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Mobile Recruiting - Coming of Age

by Gerry Purdy 2. October 2013 08:53


Candidates are using mobile & social to find open positions & organizations are using them to locate & hire qualified candidates




A few months ago, I was invited by Michael Marlatt, producer of the Mobile Recruiting 2013 (mRec) conference, to deliver the keynote address last week on Sept. 23 at the Georgia International Learning Center  located in Technology Square at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Mobile recruiting is a relatively new sector that is a cross between Mobile, Social and Location (MoSoLo) where mobile apps are used in conjunction with social networking and location to complete a task. Here, mobile apps are used by job seekers in order to find open positions, apply for them, conduct the interview and learn if they have been offered a position.

Organizations still post open positions on job boards and databases such as Monster, CareerBuilder, Indeed, SimplyHired, and But, the recruiters in Human Resources are now posting open positions to social networking and receiving job applications via mobile apps. They are also interviewing applications using mobile, and job seekers are checking out what others think of the company using social networking.

I gave the keynote address at the conference and attended a number of the sessions. UPS reported that 20% of new hires find UPS and complete their application via their mobile app.

I came away from the conference realizing that recruiting is taking advantage of mobile, social and location in order for organizations with open positions to best help applicants and job seekers to more easily find and apply to open positions. 

During my keynote address, I provided the following overview (Figure 2) of the recruiting ecosystem with universities students, those currently working who are looking for a new position and the unemployed all making up the labor pool.

On the lower part of the diagram, organizations post open positions to online job posting sites like CareerBuilder and Monster, but they are now also posting those positions on Facebook & Twitter and offer mobile apps to those interested in applying. What's interesting is that a growing number of job seekers are using mobile and social as their primary method to find out and apply for a position, and organizations are finding that these new tools are the most effective way to hire qualified individuals.

The university environment also involves career fairs and onsite interviews (as before) but people working in career development are also using social networks and mobile.


In my presentation, I pointed out that mobile recruiting involves the following major activities:

  • Promotional awareness campaigns - this is where social and mobile apps are used to promote the company and open positions. These activities allow the hiring organization to 'get the word out' about the company and an open position (or group of positions). A good example would be a post to Facebook of an open position from the hiring company.
  • Databases migrated from web-centric to mobile-centric - where organizations create mobile apps that help job seekers in finding positions that are open with the organization. This can take the form of an HTML 5 app that runs using the smartphone or tablet's mobile browser or via a native app that typically provides a better user experience (but can be more expensive to develop).
  • Search - the ability of using a mobile device to find an open position either via a job posting board or via the company's own mobile application. This is, of course, the most important mobile service because it's where job seekers find an open position and can then apply for it, often within the organization's mobile app. There is another form of search that is used by the hiring organization: it's where they search out people who are qualified for the open position via organizations like LinkedIn.
  • Apply - once the job seeker finds an open position for which they feel they are qualified, they can apply for the position using the mobile app. This mirrors the services available on the web but are tailored for the mobile app, i.e. the user interface is most often different from the web interface due to different screen sizes. Tablet apps more closely mirror web user experiences whereas smartphone apps typically have a very different user experience.
  • Research (inside peak via social networking) - where job seekers use social networking such as Facebook or Twitter to look at the conversations that are being posted by employees and past employees. Sometimes, disgruntled employees will post negative comments about the hiring organization. The job seeker has to put such negative comments into perspective: some of the comments may be erroneous or not fairly portray the working conditions while other comments - if accurate - may help warn the job seeker that the company may not be the right place in which to work. Of course, the organization can use social networking and mobile apps to give a favorable portrayal of what is like to work at the hiring company which can often answer many of the questions that the job seeker may have.
  • Interview - newer mobile apps by hiring organizations often include the ability for the organization to conduct an interview in near real-time using a messaging platform. This can be more comfortable for many job seekers who may prefer to be interviewed digitally than in person. Some interview programs such as HireVue will let the user test the interviewing user interface before 'going live'. This gives the job seeker a chance to see how the interview process is conducted - something that isn't done when the interview is in person. The interview responses are typically 'final' when the interview starts much like they are when conducted in person. And, of course, some companies still require an in-person validation before an offer is extended but that process is typically much quicker than the traditional interviewing process. And, it's possible for some digital interviews to use video (via Skype or other video apps) as well as allow multiple personnel in the hiring company to participate in the interview process.
  • Process applicants - a number of mobile recruiting software companies offer support for the recruiting department in the hiring company to assist with the processing of applicants using mobile apps rather than just web apps.
  • Assessment & background check - this is where mobile apps assist the hiring company with background checks on applicants. These systems use social media as well as web-based information to complete the assessment and background check.
  • Employee morale - this is where apps gather employee posts to social media with an attempt to measure employee morale or how they feel about working at the company.

Below is a list of the companies (Figure 3) that were sponsoring and speaking at the Mobile Recruiting 2013 conference. This gives you a good idea of the companies that are taking an active role and offering products and services in mobile recruiting.


I appreciate Michael Marlatt, producer of mRec, inviting me to talk at this interesting conference. If you company isn't using social and mobile in its recruiting process, you should begin right now. This is a big movement, and every company should be utilizing these assets to hire the best qualified employees. 

Written By:   
J. Gerry Purdy, Ph.D.  
Chief Mobility Strategist
Compass Intelligence 404-855-9494
Disclosure Statement:
From time to time, I may have a direct or indirect equity position in a company that is mentioned in this column. If that situation happens, then I'll disclose it at that time

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