Before you read the rest of this post I want you to think about your preference. If you found yourself unemployed or were so tired of your current job that you needed to start searching and applying for a new job, which would you prefer to use to look for a job a desktop, tablet, or mobile device? Most of you that read this blog work in Talent Acquisition and have already made up your mind that desktop is the way to go for job searching. Most of our experiences tell us that Talent Acquisition software like career sites and applicant tracking systems do not have the best track record when it comes to mobile and tablet compatibility. This gut feeling would be correct, our metrics across all of our syndication partners and our 40,000 .JOBS domains show that over 70% of our total traffic comes from a desktop device. Job seekers who use a desktop device hit apply on a job on average 25% of the time. Put a different way that means if 100 people visit one of our .JOBS domains on a desktop, on average 25 of them will find what they are looking for and hit apply.

None of the information above is ground breaking, the more interesting question is if you were looking and applying for jobs and you had to choose between your iPhone or your iPad which would you rather use. I would think users prefer a tablet because it has a bigger screen, it’s easier to type on, and it’s going to give me an experience that is similar to a desktop. The purpose of this blog is to say the last sentence is absolutely wrong. Our numbers say the complete opposite. First we see 3 times as much traffic from mobile devices than from tablets. More interesting is that people coming from a mobile device hit apply on a job on average 20% of the time. Whereas people coming from a tablet only hit apply 15% of the time. Put a different way if we take 100 people and let them search for jobs with an iPhone 20 of them will leave hitting apply on a job, whereas if we gave them an iPad only 15 would have left hitting apply.

If you have made it this far in the blog post then obviously you find this as interesting as I do. I have given this some thought and have come up with a few possible explanations for why people prefer mobile job searching to tablet job searching. Please keep in mind that these are mostly just my opinion and could definitely use more in depth research before any could be proved.

Possible Explanation One
The simplest explanation is that there are just more mobile devices out there than tablets and people are more used to surfing the web on a mobile device.

Possible Explanation Two
I know when I have my phone out I tend to be doing 1 of 3 things, looking at work emails, texting, or surfing the web. When I have my tablet out at home I tend to be watching movies or playing a game. I would argue our phones are used more for work type things and we reserve the tablet for fun things. No matter who you are I would argue that applying for jobs is not fun.

Possible Explanation Three
Talent Acquisition technology vendors have been focused on the mobile experience for the last 2 years or so. Every vendor plays up how their technology works on mobile devices. I would argue that we just sort of assume if the technology works well on mobile devices and desktops then tablets will work as well. It’s possible that we have not found the sweet spot in terms of building job search experiences on tablets.

Below is a graph showing the conversion rates between devices over 2014. This type of data changes by the day and with the proliferation of phablets or giant phones, one could argue the idea of even classify between mobile devices and tablets is getting murky. With that said feel free to comment on and argue with any of my explanations.

conversion rate by device category

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