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Feeling Abandoned? The Mobile Job Application Process Trend Analysis

Posted by Kelly Robinson

20-Oct-2014 14:00:00

Running Broadbean's unrivaled network of partners and job boards has its advantages. 6000 job boards over 65 countries in 17 different languages...ultimately results in 16.2 million annual posts. That's nothing to sneeze at! Bragging aside, we get a whole lot of data coming through here. After we joined CareerBuilder, the influx of data continued to grow. With our new product BDAS, we can analyze how companies are maximizing spend while looking at in-depth candidate data from widespread surveys. My trend analysis will attempt to correlate both what we're seeing from a purely analytical standpoint and aligning it with the anecdotal survey data we receive "from the field". 


The goal is to answer the questions Broadbean has been asking for years:

  •        How can we make recruiting and HR technologies talk to one another?
  •        How do we reduce frictionin the application and recruiting process?
  •        Can we use historical data to build predictive models? 




So then, let's get started....

Research conducted in early 2014 revealed that almost 90% of job seekers planned to use a mobile device during the job search process in the proceeding 12 months. broadbeantwitter-01 As Deloitte's Josh Bersin said, “Mobile is the platform, not a platform.” Just consider how often you use any number of mobile devices on a daily basis. Now imagine you’re in the market for a new job; where would you spend the majority of your search time? When you spend your days looking at job advertisements globally, the answer becomes abundantly clear, you're going to use your smart phone. In fact, according to the HR Technology Research Study:

“Nearly one-third of CareerBuilder.com’s traffic each month comes from mobile devices; however, tracking shows that as much as 40 percent of mobile candidates abandon the application process when they are notified they are about to encounter a non-mobile friendly apply process.” - Mary Lorenz on The Hiring Site Blog

It's clear that mobile apply should be at the top of nearly everyone's tech wish list. So what's the hold up? Why are many Fortune 500 companies (4 in 5) neglecting this oh-so-important step?


Why are employers saying no to mobile?

Application abandonment rates drastically rise when candidates see a non-mobile-friendly site on the horizon. Employers are losing a significant amount of candidates by neglecting to offer a mobile friendly application process. So, what gives? Why is the embrace of a mobile experience happening so slowly (or at all)? A recent HR Tech Study Report identified some of the excuses reasons.

  • 38% of employers don’t offer a mobile application process because they haven’t invested in the technology. broadbeantwitter-01
  • 18% of organizations haven’t invested in mobile application technology because they don’t have the resources. broadbeantwitter-01
  • 17% of employers don’t offer a mobile application process because they don’t believe that candidates search/apply online. broadbeantwitter-01
  • 17% of organizations haven’t invested in mobile application technology because they can’t find a good solution. broadbeantwitter-01
  • A surprising 21% of employers simply aren’t sure why they don’t offer a mobile application process to their candidates. broadbeantwitter-01

And prolific advisor and conference organizer Bill Boorman is emphatically against the process, saying: "I'm not a fan of mobile apply. I think the concept of making it easier and easier for people to find and apply for any job is just crazy. Why would we want even more applicants spending less and less time understanding the requirements of a job before hitting the apply button and going in to the hiring funnel. Companies do not have a problem attracting applicants. They get far too many already, they have a problem attracting hires."


And therein lies the chasm between data and action

Although employers have access to piles of data that would uncover the truth about their application process, most employers aren’t really aware of what they’re missing out on when it comes to neglecting to offer a mobile friendly application process. We asked employers whose ATS don’t measure traffic from their mobile site, if they felt they were missing out on talented applicants. Are these employers ignorant or are they afraid to open the floodgates to potentially mismatched, LAZY candidates? Without knowing how much of their qualified traffic comes from mobile devices, these employers replied:

  • 7% of employers said, “Yes, probably a small number of candidates”.
  • A mere 3% of employers said, “Yes, probably enough candidates that we should offer this option”.
  • An astounding 90% said, “No”.


Employers are still on the fence because they don't have all the info

With all we know about the importance of offering candidates a good mobile candidate and application experience, there isn’t exactly a rush to make the investment to update. A surprising number of employers are either not interested or not sure about updating their applicant tracking software for mobile capability. Employers are pretty evenly split between making the update, not making the update and not sure about updating. I'd be willing to bet that many of these have not tracked how many of their own hires would have liked a mobile experience.

  • 31% of employers plan to update the candidate mobile experience.
  • 37% of employers don’t plan to update the candidate mobile experience.
  • 32% of employers haven’t made the decision, or they aren’t sure.


Applicants aren’t on the fence

Candidates are by no means on the fence when it comes to what they want out of an online job application process. 21% of respondents rated the ability to use mobile technology as part of the application process as extremely/very important. The question that continues to remain unanswered (because companies must delve into their own data in order to discover the answer) is what kind of candidates prefer mobile apply? We DO know they want these additional features:

  • 66% of online job applicants want the ability to upload resumes quickly and easily. broadbeantwitter-01
  • 60% of online job applicants want to be able to view the status of their application. broadbeantwitter-01
  • 43% of online job seekers want the ability to save job searches. broadbeantwitter-01

The way we see the mobile trend going, it’s almost like not offering employees work computers because they would be too costly, or there are perfectly good pens and paper in the supply closet. It might irritate employers to have to sink additional spend into their career sites to make them responsive and mobile friendly but it's inevitable. In a very short time, neglecting to offer a mobile application experience to candidates will be the equivalent to not offering an online application process at all. For us, as always, the answer lies in the data. For employers to make the spend to create a secure and reliable mobile application experience, they must know that it will result in more qualified applicants, not just any applicants. Want to learn how to assess that? Get started by registering for a demo here.

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photo credit: kohlmann.sascha via photopin cc

Topics: Recruitment Trends & Data , Kelly's Trend Analysis , Trend Analysis , Mobile Job Application