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“I find it very frustrating that some very experienced people are closing their minds to the amazing possibilities of “mobile first” recruitment.”

At some stage in 2014 the volume of UK internet traffic coming from mobile devices will overtake the amount of traffic coming from more traditional desktop browsing. Job boards and some more savvy employers have already noticed vast increase in mobile traffic to their sites and a tipping point is about to be reached. It is becoming clear that mobile is a hugely disruptive force that is changing the way entire industries work.

Unfortunately, this message doesn’t seem to be getting through when it comes to recruitment and many employers and recruiters are thinking about mobile in the wrong way. The one thing I hate about our industry is that for many the default position seems to be an insistence that the old ways of doing things are best and any shift in technology needs to be adapted to fit tried and tested methods rather than looking at the potential to evolve the industry itself and makes things work better.

I’ve been around long enough to know that change is inevitable, I remember presenting to groups of people 15 years ago (ironically when I was selling an early version of an applicant tracking system) to be told that no one would ever apply for a job using a computer. With this in mind I find it very frustrating that some very experienced people are closing their minds to the amazing possibilities of “mobile first” recruitment.

Mobile innovation is currently being held back (like most innovation before it in the last ten years) by the fear that it doesn’t fit with the ATS and mobile recruiting providers are forced to jump through hoops to provide mobile apply solutions that have to replicate the traditional way of doing things rather than using mobile as a catalyst to improve them.

Despite perceptions to the contrary, the technical barriers to mobile apply can be overcome and with some effort it is possible to present most recruitment processes in a format that works functionally on a mobile. However something being functional doesn’t make it user friendly and quality candidates are even less likely to tolerate a long winded recruitment process on a mobile than they currently do on a desktop, however technically clever it is.

What is clear from the mobile revolution happening all around us is that mobile has a genuine power to improve what has gone before. Mobile first companies like Uber, Tinder and Instagram are causing huge disruption in their markets and many existing industries are rushing to embrace mobile, creating such useful things as mobile banking, mobile payments and mobile airline check ins to name but a few.

So why aren’t we looking at things differently in the recruitment space? Integrating video screening and touch screen psychometric testing to create a “mobile first apply” is just one of thousands of possibilities that mobile technology give us and that’s before we consider the future recruitment selection possibilities of permission based access to some of the personal data footprint created and stored within our devices. Hanging onto ATS systems that refuse to adapt and closing your mind to anything that doesn’t look like recruitment from 50 years ago isn’t going to solve your resourcing problems in 2014. Isn’t it time to think differently and embrace the promise and possibilities of our mobile first world?

Matt Alder will be at the Innovation in Recruitment Summit 2014 on the 18th September 2014, make sure to join him at this event!


Matt helps companies get more value from their digital talent acquisition strategy by offering strategic advice, training and auditing based on his wide range of experience in the recruitment and HR industries.

Over the last fifteen years he has helped numerous employers connect to the talent they need, improve ROI and drive value via digital, social and mobile recruitment strategies and techniques.

Matt is also a highly regarded futurist who is fascinated by the way organisations are becoming more connected to create the future of the world of work.

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