Lessons I Learned from My Company's First Steps in Mobile Recruiting

April 22, 2014

In early 2012, as a leader in the Global Talent Acquisition department of Abbott, a diversified medical products company, I was facing the challenge of delivering faster, deeper and easier access to talent. Our company was expanding fast in emerging markets and my team and I had to keep up with the demand to produce quality hires.

As we faced rather ambitious goals, we had to push ourselves to come up with innovative solutions. And this is what inspired our foray into mobile recruiting.

mobile recruiting abbottMobile has been “the hot trend” for a while but beyond that it’s a way of life for pretty much all of us (at least in our personal lives). You have all probably heard that the average person looks at their phone about 150 times a day. Why not take advantage of this stat and use it to our benefit in recruiting? Imagine the opportunities mobile offers for improved discoverability, better candidate experience, and higher quality hires.

With that in mind we took steps to launch our mobile strategy and here are 6 lessons that I learned and would love to share with you:

1. Make sure your mobile strategy aligns with your business needs

When we embarked on our mobile recruitment strategy in 2012 – which we called “GoMobile” – we made sure it aligned with our business strategy first. This helped us to showcase the importance of the mobile solutions and customer experience we wanted to deliver and got us executive support.

For example, we knew that in the emerging markets where our anticipated hiring needs are greatest, mobile Internet connectivity already exceeds desktop/laptop connectivity. In India alone more than half of the country’s 160 million Internet users access the web through a mobile device. For Abbott, a mobile recruiting strategy wasn’t a luxury, it was a necessity to deliver high caliber talent faster.

 2. Analyze the traffic your website gets from mobile

Once we had our mobile strategy aligned to business needs, we did some basic research (and the key word here is basic). It’s important to know how many visits your careers webpage receives from mobile devices, what types of mobile devices your visitors use, from what countries those visits originate, and the times of the day the mobile traffic is heaviest. This will let you know how to best connect with your candidates. Keep in mind not every solution is global. Like any other consumer insights strategy, the power of mobile recruitment comes from local impact.

3. Make sure that business leaders in the company embrace mobile recruiting and set an example

To this day, we strive to make our business leaders part of our GoMobile journey. I strongly believe mobile recruitment strategy is not something talent acquisition owns and runs; it is your culture, it is your employer brand. In other words, how you recruit is a reflection of what you ARE as a business and not what you DO as a recruiting function. Therefore, it is very powerful when your business leaders manage the pipeline candidates through mobile solutions.

4. Optimize your presence on other platforms that are very strong on mobile

Most social networks have an incredibly strong presence on mobile. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube all offer great opportunities to further engage with our audience through their mobile apps and we wanted to take advantage of that. We leveraged our Facebook Careers page and launched an Abbott Internship Channel on YouTube to teach job-seekers about the company. We used LinkedIn to strengthen our Talent Pipeline for strategic hires.

5. Make the mobile recruiting experience easy and personalized

From an end-user point of view, we wanted candidates to have an innovative and unique experience. As cliché as it sounds, first impressions do matter. In hyper-competitive job-markets, standing out from the competition sends a signal that your company is at the cutting edge. So as we evaluate mobile recruitment solutions, we think about the experience we are delivering.

For example, to add a personal touch, we decided to build an SMS function into our mobile solutions. Through simple text messages – which are often more effective than voice calls or emails in certain regions of the world – we keep candidates abreast of the recruiting and hiring process. It’s a nice gesture that helps keep candidates engaged with our recruiters to drive engagement before hiring and onboarding them.

6. Keep evolving and telling the ROI story of mobile recruiting

Business, customers, and technology have at least one thing in common: they are constantly changing. In this sprit, we keep reassessing our GoMobile priorities and outcomes because they should evolve as well. I recognize this requires continuous focus, investment and business support. I learned early that the best way to do this is to tell a relevant story back to business. For instance, when we present Abbott’s mobile recruitment outcomes we always include productivity gain, pipeline health and bottom line financial impact.

At the end of the day, mobile recruitment is about how you connect, how you engage and what experience you deliver. If you keep it simple, relevant and sustainable, you can have a successful mobile recruiting strategy.