The big mistakes when using mobile technology for recruitment - Business Works
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The big mistakes when using mobile technology for recruitment

Charles Hipps, CEO, WCN F or the past 17 years Charles Hipps, CEO at WCN, has helped government departments and a wide range of organizations of all sizes, embrace the latest technology to improve their recruitment process. In this article he explores why many companies are still not being smart when it comes to mobile phones and recruitment.

One in four of us access the web from a mobile device at least once a day and this trend increases as you move down the age range. For organisations on the recruitment trail, this has a stark implication. The more mobile optimised your recruitment process is the better placed you will be to access the best breadth of talent. Yet many companies make some fundamental errors when trying to make their recruitment process mobile friendlyÖ

Getting it wrong

Many make the mistake of simply thinking that if they have any e-recruitment system it will work for mobile. But simply going from paper to online doesnít cut it. Thatís not just because sites are tricky to view on a small screen - itís more that when people access the web while mobile they are much more 'action orientated'. It isnít the passive browsing experience that it is when people are on a laptop or PC.

A recruitment process that includes mobile and traditional interaction should be designed with the technology preferences of the candidate in mind. It should take advantage of all technologies without disadvantaging candidates who want or need to use mobiles.

Some companies refuse to make the process easier for candidates using a mobile, thinking that itíll act as a filter, particularly true in companies inundated by applications. In doing this they can create a skill shortage, especially among the young. The next generation of talent are mobile users; 62% of those aged 25-34, own a mobile device.

Device discrimination

Written answers to questions are likely to be shorter on a mobile, due to smaller screens, less-precise input, awkwardness of screen keyboards and speech to text recognition. Plus mobile users operate in a more action orientated frame of mind making their communication more succinct. Employers need to take into account that the device will dictate the answer, particularly grammar and sentence construction.

Best practice

If mobile is to be supported it should try and cover as many different devices as practical. Create simple registration forms for basic information and contact details, early in the process. Take advantage of the fact that Smartphone users carry them 24:7 and allow candidates Q&A via the mobile.

Also let candidates 'update' and 'confirm' through the mobile device when firming up interview arrangements or provisionally accepting an offer. This will inject speed, convenience and immediacy into the process Ė a real advantage over the traditional recruitment process and important if youíre keen to keep the best talent interested in your business.

Donít be seduced by Apps

Thereís lots of interest in Apps. However these are device specific implementations and 'specific' means they're limited. Whereas with the internet and cloud computing, everyone can access it whenever and wherever Apps work against this trend and if your recruitment process centres on one you will alienate the people who canít access it. In essence, mobile-enabled web is sensible, but device specific Apps may be problematic.

Social Media

When it comes to mobile, a key area where mistakes are made is on social channels. This is usually because organisations donít understand how the channels work. For instance you'll see recruitment agencies posting jobs on twitter, not realising the shelf-life of twitter is incredibly short and in essence it is a form of spamming. What most companies fail to realise is social media is for communications, for striking up conversation, rather than just posting a random tweet. Facebook is a less formal method and great for targeted advertising; LinkedIn is effective for active talent search (head-hunting) and industry-related social networks.

There is a trend among some companies to create private networks, however most employers would be best advised to take advantage of established networks rather than create their own, as you need a strong brand proposition to make people want to regularly interact and engage with you.

Mobile is an expanding part of our everyday lives. It has the potential to massively improve the way companies attract and handle applicants. The smart employers are those prepared to embrace the possibilities.

Charles is a graduate from Oxford University and is founder and managing director of WCN plc. He has worked with many large- and small-sized organisations across a wide variety of industry sectors on e-Recruitment. To contact him or find out more, please visit:

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