James Mayes

Blog: If Twitter can’t do Mobile, what chance do YOU have?

In Mobile, Recruitment, Social Recruiting, Twitter on July 12, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Having started with social, many leading edge recruiters are turning their attention to mobile now. What tech exists, should we build apps, what constitutes a good mSite, do the traffic figures really warrant it, and so on. I’m a firm believer that mobile is an essential part of a fully formed recruitment strategy and represents one of the most important channels available. People smarter than I have written about why.

Recently, I’ve been looking at a few different approaches.  I was prompted by a tweet from Joel Cheeseman last night to take a closer look at Twitter’s approach. After all, this is a spectacularly well-funded company ($1.16b at last check), with an awesome brand, competing for the top 1% talent in possibly one of the tightest markets on earth. It’s also a company for whom mobile is ABSOLUTELY key (traffic stats, third party app developers, recent acquisitions all bear this out).

I’d rather hoped to find an awesome example of how mobile can really be leveraged.  Turns out, it was remarkably disappointing. I took a look specifically at the UK end of things – a new Twitter account devoted to working for Twitter in Europe recently opened up.

They’re tweeting job links, but as you’ll see from the screenshots below (Android device), neither the job landing page nor the application process have been subjected to much in the way of mobile optimisation.

(click to enlarge, each is a separate screenshot)

    

Twitter have the capability to do this in-house of course, but those engineers are focussed on the core product and Twitter, like many, have chosen the option to buy a platform. No problem there.

What surprises me is that they’ve chosen a platform which seems to do nothing to recognise mobile traffic when Twitter themselves are probably more aware than anyone of the growth in mobile traffic – even more so amongst the demographic likely to be interested in working for Twitter.

We could blame the platform powering this (JobVite) – but to my mind, Twitter simply chose badly! This isn’t a JobVite product write-up – it”s a comment on Twitter’s recruiting tech strategy.

So, did I miss something here? Are Twitter guilty of an epic fail? Is there any hope for more earthly recruiters when the corporates gods of mobile platforms miss the mark so widely?

  1. A lot if nonsense is spoken about mobile sites. The truth is it’s as simple as making your site display properly on a small screen (mobile and tablet). Design-wise, that’s no different to designing for various browsers. In most case a separate mobile site is unnecessary, when a Responsive design simply reconfigures its layout according to the viewing screen size. 

    Checkout 2 WordPress sites I’ve produced recently, to see what I mean.
    http://www.ukrecruiter.com
    http://www.norauk.com

    PS. In The NORAs this year, sites will be marked down if they don’t display well on small screens.

    • Have to disagree here Stephen. Simply making the existing screen display well on a smaller device is far from the answer. Responsive design techniques will allow the screen layout to adjust on the fly and display well on most devices – but this does nothing to address the data gathering aspect, as demonstrated in screenshot 3. Whether you can make it readable or not, collecting that amount of data on a mobile is unpleasant – so the applications and data gathering process need to be addressed, not just screen design. For a great mobile experience, it needs to be designed from the ground up with mobile in mind. As an example, Facebook failed miserably in this and a quick review on Twitter will show you how many people STILL hate facebook’s attempt at mobile. It’s one of the key reasons why they just went and spent a billion on Instagram…

  2. Twitter have fallen into two traps that catch many companies;

    Firstly they are thinking that procuring an ATS addresses their recruitment technology requirements. With a few notable exceptions, Applicant Tracking Systems are built to meet the requirements of the recruiters (who are paying for the systems) and not the needs of the candidate (who aren’t paying for the systems).

    Whilst some companies are starting to recognise the difference between ‘system of record’ and ‘system of engagement’, most organisations should be looking at dedicated Talent Attraction Platforms’ to complement their ATS.

    To be fair, many organisations wont be aware that such solutions are available as this is a relatively new type of solution, but the ROI for these types of solution is compelling even without considering the improvements to the candidate experience.

    Secondly recruiters need to recognise the fact that mobile devices present some unique challenges that cannot be addressed by technology alone. A new perspective is required on the application process and what information is gathered at what stage in the process and how. Technology evolves rapidly but we are still trying to make our ten year old processes work unchanged.

    • Thanks Matt – particularly like your choice of language on systems of record vs engagement. Gives a highly relevant point simple clarity. Agree with you on pretty much every point!

  3. Once the mobile enabled front page is fixed the problem still lies in trying to take action which sadly comes to the step involving the old clunker ATSs that HR complains about but still tether themselves to (albatross syndrom). You can’t take action on those antiquated systems in a mobile world, which is why those systems, every one of them, are dead meat.

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