Last week, John Sumser, principal analyst at HRxAnalysts, hosted a great debate with Ed Newman, vice president of Strategy at iMomentous, about mobile recruiting. The two-part debate (Part 1, Part 2) is an interesting read – and one of the more candid conversations on the implications and impact of mobile in talent acquisition I’ve heard. Although Sumser and Newman didn’t see eye to eye, both did agree on one thing: the traditional one-size-fits-all recruiting strategies that employers have relied on for years isn’t cutting it.

As Newman puts it, “The disruptive nature of the [Nexus of Forces] has created both an imperative and an opportunity for businesses to reinvent their operations to capitalize on the new medium.” And I agree – it’s undeniable that mobile, social, and cloud technology, as well as big data, are driving big changes across the enterprise.

But it’s also hard to deny that mobile has yet to gain much traction in talent acquisition. Why? As I see it, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

A Disconnect Between Priorities and Process

Although a recent survey conducted by Brandon Hall Group shows attracting more talent, strengthening employer brand, and improving candidate experience are top priorities for 2014, few organizations have implemented a formal recruitment marketing strategy. Even fewer are actively measuring and managing candidate experience – never mind creating a strategy for mobile readiness.

For the record, I agree with Newman – mobile is intrinsically connected to both a modern recruitment marketing strategy and a positive candidate experience.

But the majority of organizations are only beginning to grasp the importance of candidate experience and employer brand. Until more evidence emerges that quantifies the impact mobile readiness has on an organization’s ability to improve KPIs in these two areas, I think mobile will continue to be a nice-to-have.

Hiring Organizations Favor Small Wins Over Big Changes

As it becomes increasingly apparent that traditional recruiting processes are less effective than in days past, hiring organizations are looking for ways to step their game up. But because talent acquisition budgets are more or less staying the same, they’re looking for small wins that can become inroads to greater success.

Social talent acquisition is a great example of this approach. Recruiters can leverage social networks to source and assess talent can be done without a heavy investment or even a formal strategy.  Done correctly, a few small wins can snowball into some major gains both in sourcing strategy and employer brand. This type of success story has fueled the rapid adoption and maturation of social talent acquisition strategies.

On the other hand, success in mobile talent acquisition requires careful planning and often entails big changes to both process and technology. And in terms of employer brand, getting the mobile candidate experience right the first time is crucial as candidates today aren’t particularly forgiving. Altogether, this has limited the rate at which hiring organizations are embracing mobile. They would rather invest in quicker, easier wins than take on big changes and risk failure.

Mobile technology is certainly developing rapidly in consumer markets. As yet, however, we’ve only just begun to understand its potential and implications for talent acquisition. I believe that as more use cases evolve, and as more success stories emerge, we’ll see mobile readiness gain prominence as a critical component of modern talent acquisition strategy.

As ever, I would love to know what you think. Feel free to contact me: kyle.lagunas@brandonhall.com

Kyle Lagunas

As the Talent Acquisition Analyst at Brandon Hall Group, Kyle heads up research in key practices in sourcing, assessing, hiring, and onboarding - as well recruitment marketing, candidate experience, and social recruiting. Through primary research and deep analysis, he keeps today's business leaders in touch with important conversations and emerging trends in the rapidly changing world of talent. Kyle has spent the last several years offering a fresh take on the role of technology as part of an integrated talent strategy, and focuses on providing actionable insights to keep leading organizations a step ahead. Previously the HR Analyst at Software Advice, he is regular contributor on SHRM's We Know Next and TLNT, and his work has been featured in Forbes, The New York Times, Business Insider, Information Weekly, and HRO Today.

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