Online Talent Attraction, Are You Doing It Right?
8 October 2012

Online Talent Attraction, Are You Doing It Right?


Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell

Barry Chignell worked in Ciphr's marketing team from 2012-2020.


Recruitment and retention Technology


Attracting the right kind of talent for your organisation is not simply a case of adding a job to a website and waiting. There are some important considerations and improvements that can be made to ensure your applicants are of a high calibre.

Improving talent attraction

Using the traditional methods of recruitment agencies and adverts in the press and media is all very well.  But what if your company wants to attract talent using your careers website?

Can applicants find your website?

Everyone is aware that the higher you are ranked in Google the better however are you ranking for the correct terms?  Around 65% of searches performed on Google include the Job Title and Location of the vacancy, these should be included as keywords on your career site.

The vast majority of searches in the UK are performed on Google (90%+), concentrating on ranking highly on this search engine should be a priority. According to research users very rarely search beyond 30 Google results and are more likely to change their search term than continue looking beyond this point, make sure you are within this range!  You can test how you are ranking by running your own search in Google for the vacancy you are advertising.
If your corporate website is already receiving good levels of traffic then this is likely to increase the number of applicants you will receive online. If you are not currently getting many visitors to your site then it may well be worth investing some time on increasing the frequency of updates, improving site content and looking into Social Media channels.

Google’s ‘instant preview’, which was introduced in 2011, allows the user to see a preview of the landing page associated with the search result before visiting the target site.  This is a great tool for the user searching for a vacancy however, if the landing page that the link refers to is not particularly well designed, then the user may not visit the site.  Make sure that your career site is well designed, clean (no clutter) and intuitive.

Including relevant images of your vacancy, such as your offices or employees, has also been shown to attract the attention of users on Google.  Indeed even when not searching Google for images (such as for a vacancy), the search results will include a small selection of images. If images from your career site appear in these results then is advantageous.

What to do with all of these applicants!?

The first impression of your career site is very important.  Make sure to provide clear and concise information regarding your company, including what it is like to work for you and, as stated before, including images of employees will create a positive impression. Information from real employees rather than a standard ‘corporate message’ is well received by applicants.

Once you have attracted applicants to your site, you need to know how to track them and also ensure that their experience is not one which will make them leave and never return!  Many businesses still use in house web design for their career sites.  This may mean that the site is aesthetically pleasing however it will probably not include the functionality required to effectively track and report on applications.  Investing in an applicant tracking system is advisable should you have a large number of applicants applying regularly, or submitting speculative applications.

The experience that an applicant has on your site is also important.  Making sure that the process of applying through your career site is simple and intuitive will prevent people leaving your site before completing the process, and potentially passing on this negative impression to others. CareerBuilder research states that 78% percent of surveyed workers said they would talk about a bad experience they had with a company with friends and family, and nearly a quarter of respondents would post something about their negative experience on social media or a blog.  Bad experiences can go viral, and can quickly spread throughout an applicants personal network.

Ensuring that the applicant is well informed and updated as to their progress is also important. This will maintain their interest and improve their perception of your brand.  According to the survey carried out by CareerBuilder, “44% of workers who didn’t hear back at all when they applied for a job said their opinion of the company worsened.  A separate CareerBuilder survey of more than 2,000 employers and 5,000 workers found that nearly one-third (32%) of job seekers reported they are less likely to purchase a product from a company who didn’t respond to their job application.”

Learn as you go

Monitoring statistics of a recruitment campaign run through you career site is an essential element for success.  Being able to improve areas in the process that may not be working will help you to refine your processes and strategies, and continually improve your applicant’s experience.
Tracking where your applicants are being referred from can be achieved through online tools such as Google Analytics, Webmaster Tools and Woopra.  Once the applicant is on your career site, and part of the application process, the actions can be monitored using an Applicant Tracking system.