In Part 2, we’ll cover everything from writing and building your job ads to optimizing and testing them for better performance.
- Crafting and setting up your job ads
- Posting your job ads
- Capturing candidate information
Let’s dive in!
Transitioning into the Marketing Mindset
Remember this first: marketing materials with the highest conversion rates have all the information on one page. Imagine if this ethos was used for an online job application process—a single page where job seekers can add all the necessary information is much more likely to result in a completed application. This is just one example that points to how recruiters can take a page from the marketer’s playbook. With job ad content, there is no exception. An online job ad can drastically impact a candidates’ decision to apply to your company. Ensure you are set up for success by creating high-converting job ads and an easy online application process.
Crafting your Job Ads
The highest-performing job ads are consistently optimized based on performance data. A high-converting and highly visible job ad is crucial for many reasons, but most importantly: to ensure your jobs are findable within the Google search engine, and to convert people who click on your ad into applicants. The higher performing your ads are, the less wasted spend you will see from your advertising budget, especially if you are buying media on a performance basis.
The content of the job ad itself is the first place to begin. The look and feel of your job ads affect your apply rates (AR %). Ensure your job titles, descriptions, and online application process are set up for success to get the most ROI from your recruitment advertising budget.
It’s essential that recruiters write titles that are going to be clicked on. Before that can happen, the candidate must find the job – either by searching for it on a job site, or by providing a candidate profile that can be matched upon. The single largest driver of online search or candidate matching is the job title.
A clear, simple job title is the best way to get candidates to click on your job ad.
The length of your job titles matter, as well.
Apply Rate by Job Title Length (Words)
Avoid abbreviations and symbols in your job titles. Even those specifics can dramatically impact the conversion rates on your job ads.
As you can see, the jobs advertised are essentially the same. The difference between using the ‘Mgr’ abbreviation and writing out the full job title, however, drastically affects the apply rate.
When crafting your job ads, also avoid using acronyms (with the exception of acronyms such as RN, LPN, etc., used in the healthcare industry). Jobs with buzzwords like ‘wizard,’ ‘guru,’ ‘ninja’ or ‘rockstar’ also often receive few to no applies.
Your job description also impacts the AR% on your open jobs. The description serves to engage interested candidates and provide more information that makes them eager to learn about your organization and apply. A brief, but detailed job description is key to winning over candidates.
Job seekers also expect relevant, helpful information incorporated into job descriptions. This content can include:
- Information about salary
- Information about responsibilities & expectations
- Information about potential growth within the role
- Information about benefits
- Information about corporate culture
The primary objective of your job description is to help your candidates envision what it would be like to work at your company. Would I fit in here? Do I meet the qualifications? Is there room for me to grow? Providing answers to these simple questions within your job descriptions will bring more talent into your organization’s doors.
Symbols in Job Titles
Job titles without special symbols in them ($, *, #, @, %, !, ?) have close to a 2x higher AR% and on average, receive 22% more clicks per job ad. While at first, this may appear minimal, when paying for clicks on your ads, applicants that don’t convert on your jobs could cost you untold amounts of money.
Capturing Candidate Data
Set up your applicant tracking integration to report on and capture candidate data.
The Application Process
During the online apply process, ask only the necessary questions needed to qualify a candidate and optimize your conversion rates. Username and password creation often mires the process, and is best served at the end of the application. While not possible with every ATS in the market, it’s worth considering how you can work around this. Some allow you to build a lead registration and other career site solutions can be used to create alternate paths to conversion. But, if possible, do not require a candidate log-in at all; this will drastically reduce candidate drop-off in the apply process.
Hourly or Evergreen Positions
Ensure the application process for your hourly and evergreen positions, or those not requiring a resume, is easy to apply for and optimized on not only a desktop computer, but from a mobile device.
Professional Positions (or those requiring a resume & cover letter upload)
It is inevitable that most salaried roles that require screening, background checks, or specific qualifications, will require a longer application process. Make sure that it’s easy for candidates to upload their resume and cover letter from a mobile device and any web browser.
The bottom line: with less form friction, you’ll receive more applicants.
Pixel technology supports candidate source tracking. Accurate tracking is an essential part of your applicant tracking integration.
Pixels are ‘web beacons’ used to track a set of activities; they ‘fire’ to tell a computer that something has occurred on a webpage, such as a completed job application. There are different types of pixels that you can utilize for your applicant tracking, with varying degrees of complexity.
How can I get pixels placed to ensure proper candidate tracking in my ATS or CRM?
Pixel placement options vary by each ATS or CRM – here are a few things to consider.
- Can your ATS accept pixels?
- Can your ATS accept BOTH apply start, job details, and apply complete pixels?
- How does a pixel get placed on your ATS?
- Already there!
- Admin console – you can do it yourself!
- Call customer support – they will help.
- Professional services engagement - this might take a while.
Regardless of the options you have available to you when utilizing pixel tracking, setting it up correctly will ensure that you can track candidates all the way through to a completed application in your system of record.
Many ATSs and CRMs offer source reporting. Source reporting refers to the ability to identify what source (for example, job boards, social media, direct search) drove a candidate to apply to your job. If this is something that isn’t supported by your ATS or CRM, ask if there is anyway your provider can build out a custom solution for you. Source reporting will help you make your budget go further. Gaining insight into the performance of your recruitment advertising sources is key to optimizing your strategy, and only using sources that perform. We’ll cover source performance in more detail in Part 3.
Posting your Job Ads
Now that you’ve crafted your job ads, picking the sources where you want to place your open positions requires a thoughtful, well-executed strategy. Refer back to the Introduction for a reminder of all the different advertising sources available to you in the marketplace.
Remember: from the get-go, assume nothing about your sources. While yes, there are many different perceptions in the marketplace about what types of sources perform, let the data speak for itself when understanding where you are getting candidates from. In a saturated industry like the recruitment advertising market, they may be common misperceptions; various sources can perform for different types of organizations and open jobs. Ensure you wait to gather performance data from your sources before discounting anyone.
That being said, there are some advertising sources (niche job sites in particular) that have historically been proven to deliver certain types of candidates. For example, some sources perform better for skilled and hourly positions, while others perform for clearance roles, specialized, or technical talent. While these are just a few examples of sources that have predetermined performance profiles, if you’re hiring for positions that have known job sites focused on acquiring this type of talent, there is no harm in utilizing these sources. They should be just a portion of your organization’s larger recruitment marketing mix.
While each type of organization has their own hiring needs and practices, on the next page we've provided some trends and recommendations for advertising with the sources below, based on the data we see at Appcast.
Types of Advertising Sources
Buying recruitment media from a job ad exchange is a cost-effective, flexible way for employers and hiring companies to pay for ad space throughout the web. Ad exchanges sell performance media; candidate traffic is sold and purchased with conversions in mind. Recruitment advertisers are charged when their desired conversion occurs: at the lead registration, on a job ad click, or on a job ad apply, to name a few.
Because performance-based recruitment advertising delivers on flexible spending models, consistently monitor how your ads perform and stop advertising jobs that have enough applicants. By limiting spend on runaway jobs to a proportional rate, you can reduce or reallocate advertising budget to the jobs that need more.
Consumer sites primarily offer professional development or product offerings on their site, where job ads are a secondary type of content on the page. For example, a blog that focuses on photography would be a consumer site where open photography jobs may also be listed/posted.
Certain job sites specialize in email marketing – they deliver candidates via job alerts and other email campaigns to recruitment advertisers. With this type of advertising source, open jobs get in front of candidates within the realms of their inboxes, encouraging them to click the listed jobs that are delivered to them, and apply.
General job sites primarily list paid ads without focus on a particular niche or vertical. Aggregators list all jobs and display all jobs, however.
Every job site in the ecosystem has a different performance profile for how well they will be able to deliver the right candidates. Since it is difficult to tell from the outset which publisher performs well for each job type, start working with various publishers.
Mobile apps are sites that engage with candidates primarily through mobile apps and other mobile notification technology. In today’s mobile-centric job seeker ecosystem, mobile applications are a worthy outlet for reaching candidates when they are on-the-go or browsing through the web on mobile.
Social networks are sites that primarily offer communications between individuals for the sake of personal networking and socializing. However, social networks are a helpful platform for discovering job opportunities. In some scenarios, candidates may specifically seek out job opportunities or research companies within their social networks.
Social recruitment advertising may be best utilized in some the following scenarios:
- To connect with talent in rural areas & extend reach into specific geographic regions
- To build your organization’s employment brand
- To encourage potential candidates to check out your careers page
New Players in the Marketplace
Google for Jobs is the addition of structured search results on the Google results page when job-related search key words are utilized. In the old Google search, users would search for jobs in their search bar, and the top results would mostly be dominated leading job boards and aggregators providing job content to job seekers. Job sites with stellar SEO practices and strong investment in branding often won the top spots in the Google search results.
Google for Jobs, however, displays their own structured job content above the organic listings and the SEM ad, right below the Google search bar. It aggregates third party content from employers, ATSs, staffing agencies, and participating job sites, served directly to the job seeker, right inside Google.
Ensure that your jobs can be indexed by Google for Jobs. Don’t rely on a 3rd party source to do this for you.
Why it Matters:
Google for Jobs has made a monumental impact on the way that job seekers interact with and apply to jobs online. Organic candidate traffic, previously dominated by major aggregators and job boards, is now being re-distributed to other smaller job sites, employers, and ATSs. Apply rate percentages on Google spike (on average 4x higher) than other leading job boards. Google also sends a considerable amount of emailed job alerts to job seekers. Most job seeker traffic comes as a result of a job seeker receiving an email from a job board.
Facebook now provides the ability for employers to host open jobs on their Facebook pages for job seekers to learn more and engage with them in their social network. They can like, share, and apply to those jobs all within the Facebook platform.
Facebook Jobs is a positive and powerful job search platform for small to mid-sized organizations that want to connect with job seekers in their local communities. It gives job seekers a chance read more about the hiring company on their employer Facebook page.
In addition, Facebook Jobs is extremely mobile-centric; the “mobile first” mindset is made clear by the brief, easy application process.
If you’re hiring for positions in Retail, the Restaurant industry, or other hourly employment, check out Facebook as a source of applicant flow.
Why it Matters:
Facebook Jobs connects job seekers with potential employment options within their social networking experience, potentially leading to greater passive candidate reach. The platform is focused mostly on the hourly workforce and has a short application processes.
Every source has a different ability and there is no right answer for which type should be used. To best optimize your budget and understand what works for your organization, testing your sources is key. Reduce the number of sources you use by 5 – 10 percent each quarter, eliminating the ones that have lower quality scores. Use that extra budget to add in or try 3 – 4 sources a quarter.
If possible, use sources that allow for flexibility; keep as much of your budget uncommitted as possible. Most general job sites and aggregators offer some sort of duration-based media (posts or slots). If you’re purchasing duration-based ads, buy your contract by the month or quarter, not by the year. Many job sites and aggregators offer performance media options, as well.
The Performance Media Checklist
Are you using cost-per-click ads to support your recruiting and/or lead generation efforts?
Do you have unique landing pages for each of your campaigns?
Do you update and analyze your job ads at least once per quarter?
Are you conducting A/B tests to evaluate ad copy, design, and conversion results?
Are you analyzing your bidding and buying strategy at least once per month?
Are you tagging your campaigns appropriately?
Do you have all your tracking tags installed to accurately measure source performance?
Are you using geo-targeting to make your ad placement more effective?
Assessment & Optimization
Do you track the following metrics?
Are you tracking all these metrics? Is there any room for improvement? You're on your way to becoming a recruitment advertising ROI pro!