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The complete guide to a killer recruitment marketing strategy

According to LinkedIn, HR teams using a data-driven approach to their recruitment marketing are more than twice as likely to fill their vacancies in a short timeframe. There has been a lot of buzz in the recruitment industry about the benefits of inbound vs outbound methodologies over the last couple of years. Whichever side of the discussion you stand on, we’re here to help you optimise your recruitment marketing strategy from start to finish.

This guide will cover the following aspects of recruitment marketing:

  • Optimising your job descriptions for search engines and job boards
  • Social media & paid advertising
  • Conversion rates & candidate experience
  • Optimising application processes for mobile and modern candidates

At the end of this guide you will know:

  • How to streamline your strategy
  • Insightful and surprising statistics
  • How to increase ROI through your recruitment marketing
  • The benefits of embracing modern recruitment technology
  • Some resources to take away and share with your HR teams

Section 1: Optimising your job descriptions for search engines and job boards

The first stage of any recruitment marketing strategy is optimising your job descriptions and ads to entice your users and potential candidates, get your jobs appearing in Google, and provide an easy-to-follow and talent-winning user experience. These are achieved through SEO and UX optimisation.

You may be familiar with terms like Organic SEO and UX, but just in case you’re not, we’ve prepared some definitions below:

Organic SEO UX
Search Engine Optimisation

A content-based strategy focussed on improving ranking on search engines, typically focussed on Google

User Experience

The visual and logical journey a user of any website or piece of software undertakes in order to achieve a goal

The term “organic” means that something is achieved without investing money directly into paid advertising. Later on in this guide, we will also look at Paid SEM (Search Engine Marketing), but for now let’s focus on creating an organic SEO strategy for your recruitment marketing that works for you.

Organic recruitment SEO for Google

Google are known for changing their algorithms on a regular basis. At the beginning of 2018, they started a large overhaul, changing their focus from keywords to how well your content answers queries. So, we’ve put a list together of some things to keep in mind when optimising your job descriptions for candidates searching on Google.

Google for Jobs – changing the job search market

In 2018, Google for Jobs was launched in the UK.

What is Google for Jobs?

Google for Jobs (GfJ) is, in one sense, a way for Google to compete with aggregators such as Indeed. Launched in the UK in July 2018, it has changed the game in terms of getting your jobs in front of candidates. Google are known for updating their algorithms on an at least a yearly basis to keep marketers from all sectors on their toes when it comes to strategy.

The recruitment space in Google is dominated by job boards and aggregators. When you type in a search term such as “Marketing jobs in London”, the first few results will be Ads from companies such as Indeed who dominate the paid advertising bidding with extremely large budgets.

Google for Jobs, as shown above, is the next cluster of results on the page. The layout may seem familiar to you as something similar has been used for searches within the hospitality industry (restaurants, hotels, etc.) for a couple of years now.

How to optimise for Google for Jobs (and job boards)

Since the introduction of GfJ, optimising for ranking on job boards and Google has become a very similar process. Here are some top tips from our Recruit team:

Keywords and titles are still important

Something that hasn’t changed is the need for relevant keywords to be used in your job ad descriptions and job titles – although a quirky job title like “Marketing Guru” may sound fun, it won’t necessarily rank as well or be targeted as accurately

Relevance is based on the quality of the content

A little further down we’ll look at the importance of UX-friendly content in Google rankings, but this essentially comes down to clear concise job descriptions that allow easy access to all information

Make use of synonyms and related search terms

While keywords are important, they are not the only necessary component of organic SEO. Synonyms are increasingly important in verifying the relevance of your content to someone’s query

Make use of all fields within the job board, including the non-mandatory ones

This will not only help job boards and aggregators (like GfJ) target your vacancies at applicants who are more likely to engage with your ad, it can actually help you appear to more candidates in total. The more specific you can be when completing this stage of the process, the better your results and lower your applicant drop-off rate is likely to be

Use an ATS that integrates with Google for Jobs

While it is possible to optimise your jobs with the correct HTML code and data format yourself, it can be a tricky process. You can save yourself a huge amount of time and resource by using an ATS that integrates automatically with Google for Jobs which will also improve your ranking within the GfJ pack

Google for Jobs integration within your ATS

Kallidus Recruit provides integration with Google for Jobs and automatically generates the code and data you need to rank within the GfJ pack. This goes a long way to improving organic SEO for your job adverts and will help you to direct traffic that would otherwise have gone to job boards or aggregators such as Indeed. This, in turn, can help to reduce your need to advertise as heavily on the aggregator platforms and reduce your spend.

UX optimisation of job descriptions

Improving the user experience of your job ads and descriptions can be done in a number of ways. One of the first considerations to make is that 45% of job seekers turn first to their mobile devices2 and increasing amounts of applications are made on phones.

We’ll discuss later in this guide how to ensure your application process is mobile-ready, but for now let’s focus on the job description itself.

Below, we’ve put together some example job descriptions.

Click on the button below and look over the job description for a few seconds.

Although we’ve used placeholder text rather than a real job description, can you decipher what information is available at a glance?

Now click on this next button and do the same.

How much information could you see available this time? Salary? Hours? Overview of the company and the job specifications?

This is how to optimise your job descriptions for both UX and a mobile reading experience.

Here are a few tips to consider when optimising your job descriptions to improve the UX:

  • Separate out important information into distinct lines – e.g salary, hours, temporary/permanent etc.
  • Make use of bold subheadings to split the ad out into relevant sections
  • Use bullet point lists for key responsibilities and required experience
  • Keep your formatting consistent
  • Make use of familiarity – order your information in the order applicants will expect from other platforms, job boards, and LinkedIn
  • Be clear with your salary offering – adding a salary increases quality of applicants and conversions from your ads

67% – of jobseekers listed salary as their number 1 motivator to find a new job

Considering all of the above when writing your job specs will allow potential applicants to scan your information quickly, improving the chance they will click apply. Readability is also a big factor in Google rankings, so optimising your job spec content for UX and scannability has multiple benefits.

Section 2: Social media and paid advertising

With your on-page content and job board listing now optimised for user experience and search engines, it’s time to look at how to increase the number of potential applicants to your job adverts from other sources.

Social media in recruitment marketing

As with many industries, social media is fast becoming a frontrunner for research within the recruitment market, especially since the largest companies in social media have joined forces with Google for Jobs.

Consider the following:

73% – of millennials found their last position through social media
59% – of candidates use social media to research companies they are interested in
75% – potential hires aren’t actively looking for job roles

Finding jobs on social media

Social media marketing for recruitment is no longer limited to LinkedIn. With the launch of Facebook Jobs to more than 40 countries worldwide in 20183 and the increased use of social media in job searches for most applicants, these channels are no longer something you can afford to ignore in your recruitment marketing efforts.

Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in partnership with Google for Jobs

Late last year it was announced that social media giants Facebook and B2B social platforms LinkedIn and Twitter were joining forces with Google for Jobs. In a bid to compete with Indeed, one of the largest global recruitment aggregators, other job boards and aggregators have joined Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in partnership with GfJ.

Therefore, social media also ties into your rankings. Indeed is the only large aggregator not invited to Google’s job search party and has since introduced a paid advertising model to its system (more on that later).

Since this integration, Facebook Jobs has introduced mobile applications in the UK. LinkedIn Jobs has been acting as a job board in its own right for a number of years now, and with Easy Apply available across devices, these social media networks are not to be ignored when it comes to getting the word out about your brand and your vacancies.

50% – of applicants will check Glassdoor before applying for a job

Social media for company research

We’ve also seen a large increase in the use of social media channels as a way to investigate the companies that applicants are interested in. This means that keeping your social media channels up to date, professional, and reflective of both your brand and work culture no longer just affects your sales.

Passive job searching

With social media so highly integrated in the lives of so many workers, these channels are a great way to get the word out there for candidates who are not actively searching for a new role. In a candidate-led market, it pays to get the word out through channels that many workers of all ages are actively using.

Glassdoor and the importance of reviews in active job searching

Think about the last time you purchased something online – did you check the reviews before you purchased? This is an increasing trend among buyers and the same goes for job searches. In the same way TripAdvisor may inform your travel choices, websites like Glassdoor are highly likely to impact the success of your candidate searches.

Glassdoor has been credited with “upending workplace culture one review at a time”4. Organisations of all sizes are being held to account for the way they pay and treat their employees. We’ll cover workplace culture another time, but for now consider the following:

Paid SEO and PPC in recruitment marketing

Earlier on we mentioned Paid SEM and now we’re here to explain what we mean. This is an umbrella term for wide-ranging strategies including paid advertising through Google, Facebook, and other services. Need a little clarification? We’ve put some definitions together for you.

Paid SEM PPC Remarketing adverts
Search Engine Marketing

This is the umbrella term used to cover a wide range of SEO tactics with money put behind them, including the advertising tools to the right

Pay Per Click

Advertising (typically run through Google, but also available in other platforms) that displays as the adverts you see at the top of your search results. These are targeted to specific keywords

These are small banners targeted to users based on previous activity on your website, job board, job description etc. These terms are set by you. This is one example of how Cookies are used to tailor advertising

Listed above are the primary components of paid advertising. Although mainly delivered through Google, social media and aggregators like Indeed are also a worthwhile investment for quick-turnaround hires.

Paid social media advertising

Facebook, for example, offers extensive advertising functionality with the possibility to tailor your ads’ viewership based upon all sorts of demographics and behaviours, including current sector of employment, location, and interests.

With the added feature of Facebook Jobs in 2018, this is becoming a more and more popular platform for companies and candidates alike. Facebook’s partnership with Google for Jobs can also enhance your SEO, making it an even more appealing platform to advertise both your brand and your vacancies.

While Facebook owns Instagram, it is not generally recommended to use this for recruitment marketing as the ads are typically more expensive to run and tend to generate a lower return.

LinkedIn is another option for paid social advertising for your recruitment. We’ll go through the logistics of managing this alongside your ATS a little further down.

Paid advertising within Indeed

We mentioned earlier that in light of Google for Jobs, Indeed have become commercially savvy and introduced a payment-led model to their business. This means that if you wish to rank well in Indeed’s listings, paid ads for ‘Sponsored’ jobs are the way forward.

Without the right payment option, there is a possibility your job ads won’t display organically at all in their platform.

“In a bid to compete with Indeed, one of the largest global recruitment aggregators, other job boards and aggregators have joined Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn in partnership with Google for Jobs”

They work on a PPC (pay per click) basis, similarly to Google Ads. However, with the introduction of Google for Jobs, our recruitment specialists are seeing less and less need for this involvement. Indeed may be the biggest recruitment aggregator in the world, but Glassdoor is second.

Indeed have also recently introduced CV search subscription packages allowing access to differing amounts of ‘contacts’ per recruiter.

Paid advertising within job boards and LinkedIn

Paid advertising within job boards works slightly differently than within aggregators such as Indeed.

Typically, these work on a pay per advert (per month) basis, however, each system functions in a different way.

LinkedIn, for example, uses rotating packages – essentially a one in, one out system. You pay for a set number of slots and they use their algorithms for target your ads at passive candidates. LinkedIn is known for attracting typically higher level white-collar candidates than other job boards, so depending on your industry this could be a very effective tool to use.

Kallidus Recruit also makes use of job wrapping, which allows your job ads to be posted directly into one of your LinkedIn job slots. Please note: in order for this to work you need to have an active and connected LinkedIn Recruiter account.

Using your ATS to track results from paid advertising

If you’re aiming to optimise your paid job marketing efforts you should be keeping an eye on the results your candidates have. Your ATS, or ATS provider, should be able to provide this information in the form of reporting, based on applicant drop-off rates, click through rates, and where the traffic has come from. Typically this is followed in the same way as Google Analytics, through specialised tracking codes.

Already working with Kallidus Recruit? Your stats are found in the Campaign Manager section. Get in touch with our team and they’ll help to a report for you to enable you to streamline your paid strategy.

Once you have a firm grasp of which channels are working for you, it’s time to work on your conversion rates and applicant experience from the moment they land on your job posting.

Section 3: Conversion rates & candidate experience

Back in Section 1, we discussed the importance of considering UX (User Experience) in your job descriptions. Now it’s time to look at how you can improve conversion rates through improving the UX of your application process. First things first, let’s look at some definitions.

Conversion rate
The percentage of people who visit a page of your website/job board who then complete an intended action (in this case, completing your application form)

Candidate experience
Similar to user experience, this term describes your applicants’ journey from discovering your vacancy right the way through to starting their new role

Improving conversion – form completions

The candidate experience begins when a potential candidate first hears of your vacancy or sees your job advert through one of the channels discussed in Section 1 and Section 2 of this guide. The next step, and a crucial part of the process, is convincing them to complete your application form.

It can be easy to assume that once you’ve got great, scannable job descriptions and a good click-through rate from social media and other channels that the work is already done.

However, a vital piece of this puzzle, and where many organisations miss the boat, is the ease of the application process itself.

Consider the following:

90% – of qualified candidates can drop out due to a lengthy application process
45% – of jobseekers use mobile devices to search for jobs at least once per day
38% – higher chance of an applicant accepting a job offer if they enjoyed their candidate experience

Monitoring your applicant drop-off rate

The first step is to measure your applicant drop-off rate. An applicant drop-off rate can be defined as the percentage of candidates who begin filling in an application form but do not complete it. According to Glassdoor, the typical applicant drop-off rate (as of 2018) is 80%.

You can access this data within your ATS and through Google Analytics tracking. Within Kallidus Recruit, this is found through Submitted vs Unsubmitted applications.

Compare your results with the industry benchmark above and consider the following ways to improve your application process.

Ways to reduce your applicant drop-off rate

1. Keep your application form short and sweet

If possible, try not to use form fields that request information that you would expect to find in the attached CV, for example prior work experience, qualifications, and educational history.

2. Allow candidates to upload both their CV and cover letter as documents

While uploading a CV as a separate document is standard procedure, allowing candidates to upload their covering letter as a document as well creates a smoother, easier process for application. However, it is worth adding this in as an optional element, allowing candidates to fill in a form field on the page if they wish.

3. Specify the type of documents required

It can be off-putting for candidates to upload one type of document only to be contacted later and asked for another file type. Be clear from the application stage if you require, for example, a PDF or a .docx file for their CV and other supporting documents. To be as clear as possible, this should be specified individually for each file required.

4. Use an ATS that allows for CV parsing and auto-fill

There are multiple types of CV parsing, but in this case we mean the type that allows the system to scan a candidate’s CV for information and use that to fill in additional form fields for them. Kallidus Recruit, for example, integrates with a service calls Daxtra that allows candidates to auto-populate some of their application.

Take your optimisation one step further

One of the key statistics that we mentioned earlier is that 45% of jobseekers will browse for jobs on mobile devices at least once a day.

Earlier, in Section 2, we discussed the importance of social media and paid advertising to convert candidates who are not actively involved in job searching. Optimising your application process for mobile is the final piece of the puzzle.

Section 4: Optimising your application process for mobile and modern candidates

Similarly to social media, mobile devices play a huge part in our day-to-day lives. Just as many of us will use a search app on our phones to look up anything from holiday destinations to the previous work of an actor we recognise, modern candidates are using their devices for job searching.

While many applicants will use their phones for research and apply on their desktops later, this transfer contributes to the high applicant drop-off rates discussed in Section 3. One of the best ways to capture modern applicants at the time they have discovered your vacancy, is to optimise your application forms for mobile.

36% – of companies are optimising their application process for mobile
89% – of jobseekers consider mobile to be a vital part of the job search and application process
52% – of candidates use their mobile phones to apply for jobs

Top benefits of mobile-friendly applications

Decreases applicant drop-off rates

Giving applicants the option to apply wherever they are, whichever device they are using increases the chances that they will actually apply for the job. This, in turn, typically delivers an increase in application rates.

Decreases decision-making time for applicants using mobile devices

We all lead busy lives so not forcing your applicants to pick up your vacancy on a desktop/laptop at another time reduces the likelihood they will either forget or find something else in the meantime. If this has to happen, Kallidus Recruit has your back, allowing candidates to upload their CV from a PC after completing an application on mobile.

Google for Jobs favours mobile-optimised web pages

Google, and other major search engines, love a mobile-optimised web page. Mobile browsing and searching has become so much the norm that Google penalises websites, applications, and software that does not function easily on a variety of mobile devices. This can result in reduced visibility of your vacancies and organisation.

Allows currently employed jobseekers to apply away from company computers

More than half of people currently employed are considering a new job. We’ve already discussed how to engage passive candidates, but those who are currently employed and are actively searching won’t want to do so on company computers.

Allows candidates to apply on their own schedule

Similarly to the above, candidates who are currently employed will need more flexibility when it comes to when and where they apply for jobs.

Creates flexibility in the application process

Optimising your application process for mobile doesn’t mean that those devices are the only ones candidates can use to apply for your vacancies. It means that no matter the device they are on, where they are, or which browser they are using, they can apply for your job when they arrive on your job description.

How can you optimise your application process for mobile?

  • Revisit Section 1 of this guide and optimise your job descriptions for easy reading on all devices
  • Use short application forms with minimal input from applicants
  • Do not add required fields (apart from name and email address) that duplicate information from their CV
  • Use an ATS that allows applicants to upload a CV once and store it for future use
  • Make instructional copy within the form fields clear and concise e.g First name

So there you have it. From perfecting your job descriptions to the benefits of mobile-friendly applications, you are ready to optimise your recruitment marketing strategy to increase search visibility, application rates, and improve your candidate experience from start to finish.

Keep your eyes peeled for a series of articles about perfecting your recruitment process from vacancy requisition to candidate onboarding…coming soon.

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Written by Claire Moloney

Claire is an enthusiastic and meticulous content writer whose passion is to support growth and continual learning for everyone.


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