RecruitmentThe average UK consumer now owns over five portable devices, with Ofcom reporting in August last year that we now spend more time communicating than we do sleeping. This hyper-connectivity is breeding a new type of consumer, accustomed to instant access to information at any time, from anywhere.

This shift has driven innovation across a range of industries, including travel, retail and financial services, and is now disrupting the recruitment industry, presenting both an opportunity and a challenge for businesses who are being forced to adopt a new approach to hiring.

Recent research conducted by Indeed revealed that ‘convenience’ is the overwhelming attraction of mobile job search. In our global study, 46 percent agreed that they use ‘whichever device is close to hand’, highlighting that connected job seekers are becoming increasingly channel agnostic. This is an important note for employers, who must avoid falling into the trap of talking about ‘mobile strategy’ as though it were a separate consideration from their other channels. No matter how or where consumers are browsing and applying for jobs, employers need to provide a platform that is both simple and effective.

Connected consumers – working with one eye on the market

Surrounded by technology, today’s jobseekers are just a touch of a button away from exploring new career avenues, comparing their role and salary with the wider industry average, and connecting with would-be employers for “a coffee” that could well lead to further discussions. Mobile technology is empowering employees – our research revealed that over 32 percent respondents claim they are happy in their job, but would consider moving if someone approached them. This is particularly true in the UK, with 16 percent confirming that they ‘always keep their eye open for new opportunities’. For six percent, job search is part of their daily routine.

The ‘on the go’ nature of mobile job search means that jobseekers tend to search more regularly than on other channels, and are more engaged when they do so. Data from Indeed shows that this mobile group visit the site 50 percent more each month, and make 15 percent more searches each time they visit. Interestingly, they are 60 percent more likely to apply for a job there and then (rather than saving the job advert and re-routing to another channel to apply later).

Anxious applicants

Despite familiarity with mobile devices to search, share and communicate, mobile job search still presents some challenges, particularly around the application process. 53 percent of UK consumers say that their screen is too small, with 34 percent concerned that they can’t easily tailor their CV for different roles. 26 percent are discouraged by the fact that they are unable to attach documents (such as a reference or cover letter), while for 23 percent there is a concern that their application won’t look as professional. 15 percent went so far as to say they weren’t fully confident that the application would even reach the employer.

Data from our own site reveals that employers who accept mobile applications receive twice as many quality applicants than from desktop alone. With this in mind, businesses are missing a trick if they fail to address the barriers to mobile application.

Adapting to changing job search patterns

Employers and HR teams are now faced with the challenge of engaging a potential work-force that behaves very differently to five, or even several years ago.

An increasing number of companies are looking to adapt their recruitment websites to cater to mobile viewing and some are considering mobile for more sophisticated usage scenarios like candidate sourcing and selection. Aside from ensuring the search process is streamlined, we are seeing increased interest in careers and recruitment apps among employers, which enable job seekers to download the latest company careers information to their smart device, as well as allowing them to develop a CV or cover letter across platforms.

Tracking success

As with any channel, it is crucial that employers track where their most successful applicants are coming from, and aim to better understand which recruitment method is delivering them the greatest ROI. Mobile provides a rich set of applicant data for businesses to incorporate into their Applicant Tracking Systems, and feed into recruitment strategy, allowing HR teams to take a more proactive approach to tracking success and understanding the cost of each hire. In other words, big data analytics can help take most of the “guess work” out of the recruitment process, helping to deliver insights which address their business challenge – primarily, filling a position with the right candidate in a timely manner.

As the continued economic recovery breathes new life into the UK labour market, we are seeing the power shifting away from the employer and into the hands of the employee for the first time in several years. Competition for top talent not only within the UK, but on a global stage means that employers have no choice but to tailor their offering to the workforce of mobile savvy users who want to be able to check on the job market anytime, anywhere.