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  • Insight Into Student Use of Mobile, Other Tech in the Recruiting Process

    January 25, 2021 | By Kevin Gray

    Best Practices
    Students are applying for jobs on laptops.

    TAGS: technology, best practices, recruiting, spotlight

    Spotlight for Career Services Professionals
    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    The desire to “meet students where they are” throughout the recruiting process may lead employers to believe their websites must be optimized for mobile viewing and online applications must be designed for completion using a mobile device.

    However, research conducted by Mary Scott reveals that students are far more likely to use laptops than smartphones to complete key tasks throughout the recruiting process.

    Scott, founder of the Scott Resource Group (SRG), addresses the concept of “mobile first” in her forthcoming report, Succeeding in the New Normal: Student Attitudes and Effective Virtual Recruiting, which combines NACE benchmark data with qualitative data gathered through focus groups and provides recommendations for authentic recruiting in the virtual world.

    (Scott will also present “Authentic, Effective Virtual Recruiting: Recommendations & Insights for Succeeding in the New Norm” on Thursday, January 28, from 1 – 2 p.m. ET. NACE members can attend this webinar and receive the report for free.)

    While it is certainly a fact that Gen Z uses mobile devices throughout the day for myriad reasons, the job-search process has not been one of them, Scott notes. One of the survey questions focus group participants responded to asked them to indicate the device they used most frequently at three stages of the job-search process: The results are not only conclusive, but also completely align with several SRG research projects conducted separately. (See Figure 1.)

    Further, discussions in each of the 14 focus groups reinforced that students use their phones in their personal lives and use a laptop for school and work. The degree to which any of these metrics shifts remains to be seen, but, given connectivity and bandwidth concerns, one can reasonably assume that students will continue to be reliant on laptops rather than mobile devices to engage with employers for at least the short term.

    Scott offers several recommendations for employers to account for mobile and other technology:

    • Understand that entering data on a mobile device is rife with opportunities to make mistakes, and most students take the act of completing and submitting an online application seriously and so are likely to use a laptop.
    • Recognize that bandwidth may be an issue for students in attending digital events; patience and empathy will be valued recruiter behaviors.
    • Optimize website content for viewing on a mobile device—but keep in mind that most students will access company information on their laptop.

    Figure 1: “During the recruitment process, the device I used most frequently…”

      To Access Employers’ Information/Opportunities To Apply for a Position To Participate in a Video Interview
    Laptop 88% 97% 96%
    Smartphone 10% 1% 1%
    Tablet 1% 1% 1%
    Other* 1% 1% 2%
    Source: Succeeding in the New Normal: Student Attitudes and Effective Virtual Recruiting, Scott Resource Group and National Association of Colleges and Employers
    *“Desktop” was the common annotation, mostly added by IT/computer science majors.