Written by Sophie Teh

The Mobile World Congress is an unmissable annual highlight in Trovit´s home city of Barcelona. This year, the congress takes place for the first time under the knowledge that global mobile and tablet usage has exceeded desktop usage.

As mobile continues to increase internet traffic share, businesses are also improving their mobile user experience to capture a higher market share from their competitors. Better technology and security have pushed sales in e-commerce via app and mobile for retailers. 50% of e-commerce in the US is expected to come from mobile in 2017. Many new online businesses are entirely app-based with no other tradition platforms.

How is mobile e-recruitment performing?

E-recruitment via mobile has also grown alongside mobile traffic share. Now 45% of job seekers say they use their mobile device to search for jobs at least once a dayE-recruiters cannot do without a mobile channel. Despite the growth of mobile traffic, mobile still lags behind desktop e-recruitment in that all-important metric – conversions, i.e. getting job applications. Our data shows that for online jobs classifieds, desktop conversions are much higher than mobile in both high and low mobile penetration markets.

apps job market - mobile's share of web traffic

Source: StatCounter, 2016

apps job market - ratio of desktop/mobile conversions

Source: Trovit, 2017

The global average for mobile web share was 39% last year. We looked at a sample of countries on both sides of this average and found that desktop to mobile conversion ratios show a similar trend in the countries studied – e-recruitment conversions via desktop are generally 2 or more times higher than via mobile. The results points to some still under-developed capabilities in mobile e-recruitment that present an opportunity for product and UX designers.

Mobile may provide “anytime, anywhere” convenience for job searching, but its lower user engagement and limitation in screen size depletes its ability to compete with the more traditional desktop when dealing with complex processes. Furthermore, many recruiters still have yet to make their application sites user-friendly enough.

It is not surprising that the quality of user engagement for mobile e-recruiting is low when 52% of mobile job seekers admit that they searched for jobs in bed. Despite the high traffic that mobile makes available to e-recruiters, its medium and self-selection of job seekers puts it at a disadvantage compared to desktop. However, mobile still has a very important role to play in creating awareness and consideration in the “purchase” funnel. 59% of mobile job seekers noted the importance of saving a job on their mobile device and applying for the job later on desktop.

The job application process is also complicated by the apply-via-mobile user experience. Many job portals have developed sophisticated apps that enable one-click applications if the user has an existing account set up and their resumes stored with the portal. However, many still do not have an interface that makes the user experience seamless. Too many steps and online forms are conversion killers. Some e-recruiters focus on getting the user´s email upfront for future lead nurturing. They know the best chance to convert a potential lead is at later time when the user is at a desktop.

Looking forward, innovation in this space has the potential to change the face of mobile e-recruitment in the next years, as we have seen in mobile e-commerce. Unsupported mobile formats will be a thing of the past very soon, aided mainly by Google´s punitive approach to non-mobile-friendly sites. There are also nascent innovations like productivity keyboards that would make complex tasks on mobile much easier. Thingthing for example integrates apps like Instagram, Dropbox and Google Drive directly on the user´s mobile keyboard, allowing a user to upload photos and resumes to their application without switching between apps.

Over the next years, it is expected that e-recruiters will further integrate with social networks to make the job application process more engaging. Millennial job seekers are the group who are most likely to use social media to search for or research a job. In the US, 43% of 18-29 year olds said they did this compared to 24% of over 50s. Social proof has been used with success by players like Amazon, iTunes and Tripadvisor. E-recruiters could borrow from some of their best practices to improve lead generation, job matching and ultimately, mobile conversions. And they should move swiftly because Facebook just started to allow businesses in the US and Canada to create job postings through their Facebook Pages.

Although mobile´s current importance in attracting high traffic volumes for e-recruiters is beyond doubt, there is still more potential to be leveraged from this platform. In the meantime, e-recruiters can still rely on desktop. It looks like this platform might stay relevant until someone cracks the mobile user experience code for job applications.