Chances are, if your company’s website allows job applications, you’ve lost smart, well-qualified candidates because applying via smartphone caused major angst. And if you’re not even equipped to accept online applications, you’re even further behind the curve.
About one in five American adults either doesn’t have broadband access at home, or has relatively few options for getting online other than a cellphone, according to a 2015 Pew Research Center report on smartphone use. Nearly two-thirds of these “smartphone-dependent” people have gotten job information on their phones in the past year, and almost four in 10 have applied via mobile.
But that’s not to say it’s been a positive experience.
Employee-oriented back-end systems of most company sites “tend to be held together with duct tape and gum wrappers,” says John Nesler, who works at Creative California, a Sacramento-based web development and online marketing company.
Well-designed websites are optimized for mobile device viewing, and developing this kind of site and an easy application process can mean a lower cost per hire and a reduced time to fill open positions, says Amanda Haddaway, a human resources and marketing expert and the author of “Interviewer Success: Become a Great Interviewer in Less Than One Hour” (2013). “As recruiters, we must embrace mobile technologies now because our candidates will expect us to use them proficiently.”
Here are reasons mobile job searching can cause great candidates to jump ship — or apply but walk away with a negative perception.
- A non-responsive web design
Responsive design is all the rage in the web developer world, but many companies still haven’t made it happen.
The page should to adapt to the screen size of whatever device is being used. “Job seekers get frustrated when there’s a lot of scrolling and it’s hard to see the whole page on their device screen,” says Haddaway.
- Difficult job search functionality
The desire: Filters by category, location, and more without too much clicking, typing, or squinting. Clicking on a result should lead to an “apply” button. And need it be said that the searches should actually work?
- Frustrating forms
Allow employment page visitors to create an account so they can easily apply for multiple opportunities, as Starbucks employee hopefuls visiting the company’s career center know.
Some sites allow a user to sign in using an existing social media profile page and will autofill basic information, says Charles Mitchell, co-founder of All About People, an Arizona-based recruiting and staffing franchise. Eliminate unnecessary data entry and gain more candidate focus on answering questions.
- Long wait times
No candidate wants to wait for graphics to load or search for the “x” on a pop-up. They will tire just as easily when encountering an involved job application.
Keep media to a minimum, says Mitchell, adding that “the entire app should be five pages or less.”
- Attachment issues
It should be simple to upload a resume to apply. But choice is nice: Candidates at AT&T’s att.jobs mobile site can copy and paste their experience right into an account profile.
- Submission black holes
Applicants deserve confirmation that their final “apply now” act was a success. Better yet, let them log in later and check on application status.
Analyze & Test
Mitchell advises taking advantage of web analytics tools such as Google Analytics to view the bounce rate by device. What pages are mobile users visiting? And are they leaving your jobs page faster than desktop or tablet users?
And then a good way to quickly find holes in your employment site is to view it from your own device. “As yourself whether it’s a website that you would want to spend time on if it weren’t yours,” suggests Mitchell.
The exercise, Haddaway says, “serves as a reality check of what candidates go through to apply.”
‘Fess up: Is your Careers page mobile-ready?