being if you have the resources and expertise in-house to be able to create and manage the app.  You also have to think about creating an app both for the iPhone and Android.

Depending on who manages and what technology you use for your Career Site, more than likely they provide a mobile friendly version of the site for an additional cost.  Again this cost is more than likely less expensive than a full blown app.

Site Management: With an app, you will be updating two different areas when you have new content or branding.  While jobs should flow automatically and freely with both your online Career Site and app, these other changes will require your team to make updates to both places.  This can also get harder if you’ve created apps for different mobile operating systems (i.e. iOS, Android, etc.)

With a mobile enabled Career Site, you should be able to create content and add landing pages that will automatically be updated on both your regular and mobile version of your Career Site.  In this case, you will need to only update content in one place for both your online and mobile audiences.

Candidate Use: For an app, a candidate will need to download and then enter the app to see your jobs.  This can work great if you have a great employer brand and candidates are eager to keep up to date with your employment opportunities and content.  It also shows candidates how innovative your brand is.  The one downside is that you are competing with all the other applications (games, maps, email, etc.) on a candidates phone and it can be an extra step in the process for a candidate.  It’s important to have custom push notifications and other cues to get candidates back into the app.

A mobile enabled site offers a candidate a seamless experience that resembles the one they do online.  There is no download required and they will easily be able to navigate from one step in the process to the next no matter if they come from a job site, their email or via text / SMS message.

Lay-out: For an app, you control the overall layout and what a candidate sees on a mobile device.  This can be important, as your regular Career Site layout may not be as conducive to a mobile device as it could be and if the mobile experience is important this can be a good way to go.

Mobile enabled Career Site will take on the look and feel of your online Career Site.  While this might not be as good as an app, it can still provide a good experience.  The one other benefit is that it offers the same experience no matter the device you use.  So if a candidate visits your Career Site on their phone but then decides to use their computer, the layout and navigation should be similar so they can easily pick up where they left off.

Metrics: With both an app and mobile enabled Career Site, it’s extremely important to capture and analyze your recruitment metrics for candidate behavior from mobile devices.  Compare these to your main Career Site and study the drop-off and conversion rates from mobile platforms so you can identify areas to improve your overall mobile experience and determine it’s value to your organization.  If you deem that candidates are asking for and using mobile as a higher percentage in finding your jobs, it is at this point you should be focusing on putting more investment into your mobile experience.

Those are a few of the areas to consider when determining your mobile candidate experience.  Now the question is which one is better.


App or Mobile Enabled?

While I tend to favor the Mobile enabled Career Site, it’s really up to every organization to deem what’s the most important aspect of their mobile candidate experience and then choose the method from there.  It’s also not necessarily a either or question, as you can use both methods in concert with one another if you have the resources.


In general, an app provides more customization and options to really shape the mobile candidate experience while a Mobile enabled Career Site is easier to maintain, less expensive and provides a consistent look and feel to candidates who are interested in your employment opportunities.


The decision is yours, what mobile recruiting Career Site option would you choose?


Let me know on Twitter @smashfly!

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