Human Resources
Mobile Devices are the Gateway to Top Talent

Mobile Devices are the Gateway to Top Talent


Nov 30, 2016 | by Tara Johnson and Tony Boyce

When was the last time you went without your mobile phone for a period of time? Still thinking? Can’t remember? Rest assured - you are likely in the majority. Growth in smartphone ownership and use has surged in recent years, with mobile devices now surpassing personal computers (PCs) as the most popular device used to access the Internet.  Americans are spending approximately one-third of their day on their mobile devices and are now using them to accomplish more of the tasks they would have previously performed using PCs – social media, shopping, online banking, education, entertainment…and even applying for jobs.

   Trends in Mobile Device Usage

- 68% of American adults own
  a smartphone (Anderson,

- 45% of American adults own a
  tablet computer (Anderson,

- Smartphones account for 33%
  of all Internet traffic (Hern,

- Smartphones are the sole
  form of high-speed Internet
  access for 10% of Americans
  (Smith, 2015)

- Americans spend
  approximately 4.7 hours per
  day on their smartphone
  (Chang, 2015)

- Over 9 million workers
  conducted a job search using
  a mobile device (Muston, 2014)

Advances in technology, such as the widespread use of mobile devices, have begun to dramatically alter the way organizations recruit and assess talent. Organizations are facing increasing pressure to leverage mobile devices in their recruitment processes. Those that do not will likely experience a tarnished employment brand and miss out on top talent.

This trend has implications for selection testing as well.  While mobile testing is currently only being used by a few organizations, demand for it is increasing rapidly.  In a recent whitepaper, Selection Testing: A Look at Trends in Mobile Device Usage, we look at trends in mobile testing over the past six years.

However, there are some factors organizations should consider before allowing mobile testing.  Completion times were slightly longer for those using a mobile device compared to PC. Additionally, there were small overall performance differences based upon testing method, but those varied based upon the assessment level (hourly vs. manager). We speculate that environmental factors are contributing to these differences, as it is likely that individuals using a mobile device are completing assessments in more distracting environments.

With the increased applicant demand for mobile testing and the benefits that this testing method has to offer, we expect to see more organizations electing to offer mobile testing in their efforts to recruit and select top talent. While mobile testing is a great option for administering non-cognitive assessments, organizations should exercise extreme caution in allowing mobile testing for cognitive assessments and assessments with stringent time limits, where testing on a mobile device has the potential to put applicants at a disadvantage and exacerbate adverse impact.

Organizations that offer mobile testing should also look for ways to address the small performance differences we observed in order to level the playing field. For example, organizations should remind applicants of the high stakes associated with the assessment and emphasize that regardless of the testing method, applicants should be sure to complete it in an environment where they will be able to concentrate fully on the assessment.

Mobile testing is the way of the present and future. Organizations looking to identify top talent should leverage mobile devices in their recruitment and selection processes. You can learn more about current trends in mobile testing here.

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