WARNING: Mobile optimise or risk losing out!

How much of your traffic comes from mobile devices? Is visiting your website a positive experience for mobile users? If you haven’t asked yourself these questions lately, now is the time!

It’s not news that one of the key recruitment trends for 2014 is jobseekers’ growing use of smartphones and other mobile devices. According to Ofcom’s 2013 Communications Market Report, over half of adults now own a smartphone and almost a quarter of households possess a tablet computer and this is predicted to rise sharply in 2014, with the 55+ age group experiencing the biggest increase.  Considering the high ownership levels, it is not surprising that a Monster.co.uk survey found that a third of job seekers use their mobile device to search for jobs and almost half use it to research companies. This ties in with what we already know - that more than 30% of traffic for most websites comes from mobile devices.

However, it's surprising that despite the overwhelming evidence that mobile is increasingly the tool of choice, a shockingly low number of companies have mobile optimised websites. In fact, 2013 research undertaken by Incentivated on behalf of the Financial Times showed that two thirds of companies in the FTSE 100 have websites that are difficult to use on smartphones. This mirrors Monster’s findings – that only 39% of UK businesses have a site dedicated to mobile users. If you’ve ever tried to use your smartphone to find information from a website which is not mobile enabled, you will know what a frustrating process it can be. Some companies are even advertising their jobs on the mobile version of job boards without making their own website mobile enabled so candidates find the jobs easily but then experience problems when they try and apply. This is not the experience that candidates expect in 2014!

Even companies that have made some progress towards making their site more mobile-friendly may not have considered their careers site and the job search and apply functions. In a lot of cases, these will need to be simplified for mobile users. It is a positive step to make careers sites mobile enabled – resizing the layout so it easy to view on mobile screens  - but mobile optimising, when the site is redesigned for mobile users – is often required.  Few candidates will have the patience to navigate a lot of small drop down menus or type answers into long application forms and while some candidates may choose to move onto their desktop to complete their process, there’s a risk that candidates who are constantly on the go will not have the time or will lose the inclination to finish their application.

The best mobile optimised sites tend to be light on copy, include a small number of large buttons and no long lists. Video can work very well on mobile optimised sites, but do be careful that any video used is also optimised so it is easy to view and control. And don’t forget social media links. The majority of social media traffic originates from mobile devices, so it would make sense to provide easy to find links from careers sites to social media networks to encourage candidates to follow the company and share opportunities. 

If you’re not sure if your website should be mobile optimised take a look at what percentage of your site visitors are on mobile devices. Google Analytics will tell you. What does your current site look like? Pull out your smart phone and find out. One thing’s for certain, the use of mobile devices by candidates searching for jobs is only going to increase. Ignore this fact and risk losing out on a significant proportion of your potential online audience.