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May 15, 2015

1. You don’t have responsive web design

The main driver of most “bad” mobile apply experiences is that they do not utilize responsive web design. Responsive design is a modern approach to web design that optimizes the user experience on any device.

Without it, the resulting user experience is nothing more than an extension of your desktop experience on a mobile device. And although your desktop experience may be incredible, it won’t work without responsive web design that does not automatically translate to a small screen.

In this scenario, users have to constantly zoom in and out, and they are far more likely to abandon an application than if they were on a PC. Responsive web design is a must for capturing top talent.

2. Your requisitions aren’t optimized for search engines

There was a time when search engines didn’t care about mobile-friendliness — but that was years ago.

In February 2015, it was officially announced that Google would be using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. And websites that do not make the effort to optimize their mobile experience by late April 2015 will experience noticeable impacts to search performance, making it difficult for job seekers to find your jobs.

This means, when a job seeker types in a query like “Software Developer Jobs San Francisco,” if your site is not mobile-friendly, your requisitions might not even show up in the results page. The perfect candidate might never find you.

3. You only give job seekers the option to “email this job”

The goal of any apply flow is to get job seekers from the beginning to the end as efficiently as possible, though some sites don’t even support the option to apply via a mobile device. In this case, applicants identify a position they like, and then they’re forced to enter their email, so they can later apply for the position on a desktop computer.

Asking talent to stop the process of applying and then resume at a later time drastically reduces the chance that they’ll actually complete the application. It goes against every best practice regarding web conversions, and your application conversion rate will be well below industry averages.

4. You’re not leveraging social connection

Since most of today’s top talent has a “digital resume” on LinkedIn, it’s become common practice for online applications to connect right into the social network.

Doing so typically parses the profile for key information, so the candidate doesn’t have to type it in. Or sometimes a candidate can use the profile in place of his or her resume.

Despite the fact that most job seekers have come to expect such functionality, sites with a poor mobile experience tend to not offer it.

5. The “upload resume” button doesn’t work on mobile

In some cases, job seekers will move through the application to the point where they have to upload their resume, only when they click the button they either get an error message or it simply does not work. Many sites have this issue, but are either not aware of it or have not taken the steps to let applicants know the functionality isn’t available.

If the upload button doesn’t work on mobile, the chances an applicant will type out his or her resume are slim to none. Today’s talent expects to be able to do things like upload their resume from their mobile device’s DropBox or Google Drive apps.

6. You asking too many questions on every page

It’s vital to take into consideration the overall candidate experience when creating a mobile job application, and sometimes this means thinking about the application length and flow at a more granular level. This is a typical challenge recruiting organizations face when they force applicants to fill out the same desktop version of an application on a mobile device.

Still, even sites built with responsive web design can exhaust applicants by making them fill out 20 or 30 fields on one single page. If applicants don’t feel like they’re making progress, they will abandon the process.

7. Your search isn’t connecting talent with the right openings

This might sound intimidating, but applicants are coming to careers sites expecting an Amazon-like experience. They want to be able to search through positions, apply filters, see suggested searches, and easily narrow down a short list of opportunities.

The experience should be seamless, leaving them with a positive mindset as they begin filling out an application.

More often than not, though, the last-generation search functionality on most careers sites ends up driving candidates away. It’s crucial to have filters and predictive type-ahead capabilities.

8. You aren’t tapping into the device’s native functionality

It’s become common practice for sites like Google to take advantage of a device’s GPS capabilities to geo-locate users.

Careers sites should take into account where an applicant is, so search results retrieve openings that are more relevant. And innovative companies are incorporating things like polygon-based search to really hone in on which positions applicants can easily commute to.

This provides a personalized experience, but also helps push applicants through the apply flow. As mentioned on the previous page, though, most careers sites are using nothing more than basic keyword search functionality.

9. The application process takes too long on a mobile device

The difference between applying on a mobile device versus a desktop computer goes beyond just the size of the screen.

Technology users have come to expect a streamlined experience on mobile devices, since they might be using them while on the move. They have less patience for typing in long responses on the miniature keyboard and don’t want to go through a long process.

Seven in 10 people are actually willing to fill out an application on a mobile device, but people tend to have less patience when using those devices. The apply flow should be seamless and efficient in order to capture top talent and increase your application conversion rate.

10. You don’t allow applicants to finish later

The fact of the matter is, if candidates are filling out job applications on a mobile device, they may get or call or a text, the device may crash, or they might even get bored and decide to play a game.

Most mobile apply experiences do not account for this type of scenario. As a result, applicants that do leave the process are unable to return at a later time to finish. And they’re unlikely to start over at a later time.

Mobile experiences should begin by allowing applicants to create a profile. The experience should also save progress as they advance through the application, so they can simply log in and continue where they left off as needed.