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How to Effortlessly Use Texting to Hire Hourly Workers

You only have to look at your smartphone’s weekly screen time report to know that the amount of time we spend accessing our phones is increasing at a relentless pace. Whether our pervasive mobile usage troubles or encourages you, it is undeniable. In fact, according to research done by Hitwise, the average device split for searches was 72% for mobile and 28% for desktop in 2017.

In consideration of the amount of time people spend doing web searches on phones, naturally we’re in a climate where employers must adapt and leverage mobile communication in their hiring process–particularly while unemployment is at an epic low.

Today, the name of the hiring game is speed, and this is painfully realized in industries that employ a large number of hourly, non-exempt workers. The reality of those employers is that if they hesitate to respond quickly, the competitor across the street has already paid their would-be new hire for their first shift.

Signs that you’re not effectively using a text recruiting strategy

We can and should all continuously experiment with and tweak our hiring processes. The hiring landscape changes so quickly that constant attention is required. However, there are telltale signs that help identify when your organization has a more significant mobile communication problem.

Phone ghosting

I was initially surprised a couple of years ago when I heard that many employers of hourly workers, in particular, struggled to get candidates to respond to phone invitations for an initial interview. If your recruiters are frequently encountering full voice mail boxes when reaching out to schedule a conversation; or they discover that a candidate doesn’t even have voice mail set up, then it’s time to try something other than a phone call.

Candidate shelf-life

It’s not uncommon for employers who rely on large numbers of hourly workers to empower the managers and assistant managers of various store locations to screen candidates and invite them to proceed in the hiring process. Because hiring is just one of myriad operational responsibilities for these managers, they don’t always respond to candidates as quickly as may be necessary in this job market.

This failure in prompt candidate engagement all too often sinks a retail location’s recruiting efforts before the ship even leaves port. Or, maybe a manager is in such tremendous need of candidates that he recognizes this deficiency and immediately calls or emails new applicants. However, because many hourly workers tend to fill positions that aren’t necessarily accompanied by a desktop computer or an office landline, their tendency is to communicate via text rather than voice mail or email.

If a job seeker doesn’t recognize a general manager’s incoming phone number, chances are she’ll avoid taking the call–meanwhile, if she has applied to multiple hourly positions, a savvy competitor is grabbing her attention and her time via text before she checks her inbox.

Standardizing communication and respecting candidate privacy

In the absence of a strong hiring software platform that allows managers to contact job candidates via text message, many managers of hourly workers will resort to their own smartphone to contact applicants to connect for an interview.

This is commonplace; however, it isn’t in the best interest of the employer. In many cases, these applicants were not prompted to opt-in to receiving text messages during the job application process–why would they if the applicant tracking system didn’t support text messaging?

Not only is this a privacy concern as it does not allow job candidates to formally opt-out of text messages once they are initiated, but practically speaking, candidates won’t necessarily be on the lookout for text communication from your organization.

Arguably, they will probably quickly adapt given that texting is second nature to many of them, but your organization is missing an opportunity to set expectations about the hiring process and endear itself to candidates…candidates who are in hot demand.

Moreover, when general managers take texting candidates into their own hands outside of an ATS, there is no guarantee of adequate communication documentation with the job applicant. By utilizing applicant tracking software that includes in-application texting functionality, an employer is ensuring that multiple users of the system have access to review communication between candidates.

After all, in this highly competitive recruiting landscape, recruiters have full plates and may be called to work on different job requisitions if a co-worker is on vacation, on leave, etc. What you don’t want is for only one person in your organization to have access to candidate conversations–that’s a significant obstacle for a scaling company.

Why is mobile recruiting an opportunity for hourly jobs in particular?

Hourly workers are often the front-line defense (or offense) for your organization. They are the individuals who are most likely to interact directly with your customers. And, unfortunately, they are often in the positions with the highest turnover–whether that is related to the nature of the job, the typical lower pay (relative to exempt positions), and/or the lack of benefits (at least in the case of part-time hourly employees). In a job market flooded with open positions, candidates will leave for a few cents more per hour.

You see this happen in positions like

  • hosts and servers at your local restaurant,
  • cashiers at your retail store,
  • LPNs at your healthcare facility,
  • service techs at your automotive dealership, and
  • direct support professionals (DSPs) for nonprofits.

People who fill these types of positions tend to be on the go (i.e. not doing a desk job) and may have more than one part-time job at a time. They don’t get into email or voice mail as frequently (if at all), and so they need fewer barriers to communication when it comes to job consideration, as well as long-term engagement with an employer.

Considering that over 58% of America’s working population fills hourly positions (BLS, 2017), there’s real opportunity to leverage texting to be the first to attract and engage hourly job candidates. I’m offering the following steps to help you position your organization as an earlier adopter of the mobile recruiting revolution.

6 steps to successfully use texting to hire hourly workers

1 – Create communication efficiency

Use pre-built text message templates within your applicant tracking system. Create and label them for different stages in the selection process for hourly workers. This saves store managers time when they need to hire three new retail associates–“yesterday!”

2 – Model the right texting behavior

Train your hiring managers on appropriate texting etiquette for your recruiting process. Does the language they use and the tone they convey support your overall employment brand? Additionally, make sure they understand how text messages will show up to the job candidate.

An easy way to accomplish this is to test the messaging feature from within a sample job application. Then, take a screenshot of how it appears to a recipient on your phone and share it with managers. This step will help them understand from what number(s) messages may originate, whether the sender’s name, job title and/or organization name are referenced, and how much of the message will appear on the preview screen before being cut off.

3 – Lightning fast speed

Use text to reply promptly to candidates once they’ve responded to your initial outreach. Don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels once you have native texting functionality and take your sweet time to reply–jump on message responses!

Remember: texting affords job candidates fewer communication barriers to entry, so they expect organizations to respond quickly, too.

4 – Strategically plan text content

You should absolutely use text to reach all types of job candidates to screen and schedule interviews. However, text messages also present an opportunity–when used thoughtfully and selectively–to reach candidates who are on the fence about joining your organization.

Consider the potential impact of a personalized message sharing a link to a positive article about your company. Or, the likelihood that a hired candidate will end up ghosting you during the pre-boarding phase if you regularly connect with him to prepare him for his first shift.

5 – Flip the script on thank you notes

Use text messages to thank a job candidate for her time and preparation after you conduct an interview. That’s right–once upon a time, we expected job candidates to thank recruiters and hiring managers for their time in order to help them secure an offer–but times are changing!

Thank you notes are still an amazing gesture on the part of a job candidate, but they are no longer a mainstay for job offer consideration in today’s job market given the sorry state of many employers’ candidate pipelines.

Today is about sourcing, not screening. Break through the clutter by proactively thanking candidates with a simple text message and humanize your hiring process.

6 – Hiring process visualization

When candidates know what to expect from the hiring process it

  • helps them visualize how they see themselves interacting with your organization,
  • may allow them to more adequately prepare, and
  • it makes it easier for them to say “yes” when you make the job offer.

You can use text to quickly outline the various hiring process steps at the onset of the recruiting process. Think of this step as reducing friction for distracted job seekers who probably have many options before them. If you can grease their understanding runway regarding your job opportunity–and you can do so quickly–you’ll be the employer who is poaching job candidates from competitors across the street.

Mobile recruiting facilitated by text message communication is here to stay. Armed with the steps outlined above, you’re on the way to engaging the job seekers in your hourly job candidate pipeline and positively impacting your employer’s bottom line.

ExactHire Hiring Software | Text Recruiting

How Much Should Employers Really Care About Job Seeker Attention Spans?

4 Guidelines for Optimal Job Application Conversion Rates

We live in an age of distraction and it’s wreaking havoc on your talent applicant sourcing process. Despite your efforts to write engaging job descriptions, post them far and wide and publicize your amazing corporate culture, your click-to-apply ratio is dismal. So what gives?

While the aforementioned items are undoubtedly important factors in the talent acquisition game, another critical component is the length of your job application. The likelihood that you’ll make your very next priority about researching your ideal application length will depend on the supply and demand for job categories in your local market. However, know that the very best candidates always have options, so even in a seller’s…ahem…employer’s market, top talent still won’t fill out your 50-question job application.

The proof is in the numbers, and it’s pretty staggering on both desktop and mobile devices. Check out this statistic from a study referenced in an ERE post:

“For every 100 candidates who click through from a job advertisement to a recruitment portal on a desktop device, an average of 8 will complete a job application. For mobile click-throughs, the completion figure is just 1.5 percent.”

I was curious about how the same numbers would stack up across all of our own HireCentric applicant tracking software client job portals. During the last six months, our own click-to-apply ratios for site visitors who make up the referral traffic category* are listed below.

  • desktop – 9.23%
  • mobile – 4.96%
  • tablet – 3.34%

*Referral traffic category visitor = visitor referred to a client’s HireCentric ATS portal from a link on another site like a client’s corporate website or an external job board.

While our ratios come out slightly more favorable than those referenced in the study, it’s still pretty disheartening to think about the fact that out of 100 job seekers referred to your careers portal, only three to nine of them will actually finish the application process, depending on their device. So how can you improve your own job site’s click-through numbers?

Ditch Traditional Job Application Length Thinking

Start to ask yourself the tough questions about what you really need to know from applicants at the onset of the hiring process. Then, dump traditional thoughts like these:

Employer thinks: “I want my application to be long enough that I won’t get overwhelmed with unqualified applicants.”

High potential job seeker thinks: “This is taking too long…I won’t be applying here now…or ever.”

While there is some logic to making your process long enough to be a speed bump to candidates that are just looking to claim their next unemployment check, if it’s too lengthy you run the risk of disengaging the best potential applicants from finishing your application now…or anytime in the future.

Employer thinks: If someone wants to work here badly enough, they’ll jump through whatever question “hoops” we present.

High potential job seeker thinks: If the employer cared enough about its employment brand, they’d only ask the deal-breaker questions early, and save the other stuff until later.

Evaluate your own application process to determine what works best for your organization and job market. And, remember to consider how the applicant might feel while completing your employment application. Use the following sections as a checklist to help make adjustments…and know that what works for one job category may not be ideal for another.

 

Mobilization

Make it easy to apply from a mobile device

The statistics don’t lie–the conversion rate for job seekers viewing your site from a mobile device are even worse than from a desktop. Smaller screens make lengthier applications appear even more intimidating and stop potential applicants in their tracks. Implement these enhancements to improve your odds for success.

  • Mobile-friendly jobs site – make sure your careers portal is developed with responsive web design so that your employment application automatically adjusts to the size of the screen on which it is viewed.
  • Mobile apply integrations – Look for an applicant tracking system that integrates with well-established sites from which candidates may pull application information.
    • Apply with LinkedIn – can your candidates authorize their own LinkedIn profile to populate some of the fields of your application?
    • Indeed Apply – Is your application set up in such a way (including responsive web design) that Indeed can empower job seekers to use their Indeed profile to push application info to your ATS? The key to making this setup work is collecting only basic information in the first step of the application process (e.g. applicant source, resume and job screening questions, for example).
  • Dropbox/Google Drive – Candidates can’t necessarily upload a resume file to your jobs site from their phone/tablet. Mobile job seekers will count on your system to allow them to pull their resume files from a cloud-based file storage site like Dropbox or Google Drive.

 

Segmentation

Do not put the cart before the horse

Do you really need to have a candidate’s references in the first step of the hiring process? After all, only a tiny percentage of all of your candidates will have those come into play at the end of the selection process. And, you don’t really need the full employment and/or education histories right away if you get a resume up front.

Look for an ATS provider that offers employment application options such as the two-step application. This feature allows you to ask only the absolute need-to-know-now questions of applicants in the very beginning of the recruiting process. Then, once applicants are pre-screened and a few top candidates are identified, you can always ask those top candidates (who are now more motivated to respond having been identified) for more robust applicant information in the second step of the application.

Additionally, limit the number of essay questions in your application, and instead opt for multiple choice questions to facilitate informative, quick answers that don’t lengthen the time it takes to complete an application, but at the same time, do allow your staff to use answers to automatically score and/or disqualify applicants. In fact, the aforementioned study found that the length of time it takes one to complete an application is an even bigger driver of applicant drop-off than the number of questions asked.

 

Customization

Identify the information you need in each job category

Help job candidates help you. That is, customize their application experience to be hyper-specific to the information you need early on to assess their potential qualifications for a position. For example, if you are sourcing applicants for an exempt position, then don’t make them answer an application question that asks whether they are willing to work overtime…as that would only be applicable to non-exempt job candidates. This can be accommodated either through job screening question groups customized for each of your job categories; or, via multiple application layouts for different hiring needs (e.g. executive-level, different geographic locations, etc.) that are set up by a trusted applicant tracking software provider.

Think about other potential considerations to ease the candidate experience. Do your graphic designer job applicants have a designated place on the application to reference their online portfolio? Does the application associated with the recent college graduates’ hiring track allow candidates to link to a copy of their student transcript?

 

Communication

Paint a clear picture of the path to employment

Many effective writing styles preview a piece of content’s focus before getting into meaty topics. In a sense, you’ve got to tell readers what you’re going to tell them before you tell it. Redundant or not, a lot of people like to know what they are getting themselves into to determine if it’s worth their time in the first place. Job seekers are no different.

Create content that illustrates not just your employer’s application process, but the entire hiring process including interviews, background/reference checks, the offer letter and employee onboarding activities. Here are some communication strategies:

  • Job description length – If you want more qualified candidates to apply, then you generally need to describe the position in more words than found in one short paragraph. However, your job listing should not be a novel either. Look to recruiting metrics available in an in-app ATS dashboard to help you start to diagnose which of your job listings are performing best when it comes to organic search results…this could be a partial clue into which of these descriptions have a more optimal, keyword-savvy, length.
  • Career-focused content – Include pages within your jobs site that share Q&A narratives about what candidates can expect from the hiring process. Incorporate video and images as often as possible as it makes it easier and more entertaining for job seekers to process the information presented.
  • Clear application instructions – Take another look at the actual directions listed at the start and end of your application process. Do they set expectations that additional information may be collected later, if applicable? Could they be lengthened (or shortened) to be more effective?

By heeding these guidelines for converting more job applications, your organization can make strides toward improving your hiring efficiency.

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)

How to Use Google Analytics to Measure Mobile Recruiting

This isn’t a beginner’s guide to understanding analytics; however, even if you are new to recruitment analytics I encourage you to read this post for its tips for using Google Analytics to measure mobile recruiting activity. Then, find your favorite marketing department buddy and plan to explore Google Analytics with his or her assistance.

Why Should You Track Recruitment Site Activity?

An analytics platform is essential to the modern recruiter because it can inform your decision-making process, give you justification for new recruitment expenditures and unearth trends that will compel you to create new action items for your organization’s talent acquisition efforts.

If you’re already using a mobile-optimized applicant tracking system, you may very well already have access to a robust analytics dashboard that allows you to evaluate the behavior and source of your job portal visitors. If you don’t use an ATS, Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful and free alternate resource.

Even with access to a recruiting software platform with in-application measurement dashboards, it still makes sense to use Google Analytics as a complementary analysis tool.

Prerequisites for Mobile Recruiting Analysis

Before you can reap the data rewards offered by Google Analytics, you (or your marketing team) needs to do some quick groundwork to connect your careers website to a Google Analytics account with a unique tracking ID. If you do work with an applicant tracking software provider, ask its support team to install the tracking ID in your ATS portal so you have a secondary analytics option that complements your recruiting software’s dashboard reporting.

Once your Google Analytics account begins to track data, know that the information you glean will become more insightful as time passes. A quarter or a year of tracking information is more telling than a week of data.

Initial Questions for Mobile Recruitment Metrics

Google Analytics can be a virtual playground for the analytically-inclined. There are myriad ways to splice and dice data, but it isn’t going to be productive for you or your organization’s mobile recruiting efforts unless you look at metrics that matter and customize them to your needs. However, you must begin somewhere.

Consider “big picture” questions about your mobile recruiting activities and then use Google Analytics to create custom reports and dashboards that answer those questions in a way that suits your unique circumstances.

  • What type of technology are visitors using?
  • Where do visitors originate?
  • What actions do visitors take while they browse the jobs portal?

Customize Data Elements for Additional Insight

It’s time to drill down to what matters most for your talent acquisition efforts. In this section, we’ll explore ways to answer the above questions using different tools within Google Analytics. As you and your team customize reports, you can use the answers gleaned to carve out which mobile job seeker “personas” matter most. Then, put action steps in place to compel more visitors with those preferred personas to convert on job opportunities.

Visitors

Primary Question:
What is the breakdown of site visitors by device type?

You don’t know anything about your mobile recruiting analytics until you know what percentage of your career site visitors arrive via desktop, tablet and mobile device. The answer to this question is the foundation for so many more decisions related to how you structure not just a mobile recruiting strategy, but an overall recruiting strategy. For smaller organizations, the general category percentages across all site visitors may be sufficient. In larger companies, it may make sense to evaluate this breakdown separately across each job category for additional insight. This latter approach will be applicable for further discussions in this post as well.

Mobile Recruiting Analytics Overview | ExactHire

Channels

Primary Question:
Which channels provide the most mobile traffic to the jobs portal?

Out of the box, Google Analytics provides a number of helpful reports that can serve as starting points for your data exploration. However, as previously mentioned, its power comes from customizing for your own scenarios. For instance, by applying a secondary dimension to the Channels report in Google Analytics’ Acquisition dashboard, you can quickly separate channel traffic by device category. Take it a step further by adding an advanced filter to look at channel traffic for one specific category such as mobile.

Mobile Recruiting Site Traffic Organic

Then, edit the filter to look at desktop by itself, too.

Desktop Recruiting Site Traffic Organic

Look for notable differences and start to ask why they exist. In the previous image, one possible hypothesis for desktop users being more likely to arrive via organic search compared to mobile users could be due to the jobs portal not being built with responsive web design principles. As a result, jobs portal pages wouldn’t necessarily appear as prominently in mobile search results than if the site was mobile-friendly.

However, you can’t rely on siloed statistics, so you must look at all angles to make informed decisions. For example, in some sites, the social channel may be a bigger piece of the pie for mobile users relative to organic search because so many people access social sites from their mobile devices more frequently than from computers.

For further insight, click on one of the channel groupings, such as social, for more detail about which sites in that category provide traffic to your jobs page.

Social Network Mobile Recruiting Analytics

Conversions

Primary Question:
Compared to desktop users, how many mobile users start employment applications? How many finish them?

Bring additional, essential context to the aforementioned metrics by examining them from a conversion standpoint. After all, improving the number of mobile users to your jobs portal across various channel categories is useless if those users don’t submit employment applications while they visit. Although you should compare the number of initiated employment applications to the number of completed applications over a given time period across all user categories, keep in mind that some people who completed during that time period may have started applications before the beginning of that reporting period. Nevertheless, you can still monitor percentage gaps over time for insight.

Compare this mobile user application start-to-finish ratio to that of desktop and tablet users. By doing so, it will become clear whether you may have an application problem in general; or, a mobile application problem, specifically. To put it simply, is your application too long for everyone because you ask twenty essay questions; or, do only mobile users abandon the funnel because they have cramps from finger zooming to see itty-bitty application drop-down boxes? (Assuming your site is not yet…you guessed it…mobile responsive!)

Tips for Increasing Mobile User Application Conversions

  • Enable auto-populated candidate data from external profiles like LinkedIn and Indeed.
  • Make sure text is legible and images are spaced appropriately without finger manipulation.
  • Add a progress bar to your mobile application showing percentage of completion.
  • Re-engage users who create a profile but abandon the application by sending them email invitations to finish the process.

Additionally, Google Analytics conversion reporting can help you identify opportunities to capitalize on emergent strengths and/or shore up apparent weaknesses.

Social Email Mobile Recruitment Analytics

The previous image might lead a recruiting professional to the following opportunities:

  • Even though the email channel makes up a tiny percentage of mobile site traffic, it’s the most successful category for converting applications. Therefore, a relatively small amount of money and time may be well spent on developing additional email campaigns to engage job seekers in an organization’s passive applicant pool. If your applicant tracking system offers automated job alert emails, this could be a pivotal feature in this scenario.
  • The social channel grouping is relatively poor at converting applications even though it brings more site visitors than organic search traffic. It’s abundantly clear that social media isn’t going away as a tool for recruiters, so this organization could re-evaluate the content it’s posting on social channels to include more calls to action that result in application conversion. Example: If your online employment application is mobile-optimized, share occasional posts about how easy it is for users to apply for jobs from their smartphone with a link to the portal.

Your marketing team can help set up goal conversions in Google Analytics based on a destination URL address or portion of a URL address (e.g., a user landing on your application “thank you” page is counted as a conversion).

Segments

Primary Question:
What are notable differences between desktop users and mobile users?

Once you feel more comfortable navigating reports related to visitors, channels and conversions in Google Analytics (perhaps with additional coaching from your marketing “bestie”), start experimenting with segments in Google Analytics. Adding segments to reports allows you to easily compare different cross-sections of users relative to specific dimensions and metrics in a single screen. Segments can help you quickly identify differences between desktop and mobile users, U.S.-based vs. international users, or new vs. returning users, for example.

Audience Overview Segments Mobile Analytics

Google Analytics Mobile Recruitment Resource

As you can see, in order to reap the benefits of this robust analysis tool it’s important to clarify your end objectives and specify the type of information that will help you make actionable decisions for your recruiting activities. Start with the basics and then customize your view using filters, additional dimensions and segments.

Want to get a jump start on analyzing your talent acquisition metrics for mobile site visitors? We’ve put together a dashboard complete with recruiting-relevant report templates you can use as a foundation for your own mobile recruitment dashboard customization. Download our free resource and get instant access to the following data points just to name a few:

  • conversion rate, bounce rate and average session length by device category;
  • session and conversion info segmented by channel across different device categories;
  • and, conversion rate by social network across different device categories.

Mobile Recruitment Analytics Dashboard | ExactHire
Image credit: iPhone by Gonzalo Baeza (contact)

What’s Your Recruiting Personality? [QUIZ]

Looking to get into the recruiting profession? Or, maybe you’re already a seasoned pro but just want to better identify your true recruiting strengths? Whatever the case, take ExactHire’s “What’s Your Recruiting Personality?” Quiz to identify your talent acquisition sweet spot.

From recruiting analytics and compliance reporting to social media and screening, this entertaining yet informative quiz will use your answers to ten short multiple choice questions to point you in the direction of your most prominent recruitment personality type.

Whether you’re happy managing metrics, driven by social shares or energized by candidate conversations…there’s a recruitment role that speaks to your passion. No matter which personality type you call your own, one thing is certain across all personalities…the recruitment field is always evolving and challenging professionals to adapt their sourcing styles.

This is especially true when it comes to navigating the mobile recruiting space. As a result, the ExactHire team has included examples of mobile recruiting software features especially well-suited for each recruiter type in each persona description.

What are you waiting for? Take the quiz and then share the results with your friends!

Mobile Social Recruitment Best Practices

Image Credit: Any Questions? by Matthias Ripp (contact)

5 Steps to Better Job Description Click-Through Rates

In most organizations, marketers don’t own the task of writing job descriptions for new opportunities available within their organization. This responsibility generally belongs to people in human resources or recruiting.

And even if those folks have marketers review a draft before it posts (at least for marketing positions, that is), many times the urgency of the request prevents anyone from worrying about fine-tuning the job listing’s content. However, skipping this crucial step can make it even harder for you to fill that position quickly because the job description isn’t converting as many applicants as it could.

Fortunately, taking a little time up front to create a job description editorial checklist can make refining just-in-time job requests a piece of cake in the future. Here are five ways to garner better job description click through rates for your company’s opportunities.

1. Make Landing Pages Mobile Responsive & Job Board Friendly

Surprise, surprise, right? This goes without saying these days. However, while many organizations have corporate websites that have long been coded with mobile responsive design, the same doesn’t always hold true for the third party job portals they use to manage the job posting and application submission process. In many cases, the landing pages to which your paid and organic search listings point are actually the job description pages of an applicant tracking system (ATS).

Not only does Google reward mobile-friendly applicant tracking solutions, but major job board aggregators like Indeed.com will reward these sites with higher mobile SERP rankings as well. In fact, even if an employer sponsors an ad on Indeed, the ad won’t be placed as high in mobile search results as other sponsored ads that do point to mobile responsive job portals.

In addition, the best job portals have integrations with sites like Indeed and LinkedIn that allow job seekers to auto-populate their employment application with data from their existing profile. It’s clear that application submission CTRs have a greater chance of improving when your job listings are more readily visible and you make it easy for applicants to start the application process.

2. Don’t Write Vanilla Job Titles

Unless of course it’s some kind of French Vanilla premium custard, I suppose. But seriously, if you are looking for a Web Developer, be specific with your job title wording so that you can be found by the candidates that are truly qualified to do your Front End Javascript Developer job, even if you really just call it Web Developer II internally.

For hints, study your competitors’ opportunities for job title variation ideas that might accurately represent your employment need. Just remember that your job title can’t be so long that it will be cut off in SERPs or wrap to too many additional lines when applicants view your position listings page on their smartphone screens.

3. Model Your Snippets Based On Job Seeker Preferences

Depending on whether you host job descriptions on your corporate website or you use a recruiting software application, you may or may not have easy access to write a customized meta description for each job listing page.

In the event that you don’t have that functionality, you must carefully craft the first couple of sentences of your job description body text to include the keywords that will resonate with job seekers.

Above all, consider your labor market as a means to hone in on the type of unique selling proposition you should highlight in the first section. Here are some potential approaches:

  • Skills / Duties – This is the approach I recommend most of the time. Think about the occupation-specific keywords that job seekers are most likely to use to search for your job listing and include them in the first sentence so they show up in the snippet candidates see in SERPs. This will make it more likely that your organic listing will appear higher in results, too. Specifically, restate the job title in the first sentence.
  • Pay – Know that when you include numerical details about compensation in your job listing (even if they are at the bottom of the description) the search snippet may include the dollar amount. Some employers choose to include this information to attract and convert potential applicants who are especially compensation focused (e.g., sales professionals) or because they are paying a higher wage for certain positions relative to other competitors in the market.
  • Availability – If it’s difficult to source applicants for shift work in your area, then your leading keywords should include commentary on the working hours and days of the week required for the right job candidate.
  • Company Brand – If you are an extremely large organization, then you may be able to get away with leading with information about your company in the first paragraph. This would only be a viable approach if your potential job applicants are likely to search the internet based on your organization’s name. This approach is more suitable for sponsored job board ads that you know will have premium real estate, despite a shortage of position-specific keywords in the snippet.

4. Write for Readability First, Then Add Keywords

Instead of forcing a job description to use potentially awkward-sounding long tail keyword phrases, wordsmith a description that is both compelling and informative to applicant personas. Once the initial draft is done, go back and sprinkle in the most important keywords, as well as relevant co-occurring terms. Finally, be mindful of the keyword density for your job description so that the finished product isn’t keyword-stuffed.

5. Use Images & Video

Even though most job board search results point to landing pages that include familiar text elements such as job title, position preview, essential responsibilities and qualifications, that doesn’t mean you can’t break the mold and utilize images and embedded video. Many hiring software platforms will offer job description WYSIWYG editors that support the inclusion of images and video. Just make sure to include keyword-rich alt tags and video transcripts with your visual assets.

By giving potential job candidates a feast for the eyes, as well as more finely-tuned job information, you are more likely to engage them to click through to your landing page and start the application process. Use these five ideas to do exactly that and start converting more job applicants today.

 

This post originally appeared on Relevance.

Image credit: Teclado / Keyboard by Microsiervos (contact)

Ready to Focus On Mobile Recruiting?

Sometimes the need for change is glaring. Outcomes are increasingly negative. Trend lines are plummeting. You know it when you see it; it’s time to change things up. Unfortunately, when the need for change is obvious, it might also be too late to implement effectively.

If your organization is considering a mobile and social media recruiting strategy, the good news is that it’s not too late to effectively implement one. In fact, most small- to medium-sized businesses are in the same boat. According to a 2014 study by CareerBuilder, only 39% of all employers use social media for recruiting and hiring. And in LinkedIn’s 2015 Global Recruiting Trends Report, only 30% of employers reported having job postings optimized for mobile, with 37% reporting their career sites were mobile-optimized.

Gaining A Competitive Advantage

Successful organizations must have leaders who proactively research new trends, best practices, and technology. By doing this, they can make the decision to change before the change is required. This positions an organization ahead of the curve, where they are more likely to gain a competitive advantage with successful implementation. While your competitors may not be ahead of you in mobile recruiting, you may fail to gain a competitive advantage if you delay too long in developing a strategy.

Changing before you are forced to change is also advantageous because it increases the chances that your change process will be successful. This is because before implementing any change–especially large scope change–an organization must take the time to consider whether it is, in fact, ready to change. A “Ready or not, here I come” attitude can have disastrous results.

The Consideration Stage

New initiatives take time and resources. Often, the time and resources are drained from existing operations. So one of the primary objectives of the consideration stage is to determine whether taking on a new initiative is feasible, in light of its potential impact on existing operations.

Of course, there will almost always be tradeoffs for small- to medium-sized businesses looking to implement a new initiative. Unless a large amount of capital is available, implementation will affect some degree of inefficiency on overall operations. But the goal is is to minimize this inefficiency and to generate outcomes that result in a net gain or benefit after implementation is complete. Ultimately, an organization must determine its priorities by weighing the value of a new initiative against the value of existing operations.

Once priorities are determined, the next step is to develop a case for change, and then get buy-in from all stakeholders who will be charged with implementing the new initiative. This step is vital for achieving successful outcomes that align with the leadership’s established priorities. Not surprisingly, this step is often missed when an organization is caught off guard and rushes into the change process.

Considerations For Implementing A Mobile Recruiting Strategy

In addition to the feasibility of implementing a mobile recruiting strategy, an organization must consider the need and value of developing a strategy. To do this, it helps to simply begin by looking at your current performance.

Recruiting Performance

Here are a few questions to consider for your organization:

  • Has it become increasingly difficult to source candidates?
  • Has the quality of applicants decreased?
  • Are applicants dropping out of the process earlier?

Answering “yes” to any of these questions may indicate that you are not reaching enough job seekers, or when you do reach the job seekers, they are turned off by your application process. In a 2015 survey by Pew Research Center, “Some 47% of smartphone job seekers have had problems accessing job-related content because it wasn’t displaying properly on their phone, and an identical 47% have had problems reading the text in a job posting because it was not designed for a mobile device.” This should be troubling news to employers when, according to the 2014 Talent Acquisition Survey by Jibe, “80 percent of job seekers expect to be able to do part of their job search easily on a smartphone.”

Even if your organization’s current recruiting performance is healthy, there may be reason to move toward developing a mobile recruiting strategy. Consider your competition.

Competition

While your current talent recruitment efforts may be producing acceptable outcomes, your competition can change this very quickly. Take a look at your competitors’ online presence:

  • Do they have career sites optimized for mobile?
  • Are they advertising jobs via social channels?
  • How easy is it to apply for a position with a mobile device?

Regardless of your findings, you will find one of two things: a threat or an opportunity. And just like with other aspects of business, it is better to anticipate new conditions and proactively adapt to them than to be caught unaware and scramble to adjust. The former approach will strengthen your organization’s advantage; the latter will likely erase it.

After considering your current recruiting performance and reviewing your competition, you are likely close to making a decision on implementing a mobile recruiting strategy. But are your employees and job seekers ready for change?

Employees

As discussed above, changing too soon or without buy-in from stakeholders can lead to disastrous results. Likewise, imposing an aggressive timeline for implementation on unprepared employees guarantees difficulties. For organizations that have been testing the waters of mobile recruiting, there might be less of a danger in fully embracing a mobile recruiting strategy; however, those starting from a blank slate will likely experience growing pains. Consider this:

  • How tech-savvy are my current employees (stakeholders)?
  • How open are they to change/ adept at learning new skills?
  • Do they fully understand and agree with the need for a mobile recruiting strategy?

Your answers to these questions will go a long way to determining the time and resources needed to successfully implement a mobile recruiting strategy. The best, well-conceived strategy will fail without adequate resources driven by a reasonable timeline. Again, this is why it is so crucial to begin the change process well in advance.

Finally, if your organization understands and agrees with the need for a mobile recruiting strategy, and implementation is feasible in light of its potential impact on existing operations, then the final consideration is to what degree are job seekers ready?

Job Seekers

It may seem counter-intuitive to place job seekers as the final consideration; however, this helps to ensure that an organization makes objective considerations at each point. Your accuracy in determining job seeker readiness relies heavily upon third-party sources–of varying statistical accuracy. So it makes sense to begin considering that which you know with great accuracy, rather than having your consideration of the job seeker preference/readiness drive all others.

With that being said, job seeker readiness will help you refine your implementation timeline as well as your overall mobile recruiting strategy. Here are a few questions to consider about your job seekers:

  • Is there a prevailing demographic for your new hires or workers in your industry?
  • Is mobile device usage high for this prevailing demographic?
  • Do you receive a high percentage of job inquiries via social media or email?
  • Do you receive a high number of applicants from a specific job board?

Again, answering these questions will require you to rely on statistical data and make some assumptions to draw conclusions. But working through these may reveal insights that inform your ultimate decision to develop a mobile recruiting strategy.

Moving Beyond Consideration

The consideration stage may seem exhaustive–if not exhausting–but the work completed upfront will lay a solid foundation for strategy development and implementation planning. Additionally, once a thoughtfully considered strategy and implementation plan are in place, an organization is more likely to reach desired outcomes without unexpected delays or tradeoffs.

Mobile Recruiting Strategy Fails – When Your Organization Isn’t Prepared

You built a mobile recruiting presence, the applicants came…but then your organization wasn’t ready. Or, maybe you’re well on your way toward social recruiting Shangri La and you sense that a few hiring managers may be late to the party. In this blog, I’ll review five mobile recruiting strategy fails encountered when a business is not prepared in the hopes that you can avoid the same mistakes.

1 – Failure To Get Buy In

Even if you’ve already put a few mobile-friendly recruiting elements into play, or if you continue to evolve your social media content calendar to include career-related advice, you will still struggle if the rest of the team at your company isn’t prepared to buy into and participate in the new talent acquisition model. Start by educating them with statistics that paint a picture of this trend–no, this new way of doing business–to get their attention.

According to a 2015 survey by SHRM, 65% of employer respondents indicated they had sourced candidates from social media in the past year. And if it’s not your organization regularly leveraging the power of professional networking sites like LinkedIn or career community-focused networks like Beyond.com, then you can bet your competitors are.

Skilled workers who are willing and able to participate in the workforce aren’t as easy to come by these days. For example, in October 2015, recruiting difficulty reached a four year high for the 19th consecutive month according to SHRM’s Leading Indicators of National Employment (LINE) Report. Your organization must utilize the latest resources available in order to grab its share of scarce talent.

2 – Failure To Be Candidate-Centric

Remember when Tom Hanks’ character told Meg Ryan’s character that she needed to take it “to the mattresses” to save her business in the movie You’ve Got Mail? As you may recall, the dialogue was actually a reference to the famed Godfather; however, I like to mention the former, more recent movie because it represented how (at the time) email was a revolution in the dating game. It changed the face of courtship forever.

So now has social media and the proliferation of smartphones and tablets forced the evolution of talent acquisition. Take it to the mattresses. Be candidate-centric…maybe not in the same context that a staffing agency might because you have to fill a specific job rather than amass resumes for the future, but in a way that empowers your company to find the candidates where they are…on the networks and devices they are using. Don’t make it difficult for candidates to research your company online; and do make it easy for them to share jobs and positive career-related content on social networks when they want to chat with their peers about what they heard about working at your organization.

3 – Failure To Know Your Candidate Personas

If you fail to identify your target applicant audience across various job categories, then you will miss the mark when it comes to selecting specific social networks, mobile job posting apps and even customizing the applicant interface for your jobs portal to optimize your user experience (UX).

And while the thought that “mobile is coming” often conjures images of my favorite Stark family characters warning that “winter is coming” along with an onslaught of white-walkers in the binge watch-worthy Game of Thrones, the extent to which your organization needs to plan out its mobile and social strategy is dependent on the types of jobs you offer and the demographics and preferences of the top talent filling those positions. According to a 2015 Pew Research Center Report on U.S. smartphone use, it is lower income smartphone owners who are the most likely to use a phone during a job search.

Translation: The mobile candidate experience will make or break your recruiting success when it comes to your less specialized and entry-level positions.

 

In fact, according to the report, “compared with smartphone owners from households earning $75,000 or more per year, those from households earning less than $30,000 annually are nearly twice as likely to use a smartphone to look for information about a job — and more than four times as likely to use their phone to actually submit a job application.” So ask yourself what percentage of your recruiting efforts focus on that population and then take appropriate action.

This insight doesn’t mean you can rest on your laurels if you manage HR at a professional office setting with higher income levels such as a physicians group or an engineering firm. Mobile is coming and the statistics on usage in the job seeker space will continue to climb across all income brackets.

4 – Failure to Communicate Internally

In your haste to reach out to candidates in their own space and ensure that your applicant tracking system is mobile responsive, did you miss explaining the consequences a more savvy candidate hiring experience will have on your internal stakeholders? If you’re not catching my drift, think about whether the following comments elicit a grin…or a chagrin.

  • Have you engaged hiring managers in the process of revamping your recruiting process? If not, then the shorter, concise job descriptions you may want to use may irritate them since they don’t understand why you are condensing details about their department’s opportunity. (The answer of course would be due to the shorter attention spans and impatient click behavior indicative especially of mobile job viewers).
  • Ever since social media has inserted itself into the selection process, the next generation of candidates who used to place phone calls to hiring managers and HR staff are now inviting employers to connect on social media; or, they are simply tweeting at your organization’s Twitter handle with specific job questions. With this increase in inbound activity comes the heightened responsibility for employer representatives to be ready to respond in the same manner solicited. And, for your organization to have documented policies on how you handle social media inquiries (using the best hashtags BTW) and candidate social screening.
  • Have you documented details on which social platforms and external job boards you use to post which types of positions? After all, what works for attracting manufacturing-minded machinists will probably fail miserably at securing interest from content marketers.
  • Have you discussed how to approach scenarios in which you may need to privately source talent for a position that is not yet open? If individuals in management but outside of recruiting are involved, a lack of coaching to show constraint when it comes to covertly posting future jobs can spell disaster for many…especially the existing employee who has not yet received the termination memo.

5 – Failure To Enable A Talent-Focused Culture

When was the last time you paid a placement fee to an external recruiter? Not something you want to do for every open position, huh? While there is certainly a time and a place for such engagements, in the meantime you should be focused on maximizing awareness for your job opportunities via in-house resources. The right approach starts with making sure that your existing employees, vendors, clients, alumni and friends know about the amazing roles available with your organization. The best approach kicks it up a notch (like Emeril) and incentivizes crowdsourcing behavior with a socially savvy employee referral program.

Make it easy for individuals to share your job listings with their networks using a unique permalink (URL address with an individual identifier) that tracks their referral activity and rewards them when their candidates are hired. Then, when it comes to amplifying the reach of your latest career-related content, share examples of suggested wording for social posts so that your co-workers can quickly copy and paste to spread your message (for ex., if they are outside of human resources and don’t necessarily want to spend time/thought on crafting their own version of a message). Also, consider whether any rigid social media policies or limited access to certain websites will limit your long-term hiring objectives by handcuffing your employees’ talent-focused social behavior.

This is the first post in a series of blogs about mobile recruiting fails. Stay tuned for the next post which will examine what happens when the technical aspects of your mobile-friendly recruiting experience don’t align with the rest of your hiring process.

ExactHire’s HireCentric applicant tracking system is a mobile responsive software application for your job posting and recruiting needs. Contact us for details today.

Image credit: FAIL Stamp by Hans Gerwitz (contact)

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