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March 27, 2014 Is your job board mobile ready? Alastair Digby, Account Director

Is your job board mobile ready?

Mobile recruitment is one of the most hotly discussed topics within the online recruitment landscape. Whenever I attend a conference or trade show any session relating to mobile is full to capacity with people eager to learn about the latest trends, success stories and advancement in technology. With sales of smartphone and tablet devices accelerating rapidly and new devices constantly launched into the market, mobile is clearly a vitally important channel for all job board businesses.

This trend has had a dramatic effect on how jobseekers engage with job boards and highlights the importance of ensuring your online recruitment business is fully mobile optimised. Failing to recognise the importance of mobile will have a detrimental effect on your brand, recruitment revenues and crucially jobseeker engagement.

Since the iPhone was launched in 2007, mobile technology has revolutionised how we communicate on a fundamental level. We can now access a huge array of information and services from any location at any time and in many cases using multiple devices. That being said, for many people mobile devices have become the primary tool for accessing the internet and they are just as likely to use their device from the comfort of their home using a WiFi connection. I know personally I seldom use my laptop at home any more unless I need to use a specific Microsoft application such as Excel or edit my latest holiday snaps. The majority of my time online is now via my iPad or Android smartphone using my broadband connection so does that classify me as a mobile user?

The impact of mobile

At Madgex we continue to see dramatic increases in mobile traffic across our clients’ job boards with an average of 20% - 25% of all traffic originating from mobile devices. This varies across sectors & niches, however in some cases we have seen figures as high as 40% of traffic coming from iPad alone. When we reflect on earlier research conducted in December 2009 we were seeing mobile traffic levels at 1.5% - 2% on average. These figures clearly demonstrate the huge uplifts we have seen over the last three years.

When we analyse mobile jobseekers' behaviour the high volumes of traffic are not yet converting into a proportionate volume of applications. On the surface this may seem strange, but would you apply for your next role on a crowded noisy bus? In actual fact jobseekers are tending to use mobile devices predominantly for searching, emailing, sharing and bookmarking relevant jobs, then applying from their desktop wherever that may be. Over time this pattern will no doubt change, but for the time being desktop is still the preferred channel for the majority of job applications.

Looking beyond direct traffic from mobile, email still plays a vital role in driving high quality applications. The implication here for job boards is that between 27% - 40% (depending on which report you read) of people access their email via their smartphone. In order to provide the best possible user experience and capitalise on this traffic you must have a mobile optimised site. If a jobseeker receives an email alert and they open the link to a job board which is not optimised then naturally this makes it very difficult to both read the job detail and also apply for the position through their mobile device.

Innovation is the key to a successful mobile strategy

At Madgex we have been providing mobile job board solutions for over nearly four years now and recently launched our latest HTML 5 mobile web app to further enhance our mobile offering, with our 3rd generation iPhone and Android apps surfacing in March. As with all our projects we undertook numerous rounds of user testing and held focus groups with jobseekers, recruiters and job board owners to understand their individual sets of needs. One of most requested features by our clients we acted upon was the inclusion of mobile specific sales inventory to help monetise mobile audiences. This not only helps increase revenues but also enables recruiters to target mobile users.

Our product roadmap will continue to adapt to the rapidly changing mobile landscape to provide a broad range of mobile services. The next stage of our work on mobile will be a project looking at responsive design, a prototype of which has already been created during our annual Hack Day in February.

Paul Eustice, Mobile JavaScript Developer at Madgex, comments “sites that were once desktop-only can now be built to suit the form factors of the multitude of devices accessing them. They can respond to different screen sizes to provide the best possible experience to every user, regardless of whether a site is being viewed on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or smart TV.” Some laptops can now detach their keyboard and become tablets. Touch screens we once only found on a smartphone can now be found on laptops and even desktop screens.

The feedback we’ve had from our client base is that mobile will continue to be a vitally important channel for the foreseeable future. The increasing number of jobseekers using mobile will continue to grow and technology will provide job boards with opportunities to provide relevant jobs, content and tools to their audience. If you are a job board owner and don’t have a coherent mobile experience you are missing out on a huge audience and falling behind the competition.