Occasionally clients will come to us in need of some insight as to why one of their positions isn’t receiving enough applicants. Their applicant traffic is falling short of what they would expect given the market, position type, unemployment rate, etc. In fact, here’s a recent inquiry from an ExactHire applicant tracking software client that was concerned about the number of employment applications being submitted for an arguably common, in-demand, type of position – Web Developer.
“We have been having a lot of trouble filling one of our open positions, and I wondered if you or anyone else at the ExactHire office might have some advice on how to pursue. The Web Developer position we know is a highly sought-after position. In light of this, we have considered the option of trying to attract international applicants, perhaps on an H1-B Visa. Are there any specific ways that you know of to attract these types of applicants since we see so little response from what we are doing currently?”
Check Your Job Listing’s Vital Signs With Analytics
There are many factors that could impact the popularity of a job posting, and so it makes sense to approach the situation from many angles and try some different adjustments to increase applicant volume. For this client, my first thought was to check their ATS site’s Google Analytics account…which we set up for all client portals. I logged into Google Analytics, and then looked up how many visitors had recently been landing on this particular job listing’s page URL. Visitors who landed on the job description page directly (for their first point of entry to the ATS site) would have been referred from other job boards (rather than from the client’s ATS portal’s external job listings page). This process gave us a snapshot into how easily the client’s job was being “seen” by external boards.
For example, upon examining the data in Google Analytics, I could see that the Web Developer job’s URL (#19 on the list) had not received as many page views as some of the client’s other concurrent positions – even though the same job boards had been used for both listings. For example, #7 on the list for a Product Development Assistant position had received quite a bit more views (308 vs. 113). When I looked at that job’s description, it was not too long; however, it was at least double the length of the client’s Web Developer job description and so there were more opportunities for it to include keywords that external job boards could use to rank it higher in relevant search results to applicants. Plus, the Product Development Assistant position restated the actual job title in the first sentence of its description…this is a great way to get it appearing more prominently in search results.
The Web Developer position did not do that. I suggested that the client try putting it in the first sentence and making the description a bit longer. NOTE: At the time, the Web Developer description was only about 3 sentences long. While you don’t want to slip into the trap of making job listings too long – particularly for hard-to-fill positions where qualified applicants are difficult to find – you don’t want them so short that a lack of content leaves them unable to earn higher search engine result rankings, either.
What’s in a Job Name?
I also suggested, given that Web Developer is such a common job title, that the client be more specific in naming the position. For example, what kind of developer is it? Could our client include the primary programming language that would be required in the title, itself? This technique would help applicants who do specific searches for certain programming languages on sites such as Indeed to come across a related position more easily. For example, in this particular case, the client might have tried a title like “Web Developer – HTML/CSS – Jquery.”
Attracting H1B Visa Sponsorship Candidates
In regards to the client’s question about going the H1B visa sponsorship route, I advised my contact to make sure and mention those specific words in the job description to both set expectations with potential international applicants, as well as improve the likelihood that international candidates who may do a search including those keywords end up seeing your job listing in the results returned for the job board. For example, I Googled the term myself and landed on some SimplyHired search results showing job descriptions that did just that:
Diagnosing Your Job Description: A Review
So to recap, if you are looking to determine what ails your low-applicant-volume job listing, I would suggest:
- Considering whether the length of your job descriptions is appropriate (hint: look at similar jobs that are at the top of external job boards’ search results and check the length of those descriptions)
- Using a more specific job title
- Restating the title of your job at the beginning of your job description text
- Including other relevant keyword phrases in your job listing (i.e. h1B visa, etc.)