Mobile recruiting strategy and why UAE recruiters need it

The UAE has the highest smartphone penetration in the world but how many recruiters have a solid mobile recruitment strategy in place?

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The UAE has the world’s highest smartphone penetration but how many recruiters have a solid mobile recruitment strategy in place?

2013 was the year for the word “mobile” in the Emirates. In May, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the m-government initiative that pledged to keep the Government available to the public 24/7, 365 days a year through their smartphones.

In September, The Mobile Planet report by Google announced the UAE had the highest smartphone penetration rate in the world, with 74 per cent of the population owning a smartphone. But what does this mean for the recruitment industry?

It wasn’t that long ago the only way a candidate could find a new job was by flicking through newspaper advertisements, searching through job boards or speaking to a recruitment agency. Likewise, businesses looking for new talent used to rely heavily on the luck of the draw, having only a limited pool of active candidates to choose from.

Over the past decade the landscape of recruitment has completely changed.

The growth of online professional networks and social media has revolutionised the industry. And now as these social platforms have made their way to mobile, there has been another shift in how talent and opportunity are connected.

Today, three out of four people here own a smartphone. Within the space of just a few years, smartphones have evolved from devices for checking emails, to personal shopping outlets, social organisers and even fitness instructors. Today, mobile is increasingly being used as a channel for candidates to discover and connect with potential employers, all while they are on the move.

But while m-government and m-commerce have taken the world by storm, “m-recruitment” has not yet reached its full potential. For example, nearly 40 per cent of visits to LinkedIn today come from a mobile device, but our annual Global Recruiting Trends research found that only 13 per cent of employers globally feel that they invest adequately in mobile. So what’s in it for business?

• Reaching mobile citizens: Almost 30 per cent of the population across the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region are in the 15-24 age category. For this future work generation, mobile isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s the only channel they use. On LinkedIn, for example, 50 per cent of job views from mobile devices come from candidates who have never engaged with jobs on the desktop.

• Accommodating the passive candidate journey: “passive candidates” are often the most sought after to fill high-profile jobs across the region and they are increasingly using their smartphones to engage with their professional network. This is an ideal opportunity for employers to present relevant job opportunities, and for recruiters to engage them. As a result, employers that ensure they are visible and available at all times on all devices will be in a better position to reach passive talent while they are on the move.

• Snapping up talent – fast: The recruitment industry now runs 24/7, and sometimes a few hours can make the difference between securing the best candidates and losing them to competitors.

The benefits are clear, but once your business is bought into the concept, how do you go about implementing it? It’s not enough to optimise existing content to fit a mobile screen; businesses need to understand mobile behaviour:

• Content first: mobile attention spans are shorter compared to desktop. Not all content is suitable for mobile sites, so companies shouldn’t shoehorn content in and should work on creating a mobile-first experience.

• Make mobile quick and easy: to stay connected with the mobile professional, employers need to create an easy-to-use system that enables easy interaction. For example, companies can make it possible for candidates to apply using their LinkedIn profile to avoid the hassle of filling out forms on small mobile screens.

• Integrate your channels: companies shouldn’t confuse “different” with “independent”. Businesses need to ensure they leverage insights across the various platforms and touch points candidates use to understand what stage candidates are at in their journey, and ensure a good candidate experience.

Many of us now expect to conduct much of our lives from the palm of our hand, and especially as Gen Y enters the workforce, looking for a job will be no exception.

One thing is clear: mobile is a must.

Businesses looking to engage with the best candidates going forward will need to be meeting them on the go. Getting this experience right from the start is vital though as, much like a consumer being put off a retailer by a bad mobile shopping experience; you may not get a second chance.

Ali Matar is the head of LinkedIn Mena – talent solutions