Best Mobile Recruiting Tools: Statistics & Benefits of a Successful Mobile-First Strategy

Best Mobile Recruiting Tools: Statistics & Benefits of a Successful Mobile-First Strategy

January 10, 2019 - 13 minute read -
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According to a study by Pew Research Center in 2018, 45% of younger Millennials  go online almost constantly everyday. The number has nearly doubled from the ratio of 24% in their 2014-2015 survey. What’s more, the Smartphone and IoT Consumer Trends study by B2X has also reported that 25% of Millennials spend more than 5 hours on their smartphone each day. For the other 50%, the amount of time spent is 3 hours. What can recruiters learn from these numbers? It is time for them to build smart recruiting tools to incorporate a growing worldwide trend: Mobile-First.

In this article, we will clarify the concept of mobile-first, the reasons why recruiters should apply it in the recruiting process, how to incorporate it in your hiring program and lastly, give you some real-life mobile-first examples.

What is Mobile-First?

How do you think of your company’s website and especially, career page? Is its design supporting or harming your campus recruiting strategy? Studies have shown that most people will stop engaging to a site if it has a poorly designed interface. When it comes to creating a website, the information provided is important. But the aesthetics of the site and the convenience when using the site also matter.

To understand the history and notion of mobile-first approach, let’s get to know about the two major concepts related to responsive web design. They all help to provide users intuitive display on different devices.

Graceful Degradation: basically means that you “gracefully degrade” your full-feature design to a simpler version by taking the layers off. It is when your web design starts from an advanced version which is usually available only for modern browsers on larger screens such as desktops. And then it will be adjusted to be compatible with small screens (mobile phones, tablets…). This can be done by cutting down some effects, functions or contents.

Progressive Enhancement: on the contrary, means that in the beginning, you put your effort into a version with basic features and short-form contents. This kind of version brings the most comfortable experience for users on less modern browsers. Then you create advanced versions for platforms that support higher performance by adding more complicated effects, functions, etc.

These two concepts seem almost the same, but progressive enhancement is considered to be a more effective approach. It requires designers and web makers to come up with the best solutions for the restrictions on size, features, content, etc. These problems can be encountered when creating a version for mobile devices which is expected to deliver necessary information but also bring users the most easy-to-use and comfortable display on their touchscreens. Therefore, your mobile version will be a polished and completed design. You don’t want it to be a backup solution for the lack of mobility of the desktop version.

Here’s an illustration for the disadvantage of graceful degradation compared to progressive enhancement:

Graceful Degradation:

Graceful Degradation

Progressive Enhancement:

Besides, upgrading your basic website to a more abundant version sounds much better than having to give up on appealing features that you have created from the start. It saves lots of time for designers and web makers and also improves their productivity.

The process of progressive enhancement is exactly the same to mobile-first approach. It is creating a website/an application for a mobile device first, then adapting it to larger screens. And that is one of the reasons why mobile-first responsive design is highly recommended for web design when it comes to effective recruiting program.

Why Mobile-First?

Mobile Use is Exploding

According to a research by Statista, there will be nearly 50 million mobile-only internet users in the US in 2019. Stone Temple’s studies in 2016 and 2017 also show that total traffic from mobile devices has grown remarkably from 57% in 2016 to 63% in 2017.

Furthermore, according to Google, 77% of mobile searches occur at home or at work where desktop computers are likely to be available.

These numbers never seem to stop growing over time. With the development of mobile recruitment tools, these data are worth taking into consideration. They prove the rise of mobile use over desktop use and urge web makers to change their way of thinking that an all-inclusive design for desktop is what should be targeted first - for now, it’s probably not!

Not to mention, Google and Bing have already used mobile-friendliness for ranking the mobile search results. From March 2018, Google has switched to “mobile-first indexing”. It will predominantly use the mobile version of a page’s content to evaluate the relevance of a page to a user’s query. The reason for this change is because “majority of users now access Google via a mobile device” - according to Google.

Mobile use is exploding so mobile recruiting tools can be helpful for recruiters in approaching candidates

Mobile-First means Content-First

Creating a website/an app for mobile devices as a part of your campus recruiting strategy means that you have to face a lot of problems related to content. You have to make sure your text is readable without having to zoom or scroll too much; the content needs to be short and concise but still bring users the inspiration towards your products or services; etc. And one (fun) fact: 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website.

So keep in mind: Stay focused on the content! How to make it appealing to candidates can be a challenging work at first. But once you figure the way out, your site will be the spotlight of your campus recruiting strategy.

It is essential to create a firm foundation and find your “key selling points” before considering enhancing your site/app progressively. That’s why we suggest a mobile recruiting tool for your hiring process.

One Step Closer to Candidates

Mobile-first approach is one of the best ways to bring employers closer to their prospective candidates. For the reason that, people at any age from anywhere are all seeking for convenience.

Most candidates are expecting that they can find their ideal jobs with their mobile devices. According to a study by Indeed, Millennials are the most active on mobile. 78% of them use mobiles devices for job search as of 2016. Another study by this site also shows that 78% of candidates in the US would apply for jobs with their mobile devices if the process were simplified.

Another advantage of mobile-first hiring trends is that you can engage with candidates on the go. It is totally possible for employers to get their news (upcoming events, open positions, campus recruiting activities, introduction videos, etc.) immediately notified to their prospects or app users with push notifications. Recruiters can even interact personally and responsively with candidates anywhere, anytime with texting, calling features on mobile recruiting tools.

Recruiters can even interact personally and responsively with candidates on mobile recruiting tools
Remember that candidates are going to bring their mobile devices with them throughout their job hunting process. They use smartphones, tablets to search for and apply to jobs. They use the devices at career fairs to research and scan companies’ information, etc. In this candidate-driven market, recruiters can’t just sit there waiting for resumes to come to their mailbox. The more you engage with candidates through mobile connections, the more talents your company can reach out to and connect.

A Less Time-Consuming Campus Recruiting Strategy

Mobile apps created for recruiting purpose are now widely available in different operating systems’ app stores. In an on-campus job fair, recruiters can utilize these apps to capture and evaluate candidates

There are also mobile-friendly tools that help recruiters and candidates schedule interviews effectively without any inconvenience. All these tools can greatly help campus recruiters to save time and be more productive while improve candidate experiences greatly.

How to Create a Mobile-First Design?

Creating a design for mobile devices is all about user experiences. There are many criteria that need to be met in order to maximize users’ satisfaction. Some of them are related to technical requirements that designers and web developers have to deal with. However, in this article, we want to focus on the key aspects that recruiters need to consider to take control over their mobile-first designs for a successful hiring process.


As mentioned above, mobile-first hiring trends need to be content-focused. Because one of its features is a small-sized layout which does not allow too much information on such limited display space.

The very first step for great content is deciding which elements are important and which are unnecessary. The important information needs to be displayed prominently and the unnecessary can be removed. Then, creating a content inventory spreadsheet is advisable as it helps you to list out and see clearly what you want to include in your website/app. Remember to follow that list throughout the designing process to avoid rambling content. Here’s an example of a content inventory illustrating Warner Bros’s carrer page :

a content inventory illustrating Warner Bros's career page

As a campus recruiter, you also need to take into account that a lot of candidates use their mobile devices to search for jobs on the go. So try to keep the content short and easy-to-consume. At the main page, you might want your message to be highlighted. Then other important information such as current open positions, employee testimonials can be displayed. Useful content for students will also make your site more attractive to Millennials. For example, notifications of part-time jobs, internships, career fairs, campus recruiting events, etc.

You can consider including blogs or articles on relevant topics such as interview tips, career orientation, etc. It makes your site a helpful information site for students and fresh graduates. If you want to include calls to action, also remember to make the buttons easy-to-see to attract interactions.

Another top priority that any designer needs to consider when building a mobile site/app is the text font. All the text needs to be large enough to be read on different mobile devices without zooming in. So be careful when choosing fonts for your site.


Speed is also an important determinant of your web/app success, especially when it is for mobile devices. In fact, from July 2018, Google has officially made page speed as a ranking factor for mobile searches.

To improve page loading speed, web developers need to carry out some techniques such as caching plugin, CDN, HTTPS protocol, etc. These setups also help boost a page’s security and deliver page content based on users’ geolocation.

Besides, try to avoid including complex, large-sized graphics or videos in your page as they will slow down the loading speed. They may look eye-catching but will not display as intended and exhaust visitors’ patience. You need to compress those media for mobile screens or apply responsive design principles for flexible size. Lazy-loading technique can be used as well since it saves loading time by only loading images when necessary (e.g. only when visitors scroll down to where the images are placed).

Not sure if your mobile site’s loading speed needs to be improved or not? Test it with Google’s Mobile Website Speed and Performance Test to find out.


It is obvious that things are different between using a desktop with a cursor and using a mobile device with fingertips as our fingers are much bigger than the cursor. Apple has recommended that the tappable area for all controls should be 44pt x 44pt at least. Also, hover controls can only be done with a cursor on the desktop. So make sure your dropdowns can be activated by fingertips’ touch so that mobile users don’t get stuck.

In addition, having to wait for the site to reload when tapping on a small widget on a mobile device can be a little irritating for users. So, helpful elements that allow users to interact without refreshing the site such as expandable widgets and AJAX calls are advisable.

For the mobile version of your recruiting site, using off-canvas navigation is preferable. Because all the navigation items you want to include cannot usually be displayed horizontally. Even in the case you use dropdown navigation, you don’t want to confuse or lose your users by giving them too many choices. Keep it short and sweet.

For a recruiting app/site, the navigation bar might include information about your company and its culture, people, benefits, etc; company’s professions or departments; company’s hiring process; a section for students and fresh graduates. A searching option can also be included in the navigation. However, it is better to place it at the front screen so users can see it immediately when opening your site and start their searches right away.

If the content of a section of your page contains a large amount of information (e.g. profession section, articles), remember to include anchor links. They take users to exactly where they want to get the information without having to scroll down too much.

Mobile recruiting tools should be utilized in on-campus job fairs


User experience test and research are one of the top important practices you must carry out to know if your site is really mobile responsive or not. Test it on different mobile devices to see if the speed is acceptable, the text is large enough or if the navigation bar works well.

If possible, include in your website a user experience feedback section so that you can hear from your real users which improvements your site needs. And from that, make changes gradually to maximize users’ satisfaction.

You can also test your site’s mobile-friendliness with Google’s mobile-friendly test.

Examples of Mobile-First Recruiting Apps

PwC Talent Exchange (iOS, Android)

PwC - one of the “big four” accountancy firms is a tech-savvy employer with its successful mobile-first strategy.

The PwC Talent Exchange app is one of its mobile product designed to connect talents with open opportunities at PwC. With a well-designed and user-friendly interface, the app allows candidates to search, express interest and join in challenging PwC projects - all on their mobile devices.

With PwC Talent Exchange, it’s not only the opportunity that’s being exchanged, but it’s also the long-term relationships with talents that PwC is building and taking care of.

PWC mobile recruiting tool

“Best platform to make your dreams come true. Try it and experience a new change in your career”, “Great application! Helps talents to build relationships with a great firm like PwC”, etc. are what users talk about the app.

Check it out to see if your campus recruiting str

J&J BE VITAL (iOS, Android)

The J&J BE VITAL app is a social network designed by Johnson & Johnson company. The app helps university students build their career paths and discover Johnson & Johnson by connecting students with their mentors.

Students can create a profile with the app, including the name of their university, their major and expected year of graduation. Then they will be matched with a mentor with a similar background. He/she might be in the same field, go to the same university or share the same interests as them.

“Making that connection gives students someone who was in their shoes a couple of years ago, who truly understands the journey from campus life to looking at different career opportunities,” said Marc Mascolo, Global Head of Campus & Early Talent Strategy at Johnson & Johnson.

J&J BE VITAL mobile recruiting tool

What makes the app special is that students can have one-on-one conversations with their mentor. Topics are various: personal branding, interview tips, what it’s like to work in Johnson & Johnson, etc. Their mentor will help guide them throughout their journey of finding their best-suited career path. This kind of personalized and digital connection also makes it a lot easier for students to gain deep insights into the company. That’s what short conversations at career fairs or some introduction lines on the company’s website can’t.

“Everything has moved into a digital information consumption model, university recruiting had to move in that direction as well,” said Marc.

J&J has successfully used mobile recruiting tools. They are working to develop more functions, improve students’ experience on the J&J BE VITAL app with a vision of “re-imagining university recruiting”.


In 2019, the bulk of mobile use growth will continue to be driven by the Millennials. While mobile-first approach doesn’t seem to be a new concept, how to thrive in and take advantage of this technology wave is still not easy for a lot of employers. However, if you manage to integrate mobile-first approach into your overall recruitment tools, you will be one step ahead of many others. Look at the successful examples of companies that have gone mobile-first, and start to create your own success now.

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