Employers, Optimize Your Job Posts

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Over the last ten years, the Internet transformed recruiting and recruitment advertising. Besides networking and personal connections, the Internet is now the leading source of job search and employment placement. However, we are currently undergoing a shift no less radical: the democratization of the Internet through ubiquitous search capability and social sharing. Because of this shift, recruiting and recruitment advertising has been undergoing a severe upheaval and transformation.

We might think of the first major period of the Information Age as being the generation of information: moving personal and business processes onto the web and producing massive amounts of data. We are now in the second period, which can be understood as the transformation of information extraction and production processes. It is commonly called “Web 2.0” emphasizing user communication and application-like interfaces. It is more simply just the movement toward information accessibility for both input and output of data. The popularity of Google and other search engines is also rapidly transforming the availability of information. In short, we are just now dipping our toes in the great pool of information that we have been filling for so many years.

As long as the methods for accessing and extracting data and information on the Internet is imperfect, data that is related to other data must reside in the same location in order to be found. Because of this trend, data related to job postings (and data in general) quickly became clustered around a few central sites.

For example, people go to online job boards to find jobs, online bookstores to find books, online dating sites to find a life partner, etc… With the very imperfect data accessing processes available in the last decade and even now, these types of sites are an absolute necessity for a strong bulk of Internet traffic and visibility.

However, now that content is more universally and quickly accessible, job posts on your own website can actually get some visibility. Jobs no longer have to reside only in the “same place” in order to be found. Information (i.e. job descriptions) can be found on an individual company’s website just as easily as through a congested pile of job descriptions in a commercial website. Internet users no longer must travel pathways to find information. For the first time, companies have a tremendous opportunity to centralize and host their own job descriptions and drive visibility. Because your company site won’t ever have the exposure as a job board, you can’t count on this method for driving the bulk of your applicants, but optimizing your own job posts can create another viable channel of applicants.

Once your organization has decided to take advantage of this new accessibility and transformation of the Internet, there are many considerations to maximum visibility and conversions for your job postings. These include:

  1. Driving traffic to your site: There are many search engines for jobs that can drive prospective candidates directly to your site. You should ensure that your job posts are listed in the organic search results of the major job search engines (Indeed, SimplyHired, and Juju.) They should also be indexed and searchable through Google and Bing. You may also consider standard search based advertising methods (like Adsense), to drive targeted traffic to your site and posting your jobs on big niche job boards like HireVeterans.com.
  2. Verbiage: Job descriptions should strive for descriptive simplicity – meaning that they should be fleshed out and descriptive, with lots of keyword-rich phrases, but still clear and focused. For instance, if you are writing a description for a Java Developer, your job should contain the word Java many times, all other associated technologies, and associated verbs: program, develop, code, etc… Strive not to get a “job description,” but more of a daily action description. It will lead to dynamic, keyword rich text.
  3. Technical Optimization: As your verbiage should be full of rich, descriptive keywords, you should also be sure that certain key elements are in place for search engine success. Make sure both the name of your page and title is more like an English sentence than a funny looking number. For example, a good title might be “Java Developer in New York with SQL Skills”, versus “joblist-a22-2-2011.” Companies often over-think search engine optimization – the most important thing to know is that simple, regular text with user-friendly description should be used in every element of your job post.
  4. Sell your Company: Once you get a candidate to your site, the real work begins. All throughout your site and through your job descriptions, you should develop and propagate your employment branding strategy. Do your strive for excellence, do you want to foster creativity, or perhaps put family first? Drive this message home throughout your website. Offer realistic assessments of your work environment – they will be appreciated, and you will receive more targeted applications. Continue your marketing message throughout your site and use that type of language in all of your job posts – consistency is key.
  5. Keep it simple: You should make it just about as dumb and easy as possible to apply to your organization. How about a big red button in the middle of the page? Companies often offer the candidate a bewildering pathway to application, and then make it difficult to send in their resume. Do not make the mistake of thinking that your most intelligent candidates will “figure it out.” The brightest minds in the market are often impetuous multi-taskers who will cruise in and out of your site within one minute. If you applicant tracking system governs your job postings, make sure that they make the process of application easy and fast.
  6. Make it sharing-friendly: It’s quite easy to add various ways for people who find job postings to share them. While most people will have no reason to tweet your job postings, they might email one to a friend who’s looking for a job. Make sure that you include Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin in your job postings (because you might as well), but be sure to also have an easy for people to email and print your job listings as well.

The Internet has changed dramatically, but job posting and online recruitment is still mired in its own initial transformation away from newspapers. The time has come for your company to get ahead of the curve and take advantage of this new accessibility and universality of information on the Internet. While job boards are still required to build a bulk of visibility to your job posts, optimizing your own site job listings will lead to increased awareness and applicant flow.

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