Job Seekers' Secret Weapon: Mobile Devices, Not the Web

The transition to using mobile devices for job searching could be significant. 

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What’s the one thing that has changed the hiring process more than any other factor? Technology. And if you think tech means Web, you’re already behind the eight ball. 

According to Alex Douzet, CEO and co-founder at TheLadders, the proliferation of mobile technology is dramatically changing the hiring landscape. Just how dramatic? “The job-search evolution from the Web to mobile devices could be as significant as the transition from print classifieds to online job postings,” Douzet suggests.

He may be right. The International Data Corporation predicts that by 2015, there will be more consumers in the U.S. who are accessing the Internet via mobile devices than through PCs. That’s less than a year away.

It’s easy to see why mobile may take the lead as the top technology for job seekers and employers alike. It offers convenience, immediacy and simplification to the hiring process. Douzet notes that there has been growing demand for mobile-optimized career sites and job-seeking apps such as “Job Search by TheLadders,” which delivers targeted leads on opportunities directly into a user’s mobile phone. “Job seekers are turning to their mobile devices to search for jobs, expand their networks and get a leg up on their competition,” he says.

How can you get in on this? Here are some tips from Douzet and Amanda Augustine, job search expert at TheLadders:

Understand recruiting trends. If you’re hesitating to use mobile as part of your job-search strategy, it may be because you’re not familiar with the changes that have taken place in recruitment. Long-gone are the days when recruiting was confined to an office. A 2013 Jobvite study found that 93 percent of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social media presence as part of the vetting process. That’s up from 78 percent just five years ago.

Knowing this, candidates must determine how to get the most bang for their job-search buck. “Mobile technology affords job seekers and recruiters convenient, on-the-go access to opportunities and candidates,” Douzet says. He adds that a recent study by TheLadders found that the app’s more than 500,000 mobile users are 34 percent more likely to access it between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. compared with the company’s desktop users. “In short, mobile technology allows job seekers to turn what was once considered down time into valuable job-search time,” he says.

Use apps to skip long application processes. It used to be quite difficult to make a direct connection with an employer. The many stages and layers of the job-application process often required candidates to invest days, weeks or even months in hoop-jumping before finding out if they would even be interviewed.

Douzet explains that with mobile-optimized career sites and mobile apps, job seekers can often skip this burdensome process and quickly connect with potential employers. As an example, he notes that TheLadders app offers a one-tap approach for job seekers to signal their intent to employers, streamlining the job-matching process down from days or weeks to hours. “If job seekers are interested in a position, they can save it for later or simply tap the ‘thumbs-up’ icon to ‘like’ the position, which immediately alerts the hiring manager,” he says.

Keep searching – wherever you are. Looking for a job has always been a full-time job – that hasn’t changed. But Augustine says that thanks to mobile technology, professionals can maintain a constant level of job-search activity from virtually anywhere – and they should. “Leverage job-search apps and mobile-optimized sites to pursue job opportunities, communicate with recruiters, and grow with your network,” she says.

Do it now. A recent study by TheLadders found that you need to apply to a job within 72 hours after it has been posted online – after that, the chances of your application even being opened drops by 50 percent. Those who use mobile technology may have an advantage in speed and convenience when they want to throw their hat in the ring. “If you find a job you’re qualified for and interested in, don’t wait.” Augustine says. “Leverage mobile technology to actively evaluate and pursue relevant job listings the moment they become available.”

Stay relevant. Are basics that don’t depend specifically on technology, like writing a strong cover letter, still as important in the new job-search environment? Augustine emphasizes that relevancy continues to be key in the job search, and suggests the following ways to make the most of it:
  • Pursue opportunities where you meet the core requirements of the role. 
  • Tailor each job application to highlight your qualifications for the specific position.
  • Make sure your online brand tells the same story as your résumé.
  • Employ multiple methods to find the largest number of relevant job leads.
  • Pursue job postings found online and through your mobile device, engage in recruiter activity and leverage your network.

The onus to adapt to mobile is not all on job seekers. Douzet emphasizes that employers must integrate mobile technology into their recruiting strategies or risk missing out on the country’s best talent.

“Employers can’t simply move their PC candidate experience to a smaller screen and expect results,” he says. “The mobile job-search experience should be defined by when, where and how your target candidates are using their smartphones.”