What staffing agencies need to know about mobile candidates

Jeremy Market Trends, Products & Technology, Tips & Tricks

It may seem like mobile devices are already everywhere, but research indicates they're going to become even more ubiquitous in the near future. Twice, a consumer electronics news channel, shared the results of Ericsson research that predicted U.S. data consumption would see rapid growth between 2015 and 2021, increasing from 3.7GB to 22GB a month per person. Improvements in data speed and connected technology will likely cause consumers to buy more mobile devices and use them increasingly often.

It should come as no surprise that mobile devices aren't going away anytime soon, but what staffing agencies should take from this research – and similar trends – is that new technology may cause major disruptions in the job market. As more candidates use smartphones to search for open positions, apply for jobs and work from home, current operations and best practices must adapt to the new mobile workforce.

Here is what is currently known about mobile job candidates and what staffing agencies can do to make this information part of their daily practices:

Millennials and mobile
Individuals born between the late 1980s and early 2000s have a variety of nicknames, including millennials and Generation Y, but an important title for this group is digital natives. This is the generation that was born and raised in a time when the internet came to prominence and set out into the job market with smartphones already in hand.

Mobile usage should increase drastically over the next five years. Mobile usage should increase drastically over the next five years.

The latest Nielsen research found more than 85 percent of millennials own a smartphone. What organizations have to recognize is that smartphone users not only own a mobile device, but often prefer it to their traditional computing options. A ComScore report discovered younger audiences spend 60 percent of their digital media time on smartphones and tablets, and 20 percent never use a desktop computer, according to International Business Times.

This preference has caused a variety of businesses to change the way they market and communicate with consumers. Information Age said appealing to digital natives requires businesses to tailor operations, such as providing more opportunities for mobile employees.

Obstacles in the mobile job hunt
Millennials use their smartphones to search for jobs in growing numbers. The Pew Research Center found 79 percent of modern candidates consider the internet the most valuable resource when looking for employment and 25 percent consider themselves to be mobile jobseekers. These individuals will use their smartphone to search for job postings and research companies, but obstacles often prevent them from going through the application process on mobile devices.

Almost half of mobile jobseekers reported experiencing some problem when trying to access employment-related content. It's not uncommon for application forms to be difficult to fill out on mobile devices or even for initial postings to display poorly on smaller screens. Employers and staffing agencies must acknowledge these difficulties and find new staffing software solutions to create online platforms for mobile audiences.  

What candidates want to see
Only about half of mobile candidates have used their smartphones to fill out job applications. Meanwhile, less than a quarter have used the technology to create resumes and cover letters. Organizations can increase this number by simplifying their mobile application process and reducing the steps necessary.

"Mobile candidates often use their devices to research companies."

Some staffing agencies make themselves available to skilled mobile candidates by releasing their own mobile job search Web app. This places the tools jobseekers need right on the home screen of their preferred device. Agencies that have the software systems necessary to create and run this option can make themselves a dependable mobile partner throughout a candidate's career.

Mobile candidates often use their devices to research companies, so mobile apps should be sure to display the information they want to see. In today's market, financial compensation is just one factor jobseekers are interested in. A Gallup Poll discovered most millennials have a more positive view of the economy than previous generations. Compensation is important to mobile candidates but so are flexible schedules and opportunities for growth.

New communication strategies
Providing consistent information is a necessity when working with millennial candidates. The New York Daily News suggested this generation prefers constant feedback and check-ins. Mobile strategies should integrate with the overall applicant tracking system. Agencies need to provide candidates with representatives ready to answer questions as soon as they occur and a software system that consolidates the data from all communications to keep the relationship moving forward.

CareerBuilder performed a survey of modern jobseekers to help inform candidates and employers about what to expect from the current market. First, it takes nearly two months for an individual to find a job, so staffing agencies should prepare for a little back and forth in their interactions. Secondly, mobile candidates expect superior performance from online materials or they will quickly abandon employment platforms at the first hint of frustration. 

The key to appealing to mobile candidates is to provide information, service and communication channels as convenient and helpful as the devices candidates use every day.