Rethinking Mobile Apply #CandEUK

This might seem a bit of a change in direction. I’ve always championed mobile integration in to recruitment process, and apply by mobile has been a big part of the conversation. At risk of being controversial (as if I would), I have been rethinking my position on this. First off, this doesn’t mean I’m changing my mind about the importance of mobile, the numbers show that mobile is social, and is fast becoming web. Mobile should be the first consideration in buying or building technology, building mobile to web rather than the other way round.

Over the last 3 months I have been spending a lot of time going through the data for the Candidate Experience Awards, UK Edition, known as the CandE’s. When you look at the hard data from a wide range of companies, the learning points are quite clear. To give you some idea of the headlines that are going to be included in the white paper:

> The average job gets 80 applications for each post filled.

> 70% of candidates are unqualified for the job they apply for

> Only 20% of applicants see a job description before applying, and this includes the minimum requirements.

When you look at these numbers, it does make you question if this is desperation or a lack of research on the part of the applicants. Whilst the process might well be painful, as is well documented, killer questions are being left to the end of the process, (if at all), rather than being stated before starting the application process. It seem that all the emphasis has been on talent attraction rather tan recruiting, as recruiters have rushed to become marketeers. With these numbers, any level of candidate experience for already overloaded recruiters becomes a problem.

This brings me on to mobile apply, or any type of apply for that matter. The smart companies in the survey have started separating out candidates and applicants, with different processes to provide the best experience for each. My definitions are:

>  Candidates

Anyone connected with the company in a network. This could be a talent network, a LinkedIn follower, a Facebook fan or similar. A candidate should be able to declare their interest with one click, giving access to their data, enabling notification of relevant content and opportunities matched to their profiles. A candidate stays a candidate as long as they choose to be connected. This replaces concepts like silver medalists, or the win/lose application process.

> Applicant

Anyone actively in the application process for a job or jobs. A minimum requirement of this should be that the applicant is aware of the minimum requirements and has seen a form of the job spec, not the job ad, but the job spec. Rejected applicants become candidates for future messaging, sourcing, matching and consideration. My thinking on mobile is that this should be for the candidate process only, though the process of moving from candidate to applicant can be mobile enabled via the talent network, with mobile landing pages and related data sent to those candidates who match the minimum requirements based on the candidate data submitted.

My thinking now is for a mobile candidate process, and that a mobile apply process on its own might just make the situation worse. The #CandE UK WhitePaper will be available for download soon. Any company interested in getting their own process benchmarked against other EMEA employers can register their interest free to take part in the 2013 survey. There is no maximum number of companies who can be awarded the kite mark recognition, or achieve distinction, and all companies get a complete report. If you are serious about candidate experience, take part!


PLEASE NOTE: The opinions expressed in this post are mine, and not an official #CandE communication.

Find out about the CandEUK 2013 Awards HERE

Saturday Infographic: 10 Mobile Facts For The U.S.Market

O.K, this is data from the US, published by a very interesting mobile development company in India (thanks to Joel Cheesman for putting the research from iMomentous). The message though has universal application, stop thinking web and start thinking mobile.

10 Facts about the Mobile Web – An infographic by the team at iMomentous – Mobile Recruiting

Pin it if you like it.


2012/13 Part 5: Mobile Recruiting

2013 must be the year that mobile is accepted as mainstream rather than add-on. The debate will continue over responsive web design v mSite v mobile application, but anything that isn’t built mobile first just isn’t worth buying, and the person selling it to you is akin to a thief. Selling you something which they know is going to become redundant within 18 months. I would steer a wide berth when mobile is offered an option, you need to be thinking mobile to web rather than web to mobile. In some countries mobile search on Google is up to 60%. The emerging net nations are skipping desktops and going straight to mobile, which offers new opportunity for global recruiters.

I’m really excited about the prospect of mobile as a recruiting channel. As mobile search on Google rises (and it won’t go down), mobile optimization is great for SEO, because Google gives preference to mobile optimized sites in mobile search, and Facebook enables the targeting of promoted stories by device type. Any kind of social recruiting will attract far more response from mobile devices, and the destination you are sending people to needs to reflect this. Dave Martin, formerly of AllTheTopBananas and BraveNewTalent is working on a new product, Pocket Recruit. I don’t know much about this yet, but I know Dave, and it is another one to keep an eye out for. The three mobile stories that stood out for me this year were from Arie Ball, who launched the helpful app for Sodexo in the US. The app gives users different content and features according to their status, divided by employees, alumni and external people. Whilst I don’t remember the exact data, the biggest results came from internal mobility, because recruiters can match employee profiles with opportunity and notify them in real-time. When we talk target audience, we often forget the internal audience of employees, and it is this audience who offer the most potential. Most companies consider internal mobility to be putting jobs up on a notice board, and asking for permission to apply, what is different in this case is the app, and the notifications, without the need for permission to apply. UK company AllTheTopBananas developed the app for Sodexo after a meeting at #truLondon.
Number two is Carrie Corbin of A.T.&T. Not surprisingly for a phone company, mobile features highly in their recruiting efforts. Corbin reminded me of the importance of not forgetting text in favor of sexier mobile options. Corbin gets a fantastic response to combining the A.T.&T talent network with text messaging. There is a higher open rate than any other form of messaging, and usually within minutes of receipt. By targeting texts, and adding a link to job opportunities with a simple click-through, they also get a great response.
The other story is from Mike Vangel, who is responsible for implementing and managing social recruiting efforts with U.P.S. Vangel was responsible for launching the highly successful UPS road trip campaign on Facebook, (as well as a social recruiting approach built over 3 years) that required users to view employee videos and rank them. Over 70% of the views were via a mobile device. This changes the way we need to think about video production, taking out graphics and flash changes, and looking for short, clear content with great lighting. YouTube is built for mobile, giving real opportunities for building culture branding content through video for mobile. Vangel comments that the one thing he would have done differently if he did the whole thing again would have been to put mobile in place first.

This year I had the pleasure of meeting up with Jeremy Langhans of Expedia (formerly of Starbucks), first at #SHRMAtlanta, and then at #ATCMobile and #truAus in Sydney. In Atlanta, Jeremy brought me up to speed on his work with Starbucks, where he built the first responsive web design career site. Langhans’ belief is that career sites should be device agnostic, whatever device the user views the site on, the content should adjust to them without the need for different mSites on different domains.

The site, navigation and functions adjust according to the device being used. Everything is built around user experience. Think about the way you view a site on different devices from desktop, tablet or smart phone. You need the navigation to be different with menus in different places. The smaller the screen size, the less text you want, and the more you need images and bigger the buttons you need. Langhans believes that if you need to pinch or stretch screen images then the user experience is poor, and the visitor is more likely to abort the site and go elsewhere. Langhans is also a big advocate for making the experience end to end from view to apply or expression of interest to avoid losing interested people.

The majority of companies are still building from desktop to mobile, trying to recreate the same experience, whereas the build should really be the other way round. Traffic from desktops will only decrease year on year. It is expected that mobile access will overtake desktop by the end of 2013, accelerated by the release of the 4G network globally, which will more than halve load times for data.

Whilst responsive web design is a good catch all solution, serious consideration should be given to mSites built for specific devices, such as iPhone, iPad, Android etc. Whilst Apple have enjoyed a degree of dominance in the market, the Android market share is rising at a significant rate, driven by the success of Samsung in particular. The benefit of using an mSite is that you can build the experience, functions etc to be device specific. What you want to do with an iPhone may well be quite different to what you want to do on an Android. The area that really interests me here is that you can target sponsored Facebook updates to specific device type, and drive traffic to an mSite built for this purpose. UK mobile expert Dave Martin and Metashift founder Matt Alder reported in their Guide to mobile recruiting 2012 reported that in the UK there are 40M ‘recruitment related’ Mobile Google searches a month,and a mobile site provides direct traffic. I recommend downloading this free report for plenty of data on the mobile landscape.

Social is mobile, with up to 80% of tweets, and 65% of Facebook updates coming from a mobile device, given the volume of searches conducted via mobile, we should now consider the web as a whole to be mobile, and always think mobile first.

The other consideration in the mix is adding a dedicated native mobile app. Aki Kakko, my partner in crime for the new #tru events spoke about apps as a part of the mobile infrastructure at #truAus, and gave some incredible stats for the level of downloads, particularly on iPhone. When you consider the volume, and the fact that we use apps for just about everything on mobile (think Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc). Why should recruiting be any different? There is a strong case for adding native apps for internal comms and mobility, talent networks for push notifications etc. I also see a real benefit for offering a dedicated app to candidates coming for interview to provide progress notifications, additional content, maps (using geolocation), picture of the interviewer and the facility for check in on arrival. Consider this for candidate experience, and the opportunity to offer a fantastic user experience. The uses are endless when you consider the potential, and the addition of augmented reality.

Another interesting thought came from JobRapido founder Vito Lomelle, when we were discussing their plans to role out on Facebook through an app. I asked about the plans for a mobile app, and Vito pointed out that there was no point developing two. As Facebook see themselves as a mobile rather than a social media company, why not develop one app for mobile and social.

One of the big story’s around mobile this year has been the rise of BranchOut, going from less than a million users to over 27M within 6 weeks when they launched their mobile Facebook app, with very simple friend invites in groups of 50 friends. The bigger story was the fall in Branchout users, at an even quicker rate. Despite the decline, this showed the real potential to go viral very quickly, combining mobile with Facebook. Review site Glassdoor have learnt from this, and adopted the same approach, with an app with a very similar invite function, that has seen them grow to 2,400,000 monthly average users in less than 12 months.  Leaders in Facebook recruiting apps Work4Labs have just launched their mobile app which enables candidates to apply in Facebook from mobile. This is a real step forward, and I look forward to seeing how this develops.

The big lesson for me last year is that the web, rather than social only is mobile, and that mobile optimization has a big impact on SEO. Job seekers want more than what is generally on offer now, and the companies who make moves in this area will be the ones who win out. In tomorrows post I’m going to look in more detail at mobility, video and how these technologies are impacting on the candidate experience. Hope you are finding the series useful, only 5 more to go!


Optimizing email for mobile

I’ve been looking at some interesting data this week on how we are receiving and viewing e-mail. When you think mobile, it is easy to think of the responsive web site v application as being the big talking point. What is more important though as we transition to mobile as our main channel for web access is the impact this is having on e-mail open rates and response rates.
Felix Wetzel of Evenbase, wrote a great blog post this week which looks at mobile and mobility. I recommend you give it a read to get the full context. In the post, Wetzel says:

“Before work, mainly in the morning, is the most common time to check email alerts. Many rely solely on alerts to learn of opportunities – saves having to check the source repeatedly. Reviewing alerts often takes place on the move using mobile or tablet devices to bookmark interesting roles and positions for further research at a later time”

Email marketing company Litmus recently published research based on tracking over 1 billion emails during 2011 and 2012. In the early months of 2011, desktop dominated email openings, with Outlook dominating. Month by month webmail and mobile grew in popularity, with levels of mail openings in all 3 platforms converging in Feb 2012.

In April 2012 mobile featured in 36% of openings, desktop represented 33% and webmail 31%. From July 11. Desktop opens decreased month on month, with webmail peaking in Dec 11 before dropping 3% by April 12. Mobile mail grew from 18% in June 11 by 100% over the next 12 months. The situation now is that whilst the other platforms are decreasing, mobile is continuing to grow in open rates. If you are using email for updates or communicating with potential candidates, then you need to be thinking about how mobile friendly your emails are.

Interestingly, iPhone is now the most popular device for opening e-mail, with 20% of opens, Outlook now stands at 18%, Yahoo mail at 13%, Apple mail at 9%, Hotmail at 8%, iPad at 7%, Android at 7% and Gmail at 5%. When you look at these stats, you clearly need to be looking at your emails on an iPhone and other devices to see what your target audience sees. I’ve scrolled back through the mails I’ve received today on my Blackberry, and over 20% of them show empty boxes, with images that don’t show on mobile. I’m not going to respond to any of them.

The mobile audience for e-mail is dominated by iPhone with 57%, iPad 22% and  Android 20%, (Blackberry stands at 0.08%).

To make email mobile friendly you need to:

  • Keep emails short,clear and to the point. We know how easy it is to hit delete, and our attention span on mobile is shorter.
  • Check any links go to mobile optimized sites and are easy to find and click.
  • Links to job postings should go direct to the job, without requiring other actions before seeing the detail.
  • As with all email messaging, A/B test to see what works.
  • Think times that you mail. In Wetzel’s post, Felix notes that most job updates are opened in the morning during commute times. You can get your mail opened if you send it at these times.
  • Run analytics on all your mail notifications to find the best times and styles for yours.

Wetzel makes a great point around mobility and message that is worth considering when drafting content:

“We also know that individuals use their commute to check job alerts, which means, in order for a busy commuter to make full use of the alert, they tend to expect details of the jobs available within the email on the move.   As internet connection might be patchy, the results need to contain enough information to allow the decision to skip or save without having to click-through to a website.”


You can read all of Wetzels post HERE 

The full research from Litmus is featured in the infographic below the post. If email plays any part in your communication or messaging, you need to think mobile, iPhone in particular.


You can see the original HERE

What is happening with mobile around the globe (infographic)

This is a brilliant infographic from CultureLabs that outlines the way in which mobile is changing the way we access content, and what we are actually doing with our devices.
In Europe, mobile phone ownership stands at 119% of the population. There is some great data in here. If you find it useful, pin it!

Social Media, Work And HR (Infographic) Featuring @SusanAvello

Susan Avello is smart.and sassy. Susan blogs at HRVirtualcafe.Com. You should check it out. I was lucky enough to meet her at #SHRM12 in the blogger lounge, and we exchange tweets from time to time.Earlier this week Avello shared an infographic that she had put together for a presentation. I like this infographic because theres a range of sources including a SHRM survey on attitudes to social media. Susan was good enough to share all of the original data sources. I have copied these at the end of the post in case you want any of the numbers or access to the original reports.
Thanks Susan for sharing.

There are also lots of issues with employees working from home as you just can’t be sure what they are doing so we strongly recommend that you use some virtual employee monitoring software to check on their work.

Social Media in the Workplace
SHRM Research Spotlight: Social Media in the Workplace
 20% of CEO surveyed use LinkedIn; 17% use Facebook; 9% use Twitter; 8% use YouTube; 7% use Photo-sharing applications; 5% use Video-sharing applications
 69% of respondents surveyed say their organization does NOT track employee use of social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices
 57% of respondents surveyed say their organization does NOT block access to social media on company-owned computers or handheld devices?
 68% of respondents surveyed say their organizations have groups or individuals who currently engage in social media activities to reach external audiences
 Marketing – 67%
 Human Resources – 44%
 Public Relations – 38%
 Sales – 24%
 Management (corporate / senior ) – 20%
 Customer Service – 15%
 Information Technology – 12%
 Operation Logistics – 6%
 Legal – 3%
 Accounting / Finance – 2%
 Other – 8%
IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants Employee Engagement Survey
 Percentage of organizations who encourage employees to participate in social media to share information and express opinions
 33% – Small number of employees have access to organizational social media and are encouraged to participate
 25% – All employees have access to organizational social media and are encouraged to participate
 18% – Some employees, but not all, have access to organizational social media
 23% – No employees have access to organizational social media
 49% of respondents say their organization have a social media policy in place whereas 28% have one in development or 22% do not have one at all
 54% of respondents say their top executives do NOT participate in social media; 35% say their CEOs occasionally do; and 11% say their CEOs participate regularly

Mobile Workforce
Cisco, Connected Technology World Report
 Two of every three employees surveyed (66 percent) expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time, and they expect the types of devices to continue diversifying
 IT respondents (45 percent) said they are not prepared policy- and technology-wise to support a more borderless, mobile workforce
 Almost three of every five employees globally (58 percent) admitted that they have allowed non-employees to use their corporate devices unsupervised.
 IT respondents felt security (57 percent), budget (34 percent), and staff expertise (17 percent) were the biggest barriers to enabling a more distributed workforce, employees often felt IT and corporate policies were the obstacles
 70% of employees with smartphones regularly check their emails outside the normal business hours.
 42% of employees log onto their business email accounts while home on sick leave.
 43% of employees connect to their emails on their smartphones in order to get ahead and ease their workloads for the following business day.
 3 of 5 workers say they do not need to be in the office anymore to be productive
 32% of employees globally now rely on more than one mobile device during the typical work day
 46% of mobile workers feel most productive in the office while 38% most productive working from home
 87% of IT Managers say companies provide workers with mobile phones and cover costs, but more than half of employees with iPhones, Android phones and iPads report they purchased the devices themselves
 Users accessing web-based email decreased by 6% while users accessing mobile email increased by 36%
 Of 22-34 year olds, 70% use tablets while only 47& users between the ages of 55-64 use tables, and 65% of users between the ages of 35 – 54 use tablets
iPass, Mobile Workforce Report
 61 percent of mobile workers sleep with their smartphone nearby, 43 percent within arm’s reach
 During downtime, 91 percent of employees check their smartphone every six to 12 minutes
 38 percent of mobile workers wake up to check their mobile device during the night
 35 percent check email on their device first thing in the morning – even before getting dressed or eating breakfast
 The average mobile worker works 240 hours a year longer than the general population
 94 percent of mobile workers have a smartphone
 41 percent of mobile workers have a tablet, and an additional 34 percent of mobile workers intend to purchase a tablet in the next six months
 87 percent of mobile workers that own tablets use their tablets for at least some work
 Among tablet owners, 27 percent have a tablet provided by their workplace and 73 percent have a personally owned tablet
IBM Allows Employees to Use Personal Smartphone Devices for Workplace Tasks
 By the end of 2011, 100,000 employees of IBM can connect their handheld devices to internal networks of IBM and by 2012 another 100,000 employees will be connected to it.

HR Transformation
2011 Achievers Social HR Survey

  • 98% of HR respondents say they believe that social networking is an important tool for recruiting, retaining and managing employees
  • 82% of HR respondents believe that social networks will be used as an HR tool in their organizations within the next 12 months
  • 85% of HR respondents say their companies plan to increase investment in both time and money in social networks in 2012
  • 52% of HR respondents say that senior management is the biggest hurdle to getting social networks accepted as a legitimate HR tool
  • 90% of HR respondents believe that social networking should be used as an HR tool.
  • Percentage of HR people who believe that social networking tools can have those most impact in these areas:
    • 34% – Reduce cost of recruiting
    • 26% – Reduce costs of communication
    • 22% – Employee Engagement
    • 15% – Career Management
    • 12% – Employee Satisfaction
    • 9% – Employee Retention


Jobvite Social Recruiting Survey

  • 41% of college seniors use some form of social media in their search for employment
  • 90% of HR managers use or plan to use social networking to find employees
  • 64% of employers have used social media to successfully recruit workers
  • Approximately 31% of college seniors have LinkedIn profiles, while nearly 23% have Twitter accounts
  • Almost 70% with accounts on both LinkedIn and Twitter report using them for their job search
  • 81% of college seniors use LinkedIn to distribute their profiles to their network contacts and prospective employers, while almost half use it to research employers

Cisco, Gen-Y Study

  • 40 percent of college students and 45 percent of young employees would accept a lower-paying job if it had more flexibility on device choice, social media access, and mobility than a higher-paying job with less flexibility.
  • 64 percent of college students would ask about social media usage policies during job interviews, and one in four overall (24 percent) said it will be a key factor in determining whether or not to accept an offer.
  • 41 percent of young professionals said their companies marketed a flexible device and social media policy to recruit and attract them.
  • More than half of college students globally (56 percent) replied that if they encountered a company that banned access to social media, they would either not accept the job offer or would join and find a way to get around it anyway.
  • 29 percent of college students believe that once they begin working, it will be their right –- not just a privilege –- to be able to work remotely with a flexible schedule.

Talent Management

Towers Watson, 2011/2012 Talent Management and Rewards Study, North America

Integration of reward and talent management programs

  • Only 36% of organizations with a competency model have linked it to their reward programs.
  • Most organizations have been unable to effectively leverage their investment in HR technology.


  • Only 44% of organizations formally identify employees with critical skills.
  • Fully 68% identify high potentials, but only 28% inform those employees who have been identified.


  • Short-term incentive (STI) programs provide greater flexibility because payouts can rise or fall depending on business conditions. Funding for STI programs increased sharply last year, from 88% to 111% of target as profits increased, and employers expect to fully fund STI programs in 2011.

Employee / Performance Management

Cornerstone OnDemand Research Survey on Performance Management

  • 50% of employed U.S. adults who have experienced their employer’s review process feel more valued by the company when they receive a performance review that is focused on helping them succeed in their role
  • Only 37% said they’ve been given useful feedback from their manager/employer;
  • Only 34% indicated that they’ve received training and development to help them better perform their job;
  • Only 32% said that their performance goals are aligned with their company’s business objectives; and
  • Only 20% have established career goalswith their manager/employer

IABC Research Foundation and Buck Consultants Employee Engagement Survey

  • 44% of respondents say that individual supervisors is the highest contributing factor to increasing employee engagement; 39% by amount of communication; 31% by change in leadership
  • Percentage of importance of organization’s decisions to develop programs and strategies for engaging employees:
    • 33% – Create a new culture or work environment
    • 28% – Increase productivity
    • 26% – Retain top talent
    • 19% – Increase employee morale
    • 8% – Knowledge transfer to younger employees


Towers Watson, 2010 Global Workforce Survey

  • Only 31% of employees their senior managers communicate openly and honestly
  • 3% thought their managers treated them as key parts of the organization and no fewer than 60% felt their senior managers treated them as just another organizational asset to be managed.
  • Only 39% of employees in the US feel senior management does not exhibit attitudes and behaviors that reflect they care about the well-being of their employees. (29% of employees for UK)
  • Only 47% think their leaders are trustworthy
  • Only 42% think their leaders inspire and engage them
  • 61% question whether their leaders deal effectively with poor performers
  • Only 42% think senior management encourages development of talent


Smartphone tips from the BBC

Over the last year I’ve been working closely with the talent acquisition team at the BBC. last week marked the soft launch of Inside BBC Future Media, which includes plenty of content about working in the dept, and a Work4labs tab to check out the jobs whilst you are there. I say soft launch because there is a host of other things going on under the hood at BBC Careers around the technology, candidate experience, people, brand advocates and process. First, everyone is a bit distracted by the small matter of the Olympics, but it will be worth watching what is coming from October, and you can do that by becoming a fan of the page.

The BBC is full of great content in every department. This week I picked up a really interesting post on the page about how the BBC Academy are running training courses for journalists in getting the most out of Smart phones. I think the Smart phone has been the real reason behind the explosion in employer branding content. The device makes content creation, updating and sharing instant, once you open up your social places. This week Johnathan Campbell over at Social Talent posted about using Instagram channels for employer branding through images and following. The filters within Instagram make it easy for the least technical amongst us to create studio quality content every time. Rather than go on about Instagram, you can read Johnathan’s post HERE. He makes a very strong case for adding the channel in to your thinking.

Video is another area that has been brought alive by the Smart phone. The first big step in the explosion of video content was the Flipcam, which made uploads possible instantly. Video content became less about editing and camera angles, and more about quick upload and instant posting. YouTube editing features and filters has also made it possible to upload, edit and enhance content direct from your pocket media center that is your Smart phone. With the popularity of video for employer brand content, the technology turns every employee in to a potential story-teller and brand reporter. If the BBC are adopting photo and video content from Smart phones for news, then it should convince any employer that quality is not going to be an issue in reflecting brand.

The post by Marc Settle, of the college of journalism, gives some good examples of how Smart phone reporting is becoming more common in news reporting, particularly for breaking news. The most popular area of adoption is in radio, using audio apps to record interviews. I have used audio-boo in the past to report on events. Smart phones make regular audio content a reality from job descriptions, discussing teams, successes and war story’s. There are plenty of opportunities for content during work, and blending audio, video, images and text gives visitors to your web places to consume content when and how they want it.

The post has got me thinking about how we train brand advocates at the start of any program, offering additional training in Smart phone reporting with a few technical tips is definitely something I’m going to be including in future brand advocate programs. The tips from the post as examples of what is included in the reporter training are:

Top tips

Here are just a few tips you might find useful (these will in broad terms apply to all smartphones as general principles, but results will differ by make and model):

+ When taking photos, don’t tap the shutter button with your finger, as this could shake the camera and lead to a blurry photo. Instead, put your finger on the shutter button and lift it off. This much smoother action won’t risk jogging the camera as you take your snap.

+ When recording audio, don’t talk directly into the microphone, as you may see happen on The Apprentice. Instead, hold the phone as you would normally when making a phone call (for some voices, it works better held under the chin).

+ When recording video, don’t hold the camera vertically. Our eyes are horizontal; TV screens are horizontal; computer monitors are horizontal. Vertical video looks wrong, and the finished product will more than likely have nasty thick black borders.

With some thought, it is easy to put together some really useful content and interactive training in this area which will only enhance the quality and volume of employer branding content. A comment that has stuck with me from the Recruiting Innovation Summit last year came from @JenniferIntuit. It was my biggest take-away from the day and has stuck with me since. Jennifer included a slide in her presentation to the effect that if you want people to share content for you then you are going to have to make it simple and quick to do so. In Jennifer’s example this was about making sure that all content was packaged for sharing including using link shorteners, and sitting down one to one to make sure people know how to share. The same applies to content. We can’t expect employees to just know what good content looks like and how to share it. Smart phone content training and technique should be an essential part of this.


Don’t think mobile, think responsive design

At #SHRM12 I got to spend time with Jeremy Langans.  If you don’t know of Jeremy, he was the force behind Starbucks launch in to social, and is a thought leader in this space, We have been connected for a few years now but have never had the excuse or opportunity to sit down and just talk. We were talking all things recruiting, a regular back and forth, when Jeremy sais something that really set me back. We came on to the topic of social via mobile, when Jeremy said: “You need to stop thinking about mobile.” This is a different view to what I’ve been hearing and talking about with many of the experts and commentators, and so he got my attention.

Jeremy’s point is that all websites should be built to be viewed and operated regardless of the device the user is accessing it with, using responsive web design. What this means is that when you link to a site the design and navigation adjusts to fit the users device from tablet to smart-phone. It is neat and means that you don;t need to build a different interface for each type of device, android, i-phone, Kindle, games console etc. One size fits all, rather than building multiple landing pages. Stop thinking about pages and start thinking about systems. With so many variations of device it is no longer viable to build a different website for each device. Responsive web design provides a real solution for this problem. mobile is not a special case, it’s another device, and web design should take account of the multitude of devices users might be accessing your site with.

I don’t really understand the technical bits of coding that go on under the hood, but I can understand how the concept works. Sites are built on a grid with multiple viewing options. When a user lands on the page a “media query” selects the best options according to the size and resolution of the users device. The easiest way to understand this is to think about how you would want a picture to appear on different devices, and save multiple versions of the same image in the grid. This means different sizes, resolutions and positioning for each image. When the user lands with their device, it sends a “media query” to the grid which delivers the best image from the grid to the device.

Another example that helped me to understand this, and I’m not a technical person, is menus and navigation.  If I access the site on a wider screen device like a PC, the menus and images appear across the top of the screen, perhaps with small text links, easy to see and click with a mouse. If I access the same website by smart phone, I need to see the images stacked for scrolling, with larger buttons for clicking with my thumb. This is the same content delivered in a different way according to device.

Design is as much about making things easier for the user, as it is changing the look. A good example of this is when you access a responsive web site using a smart phone. The design makes it easy to scroll the site because users typically do this with one hand. The layout is different to suit the way the user is going to navigate it, even though most smart phones could now display the whole site with a no loss of quality, navigation or loading speed.

The case for responsive web design.

> Browsing Habits

Users may access a site many times using multiple times using multiple devices, PC, smart phone, tablet, netbook, laptop on 3G etc. Responsive web design gives them device friendly navigation and features each time.

> Content.

Adjusting the layout and navigation to fit screen size and device means that your content is easy to find and is presented in the best way. Images always appear with best resolution and screen size to fit the users device.

> Branding

Designing the way your site appears on any interface means that you can consider what brand image you want to portray whatever the screen size. This could be as simple as the positioning of logos and images or the order that you want content to appear.

To show how this works I’ve taken the images from the Barack Obama site, as it is viewed on 3 devices. The site is built to be responsive. This is the same site on 3 different interfaces.

PC View

Tablet view

Smart Phone View

While Jeremy helped me to understand what responsive web design means, the first person to show me a responsive web site built-in HTML5 was Ivan Stojanovic at #truDublin. Ivan has recently been building responsive sites for recruitment companies, and he is a real advocate of this technique. Judging by the bounce rate of people dropping off sites when landing, this is really working. It makes sense to deliver content, images and navigation to the users device in the best format for them.

Jeremy is now responsible for global brand and talent attraction at Expedia, who he joined in March. In his previous role as program manager, employment brand and channels with Starbucks, he launched what is probably the first responsive design career site. The best way to see how responsive design works is to view the Starbucks.Com Careers . You can shrink the image down if you are viewing on a PC or Laptop to see how the view and navigation changes instantly according to how you are viewing the site. It is immediately responsive, and gives you a real idea of the possibilities. Stop thinking mobile as a special case, and start thinking responsive design for everything. The only other big question is whether you need web or application, a question for another day. Thanks Jeremy for opening my eyes to the possibilities presented by HTML5.


The Madness Of The Mobile Question #TruLondon

Would you buy recruiting software from me if I told you it would only work 80% of the time? You’d say yes, but what about the other 20%? Would you buy an ATS if I told you that at the moment it could handle% of your applications, but within 2 years most of the applications could not access your system? You’d think I was mad, and send for the men in the white coats.
When you set out to build a career site or recruitment website, one of the options is to add mobile compatibility. This seems like madness. Shouldn’t all new sites be built for mobile as standard, and any A.T.S. or other career technology that doesn’t function with mobile should be upgraded or phased out? It seems madness to me that vendors are even asking the question of new customers. We should just build to mobile. It seems like robbery to build something for a customer that you just know isn’t going to work. Mobile is not an optional extra, and selling any type of web technology without mobile compatibility is frankly thieving.

When considering mobile, I think we also need to consider how this is going to impact on the way that you work.It goes well beyond the technology. Building the mobi site, the application or the browser sniffer. As with social, infrastructure is more about people and how they behave with this technology than about the techie geeky bits, and that’s what most people fail to think about. Give people an avenue to talk to you, and they probably will do.If you are doing any kind of social recruiting, then people are more likely to be coming to you by mobile than not.

Times are a big factor you need to consider.Mobile has shifted when people are looking to engage or coming to your site. Mobile is busiest in the down times. That means generally when they are commuting, and increasingly when watching TV etc in the evenings.Get on a train for a commute, pretty much everyone is on a device. Stand in a que for a sandwich, and their doing much the same thing. Mobile is a down time device, and for the working, job browsing is mostly a down time activity. I refer to job browsing as the people who are not actively hunting but are curious, tempted by tweets, links etc to have a look, and that the majority of the people you are probably trying hire.People are inherently nosy, and social recruiting plays to this.If you are looking to engage and respond to your audience, to woo them with conversation and answers to their conversation, then you are going to need to be live when the audience is active.

Video is a big part of employer branding. A video lets people look inside the organisation and see if they can picture themselves there. When I heard Richard Cho of Facebook giving a few stats at #ATCSoMe, I was amazed at the volume of video that is watched on mobile devices. Whilst I can’t recall the exact number, I remember that it exceeded the volume watched on a PC. Since then, I’ve been looking at what you need to do with video to make it effective via a mobile device. In the extreme this means 3 videos for 3 different types of device: Phone, Tablet, PC., determined by a browser sniffer that reads what device you are using, but for most of us it means no flash and thinking about content. Flashy graphics and lots of movement might look great on a PC, but how does it look on a smart phone? Can you even read it? Talking head, or limited movement between shots and images look best. The same applies if you are embedding slideshare or prezi. Single screen images with single line text, easy to read. The best advice is to run the proposed content through a mobile to check what it looks like before going live.

At #trulondon5 Peter Gold ran the track on applying by mobile. It was generally agreed that what most people actually want to do is talk to you or express an interest rather than apply. They have seen enough to be interested but not enough to commit yet.This is when you can convert them from curious to candidate. It’s the point of taking a social approach to recruiting, and mobile is only going to increase the volume of curious. If you manage these people as traditional ad response rather than the curious, and leave them waiting till you are ready to respond then you are going to fail. Plan who, how and when your going to respond to requests to talk, because it needs to be instant. You want to be able to profile people quickly, and that means adding social sign ins like apply with LinkedIn, showing the headlines of the profile to the recruiters before they respond.

Final thought, in amongst all this shiny new stuff, don’t forget text. What I’m seeing is those recruiters who are using text are getting great results, because you are texting a link mostly to a smart phone with internet access. Texts get almost instant opens, and quick response. A.T.& T’s Carrie Corbin gets a fantastic response with this for their talent network. Don’t underestimate text.


LinkedIn, FaceBook Or Twitter: Social Pay Per Click Recruiting

The Kevin Costner principle of if you build it they will come, rarely applies to social recruiting. The first part of any social recruiting plan starts with building the social places, setting up the feeds and preparing the accounts for activity. The second phase is generating content and encouraging contributions from others. This starts with enlisting the help of brand advocates. For many organisations, the failure point is an over reliance on recruiters for content and managing the content. This falls down because the recruiters just don’t have the time to maintain it with their main  responsibility of sourcing and managing open vacancies now.The other down side of recruiters providing the content is credibility with the outside world. It’s not a case of knocking the recruiters, but candidates expect them to say the workplace is great, who they really want to hear from and see is the people who work there. It’s a simple principle, programmers want to hear from programmers, they don’t want to hear from recruiters. Recruiters contribute to the communication on jobs, the process to apply and to be accessible when wanted, the rest of the content comes from the business. Once you’ve got brand advocates contributing content, promote your social places in the business to bring in new fans, friends, followers etc. Your most important employer branding is your internal employer branding, and your internal talent community. Once they start talking in public, the outside world wants to listen in, and some even want to come in and look for themselves. So far all the growth has been organic, and if your going to start spending on bringing people to your social places, you need populated and busy sites to attract them to, with regular content and engagement. To speed up the process it’s time to start considering social advertising. In my view pay-per-click rather than pay per impression campaigns provide the best first option and the best value. This is quite different to traditional advertising, where the objective is to reach as big an audience as possible. Social advertising works best when you take a much more targeted approach, thinking sniper over broadcast in approach. The smaller the target audience, the lower the pay-per-click cost. Targeting a smaller audience also means you can be very specific in copy and image. Better to place multiple ads to small audiences, than one catch-all ad, In my experience, the click-throughs and conversions are much better when you take this sniper approach. It’s worth taking time over this, or looking to automate this process.

Facebook in particular lends itself to automated research and advertising using applications designed for this purpose. My preference is for Work4Labs, where target groups come from parsing the job spec for interests that match, and automating the ads, including the essential analytics off the back-end. My other recommendation for social advertising is to split test ad’s. Because you are paying per click, it’s not going to cost you any extra cash. Try 3 different texts or images aimed at an equal size section of the market e:g: 50 possible candidates in the target market per ad, then run them and test the results and go with what works best. Better to make decisions on what you know works rather than what you think works. Too many decisions of what works in social are based on guesses, data tells the real story. Each of the social channels offer different options and require a different approach:


LinkedIn pay-per-click ad’s are proving very effective, and I think are under rated by many. The ads are usually job ads, although you can also promote community spaces. talent networks or your LinkedIn group. The benefit of this channel is that you can target by geography, employer, job title, skills, keywords, any of the LinkedIn fields. The targeting in this channel is a little more obvious because the data in the profile is all related to work. The other optional feature of LinkedIn PPC advertising that is proving to be very effective is the photo ads that take the profile picture of the target and puts the image in the ad, under the heading “picture yourself here.” I think the association of the personal picture associated with the job makes these ads really stand out, and makes the target candidate really consider themselves working with you. If you do go down the route of LinkedIn PPC, you need to include the “apply with LinkedIn” button at the end of it, or a social sign in that uses LinkedIn data for a one click registration. It’s logical that when candidates come to you from any of the channels, they are going to want to use the data from the attraction channel to apply. The other benefit is that when you place the ad, you get shown 26 profiles that match the job based on location, skills and keywords. LinkedIn is clearly getting better at matching, and you might find who you want in this list before you start advertising.


Facebook is the life channel that has the largest population of users, and the widest range of people. Advertising in the channel is less obvious than a professional network like LinkedIn, where you can target on professional information. What I’ve found on Facebook is that advertising fan pages work, but advertising jobs is a lot less effective. I would advise building an active fan page first, and adding an application for seeing, sharing and applying for jobs.Your fan page will work best when the name of the page (with the exception of graduate recruiting) is not careers or jobs. No passive job seeker or the curious want to be seen liking or commenting on content on a page that points them out as a job seeker. The campaigns I’ve been involved in show that candidates coming from Facebook need to stay within Facebook when applying. You lose an average of 35% of applicants when you push them to an ATS, and an additional 30% within the ATS who never complete. The desperate stay with it but the good tend to disappear. Make application simple and quick, and remember that the majority of applicants coming this way will be coming from mobile. This means a mobile application process is essential. In my last post I reported how over 50% of the traffic on Facebook career application BranchOut comes from mobile, and how the real hike in  sign ups came when they made inviting and sign up simple by mobile. If ever you needed the evidence of the importance of mobile, this is it. The new time line for brand pages will also enhance this. Historically the application tabs weren’t visible on mobile, but the new layout positions 2 apps in larger buttons at the top of the page. Positioning the job app at the top of the page, together with the mobile accessibility and the whole timeline design, will increase the effectiveness of Facebook as a recruiting channel significantly. Watch this space! PPC ads can be targeted against interests, location, education, fans of pages etc. If you have never considered the channel before, check your target audience size by clicking the place an ad button on your profile. Set up a dummy ad, which will take you through to the targeting section. Test different combinations to identify target audience size, and think copy variation to entice the audience to click-through. It’s worth remembering that ads are the most liked and shared content on Facebook, and that linking ad’s to a Facebook destination, rather than an external site reduces the cost by at least 65%.


This might not be your first thought when considering a PPC campaign, but the introduction of sponsored tweets last year has changed this considerably. It’s proving to be the cheapest of the channels, with the highest apply and click-through rate. Sponsored tweets benefit from being promoted to the top of a search stream for anyone searching for related content or jobs, and lots of people use twitter as a search channel, (something that gets often overlooked.) You can also position ads against hashtags for industry events and chats that will attract your target audience. Twitter attracts browsers who are passing through the stream and get attracted by headlines.

When you’re considering text, it’s worth remembering to include hashtags that include location, principle skill and the word jobs. 8 x more people search twitter for jobs rather than job, one letter makes a big difference. I can’t explain the logic, but tweets with links in the middle of the text are 5 x more likely to be opened than links at the end. As with all PPC advertising, because you are paying for clicks, it’s worth running 3 different tweets to test what works best before committing to one ad. Tweets also get sent to the timeline of users with matching bios or a history of posting relevant tweets. As with all twitter recruiting, remember the geek words. Thats those words that are unique to a discipline, but identify the users as doing the job. Targeting through geek words in bios or content reaches a very relevent audience.

My experience with twitter is that you will attract a greater level of click-throughs, with less applications and efficiency, but the volume makes it well worth considering, particularly when you are trying to populate a talent community or network. Click troughs should go direct to a single job page, with a twitter style blue cloud background. This gives the feeling of still being in twitter, with a simple CV upload or apply with LinkedIn button. like Facebook, a lot of traffic is going to be coming via mobile, so the process needs to work easily with mobile job seekers.

PPC is an essential part of your social recruiting effort, supported by a simple application process, mobile friendly, and a social presence to provide extra content and attraction. Good luck in your efforts and let me know what works best for you.