Boy, do we love trends. A study like the one by PotentialPark comes out that 19% of job seekers are using mobile devices to look for job opportunities, and suddenly we have an outbreak of mobile recruiting (the study also states that 50% can “imagine” doing so…whatever that means).

Social media is a buzz with how the mobile job search or “mobile recruiting” is (and I quote) “going to change everything.”

Wow…it is certainly hard not to be impressed by something that is going to do all that!

(BTW, for the record, I also have no idea what “change everything” means, but as a career services pro, I have certainly heard it before!)

Now recruiters have moved from endless chats on “social media recruiting” to “mobile recruiting” as if they’ve unlocked some secret code. HR consultants are busy pressuring companies to “get on board” the mobile job market trend or…else! And everyone is dancing a jig that the resume is officially dead! (I’m not sure how turning the resume into a “mobile resume” makes the resume dead…but hey, it seems to make everyone happy to say it.)

Woohoo! Everything’s changed (or, er, changing)!

Now it’s all “faster” and “more meaningful” and “better for job seekers.” Or, rather, it is going to be…soon…very soon.

Hmmm.

Now, I love my recruiting and HR friends. I really do. (So when I speak of them, I speak in general terms, not specific ones.) But I have learned from hard-earned experience working on behalf of top-quality tech candidates that when recruiters or HR consultants say something is better for the job seeker (or, worse yet, when they start using phrases like “enhancing the candidate experience”), it is really just code for “we want to believe we are helping the job seeker because we like to think we are doing it all for the love of God, country, and humanity.” (For some reason, it is bad form to talk of the “business” of hiring, so they prefer to speak about hiring as a humanitarian effort.)

Believe me. This is certainly not the first time we have had this happen. Here are a few examples:

  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). The ATS was supposed to help job seekers because it was going to weed out all those unqualified people who were applying for the same position and it was going to bring your qualified resume to the top of the heap. In other words, it was the job seeker’s friend, and it was going to make things better and easier. In reality, job seekers now just have another thing to worry about…how to make sure their resume “passes” through the ATS because the ATS generally does not work the way it should. There are cases upon cases of qualified candidates who get lost in its black hole. And job seekers spend a great deal of energy trying to figure out how to get around a company’s ATS.
  • Social Media Job Search. LinkedIn and the rise of the social media job search was  introduced as the greatest thing for job seekers because now they could reach out to hiring pros across the world and “network” with them. And in some cases, it has worked…although getting pure stats on just how often is sketchy at best. More often than not, however, what has happened is that now job seekers are burdened with yet another element to their job search strategy. They suddenly have to figure out how to make social media work for them, and it isn’t just enough to do face-to-face networking or attend professional groups. Now you must devote time to your online influence, content marketing, and quality communities. You must convince the world you are a decent-looking subject matter expert that people all over the globe will recommend because you blog well.
  • Death of the Resume/Rise of the LinkedIn Profile. As a resume writer, people seem to take great joy in telling me how the resume is dead, how they hate resumes, and how no one reads them. They proceed to go on and tell me how the LI profile is so much better. And it is then that I know some recruiter told them all this. The reality is that although the traditional resume’s role is changing (basically because now it just isn’t “enough” anymore), it is still very much alive and well. (In fact, I might argue it is more essential than ever!). Here’s the thing. The LI profile is important, and in mobile recruiting efforts, it will be even more important. But at the end of the day, no matter how much search goes on across LI, you still are being asked to present a resume. And as much as everyone hates them, they still better be good and on target, especially because no one is taking the time to read them through! And while the mobile resume might get you in the door, as soon as you walk into the room, the hiring manager (you  know, the one who really makes the decisions in this whole thing?) will say, “do you have a [traditional] resume I can review?” No, all the rise of the LI profile has really accomplished is to add yet another skill to the job seeker’s list of “must haves.” You need an effective resume and an optimized LI profile. (And with mobile recruiting, apparently, you will also need a mobile resume now!) So, we went from having just one document, the traditional resume, that no one reads to at least three (plus they claim they want to see online content like web bios and pages, blogs, Klout scores, etc. You’re telling me they have time to read all that but not a resume?)

So what does all this mean?

You can thank the hiring industry (and it is an industry, not a charity) for making the job search even more expensive and confusing for you, the job seeker.

The problem, of course, is that in reality there is nothing about the hiring process that really “cares” for the job seeker. But, again, they don’t like to admit it.

Both external and internal recruiters are there to represent the company and its interests. If your interests as the job seeker coincide with those of the company (and you’re willing to jump through its hoops), then you are most likely hired. If not, then, well, you’re not.

The “old” ways made this clear. The “new” ways cloud the issue.

Therefore, inevitably, then, any “new” process put in place by the recruiting and HR industry is necessarily going to benefit the hiring company the most. It has to. That is who they work for. That is who is investing in all these mobile recruiting apps and ATS (which isn’t to say that these practices really work on the company side either; check out my earlier post on “From the Corporate Goo to the Tech Job Market Zoo“).

Now, all this doesn’t  mean the job seeker completely loses.

But it does mean the job search has become a multi-layered, time-consuming, even painful process for the job seeker who is sent mixed messages and hoop after hoop to jump through. The waters are murky and tough to navigate.

So, yes, mobile recruiting will make things “convenient” for job seekers. Sure, it will be nice to have a mobile version of your resume handy. But don’t be too fooled. Your 5 minutes of convenience now will cost you.