If your company is not taking advantage of the mobile channel to communicate with potential job candidates, it's going to be increasingly difficult to fill open positions. That's one of the findings of a new study from CareerBuilder that included 5,518 job seekers and 2,775 hiring managers in the U.S and Canada. The online study, conducted by Inavero on behalf of CareerBuilder and completed in July 2013, also found that intangibles such as reputation and brand -- often communicated among the workforce via social media and mobile channels -- can play a bigger role than salary in a candidate's decision whether or not to take a job.
"There can sometimes be a disconnect between what employers and job seekers expect in the hiring process," said Rosemary Haefner, VP of Human Resources at CareerBuilder, in a press release. "Our study evaluates how different perceptions and behaviors have evolved among these two groups, and what can help or hinder the recruitment and job search experience."
Of course a growing number of companies are incorporating social media into their business strategies, including recruiting and vetting job candidates. In terms of job market realities for job seekers, the CareerBuilder study reveals that 48% of employers will use Google or other search engines to research candidates, 44% will research the candidate on Facebook, 27% will monitor the candidate's activity on Twitter, and 23% will review the candidate's posts or comments on Yelp.com, Glassdoor.com or other rating sites. Some of the search activity happens before candidates are even called for a job interview, CareerBuilder says.
According to CareerBuilder, here are the five key lessons for recruiters that emerged from the study:
If you're not mobile, you're not truly accessible. Nearly two in five employers (39%) have jobs that stay open four months or longer due to the inability to find people with appropriate skills. Mobile job search is growing at an accelerated rate, and employers that aren't mobile-optimized are missing out on key talent they need to find quickly.
According to CareerBuilder, at least half of job seekers with mobile devices spend three hours or more looking for jobs via those devices every week (49% on smart phones and 59% on tablets). Sixty-five percent of workers who search for jobs via mobile devices will leave a web site if it is not mobile-optimized; 40% walk away with a more negative opinion of the company, the study found.
Reputation can carry more weight than money. When job seekers were asked if they would consider a salary that is 5% less than their lowest acceptable salary, a significant number said they would depending on the company's image and applicant experience. Sixty-eight percent said they would accept a lower salary if the employer created a great impression through the hiring process. However, noted CareerBuilder, 29% of job seekers don't think employers do a good job of reinforcing why their companies are a good place to work. Job seekers also said they would accept a lower salary if the company had exceptionally positive reviews online (67%) or if the company had positive press (65%).
Job seekers say an employment brand is a must-have. While not a new concept, CareerBuilder identified as "alarming" the fact that only 38% of employers surveyed said they believe their company has a very clearly defined employment brand. This can adversely impact job seeker perceptions and ultimately application rates. Nearly half (46%) of workers said a company's employment brand plays a very big role in their decision to apply for a job within the organization; another 45% say it plays somewhat of a role.
Unresponsiveness can have a ripple effect. An earlier CareerBuilder study showed that job seekers who don't hear back after applying to an employer are more likely to stop buying products or services from the company. So, to what extent does this place employers at risk? According to CareerBuilder, 62% of job seekers don't feel the companies they have applied to have been responsive. On the flip side, 56% of employers admitted that they don't respond to all candidates or acknowledge receipt of their applications; 33% said they don't follow up with candidates they interviewed with to let them know they didn't get the job.
Flexibility is the new norm. Job seekers are placing a heavier emphasis on a company's ability to provide a good work/life balance when they are considering a job offer, the CareerBuilder research reinforced. Seventy-two percent of workers said it's important that a company offers flexible schedules when they are deciding whether to take a position, while 44% said it's important that the company provide telecommuting options.
Katherine Burger is Editorial Director of Bank Systems & Technology and Insurance & Technology, members of UBM TechWeb's InformationWeek Financial Services. She assumed leadership of Bank Systems & Technology in 2003 and of Insurance & Technology in 1991. In addition to ... View Full Bio