A Blog by Jonathan Low


Mar 3, 2014

Throw a Line Where the Fish Are Swimming: Pepsi Discovers 90% of Its Job-Search-Related Emails Read via Mobile

What is surprising is that this is surprising. Given the ubiquity not just of smart phones but of their usage, and given the evidence of a relentless secular decline in PC sales , why would it not be apparent that most young to middle aged job seekers would be turning first to their phones for job information and opportunity?

It is always dangerous to extrapolate from one example, even if it is a $65 billion company known for hiring, training and then having talented employees head-hunted away. But the fact remains that across a range of functions, enterprises are still struggling to adapt their processes and procedures to mobile life.

Admittedly, part of the problem is technical: small screens do not lend themselves to the extensive verbiage so many organizations feel compelled to generate about themselves. And given that almost everyone inside a corporation considers themselves an expert on design, marketing and communications, it can be difficult getting consensus on how best to seize the opportunity to reach people where they are most likely to see and then consider your offer.

All of which is to say that the alleged job shortages about which so many institutions are whining may be more a function of their own inability to identify candidates and then reach them rather than due to a paucity of talent. JL

Jennifer Alsever reports in Fortune:

In late 2012 executives at PepsiCo discovered something surprising: Ninety percent of the people who clicked through job-related emails from the company did so on their mobile phones.
The numbers stunned the human resources department of the $65.4 billion in sales snack and beverage company, which receives 45,000 job applications each month for positions as diverse as truck driver and finance manager. Instead of job hunting from home, people were doing so while standing in line at a restaurant or even sitting on a couch watching the game. "It was an eye opener," says Chris Hoyt, PepsiCo's director of global talent engagement.
PepsiCo realized it needed to reach people from their pockets. By March the company will roll out a new career site that lets people hunt for jobs and, for the first time, apply for them using their mobile phones.
The sudden, widespread use of mobile devices for job hunting has blindsided most HR executives. About 82% of the 1,000 job seekers surveyed last fall by career site Glassdoor.com said they expected to use their phones to look for jobs in the next 12 months. Yet only 20% of companies optimized their career sites for mobile traffic, according to a 2013 LinkedIn (LNKD) survey of 3,379 corporate recruiters. "People realize that mobile is huge, but few are doing something about it," says LinkedIn spokesman Joe Roualdes.
HR executives at PepsiCo first noticed the uptick in mobile visits to the company's career site three years ago. They built a mobile app called Possibilities to let people hunt for jobs, watch videos on company culture, and interact on Twitter with HR managers. As mobile adoption grew, executives realized that the app wouldn't be enough. So they built a mobile-friendly career site that was easier to navigate for people using smaller screens.

Last year, things really shifted. Hoyt says he saw an 800% increase in job applications that were started on phones. "They wanted, even expected, to be able to research jobs and apply on the go," Hoyt says. But the technology wasn't there yet. Filling out applications on a tiny screen was too cumbersome, and storing a résumé on your phone wasn't always possible. HR executives had to hope that candidates would start the process on their phones and finish it later on their desktop computers.
That's no longer the case. New software platforms such as Three Sparks, Jibe, and iMomentous allow big companies to seamlessly connect internal software systems that sort résumés and screen candidates. LinkedIn now offers several mobile services to put relevant jobs in front of job seekers on the go and make mobile job applications easier. And Monster.com (MWW) introduced mobile recruiting apps and services built specifically for employers.
At PepsiCo, it's all about finding the best potential hires -- wherever they may be. "We're at a point where people want things in the palm of their hand, easy to get to, and on demand," Hoyt says. In 2014 that includes a career.


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