I recently wrote an article for ERE surrounding the paradigm shift of web consumption from desktop to mobile. 

One of the readers commented with some core questions. I felt these questions would be asked by many people, so here are my answers.

1) Can someone on a laptop/desktop apply on a mobile site?
Typically the mobile view of the site with the apply process optimised for mobile is only accessible on a mobile or tablet. However if for any reason a candidate did reach the mobile version on their laptop or desktop they could easily apply. 

2) Do you need two/mirror sites- one for mobile and one for non-mobile, or will the mobile one work for both? 

Great question and one full of hype and buzz words which I will try to avoid.  Instead of discussing tech options (which is the tail wagging the dog!) lets discuss your objectives...

  • A site that loads on mobile and desktop really quick (say 1 second) - this will tick the SEO changes Google is making around mobile speeds and reduce talent drop off. 
  • A mobile experience that satisfies the mobile user behaviour which is quickly find the relevant information and act.
  • A call to action - in our case Apply - that is not impossible on mobile.
  • A UX  that is not painful and frustrating on mobile e.g. big buttons, no tiny links, finger friendly etc. 
  • Job search that does not suffer the "needle in a hay stack syndrome".
  • A site representing the brand as best as possible with a great experience on new, old and in between devices. If the CFO is holding on to their 4 year old Blackberry the site better not crash it! 
  • Future friendly, a solution that is easy to update with tweaks for new devices. 

To achieve the above, a basic squishy (Responsive Web Design) does not work. Progressive Responsive can deliver this. Although as the recent BBC case study shows progressive responsive is complex and can seriously stall speed of change. 

My personal advice is an Adaptive solution which renders HTML that matches the capabilities of the device - ideally it will have some progressive elements as well (features that when loaded act more complex on new mobiles compared to old ones). 

Do not assume a new device will just work with your existing site - the Kindle Fire HD had changes that broke some javascript, iOS 6 changed how certain javascript is handled in memory and broke some sites. We have new operating systems and devices being released all the time - future friendly matters! 

3) Wouldn’t many companies go mobile more quickly if it weren’t so expensive to make their sites mobile-ready? How much does it cost to make your site mobile-ready?

Ping me, see my company www.threesparks.com our SaaS products make very easy and cost has never been an obstacle - but we are different from the typical suppliers! 

4) Would your tech people (who normally handle the web development and web design) be able to do it, or do you normally bring in outside expertise?

Your in house tech could given enough time and resources do this, they are unlikely to have the expertise so it will likely be more expensive. The issues of testing on multiple devices and hardware is normally a problem internally. The constant maintenance of testing on newly released devices and updating the site is almost always impossible with internal teams as they are re-allocated to new tasks. 

Mobile is a newer channel than desktop web, this means new solutions will keep appearing and your internal team won't keep up. Eg when we first released "Cloud Apply" we only offered LinkedIn. A month later we added Drop Box. Then Monster released their apply button so we added that. We are now adding more newly released solutions. An internal team would have scheduling conflict and be unable to keep your site up to date.

5) Are most existing ATS compatible with current mobile application? If not, what does it typically cost to upgrade your existing ATS, or would you often have to get a whole new ATS, too?

Very few ATS offer a mobile solution. Those that do mostly are a token gesture and fail to properly address the issues. However this does not mean your mobile website is not ATS compatible. Many mobile recruiting solutions (Three Sparks included) integrate with the ATS and typically in a fashion that requires zero changes or spend to the existing ATS install.

6) Since a very large number of companies don’t care that their existing non-mobile application process is inefficient, time-consuming, and alienating, why would they care to make a mobile one that’s better, i.e., if they didn’t care before about losing large numbers of good potential applicants, why should they care now, particularly when it probably involves spending a lot of money?

The first point to make is most exiting recruitment sites slam the door in the candidates face making it impossible to apply. Impossible is different to inefficient and time consuming! 

Are you familiar with the power of exponential growth? For the last 3 years the volume of job seekers using mobile web has doubled year on year. It is easy to feel like this is not a critical issue, but if it doubles again it will be the only recruitment marketing priority the industry will be talking about! For example many job boards I work with in the UK tell me today they get 40% of their traffic from mobile, last year it was 20%, year before it was 10%. If it doubles in 12 months it will be 80% - that volume is too large to not invest in! We are repeating the same discussion that took place over ten years "why should I put jobs on a website, when I put them in a print advert!"

I also believe many of todays solutions to mobile are too expensive, as with all new solutions this will drop as popularity grows, i.e. supply and demand. 

AuthorDave Martin