Over the last decade the competition for attracting talent moved to the web. Over the last 2-3 years, another shift happened with the mobile web. Job seekers are increasingly surfing the web on their mobile devices, enjoying the flexibility, speed and convenience it offers. This transition from online desktop, to mobile job searching, represents a change in search habits. Habits that are now more the norm than they are a trend.
This means your staffing company or recruiting firm can no longer afford to be indifferent about job descriptions or using outdated Applicant Tracking Systems that were built without consideration to modern day web practices. The structure, format, styling and overall experience a job seeker has in viewing your jobs is critical. If you’re curious about best practices for promoting jobs on your website in order to attract new talent, let me help you resolve that curiosity.
Below is a list of 10 Best Practices for Staffing Agencies, Recruiting Firms and Employers of all types when it comes to marketing your jobs on your website. Note: This post is only focused on promoting jobs. I’ll be following up this post with one on best practices for your online applications.
1. Ensure Your Job Board Is On YOUR Domain
If you follow any of this advice, follow this tip. If your job board isn’t on your domain, it isn’t your job board – it’s someone else’s. If, when candidates click ‘search jobs’ on your site they’re taken to someone else’s domain, the owner of that domain should be thanking you (perhaps even paying you), as you’re only helping their SEO and brand – not yours.
If you’re confused about this, here’s an example. Let’s say your website is on www.acmestaffing.com but when someone on your site clicks ‘Search Jobs’ they end up on something like www.acmestaffing.nameofanothercompany.com/jobs then that’s not your domain. That domain is owned by ‘nameofanothercompany’ and all the SEO credit and brand recognition you could be getting is going to them.
Unfortunately, many ATS solutions will place your job board on their domain. Some of them will even include title tags and meta descriptions in the job page with their brand, not yours. I recently found this title tag from a job board built for a staffing company by SmartRecruiters:
[Name of Company] VP of Business Development Construction MEP | SmartRecruiters
SmartRecruiters indeed, but totally not cool.
2. Limit Search, Sort and Filter Options
Often times companies think providing more options is better. It’s not. More options only serve to overwhelm users. Most people want something simple, straight forward and easy. Multiple search, sort and filter options complicate the interface and confuse the user. In addition, most people never end up needing all the refinement these additional options provide. You end up ruining your interface and candidate experience trying to account for very minor use cases.
So, what filters should you use? I recommend some combination of the following:
- Keyword Search
- Job Type
- Profession Dropdown
- Skill/Specialty Dropdown
- Location Search
I say ‘recommend some combination’ because it depends on the type of staffing you do and the amount of jobs/data you have. For example, some companies might only need a Keyword Search and Location Search, some might only need the dropdown options, and some might need all. However, any more than this – optional views, sort filters, etc. things get a bit carried away.
3. Show Jobs By Default
When someone comes to your jobs page have jobs displayed by default. Why? Several reasons.
- What other page on your site is absent content until the user supplies inputs? No other page. Your job page should be no different.
- Don’t make users guess about your jobs. What’s more frustrating than landing on a blank page and being asked to select or input the correct items based on your best guess as to what the results will be? Companies come up with all kinds of job terms and titles. By showing users some jobs they at least get a sense of the kinds of jobs you have available and the words you’re using to title/describe them.
- Often times, job seekers will find the job they’re looking for immediately. So, why hide them?
4. Show/Hide Filters Appropriately
This one relates to the previous two items. We recommend showing jobs by default. If you follow this advice then we also recommend you keep your job filters hidden by default. The reason is because these additional controls are potentially unnecessary and often confuse users by being exposed. If your jobs are well designed and easily scrollable, then users might not even need to filter.
If you’re not going to listen to my advice on #3 then I recommend having the filters exposed by default.
5. Don’t Put Unnecessary Content On The Page
The only thing that should be on your job board should be your jobs. Intro text? Nope. Calls to action to other pages on your site? Nope. Big distracting video? Nooooope! Job seekers are here to apply for your jobs and that’s exactly what you want them to do. Not read your content, watch videos, play games, etc. Don’t put anything in their way that could distract them.
Don’t turn your job board into a circus…
6. Be sure job URLS are properly SEO’d
Go to your job board and click to get on the job detail page. Any job detail page. Does the URL for this job look something like this: http://jobs.yourcompanyname.com/index.smpl?arg=jb_details&POST_ID=1496077 ? If so, that’s not good. Unless of course you’re trying to rank on Google for index.smpl?arg=jb_details&POST_ID=1496077. No? A proper URL structure should be something more like this:
So, say for example, this was a job for a Contract UX Designer in Phoenix, Arizona. A good URL would be:
If your URLs don’t look like this you’re missing out!
7. Be sure jobs have their own job detail page
Don’t just have a single page displaying all your jobs and their detail. Each of your jobs should go to its very own detail page, complete with a unique (and properly SEO’d) URL, title tag, meta description and job description. Doing this will ensure each job gets properly and uniquely indexed by search engines. Without this, you’re just optimizing a single page (your job list) for search engines.
8. Have a good job description
I’ve often heard staffing companies say ‘no one reads job descriptions.’ That’s true. Candidates won’t read your job description unless…You give them reason to. Here are some tips:
- Make the content interesting. Don’t use canned content again and again. Take the time to write out a unique description and ‘sell’ the job. If you reuse canned content readers will miss important info, assuming the content is being repeated.
- Make the content useful. Put in enough details so people know what to expect from the job. Avoid buzzwords and calling everyone a ‘rock star’ or ‘seasoned ninja’. Just be clear what you’re looking for.
- Focus on a good experience and design. If everything is laid out nicely, easy to read, easy to navigate to and has clear calls to action, your job description can make all the difference.
Here are some great tips from Indeed on how to write effective job titles and descriptions.
9. Don’t use iFrames
What’s an iFrame? You know when your ATS says they have some code you just easily put on your website and your jobs automagically appear? That’s an iFrame and it’s not good. Why? Essentially, an iFrame runs code from another system or site on your your site. The problem is, search engines can’t read the content within an iFrame. So, if your jobs are in an iFrame (stop me if you know where this is going) search engines can’t index them properly. As a staffing company, I think it’s safe to say you want your job data indexed by Google. Yes?
The best solution is to place jobs on your website through an RSS or XML feed from your ATS or by taking advantage of your ATS’s API (even better). This will allow you to put the job content directly on the page making it indexible by search engines.
10. Your job board must be mobile
Your staffing company can no longer afford to go without a mobile website. Job seekers are mobile and they expect to be able to find your jobs via mobile devices. All the information provided above also pertains to your mobile job board. Mostly because your mobile job board and desktop website job board should not be separate. Current best practices are to ensure you have a ‘responsive’ website. This means your site and all of its content responds to devices both small (mobile phones) and large (large monitors).
Talking about best practices for your website and job board on mobile devices can be a post all on its own. For now, let’s just say that when it comes to best practices for your mobile job board ensure the following:
- The content on the job board is prioritized properly – filters, jobs, job descriptions, application, etc.
- Your page load speed times are as snappy as possible.
- Don’t be afraid of users scrolling. This ‘it must be above the fold’ nonsense ended a long time ago. Users scroll.
Whew! That’s a lot to absorb. However, if you take this advice when building your staffing company’s job board you will be following current best practices and be ahead of your competition. If you’re considering a job board redesign or want to discuss more details on any of this information let’s connect and talk about specifics.
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