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Launch your recruitment app first, and you ignore the first rule of mobile marketing

There was an interesting article posted in the news section of HR Magazine’s website last week, about leading dental group Integrated Dental Holdings’ new recruitment iPhone app that has recently been launched. Aside from the fact that I am not so sure if this really constitutes ‘news’, it’s good to see smaller organisations (and particularly those that operate in areas where there are acute talent shortages) embracing new technology and trying new things to attract and recruit talent, especially in the mobile space.

Naturally, always keen to see what other organisations are doing out there, I wanted to have a look at their app, along with their career site and other digital recruitment tools, to see how it all fits together.

And overall, I was pretty impressed with what they’re doing. 

There’s a pretty good careersite which, using a laptop or desktop, it’s very easy to use and navigate your way around.  It’s complemented by the corporate Facebook page which has a jobs channel, a Twitter feed and a YouTube recruitment channelAnd if you search for ‘dental careers’ within Google, they score pretty well in both paid for and organic search.  So it all fits together pretty well.  Perhaps the only comment I would make is that, aside from the YouTube channel, some of the collateral feels a bit too focused on pure job listings, and it would benefit from having a broader mix of content to inform and engage candidates.

A frustrating user experience for mobile visitors

That said, as I say, it all fits together pretty well.  Until you get to the mobile offering. 

Because aside from the iPhone app, the website hasn’t for the most part been mobile optimised, and there isn’t an ‘m-site’ alternative.  So when I tried to access the site from my iPhone, it’s trying to show exactly the same thing on a small smartphone screen as a large laptop or desktop screen.  With the result that you only see about 10% of the screen at any given time, and you’re constantly having to scroll left and right, up and down, and back again, to piece it all together (can you get Repetitive Strain Injury from swiping like a banshee on your smartphone?) 

It’s frustrating and time consuming, and invariably some users will give up and go elsewhere. Which is a pity, because if they pursued it, as I did, they might eventually find the button in the top right corner of the page pointing them towards ‘Job Search Mobile’ (a page which is mobile optimised, and where you can easily search and register for jobs).

 

Making your app ‘findable’ via the App Store

And then I went to Apple’s App Store to download the app itself, but after a fairly lengthy search, I couldn’t find it. Not a thing.  I wasn’t sure exactly what it was called or how it was tagged, so I searched for it using a variety of terms:  dentist jobs; dentist careers; dental job; dental career; idh careers; idh; integrated dental; integrated dental holdings; and finally, integrated dental holdings careers.

According to the article I read, the app has already been downloaded by 204 people.  All I can say is that they must have more patience than I did, because after 20 minutes I gave up.   

 

The app bandwagon

That said, despite my not being able to find it, I’m not surprised that employers such as IDH are investing in smartphone apps.  After all, everyone’s talking about them these days. 

According to Apple, there were 650,000 apps available at the end of May, and Android are not far behind with around 500,000 apps available.  Presumably we can expect Windows to start playing catch-up very soon.  And given that in March, Apple celebrated their 25 billionth download, it’s hardly surprising that everyone is jumping on the app bandwagon.  Including recruiters like IDH. 

But marketeers, and recruiters for that matter, need to approach this a little more smartly.

63% have used mobile to search for jobs

And that means that if you’re going to start using the mobile web as a recruiting tool (and you should be: according to the largest ever survey of mobile recruiting trends in the UK, jointly carried out recently by Educate, Metashift and Reconverse, 63% have searched for a job on their mobile device and 48% have applied) the smartphone app should be the last thing you invest in, not the first.

Think about it.

A well thought-out and well-designed career app can provide job seekers and candidates with an informative and engaging experience.  Assuming they can find it.  The recruitment app can be hugely useful and is certainly worth considering.

But your audience needs to know about the app, and already have made the conscious decision to download it to their phone, before they can use it.  They’re unlikely to be searching the app store for particular employer or agency apps.  And so the career app is only really relevant for people who’ve decided they are interested in finding out more about a particular employer or from a particular agency.

Meanwhile, if you overlooked mobile web and m-sites when you put your mobile strategy together in favour of the mobile app, you’re ignoring a huge group of people out there.

14m recruitment Google searches from mobile last monthAnalytics - there were 14m recruitment related mobile searches on Google last month

According to Google AdWords, there were 97m searches in the UK last month that contained the words job, career, recruitment or employment.  Of these, a massive 14m came from mobile devices – or 14.5% of total search traffic. 

And don’t assume that just because your non-mobile optimised website is ranked well by Google when you search using a desktop/laptop, it will perform equally well when you search from a mobile device, because it won’t.  If your site isn’t mobile enabled, it won’t be indexed and ranked properly by Google in a mobile search.

So to organisations such as IDH, who might have invested in their recruitment app before the mobile site and who would point to the number of users that have downloaded the app as evidence of its success, I would say look at the traffic you’re missing out on from mobile web.

204 people may have downloaded IDH’s recruitment app. On the other hand, there were 135,080 searches related to dental jobs and careers*last month according to Google AdWords, of which nearly 28,000 came from a mobile device. 

The 1st rule of mobile marketing: develop mobile site first

I would certainly recommend that employers and recruiters think about and consider developing smartphone apps.  They clearly have a value, help to engage candidates, and can contribute to the candidate experience.  But attraction comes first. So, given that most employers and recruiters have finite budgets to invest in their attraction and recruitment tools, the mobile site should be your first priority.

* Search terms used: dentistry careers; dentistry jobs; dental careers; dental jobs; dentist careers; dentist jobs.

 

About the Author

Andrew Linton

Andrew used to be one of 4MAT’s Account Managers and a regular blogger. He has since moved on to new opportunities.

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