Recruitment businesses missing out on the 'mobile revolution'

21 May 2014

The recruitment industry is currently undergoing a revolution. It’s one as profound as the move from print and telephone based recruitment to online that happened in the 2000s. And it’s one that is by-passing 90% of recruitment businesses.

What is it? It’s the move to mobile recruitment services.

A sobering statistic to start: the national recruitment website saw a 390% increase in mobile users between January 2009 and April 2010. This proves there is an established, colossal, and growing demand from job-seekers for mobile online services. 


Yet even in 2014, 90% of recruitment businesses don’t offer an effective mobile service.  This seems crazy to me. I’m talking from the perspective of somebody who spent many years in the recruitment business and who witnessed the number of firms that failed to survive the previous online revolution.

It makes sense for users

For users, mobile-friendly recruitment websites make a lot of sense. They can browse opportunities during work breaks without using their current employers IT systems and they can search for jobs while commuting. The convenience is something they appreciate and something that will make them use one site rather than another.

Already 1 in 5 job searches are conducted on mobile devices. In line with a more general trend towards using mobiles and tablets to search the internet, this proportion will increase in 2014 according to Google UK

Another stark statistic: if your website is not mobile-friendly the majority of your customers (61%) will go to a competitor.

Companies are already seeing a return on investment from mobile responsive websites; 62% of companies that invested in a mobile-friendly website showed an increase in sales.

To put this in perspective; since we launched the responsive version of our own website in Febuary this year we've seen mobile traffic increase by 197%. Not only are we getting more mobile traffic, but mobile visitors are also spending more time on the site, up 24% from the previous period.

What does this mean for recruitment companies?

Mobile phones are fast becoming the most common method of browsing the internet. Recruitment companies must speak to this growing audience if they want to survive.

There are three main benefits that a mobile friendly site offers to recruitment businesses: convenience, privacy, immediacy, not to mention keeping ahead of your competitors.



Implementing a mobile-friendly website allows users to search for jobs on the move; encouraging users to do more regular checks for updates.


It is a fair assumption that many job seekers are job hunting without informing their current place of work. Following on, job hunters are likely to want to keep their searches private.  Using their mobile phone to carry out searches can help avoid the view of prying eyes around the office or usage tracking on work computers. It allows people to carry out searches and check updates throughout the day.


Particularly when recruiting for short term or contract roles, the rapid response nature of mobile makes it an ideal platform for recruitment companies. Job hunters can get email alerts and immediately view and respond to opportunities from their phone.

Keeping up 

The benefits of mobile are not, of course, lost on the big players. Most of the large national recruitment sites have already launched smartphone apps and mobile-friendly websites. 

If you’re a smaller or mid-sized recruitment businesses and you can’t offer a good mobile user experience, your customers are likely to migrate to where the job hunters are increasingly to be found: the mobile internet.

Smart phones and tablets are the future of recruitment. And people avoid the inconvenience of pinching and stretching pages that were designed for a desktop. If your website is not easy to use on a mobile phone, you’ll find it harder to fill your clients’ vacancies.

Mobile gets you found


Did you know that Google displays different search results depending on the device you are using? The fact that Google has also launched a dedicated smartphone crawler to analyse the performance of websites on smartphones indicates that the effect of this will become even more marked.

Put bluntly, your desktop-only site may not be visible to somebody who is using a mobile to search for vacancies! We’ve also seen evidence of a general downgrading of rankings for sites that are not responsive or mobile friendly. 

And the stats don’t lie…

The Mobile Recruitment Conference ran its largest mobile survey this year and 84% of users think companies should have mobile enabled recruitment sites. But 90% of businesses don’t offer this. 

  • 67% of users would use a mobile to apply for vacancies.
  • Already 1 in 5 job searches are conducted on mobile devices. In line with a more general trend towards using mobiles and tablets to search the internet, this proportion will increase in 2014 according to Google UK
  • 48% of users have applied for a job through their mobile and 84% think employers should have a mobile specific website (MRC)

Three questions you should be asking yourself if you are a recruiter:

  1. How many jobseekers are already accessing your site via a mobile device?  This is easy to discover, just look at the Google analytics for your site and you’ll see how many visitors currently visit your site via a mobile device.
  2. What is the experience like for a job seeker when viewing your site on a mobile device? If you can’t navigate easily, or it requires lots of swiping and searching, or the job search function does not work, then imagine the amount of applicants this will be turning off.
  3. What’s your competition doing with mobile? If they are doing it already, you are playing catch up. If they’re not doing it, be the first and reap the rewards of a USP.  


The Mobile Revolution is here to stay



As a Recruiter/Business owner your job is hard enough, some people don’t understand the thankless tasks you do. The wonderful HR teams that frustrate you when they are never there, the candidate that was a guaranteed a placement and goes underground.

The core value you offer is in understanding your clients’ needs and in matching these to suitable candidates. You can’t do this if potential candidates aren’t finding you, or can’t search for vacancies in the way they want to.

Things look like they are picking up in the Recruitment world which is great news. Now is the time to make sure your business is equipped to cope with the upturn and publicize your vacancies in the way that job hunters increasingly want to receive them.

Give me a call on 01823 278 500 – I’ll happily explain your options for using mobile services to grow your business, and we can even talk old recruiting war stories together!