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Why mobile is a gateway tool for hiring millennials

Although mobile is typically synonymous with personal communication and advertising opportunities, it is also functioning as an optimal tool for locating premium new talent, especially among the millennial generation.

Several brands have taken to social media to market current openings and invite followers to peruse their career sites, likely finding an optimal advertising chance among their own fans. The advent of job-seeking and networking applications, such as LinkedIn and Poachable, have also paved the way for companies wanting to take the hiring process to a more digital landscape.

?Not only is it smart to take this process mobile, it is essential especially when a business is looking to attract candidates in highly competitive industries,? said Jeff Hasen, founder of Seattle-based Gotta Mobilize and author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion. ?Eighty-six percent of active candidates use their smartphone to begin a job search, according to Kelton Research.

?Seventy percent of active candidates want to apply via mobile,? he said. ?As to the idea of using ads and social, many eyes are already there, making this a prime place to be.

?But it still goes back to understanding your audience. For some fields, you will be able to reach prospects there. But not all."

Reaching out to followers
Resortwear brand Lilly Pulitzer recently thanked some of its social media followers who attended a career event, and prompted Instagram users to click the link in its bio to discover more about the company?s job offerings. The link then brought individuals to the ?Dream Job? section of the Lilly Pulitzer site, which highlights life at the corporate headquarters as well as new store opening seeking more retail associates.

The post garnered more than 14,000 ?likes? and 60 comments from excited fans wanting to get another glimpse of a career with one of their favorite brands.

A social media-savvy brand, such as this retailer in particular, stands a good chance at attracting applications from consumers who feel passionate about the company.

?It certainly can be a smart strategy, but it depends entirely on the brand?s identity and its existing level of engagement with social media users,? said Vanessa Horwell, chief visibility officer of ThinkInk PR, Miami.

?If the brand has an effective social ?foundation? (i.e., a large follower base, millennial-savvy marketing strategy, and consistent, active social media presence), then the millennials who are already engaged with the brand will interact with the opening organically ? applying, sharing the listing, or ?tagging? a friend who sounds like a good fit,? she said.

?Brands that lack strong social engagement, however, are unlikely to earn any new, tangible traction with millennials just from tweeting out a job opportunity and saying ?We?re looking for rock stars! Join our awesome team!? Millennials have a knack for seeing right through that (and scrolling right past it).?

Finding the right talent
While the very nature of the company depends on the effectiveness of mobile hiring, tapping into apps and social media is a smart way of discovering digitally-savvy talent. Furthermore, if brands locate potential candidates, they can pre-screen applicants by asking them to conduct video interviews or answer a simple test via smartphones.

The ubiquity of social media also makes it an easy tool to leverage when aiming to attract a wide audience of applicants.

A plethora of brands have already engaged in this strategy, leaning on mobile marketing to target individuals deep in the job-searching trenches as well as to simplify the hiring process for managers.

This past September, Marriott International appealed to job seekers on Instagram by promoting career site LinkedIn?s nationwide tour on the social network as well as a mobile-optimized site (see story).

Meanwhile, American Express is working diligently to offer a slew of mobile features for anyone applying for an open position, including the ability to refer a friend via LinkedIn, to conduct an interview with prewritten questions on mobile and the use of gamification modules for some interviews (see story).

?Mobile marketing will absolutely be key to the future of hiring, and the rise of job-seeking apps like LinkedIn?s is just the beginning,? Ms. Horwell said. ?2015 marked the first year that Google saw more searches from mobile devices than desktop computers, and mobile-first search is poised to dominate in 2016 ? for job hunting and practically every other endeavor.

?HR departments must accept the new ?mobile-first? reality in order to attract today?s applicants, so they?re wise to keep an eye on mobile job-search trends, engage with popular recruiting apps, and ensure (at the very minimum) that their job listings are optimized for smartphone viewing.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York