Optimising For Mobile Devices

There’s no two ways about it, smartphones have changed everything when it comes to applying for jobs.

The old rules don’t work anymore.

When you write an advert for a job board, you have to think mobile-first.

And that’s because nearly 70% of all traffic to job boards comes through a mobile.

The way in which people interact with their mobiles is obviously completely different to how they interact on their desktops.

And the way you write your job ads need to reflect that.

In the mobile age, attention spans are notoriously short (less than 8 seconds, shorter than that of your average goldfish) – so you need to grab attention quickly if you want to get people applying.

And you have a much smaller visible window in which to grab that attention – so your opening lines need to be good.

In fact, better than good.

They need to be bad-ass good.

Writing your advert for mobile

This is where recruitment agencies have a significant advantage over companies trying to do it by themselves.

They know the limitations of mobile and how to work around them.

This is an example of how a job advert appears on a mobile on Jobsite, which is one of the UK’s leading job boards.


It was posted by one of the country’s best recruitment agencies in March 2018.

Now, it’s really important to remember that by the time a job seeker gets to this point and can see your advert, they’ve already searched on ‘job title’ and ‘location’, and they’ve then clicked on your job from the resulting list.

The top section of the page is automatically taken up with the details of the job which you add in at the time of posting.

You have no control over how the specific job board presents this information.

The first chance that the reader has to see the content you write is towards the bottom of the visible window.

This is why it’s so important to have a powerful opening which grabs attention and drives curiosity.

If your opening lines don’t grab attention, you’re wasting your time.

You want your readers to scroll, read the rest of your advert, and hopefully apply.

And that’s where most companies who try to do it themselves fail, and as a result, they end up going back to their comfort-blanket recruitment agencies.

In the advert you can see above, the recruitment agency opens their advert with a question pitched at their ideal candidate.

Now in this instance, this question has two purposes:

1. To act as a qualifier, ruling out irrelevant people.

2. To get people nodding and scrolling.

[Remember that: ‘Nodding and scrolling‘. It’s crucial to any advert’s success]

You don’t have to open your advert with a question.

There are a load of other ways in which you can get people nodding and scrolling, but that is the effect you must aim to achieve with the reader.

Different job boards present adverts in different ways. Some with more text than others.

Here are two more examples – the first from Total Jobs, the other from Monster.com:



Regardless of how the information is presented, the principles are the same across all job boards:

– On a mobile device, the window you’ve got to play with is very small
– A considerable chunk of that window is taken up with default details about the job
– You have a limited amount of space in which to quickly ‘sell’ the job to the candidate to encourage them to scroll

So what does it mean for you?

Well it’s simpler than you might think.

You just need to think carefully about the opening couple of lines to your advert.

The objective of that opening is to get someone to ‘nod and scroll’.

That’s the crucial element about optimising your adverts for mobile.

Firstly because you have such little space to play with, secondly because mobile searches account for the vast majority of job board traffic, and thirdly because attention spans are so ridiculously short these days.

Job adverts that work well on mobiles always work well on desktop devices.  Period.

So thinking mobile-first is the way you must go.

And once your opening lines have got their attention and they start scrolling, you need the rest of your content to engage them enough to make the click apply.

Over the next few pages, I’m going to show you exactly how the recruitment professionals do that.