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Mobile Recruitment, What's the Buzz About?

11/16/2010 2:09:16 PM

Mobile Recruitment, What's the Buzz About?
By Suvarna Sheth,

With mobile device usage growing at a rampant rate across the world, many industries are looking for ways to take their businesses mobile. The job recruitment industry is jumping on the bandwagon too, as ad agencies, companies and job boards everywhere begin to brainstorm creative, "mobile recruiting campaigns."

Speculators say mobile recruitment is slated to be a mainstay particularly due to the burgeoning mobile device industry. Ericsson reported this past summer that mobile subscriptions worldwide reached the five billion mark. That number is growing with two million mobile additions per day. By the year 2020, Ericson predicts there will be 50 billion connected devices.

What exactly is mobile recruitment? Michael Marlatt, a sourcing consultant for Microsoft, says because this is new territory, the answer may vary depending on who you ask. "The way I look at it," Marlatt says, "mobile recruiting is no different than mobile marketing…it's using different ways to deliver content to your target audience with your mobile device."

Marlatt, who has seen the recruitment industry evolve over the last decade, says mobile recruitment may be the next wave in the industry. He says it's a useful tool because it enables employers to take advantage of mobile marketing practices such as delivering text or content via a mobile app, or mobile web. "Mobile recruitment is really our ability to recruit and engage possible candidates with a mobile device," he says.

Receiving a job alert on a smart phone is merely one component of mobile recruitment. With mobile recruiting, you've got a "push and pull," Marlatt explains. In one regard, it allows you to "push out" information regarding a new job opening or career fair, but in another regard, it creates a way to "pull in" and engage people that are interested in a product or service. In order to do that, you have to think beyond the simple text campaign or alert like consumer markets do.

An example of a good consumer market campaign is engaging a consumer standing in line at Starbucks. "When they see a sign next to the register that says, text keyword LATTE to 77950 for a 10% discount on your next Starbucks latte, what the company is doing is engaging an audience, which is clearly interested in a product," he says, "they're pulling people in with a simple call to action."

From this simple call to action, users are directed to join a mobile network. From that point on, if the company has additional information or promotions they want to push-out, they will have a pool of subscribers to do so.

Many large and small companies all over are moving towards developing mobile messaging platforms to create powerful, targeted campaigns. With mobile recruitment, companies are able to develop unique campaigns to engage professionals with not only job opportunities, but also with news, and other information relevant within a particular area of expertise such as an open house event or job fair. Campaigns can even be devised to target a particular group of users in the country.

When a user clicks on a message, it can redirect them to a mobile optimized site. And that's the key: Combining mobile messaging, (SMS or MMS) with a mobile landing page to drive users to look at something, either a mobile optimized career site, a mobile app, a mobile career page or another page that provides more information.

According to Tony Garcia, V.P. of Local Markets at RegionalHelpWanted, a network of local job boards, mobile recruitment is a logical extension of the recruitment process. He says given the "wired" nature of our society, it only makes sense that we reach out using all the technology at our disposal.

With RegionalHelpWanted, the connection is even more important since the site uses radio to carry the bulk of promotional messages. Garcia says radio reaches nearly 98% of all Americans, a large percentage of those individuals are in their cars or somewhere outside the home. "The mobile option allows individuals who hear our message to respond instantly rather than having to go home and log on to our website," Garcia says. "Our goal is to use the mobile efforts to expand our database of job seekers."

RegionalHelpWanted's current system allows for job alerts to be sent out and received on smart phones. Mobile recruitment will use a different approach for the job board because, according to Garcia, using permission based marketing, employers will have the opportunity to push messages to individuals in a way not possible now.

As much as a buzz mobile recruitment might be making, Garcia doesn't think it's the stand-alone solution, but he says in the coming years, recruiters are going to have to use a number of approaches and different media in order to make sure they have done their best to cover the entire marketplace.

Look at T.V. for an example Garcia suggests. There was a time when everyone in the U.S. watched the big three T.V. networks. Today, he says there are literally dozens of networks and ratings that would have gotten a T.V. show cancelled 20 years ago. "As the audience becomes more diffuse, recruiters will have to pursue an increasing number of channels to reach them," Garcia explains. "Mobile is one of those channels."

Garcia sees mobile recruitment as necessary rather than visionary—especially for younger adults. "Mobile is a fact of life and we have to incorporate it into our overall recruitment strategy," he says.

Looking at the statistics, Marlatt absolutely thinks mobile recruiting is going to be the wave of the future. "If you look at the numbers today in the U.S., over 285 million, well over 91% of the U.S. population is now mobile as of 2009," he says, "Without doubt this is not about hype, this is just looking at the numbers."

He says it's critical for all companies to figure out how they can fit in mobile recruitment into their overall recruitment strategy. "It's important for companies to recognize the trends taking place, and evaluate your company's needs for the ever growing mobile population."

The recruitment consultant says it's about recognizing that people aren't always at their computer anymore. "We want to move towards providing them with information they want anytime, anywhere, across any device, and that's the bottom line. And that's what mobile does for you," he says.

Suvarna ShethSuvarna Sheth is a reporter and writer on the BioSpace news beat team. She has more than six years of experience reporting breaking news and trends in biopharma. Sheth has a master's in online journalism.

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