By David Rudick, VP, International Markets, Indeed

The average UK consumer now owns over five portable devices. This hyper-connectivity is breeding a new type of consumer, accustomed to instant access to information at any time, from anywhere. This shift in consumer behaviour has driven innovation across a range of industries, including travel, retail and financial services, and is now disrupting the recruitment industry, forcing businesses of all sizes to adopt a new approach to hiring.

Indeed.com recently released research examining the search habits of job seekers across Australia, the UK, and US. Globally, and the research found that 62% of jobseekers are using mobile devices for their job search. 55% of jobseekers cite ‘convenience’ as the core driver for mobile job search, while 66% of individuals would apply for a job on a mobile device if the process was simplified. This highlights a real need for optimised mobile job and career sites.

Many larger enterprises have already optimised for mobile but for smaller business, with limited resources and spend, tailoring a recruiting strategy to meet the expectations of a mobile generation may seem an unfeasible commitment of time and effort. So, how can SMEs ensure that their business is optimised for mobile applicants in order to compete in the global talent war?

Appeal to mobile applicants
41% of UK respondents said speed was the number one reason they choose mobile devices to search for jobs, followed by 37% crediting the easy process and 21% who appreciate the ability to search for jobs on the go (21%). This research presents a new picture of the modern jobseeker – one who is looking for convenience.

Consumers are spending more time looking for jobs and want to apply for positions as soon as they become available. This presents both an opportunity and a challenge for those tasked with recruiting talent. Mobile job search is putting opportunities into the hands of employees and is changing how they apply for new positions.

However, the overwhelming response also reveals a channel-agnostic consumer, with 47% replying that they turn to whichever device is most convenient, and closest to hand.

Deal with barriers to submission
Despite evident familiarity with mobile devices to search for jobs, it seems that there is still a degree of scepticism regarding the reliability of mobile tools in the application process. Nearly half of job seekers in the UK highlighted small screens (53%), difficulty tailoring CVs to apply for different jobs (34%) and issues with attaching multiple documents (26%) as key barriers to applying on mobile devices.

Nevertheless, people in the UK are open to embracing mobile job applications if these barriers can be overcome, with over 50% claiming they would happily apply for a job via mobile if these problems were addressed. First and foremost, businesses can optimise their webpages for smaller screens on mobile devices to appeal to the mobile job hunter.

Become more mobile friendly
Job seekers should be able to search for roles how they want, when they want and where they want. This year, over 54% of all UK traffic to the Indeed website came from a mobile device. It’s clear that mobile job application systems are well underway, but the pressure is on for employers to ensure that they have optimised content for this channel.

Indeed’s research reveals that employers who accept mobile applications receive twice as many quality applicants than from desktop alone. For employers looking to attract savvy mobile jobseekers, it’s important to remove mobile barriers and ensure they have the tools in place to make applying for a job as easy and reliable as possible.

With the economic recovery resulting in increased employment, competition is tough for SMEs seeking out the best employee talent. However, dependence upon mobile for job searches has grown rapidly in the last year alone and shows no sign of stopping - particularly in emerging markets where smartphones and mobile devices are now the primary means of accessing the web. As such, it is crucial that all employers tailor their offering to a workforce of mobile savvy users in order to attract the highest quality candidates.