How to lose the digital war for talent

19th Feb 2016 by Jens Reimer Olesen
3 minute read

In we help recruiters learn from data. Every month our platform measures more than 100M interactions; from the first time an applicant sees a job ad all the way to the ultimate hire. This enable us to help recruiters find a successful and repeatable recipe for online talent attraction.

We do not claim to have the one-size-fits all recipe for successful recruitment, so instead of telling you what to do - this blog will focus on the opposite; what not to do. All this is based on learning and data from our clients.

So here are the three main ways to lose the digital war for talent (and a bit of advice on how to actually win):

1. Think desktop first, tablet second and mobile third

Remember last time you rode the metro? Did you notice how almost everybody was staring into their smartphone?

When we started two years ago mobile traffic to job ads was 34%. Last year this number increased to 56%, Today we see 63% of all job traffic coming from mobile devices. We estimate that in a year, this number will be close to 75%. When we talk to our clients about these numbers, they often say “Yeah, I see your point - but I don’t believe candidates will apply from a mobile phone.” And they are right!

Based on the current way of applying for jobs, even though you have a mobile optimized career site and application process, candidates will still have to fill out a lot of information including personal contact details, attaching a one-page long application and a clear cut CV. So instead of rethinking how people apply from a mobile phone, the desktop version has merely been turned into a “mobile friendly” version with the same process, steps and information required. It is simply not possible for candidates to apply from a mobile because it’s too cumbersome.

 The data speaks for itself: only one out of a 1.000 visitors apply from a mobile phone, even though 63% of all traffic is mobile. This compares to 70 out of 1.000 visitors applying via desktop.

So imagine you had a shop where only one out of 1000 visitors would end up buying your product because the transaction process was simply too hard - they were not able to make the transaction. That would be frustrating both for the visitor and for you as the shop owner.

This positive however, is that we see a lot of creative and proactive clients rethinking the mobile application process and introducing “light applications” where candidates are able to apply from a phone in less than two minutes. One of our customers was able to increase mobile application rate from 0,2% to 8% by putting some work into mobile optimized landing pages.

2. Focusing on price over quality

Focusing on quantity ahead of quality when buying recruitment advertising is often a sure way to disaster. Measuring clicks to your website is a vanity metric and will often end up with a lot of irrelevant applications and a big workload sending rejections letters to disappointed candidates.

By systematically measuring the quality of the applications (based on your recruiters’ own ratings of the applications, plus looking at the percentage of applicants who historically end up getting hired) from each different recruitment advertising channel, you are able to turn off the noise and focus your money and resources on the channels with the highest quality of applications at the lowest cost.

3. Pouring water into a bucket with a hole in the bottom

When the demand for recruitment increases, companies usually spend more money on recruitment advertising. This at first hand seems logical but is not always the smartest solution; our data shows, that on average only 5% of people reading your job ad on your own website end up applying. This means that 95% will jump ship and apply somewhere else. It’s like pouring water into a bucket with a giant hole in the bottom.

We have seen amazing results with some of our clients, who have been able to double the number of candidates applying. So instead of having to double their media budget, they simply use time and resources on increasing the application conversion rate.

That was my two cents on how to lose the digital war for talent. If you have any comments, question or would like to talk, feel free to write me at

All the best,
Martin Stockfleth Larsen

The Leading HR Analytics Platform

Tailor-Made For Talent Attraction

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