There is a driving similarity between us marketers, HR managers and recruiters: Every single one of us has been a job candidate.

We’ve been the active candidate, constantly pursuing and looking. We’ve also been the passive candidate, researching the companies we like and waiting for the right role to come our way from a referral or sending a resume out on a whim.

Yet sometimes we put on our new hats and forget where we came from—the candidate pool. We ignore the firsthand journey we had and all the thoughts, complaints and suggestions that went along with it.

Ask yourself this question. When’s the last time you went through your full recruiting process?

And when’s the last time you went through it from a mobile device?

 

The Mobile Factor

Mobile has made this journey exponentially more interesting—and realistically, more challenging. There are so many more touchpoints, so many more ways to engage a candidate, but also to dissuade one.

According to LinkedIn’s Mobile Recruiting Playbook, almost three-fourths of active candidates have visited a company’s mobile site to learn about careers or have browsed job board sites. An astounding 45% have actually applied to a job on their phones. Even the passive candidates are using mobile: More than half have browsed a company’s social accounts, and a quarter have applied to a position.

But it’s an intimidating frontier. The LinkedIn Playbook also reveals that to almost 50% of talent acquisition leaders, mobile is NOT a top priority. It’s probably because nearly 30% say they don’t know where to begin. An upcoming change from Google may be the impetus organizations need to really make mobile a priority and have a place to start. On April 21, Google will roll out an algorithm update that will put higher search emphasis on mobile-friendly sites.

Before this all makes your head explode, put technology and data and manpower aside. Here’s where to begin: your potential candidates. You start from what they’re doing—and further, who they are and what they need. Good thing is, we’ve been there. Because only then can you figure out how your company can meet those needs.

 

Understand your potential candidates.

The “I Need a Job Stat” Candidate

Who I Am: I’m an active job seeker who wants a job ASAP—whether I’m currently unchallenged, uninspired, underpaid or unemployed. I’m heading to companies’ websites and social channels and job boards. LinkedIn and Indeed have become my go-to apps. I’m checking my inbox on my commute, on lunch and walking to the bathroom.

What I Need: If I’m currently employed, I am going to need to do as much research as I can on my phone and in my downtime (or at my current job [insert gasp]) from my PC. My experience should not be radically different on either device. I need a mobile career site that is streamlined but value-rich. I want to apply at the drop of a hat because I’m ready to. I also want a way to engage, starting now, outside of the apply process so I can receive future job and careers content. I need quick access to social channels to gauge company culture and connect. I want quick responses and hiring timelines.

How Mobile Can Engage Them: Mobile can help you stand out—and reach out—to these candidates who are applying to numerous places and researching tons of companies.

Today, you can learn more about a company’s culture and team through social media than anywhere else. Promote social media links on your mobile site—and make sure your channels showcase WHO you are. Encourage potential candidates to connect through Facebook comments or by providing their Twitter handles. It’s more personal and more human—and nearly everyone gets social alerts on their phones, if they’re not browsing the channels already. If you can mobile optimize your site for a quick e-mail sign up or one-click apply through LinkedIn, you can capture ready-to-jump candidates who have been eyeing your company.

 

The “I’m Keeping My Eyes Open” Candidate

Who I Am: I’m a passive job seeker who is browsing for something better. I’m putting feelers out on LinkedIn, maybe liking the Facebook pages of my top-choice companies. I’m not spending time scouring job boards or checking in with postings on Careers section—I’d prefer it if new positions would come to me.

What I Need: I need openings that show up at my doorstep. I want to provide my email to a company or set up a search on LinkedIn to learn about the positions that might work for me, and the rest to just happen. I am willing to apply for a job or fill out an application if it’s worth it—and if it’s simple. This isn’t my main priority, so I like ease of use and quickness. I also don’t mind staying up-to-date on industry news or job advice for when the time is right.

How Mobile Can Engage Them: These types of candidates aren’t willing to spend loads of time researching and applying—so a positive, streamlined experience leaves a positive, lasting impression.

These are the candidates you want in your pipeline, who you can slowly learn more about and keep them engaged with savvy content and targeted positions. Capture their email address in a one-click, mobile-optimized form, and you can slowly build on who they are and what they are interested in, monitoring the content they consume and the data fields they continue to enter. Send them targeted positions that match their experience at mobile-optimized times of day (morning and evening commute or lunch breaks). Keeping passive candidates in the loop with content (think career tips, resume advice, industry news or upcoming events) and individualized value will generate interest over time.

 

The “Currently Employed and Content” Candidate

Who I Am: I’m working and I’m happy—or at last pretty satisfied. My resume hasn’t been updated since my last job search, although I have probably updated my LinkedIn profile with current title and responsibilities. I’m not currently looking for careers, companies or open positions, and I peruse LinkedIn for content, not jobs. Frankly, the thought of starting another interview process gives me a headache.

What I Need: In my mind, I don’t need anything. I’d probably rather not hear from recruiters. Well, unless they’re coming to me about my vast experience. And maybe if the opportunity is really interesting. And I don’t have to do much. They just find me on LinkedIn and think I’m great. I’d also make a move to work at my friend’s company, but I’m waiting on an open position and a good recommendation.

How Mobile Can Engage Them: It’s not just the candidates that are looking that can be interested in your position—being pursued or referred bears a lot of weight.

Proactive recruitment soars in mobile, as people are checking emails and social messages faster and more frequently on their phones. For this audience, the happy and content, it’s all about personalized contact.  A potential candidate is on her way home from work on a particularly rough day. She checks her phone and sees a LinkedIn notification. It’s an inbox message from a recruiter talking about her impressive experience and prior accomplishments. They’d like to set up a call based on that, just to see if she’d be interested in the position. OR she checks her texts and hears from an old friend about a position at her company―they’re offering $250 for a great employee referral (so don’t screw this up!)

Three weeks later, she’s starting a new job—one with more potential, a stronger team and a better salary. And you, the recruiter, scored the ideal candidate that’s going to help the company and her colleagues flourish. All from a little proactivity, a LinkedIn message (or eager current employee) and a mobile phone at the right time.

A longer-term route through content can also influence a “not-looking” candidate: While browsing one of his social channels, Don’t Bother Me Candidate comes across an article about advice from CEOs on becoming the next great leader. He clicks, he reads it. He really enjoyed this specific author’s perspective, so he signs up for email alerts for more content. Despite his interest in just the author now, the company has already gained a pipeline candidate they can communicate with in the future–and know the type of content that spoke to him in the first place.

It’s clear: There are a multitude of ways in which you can attract and engage candidates through their constant sidekick–their phone. Even more importantly, you can really influence them throughout their job search process, from zero interest to the final decision between your company and a competitor. The key is to understand your candidate personas, map out their possible journeys and deliver what they’re looking for at those stages. Easier said than done, but we can’t give you all the good stuff yet can we?

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