The Mobile Candidate Experience — It’s Already Too Late

Are you prepared to lose up to a third of your job applicant traffic?

One of Google’s recent search algorithm changes will have a major impact on your recruiting efforts. It sends a clear message to recruiters that it’s already too late to be proactive about your candidate experience on mobile devices.

Here’s what’s happening:

On June 11, 2013, Google announced changes in rankings of smartphone search results. This mobile search algorithm change is designed to demote web pages in the organic search results that are not built with a responsive mobile web design.

If your website isn’t built to render a mobile-optimized version of each page, your career site and job posting pages are going to start ranking lower and may even be removed from Google’s mobile search results.

Pure Oxygen Labs, a mobile consulting and technology company, recently released a mobile SEO risk assessment of the Fortune 100 companies. In its report, Pure Oxygen Labs found that 94 percent of the Fortune 100 are going to trigger the new Google mobile penalty. The majority of these companies have mobile sites; however, their sites are not designed responsively enough to meet the new Google standards.

Let’s take a look at job search giant to gauge the impact. Indeed is leading the way when it come to searching for jobs online. It is visited by more than 100 million unique job seekers per month. At a volume of three billion job searches per month, Indeed holds the record for half of all U.S. job searches. Indeed even boasts that it delivers more hires than Careerbuilder, Monster, and LinkedIn … combined!

Now let’s take a look at job search trends. Indeed states that a third of its three billion job searches per month are coming from mobile devices. That’s about as impressive a statistic as you can get — one billion U.S. job searches per month are performed on mobile devices, just on Indeed. You can clearly see the recruiting industry trends at play here.

Go to your favorite mobile device (iPhone, Android, tablet, etc) and start experimenting. Do a Google search on the device and try to find your career site and job posting pages. Sample searches are; careers at (your company), jobs at (your company), sales jobs at (your company), engineering jobs at (your company). Hunt around as much as you can.

Don’t just click on a home page search result. Try to search for internal pages and see how they render. You can even copy and paste your site URLs and email them to yourself, for access on your phone.

Anything less than a perfect mobile experience in now considered bad, and Google will be demoting and possible removing your pages from their search results. Here are three examples of common causes for generating the new penalty:

  1. If you do not have mobile-optimized webpages: In other words, when someone goes to your career site or job posting pages on a mobile device, they are served a regular HTML desktop version of the page.
  2. If you have a mobile site, but when a searcher clicks on a search result for an internal page (for example, a specific job posting or job category landing page) and is then redirected to the “Home” page of your mobile site. Again, that’s bad — all of your results except for your Home page will be demoted.
  3. If you have Flash video or any other content that has difficulty displaying on smartphones, tablets, or other mobile devices. Again, a bad experience for users. Google will demote all pages with that type of content.

The official Google mobile algorithm change announcement is here.

Here’s more from Google about building search optimized mobile sites.