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How to Push Jobs from HireCentric Applicant Tracking System to LinkedIn Jobs

If you’re seeking white collar talent, then the business professional social media networking site, LinkedIn, is a good place to source potential candidates. If you wish to take your recruiting efforts beyond personal connections with LinkedIn contacts, then you may consider pushing job listings from your HireCentric applicant tracking system to LinkedIn Jobs using our post to external job boards feature.

If you plan to do a great deal of posting on LinkedIn, then it probably makes sense to establish a relationship with LinkedIn and pre-purchase job postings in bulk. However, if you’re just starting out with pushing jobs to LinkedIn and/or your hiring volume doesn’t support pre-purchasing in bulk, then you can buy one-off LinkedIn job postings directly from ExactHire within your HireCentric applicant tracking software portal.

Here’s how it works:

  • Navigate to the Jobs Dashboard of HireCentric, and then select the “Job Board Favs” tab.

Push Jobs to LinkedIn | HireCentric

  • From here, you can select the “Suggest a Job Board” button and then do a search for LinkedIn-related posting opportunities.

LinkedIn Job Postings | ExactHire Applicants

  • If you have an existing sales representative with LinkedIn, then you can use the “Account” method and enter your login credentials to connect the use of your existing job credits with LinkedIn with the ability to automatically push job postings from HireCentric.
  • If you wish to purchase one-off slots for LinkedIn Jobs from within HireCentric applicant tracking software, then you may utilize the “Billing” method and pay for your posting using a PayPal account. You can find more details about billing methods for Job Board Favorites on this tip sheet.
  • The one-off job price you pay to ExactHire is the same price you’d pay LinkedIn directly for a single job posting. However, by posting through ExactHire’s portal, you save the time and hassle of having to manually post your job listing directly with LinkedIn outside of the applicant tracking system.
  • Moreover, you can post your job listing to any geographic market in the United States. In fact, as of January 2017 ExactHire now offers the ability for you to purchase LinkedIn job postings in the New York City and San Francisco markets which were previously unavailable through HireCentric.

Need Help with HireCentric and LinkedIn Jobs?

If you’d like assistance with using the HireCentric applicant tracking system to purchase single LinkedIn job postings, please contact the ExactHire Client Services Team at support@exacthire.com. We’re happy to help!

4 Ideas For Your Mobile Recruiting Mix

Mastering the art of social media utilization isn’t the only key to implementing an enviable mobile recruiting strategy. Factors such as external job boards, search engines, jobs page design and other communication channels can’t be ignored either. In order to thrive in what might be called the “mobile recruiting wild,” these elements must be addressed. In this post, I’ll present a survival guide for successfully incorporating additional external resources into your mobile recruiting strategy.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

#1 – Your Resources

When it comes to utilizing tools other than social media in your mobile recruiting toolkit, you need to consider the mechanism(s) by which your job listings are publicized, as well as how your own job portal may impact your use of third party resources.

Posting Opportunities to External Job Boards

Time is an ultra-valuable commodity today. Job seekers, especially mobile users, quickly disengage from employer sites and job boards that don’t make it easy to navigate opportunities and submit employment applications. Likewise, busy HR administrators and recruiters don’t want to use hiring tools that make pushing jobs to external job boards time-consuming and tiresome.

To expedite the process for employers, some job boards offer a pared down version of screening questions and therefore a means for candidates to “apply” to an organization’s positions right on the job board, itself. However, with this job-board hosted application approach HR professionals may feel restricted in their ability to customize their employment application experience to the extent they wish. Nevertheless, this may be inconsequential if an employer only wishes to gather basic information at an early point in the screening process.

For employers that have more robust application needs and/or wish to push a position to a number of different external job boards, a mobile-friendly applicant tracking system (ATS) or human resources information system (HRIS) with a recruiting component may be a better solution. These types of solutions will allow you to build a job listing within the portal, and then easily push that listing to many different external job boards with minimal effort.

Moving to Mobile Responsive Web Design

Even though this chapter especially focuses on your relationship with external recruiting resources, don’t neglect the fact that your “owned” resources (i.e. your own corporate website and/or jobs portal) can impact the success of your external resource utilization. Specifically, if the pages on which you feature your organization’s job listings aren’t designed to be mobile responsive so that job seekers don’t have to pinch and zoom all over the place with their fingers, then you are at a disadvantage when it comes to reaping the benefits offered by third party hiring partners.

Job Boards Favor Responsive Design

Most major job boards already have mobile-friendly sites and/or smartphone applications that make it easy for job seekers to view positions advertised on their sites. If you choose to push your listing to any of these boards, then your listing will be visible to mobile job seekers, too. However, you may not realize that if your own careers page is not mobile responsive, then the listing position for your job on the external job boards may not be as favorable.

Mobile Recruiting | Indeed Apply | ExactHireFor example, many organizations elect to post their positions to Indeed.com; however, if the Indeed listing redirects job seekers to a careers page description on your own site that Indeed detects as not mobile responsive, then your listing will probably appear low in Indeed’s job listing search results compared to employers with responsive web design. As a result, your job listings will likely be noticed by fewer job seekers on Indeed. Additionally, when it is seen by job seekers it won’t be marked with the notable orange text “Apply from your phone” that serves as a signal to job seekers that it will be relatively painless to apply for the position. To get the coveted orange text on your job listings, you’ll need to either post your jobs directly on Indeed or use an applicant tracking system that is integrated with Indeed Apply.

Search Engines Reward Mobile Responsive Design

In April of 2015, the biggest search engine player, Google, officially started rewarding mobile-optimized web pages with more authority in its mobile search results. And while many job seekers will initiate a position search on an external job board, there are definitely individuals who prefer to begin a job seeking quest with a query on a search engine such as Google. In light of Google’s significant algorithm update, know that the chances of your job listings page and specific job description pages appearing in a prospective applicant’s search results will improve when your recruiting software is designed for the mobile user…so that it automatically resizes to fit the screen of the device on which it is used.

RWD Benefits UX

While this nod to mobile dominance by Google certainly warrants the redesign of a static desktop careers page, be sure and consider the applicant user experience (UX) when executing the site rebrand with responsive web design (RWD) principles. Images and text should be spaced appropriately when viewing the site from a smartphone, tablet and laptop/desktop; but, the mobile devices should also feature a menu icon with collapsed links that mirror the navigation experience from a desktop.

An enhanced user experience will mean it’s easy for job seekers to navigate to different pages of the jobs portal, submit a complete employment application, share the opportunity on social media and/or subscribe to future job alerts via email and/or text message.

Mobile Recruiting | Responsive Web Design

#2 – Your Strategy

The overall talent acquisition strategy your organization chooses to use will obviously influence the methods you employ in your mobile recruiting efforts. Your approach to connecting with candidates, as well as the budget available for recruitment spending are critical factors for consideration.

Push vs. Pull Candidate Connections

Which scenario best describes the approach you take when it comes to sourcing talent for your entire organization: push or pull? Does your answer change if you ask the same question for specific job categories within your business?

The Job-Centric Push

A common approach among corporate talent acquisition specialists is to focus on open job requisitions that need to be filled immediately. This job-centric activity involves pushing details about specific job listings to the job seeker community. The intent is often just-in-time-focused and can be aided by recruiting tools such as

  • automatic job alert push notifications,
  • responsive web design to aid job description discovery by job seekers via search engine results,
  • and the ability to pool candidates for future database search since they won’t always be hired for the initial position to which they apply.

The Headhunting Pull

Prevalent in the agency recruiting space, when recruiters proactively seek out talented candidates but not necessarily for a specific position, they are in “pull” mode. Organizations utilizing this approach will make the most of tools such as

  • third party job boards with apps allowing resume database searches;
  • social media networks that allow frequent connections with unknown contacts (for example, LinkedIn Recruiter);
  • and, staffing agency-focused recruiting software platforms that make it easy to pull or “inhale” resumes and general applications into the platform.

Recruitment Budget

There’s no shortage of places for human resource professionals to spend money on advertising job postings. What works for one employer may fail miserably for another company. Here are some quick suggestions on how to prioritize your recruitment budget spending based on the needs and reputation of your organization.

Site Design First

If your job description web pages aren’t already mobile responsive, then spend money on a site redesign first. Or, if you use an applicant tracking system to manage your job listings, then work with an ATS partner that has a software platform already built using responsive web design.

Optimize Job Descriptions for Organic Search

While re-writing your job descriptions and job titles to be keyword-relevant may not result in a hard cost, it will take your HR staff time…and time is money. However, if your recruiting budget is restrictive or virtually non-existent, then attention paid to job description elements such as job titles, description headers, meta descriptions and interactive content will put you in a better position for organic (i.e. unpaid or unsponsored) search success.

Better Job Description Clickthrough | ExactHireFor ideas on optimizing your job descriptions for search, see 5 Steps to Better Job Description Click-Through Rates.

Sponsorship Opportunities

Traditionally, many recruiting budgets have had a significant portion of dollars allocated to paying external job boards to feature specific job listings. While employers will surely continue to take advantage of external job board listings on sites like Monster, CareerBuilder and Dice; and, sponsored jobs on otherwise “free” job board aggregators like Indeed and SimplyHired, other paid options are available.

Small- to mid-sized employers who have not ventured beyond traditional job boards yet may also consider sponsored social messaging, or paid search and display ads through behavioral ad networks such as Google AdWords. For example, if you discover that you have a large number of applicants viewing a specific job listing but then failing to apply for it, that job description page could be a good option for a display remarketing ad. With this approach, the job seekers who visited your page would then see text and/or display ads redirecting them back to your job description page as they view other websites that are a part of the Google Display Network.

#3 – Your Compromises

As your organization adjusts to a mobile-first mentality, it won’t come without compromise. However, considering some of the potential changes before they are in your lap will better prepare you to realign your expectations for what effective recruiting looks like with mobile technology as a driving force.

Employment Application Brevity

If your applicant tracking system utilizes integrations such as Indeed Apply and Apply with LinkedIn, then you’ll find that applications from those sources may have less robust information because the candidate hasn’t customized all of his information especially for your application. Additionally, even with a mobile-optimized employment application, mobile users are less likely to spend as much time typing answers to your screening-focused essay questions than they would on a desktop or laptop.

Compliance Reporting Conflict

If your business is a federal contractor or subcontractor subject to Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) reporting, than be sure and understand how your mobile implementation plans could affect your ability to capture key applicant information at the appropriate stage. For example, you should double check whether the mobile integrations you use will allow you to offer applicants the ability to self-identify veteran and disability information per VEVRAA and Section 503 requirements before an application is marked complete.

Candidate Communication Preferences

We live in a society of people with increasingly shorter attention spans. By making the job search and application process a better, faster experience for mobile users, you can expect to improve the time to fill metric for your organization. However, be prepared to field inquiries from job applicants about the status of their application earlier in the process and perhaps more frequently, too. Look for hiring software that allows you to easily and quickly communicate candidate status to individuals — either via email templates with personalization strings or an automatic external status that displays to candidates once they login to an application profile.

#4 – Your Compass

Any Discovery Channel survival show worth its salt teaches you that to survive in the wild you need to be aware of your surroundings. Know where you’ve been and then find the path with the best chance of leading you in the right direction. Likewise, to improve the outcome of your mobile recruiting activities, you need to evaluate progress and then forge ahead with the tactics that yield the best results.

Spend some time setting up a spreadsheet or reporting interface that allows you to easily monitor the impact of your mobile-minded improvements on your recruiting process. If you use an applicant tracking system, this may already be available to you. Build upon overall recruiting key performance indicators (that you hopefully already have in place) by looking at the ratio of mobile applicants to mobile job site visitors compared to the same ratio for non-mobile users, as a start. Dig deep in your hiring analytics to look for irregularities, unexpected changes and notable trends. Then take action to improve your activities as a result of your insights.

best practices in mobile and social recruiting | Download

Image credit: iPhone 5 and iPhone 4 Side by Side by William Hook (contact)

Job Board Spotlight: Beyond.com

The best Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will integrate with your website via a careers portal, creating a seamless brand experience for job applicants. But to attract a high volume of applicants to your site, it is vital to have an ATS that features automated posts to a wide variety of external job boards. Without this, even the most efficient applicant tracking systems will be useless if job seekers cannot find your job posts.

To help you discover the unique benefits of job boards and communities, ExactHire will seek to spotlight some of the more effective options available to you by frequently reporting on them through our blog.


This month, we selected Beyond.com as the focus of our Job Board Spotlight. We spoke with Danielle Sayre, Strategic Alliance Manager at Beyond.com.


 

Q:With thousands of job boards available, what is your advice for employers seeking to find the best option?

A: A job posting is an advertisement. So evaluate a job board the way you evaluate any advertising opportunity. First of all, is the site appropriate to your brand? Second, how will the board market your jobs? If you have a generalist job, you may want it available for general public. But if you are looking for a specific audience, then you want to make sure that your job ad will be marketed to the most relevant audience.

 

Q:In what industries does Beyond.com specialize?

A: Beyond has over 50 million members who belong to hundreds of niche communities on Beyond. Our largest community is our healthcare community with 6.6 million members. We also have a robust technology community with almost 3 million members, and a growing retail community with 3.7 million members. To view a complete list of our latest member statistics, visit http://www.beyond.com/communities/hiring/.

 

Q:Can you describe the advantages of using niche job sites?

A: Sites with a niche approach are often able to deliver a more relevant pool of candidates. The niche approach attracts unique candidates with an interest in that niche. In addition, sites with a niche philosophy strive to market your job to the most relevant candidates.

 

Q:How can Beyond.com serve as one of the world’s largest job boards, yet also offer the advantages of niche job boards?

A: Beyond is the original niche network. We started as PhillyJobs over 10 years ago, and grew into a network of over a thousand niche sites, including TechCareers and Healthcare Jobsite. We cut our teeth bringing niche and passive candidates to relevant jobs –  and we still do – but today we do it through 500+ talent communities on Beyond.

Because Beyond evolved from a niche network model, we are experts at targeting and do a better job of connecting active and passive job seekers with the right opportunities. We’ve attracted many of our 50+ million members based on their affinity for a specific industry, location or profession, so we know what they’re looking for from day 1. And, we continually gather information about our members to ensure that we’re always delivering the most relevant jobs and content.

 

Q:How many job applicants can I expect to receive per job post? (or other success metric)

A: Number of applicants can vary greatly depending upon the type of job, the job description, the job application process, and other factors. However, it is important to keep in mind that due to the nature of Beyond’s niche approach, we strive to first deliver quality over quantity to the job opportunities on our site.

 

Q:How well does Beyond.com reach passive job seekers?

A: Beyond is the Career Network, and we continue to engage job seekers after they find a new job by providing career and industry content relevant to their career. As a member network, the majority of our activity is from existing members engaging with our email and other communications, rather than from people actively conducting web searches. This means that we reach the person who is perusing our emails to see what jobs might be available, even if they aren’t actively searching for jobs online.

 

Q:In addition to job postings, in what other ways can employers promote open positions with Beyond.com?

A: By posting a job on Beyond, employers are automatically getting a sophisticated marketing engine to promote their jobs. Employer jobs are available for our “Smart Alerts,” which are “learning” alerts that include relevant jobs based upon member activity. Jobs are also included in “Following Alerts,” which are specific alerts sent to members with exact matches for job titles that they are following. And, when a new job is posted we send out an “Instant Alert,” which is an email with just that job sent to a small list of the most relevant candidates in our system.

We also market jobs on Beyond, our niche sites, and throughout the web.

For employers who want additional ways to promote their jobs, Beyond offers targeted email marketing campaigns, text messaging campaigns, career alert sponsorships, and display advertising. Employers can also source our database of over 50 million members.

 

Q:Does Beyond.com integrate with Applicant Tracking Systems? How can ExactHire clients get started?

A: Yes, we integrate with some, but not all, applicant tracking systems. Single 30-day Job Postings can be purchased through ExactHire. To get started, clients can contact Randi Shuck at ExactHire or go to http://www.beyond.com/exacthire.  

Finding Your Niche… Job Board

Each day, you’re in a fast-paced race against your competitors to try to fill vacant positions with qualified candidates who fit well within your organization. Specialty positions with sought after key skill sets can be especially hard to fill. Job seekers often use job aggregator sites (often called spider boards that pull job listings from many sites) such as Indeed and SimplyHired to search for jobs. Aggregators are great for companies to use as a tool to find qualified candidates, but sometimes the number of candidates for a particular vacancy can be overwhelming. With this in mind, HireCentric offers a great way for companies to filter candidates leaving you with the candidates that meet the basic requirements you establish so you can move forward with interviewing a select group of qualified job seekers.

Consider Using Niche Job Boards

Aggregators are not the only route to explore when posting jobs. Another route to consider when posting your company’s vacant positions is to find your niche…that is find your niche job board. These types of boards offer a company a way to focus its efforts on finding job seekers who possess a particular type of expertise. Finding the most qualified candidate for your company depends on a variety of strategies and techniques. Word of mouth among your networks, job aggregators, and niche job boards are starting points to completing the puzzle of hiring the best fitting candidate. Regardless of the job boards you want to use in your company’s hiring efforts, ExactHire can make things easier for you by streamlining the process of posting jobs to external boards; thus, taking the hassle out of this tedious process for your team.

Listed below are a few niche job boards for some key employment areas. As you find your niche, know that the ExactHire team is here to help you. After all, delivering exceptional customer service and support while helping companies maximize their potential is our niche.

To learn more about easily posting jobs within HireCentric applicant tracking software, please visit our resources section or contact ExactHire today.

Image credit: FINDING ONE’S NICHE by Marc Falardeau (contact)

What You Should Know About Job Aggregators and Direct Job Links

Job Aggregators Direct Job LinkIf you happen to recruit for a company that budgets enough money to spend on paid job board advertising, then you’re no stranger to the potential challenge of selecting the job posting sites that are most likely to offer you an intriguing return on investment (ROI). However, in this era of “Big Data,” a decision that used to be closer to a crap shoot is now a more palatable exercise in reviewing site analytics available in your applicant tracking system (ATS).

Now, more than ever, it is simple to run reports that generate data detailing which of your ad sources are referring the most site traffic to your careers portal; and, which sources are resulting in conversions such as completed employment applications. However, you should be aware of factors that may influence your tracking data; specifically, how job aggregators and the use of direct job links can impact your analytics.

What Are Job Aggregators?

Also called job search engines, job aggregators such as Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com seek to “aggregate” job listing content from as many different (typically electronic) sources as possible. And, with the exception of job listings that your organization may sponsor on these sites, the organic (or unpaid) job listings that are revealed to job seekers who do keyword searches on them are generally compiled because those jobs are originally hosted or featured on another job board.

One of the ways in which aggregators collect job description information is to utilize spider applications that crawl the internet looking for job posting sites so that the content from these sites may be indexed on the aggregator, typically in summary format, and then linked to the original posting site. In this manner, jobs that individuals first encounter on Indeed or GlassDoor.com, for example, might have landed there because they were “scraped” from a paid site such as CareerBuilder.com or Monster.com.

Job Board Scraping Considerations

Job board scraping isn’t new, and some aggregators will even offer to regularly go to the jobs page of your careers portal and scrape all of your active job openings. While this approach requires little to no involvement on the part of the recruiter or employer, it does mean that you don’t really have a say in which specific content from your job descriptions is featured in the search results on the job search engine, either.

The other impact of scraping is that it can sometimes skew the information you are using to determine which job boards are giving you the most bang for your buck (or time). You may have even had this conversation with your account representative for a major paid board, already. It goes something like this…if a job seeker sees your listing pop up in search results on Indeed, and then decides to go to your corporate website to do some research before applying…he/she might never go back to Indeed to follow the apply link which perhaps originated on a Monster or CareerBuilder ad, for example. Instead, having deemed your organization worthy of his/her potential interest, he/she just decides to go to the jobs page on your site and apply directly within the portal. The crux? When asked on the application how he/she heard about the job listing…the answer might be Indeed (even though Indeed wouldn’t have featured the listing without CareerBuilder first posting it).

So how do you make sure you are getting to the bottom of how applicants hear about your jobs? Since applicants don’t always remember (or even truly know) where they see your job opening for the first time, then it is ever more critical to rely on the quantitative data available to you in the reporting and analytical area of your hiring software–rather than applicant answers.

Big Data & Tracking Referrals With Unique Source IDs

Instead of relying on job aggregators to scrape the open positions from your corporate employment page, you can proactively dictate which job-related content is shared with job aggregators by utilizing an XML (eXtensible markup language) feed that controls which fields of data are pushed externally. Applicant tracking software can provide you with this type of resource so that you may automatically push all of your job listings to external job aggregators. This saves human resource professionals time that would have been otherwise occupied by manually postings jobs (that have already been posted once to a company careers portal) to a host of other third-party boards.

While this resource is a great time-saver, its not always completely safe from “scrape skewing”; though, it is certainly much better than relying on source information that is manually entered by applicants during the application process as long as you look at a report that shows the full referring URL for each applicant. This referring URL field can be included in a report using HireCentric’s report building tool. Since accurate reporting derives from unique URLs being used for each ad source for each job listing, the only way to ensure 100% accuracy in source reporting is by using direct job links.

When Should I Use a Direct Job Link?

Also known as a job permalink, direct job links allow an organization to proactively track traffic generated by a specific referral source for each individual job listing. As mentioned earlier, if your paid job board account rep. is concerned about his/her organization possibly not getting credit for all the traffic his/her specific paid board is generating for your organization (undoubtedly due to concerns related to your positions being scraped off the job board by an aggregator), then utilizing permalinks can further uncover the truth in tracking.

The URL address generated for a direct job link will include an ID number that matches up with the ID number associated for a specific job referral source within your applicant tracking system. An especially practical use for the permalink might be when you wish to advertise your new job openings via distribution channels such as social media and email. To track the effectiveness of an email campaign to previous applicants, for example, you might designate “Email” as a source within your ATS, note the ID generated for that source, and then use the direct job link feature to create a unique URL referencing that source ID that will be used within the email messaging.
Generate direct job link | HireCentric
The result? Email recipients who click on the job link within a message will automatically be recognized and tagged with the “Email” source ID within the ATS. And by running a report within your hiring software application, it will quickly become evident whether enough traffic and eventual applicants were generated as a result of the email campaign to justify assembling future email campaigns with the same structure/parameters.

So, while unprecedented transparency into your recruiting process ROI is now available to you, it’s still critical to understand how the metrics being presented are generated as that is key to bringing either clarity (or cloudiness – hopefully not!) to your decision making process when budgeting for future recruiting expenses.

Would you like more information on how to use data to analyze the success of your recruiting efforts? If so, please visit our resources section or contact ExactHire today.

Image credit: Fassade 2./ Façade 2. by Stefan W (contact)

Posting Jobs To Job Boards – How To Automate

Automate posting to job boardsI talk with groups frequently about the use of social media tools to help drive qualified candidates to their open positions. While I believe strongly in those efforts, the fact remains that job boards still account for a significant amount of applicant traffic for most organizations. Naturally, then, clients typically want to know where they should post jobs and how to keep track of them.

The first part of the question (where to post jobs) is a separate conversation unto itself. The second part of the question (how to keep track of which job boards are being used) is my focus here today. To break this down a bit, I see this in two phases:

  • To which job boards have certain positions been posted (and what is it costing)?
  • What is the payback from these ad sources (what kind of applicant traffic are they generating?)

The act of getting positions posted to job boards can be time-consuming. Once you’ve created your job description, you typically must visit each board, log in, paste in your description, provide the additional information needed as required by the individual board, and confirm that the formatting looks correct. This allows the position to be posted. Then, when the position has been filled or the posting time limit is reached, you usually must then revisit the various boards and take the listing down.

As to the payback of various boards, most organizations don’t have the time to really consider this at all. For most, the only way to track the listings and the expenses associated with each is in a spreadsheet or manual file. Even if a company is willing to log this, they are still faced with the issue of not knowing how many applicants are coming from each board. The only way to know is to ask those applicants, which leads to yet another column in a separate spreadsheet that logs all applicants and from where they came. I think you get the picture at this point — this is way too painful for most.

The exception to both of these instances is when an organization chooses to use an applicant tracking software solution. The right ATS should allow you to automate the posting of your open positions to most any job board, alleviating the need to visit the individual boards and complete all of the steps I mentioned above. In addition, using a software tool like this should allow applicants to share what board led them to your open position, including tracking the costs of each posting and the number of applicants coming from each board. Our HireCentric ATS even allows organizations to review analytics documenting traffic to an organization’s careers portal, including a list of referral sources (i.e. job boards in many cases).

While this may not be the sole reason an organization seeks out a recruiting software tool, it is one of the more consistent points on which we receive positive feedback. To learn more about ExactHire, please visit our resources section or contact us. 

Image credit: tackscape by Joelk75 (contact)

Help! My Job Posting Isn’t Getting Enough Applicants!

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.
 ExactHire ATS | Examine job analytics
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:
 H1B Visa Keywords Job Listings

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.)

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How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 5

Location, location, location! No, I’m not talking about prime land real estate; however, the same old catchphrase can apply to your job listings and job board real estate depending on how well your company’s geographic location aligns with the location of your targeted applicant pool. In this fifth installment of the “How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards & Internet Search” series, I’ll discuss how strategically using features available within your applicant tracking system can remedy an organization’s ailing efforts to get listings in front of out-of-town applicants.

Skills Gap: Qualified Applicants Don’t Live in Your Neighborhood

Awhile back I was chatting with one of our clients. She works for a company within the automotive industry and frequently needs to hire individuals skilled in trades, such as mechanics and technicians capable of working on large diesel engines. She usually has a number of similar positions open across multiple facilities, but the facilities are not in really large metropolitan areas…rather bigger towns scattered across the Midwest. In particular, one of those larger towns happens to be about thirty minutes from Indianapolis via interstate.

She has found that if she can get the word out, sometimes skilled individuals who reside on the edge of Indianapolis are willing to drive to her facility for work…after all, it is in the opposite direction of most rush hour traffic. However, it is much more challenging for her to engage qualified applicants that are closer and, perhaps at times, more aware of her job openings. She is definitely experiencing a skills gap in her town when it comes to technical positions.

So naturally, having had some success reaching Indianapolis residents and engaging them to come to her town for work, she wants to continue to get the word out and expand the geographic scope of her applicant pool. However, with so many postings skimmed by job seekers, she needs to do it in such a way that it is still clear that the opportunity is based in her town…and not in the city thirty minutes away. After all, she doesn’t want to waste her time, or even the time of her hiring managers, if a few applicants that don’t realize the position is really in the smaller town (and therefore do NOT want to make the commute) get through the cracks.

Strategic Job Locations & Setting Expectations Clearly

The key to this obstacle is to use your job description to make it clear that your opportunity is based in the town, but also ensure that it appears in the search results for applicants who may not be specifically looking for jobs in that town…but rather in the nearby city. Check with your applicant tracking system provider to see if alternate job locations can be enabled for the job boards to which you push your job ads.

For example, it is important to be upfront about the fact that your position is based in your town on your careers page. You may go so far as to also say as much in the first two sentences of your job listing to be sure that the town name appears in snippets of your posting in search engine and job board results pages.
Setting Location Expectations - Job Listings
Then, when pushing certain job listings to free and paid external job boards, designate the larger nearby metropolitan area as the “job board city” since applicants often do geographic searches on external job boards. After all, many more searches are likely to be done on the city than on the smaller town. And, while some of those applicants will dismiss the small town job opportunity when they note in the first few sentences that it is based in the town a half hour away; others will check it out–as they might reside in an area of the city that is relatively close to the town. Plus, they never would have thought to search for opportunities in that town, specifically. This can be especially compelling when you consider that a city like Indianapolis is so spread out that it can take nearly an hour to go from a suburb on one side to another on the opposite end of the city.
 Specify Job Board City | ExactHire

Big City Skills Can Meet Small Town Opportunities

If you ever find yourself in a similar scenario scrambling to entice applicants to come to your quaint out of the way town, consider the approach I’ve outlined here. However, bear in mind the importance of still making it clear to applicants that do view your job description that the position is indeed located in your town…and not the big city. This technique isn’t about bamboozling applicants with the location bait and switch, it’s about harnessing the power of job board geographic searches to put your listing in front of applicants when it might not otherwise have been seen. Then, it is still up to the applicant to consider the merits of the scenic drive.

How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 4

Is writing job descriptions more of an art or a science? It is perhaps less of a science than it used to be since practices like keyword stuffing are now counterproductive while the focus is truly on producing quality content (as it should be) these days. I’m going to take the easy way out and claim that its a blend of both art and science…or perhaps, strategy is a better word. Gone are the days of packing job descriptions full of keywords to improve on-page optimization and propel your careers portal and job listings to the top of the search results list.

The Three P’s of Job Description Keyword Use

However, many factors have changed in the mystical realm of search engine optimization (at least it seems mystical to me at times) over the past few years and one thing is clear…relevance is king. So while keyword stuffing to the point that a reader was tripping over the same word every paragraph in a text used to be a somewhat effective trick, search engines like Google have since put algorithms in place to penalize such practices.

So what’s a savvy recruiting and HR professional to do to make sure new job opportunities are seen by inquiring applicants? In this fourth installment of the How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards & Internet Search series, I’ll highlight the Three P’s of Keyword Use in Job Descriptions: presence, popularity and placement. We’ll demonstrate keyword optimization for Indeed as an example.

Are Relevant Terms Present in Your Job Description?

While this is the simplest concept of the Three P’s, it nonetheless is the foundation for success in optimizing your job listings for search results. It really just requires that the most relevant keywords for your target applicant pool are present in your job description. The tricky part lies in the fact that you may not always know which keywords resonate with candidates that are well-qualified for your available career opportunities. To rectify the situation, think about employers in your market that source applicants from the same talent pool – in particular, the ones that seem to be beating you out when it comes to attracting potential new employees. Scour their job listings and take note of the terms they use in job titles and the first paragraph of job descriptions. Are you using the same types of terms in your jobs?

For example, let’s take a construction firm that is seeking a new electrical superintendent for a large industrial contract. When I did a search on Indeed for “construction superintendent electrical,” there were only 707 listings nationwide (since I didn’t specify a location).
Electrical Superintendent Construction Job Results | Keyword Optimization For Indeed
However, with a little research of my competitors, I might find that they have job listings titled “Project Manager” with very similar descriptions to my own Superintendent listings. A slightly modified search for “construction project manager electrical” on Indeed yields 4,752 jobs.
 Electrical Project Manager Construction Results | Keyword Optimization For Indeed
So, you might find that it becomes important to include the phrase “project manager” in your listing a few times…perhaps more so than “superintendent.” This may affect your job title decision, as well.

Keyword Optimization For Indeed | Density Considerations

Once you are confident of the right one or two key terms or phrases that you’d like to pepper into your job opportunity text, you must consider the frequency with which these words are used. As I mentioned before, in the past some recruiters stuffed words into the text for best results, but that won’t work anymore. In fact, while “keyword density” isn’t as integral an ingredient in your rankings recipe as before, you definitely don’t want to use terms too often…probably not much more than three percent of your total word count in fact. As with salt, a little can help bring out the flavor in your soup, but too much can quickly ruin the whole recipe. Similarly, too many of the same words in a job description will seem artificial and boring to the potential applicant. Remember the law of diminishing returns.

Consider writing your job description to flow naturally without minding keyword use. Then, go back and reread your text and insert your desired terms a few times. Lastly, think of synonyms and other related phrases and place those in the listing, as well. For our construction example, other words/phrases that might naturally occur with “construction project manager electrical” might include: field labor; electrical superintendent; industrial project; construction project; bid analysis; electrical contractor; and, lead electrical consultant.

These “co-occurring terms” will be recognized by search engines as complementary to your true targeted terms and are just another ingredient in the rankings effort. Plus, they offer the reader more variety and depth…which is more likely to result in the site visitor converting to become your applicant.

Mind the Placement of Job Description Text

So far you’ve learned to use just a few instances of relevant phrases in your job description…but not too many. Truth be told, a little can go a long way as long as you are using the right terms thoughtfully. That’s where placement comes into play. Even though you might include desired phrases only a few times in your job listing, they can pack a punch in rankings battles if you position them strategically within your text. Here are some effective placement techniques:

Now that you have a better understanding of how to use keywords strategically within your job listings, including being mindful of the Three P’s, you are well on your way to becoming a job listing ninja!

To see how ExactHire’s recruiting software can help streamline your job description optimization efforts, please schedule a live demo.