We work with a lot of recruitment companies and have designed some fantastic websites for them. However, many recruitment companies often see their website as ‘vanity showpiece’ rather than something that can deliver business results for them.
Many recruitment companies choose to use tools like LinkedIn to headhunt and job boards such as Indeed or Totaljobs to source CVs. Meanwhile, aggregation tools, such as Broadbean, are often used to send out job specifications via multiple job boards.
This has worked well so far. However, for many sectors such as digital, insurance and legal, it’s currently a candidate-driven market, meaning there are lots of jobs but not enough good candidates to fill them.
Through recent conversations with clients, we’ve discussed how they drive traffic to their website and exactly where the CVs they receive are coming from.
From the screenshot below, it looks like this client is showing a strong organic performance with 179 job applications via ‘organic traffic’ in January, that’s great! (Google classes any non-paid for ads as organic traffic)
However, Google often places traffic via indeed.com in with the organic traffic results. It does this because Indeed ‘scrapes’ all websites with jobs on them to pull through on to their website. While it’s great that indeed.com gives recruitment sites this exposure, it also means that the website isn’t performing as well as we originally thought.
The below screenshot shows that a majority of goal completions on this site are also through Indeed. In fact, there were only 9 job applications via people coming to site organically. (At Venn, we use an ‘organic exc. Indeed’ filter GA to help us discover what traffic is really making its way to site organically).
Well in a candidate-driven market, you’re only as good as the candidates on your database. So, if the candidate is applying for the job via a job board, then that candidate is part of an active database that anyone, including your competitors, can gain access to.
I can search for keywords that form any part of a CV.
I’m presented with a candidate (or any number of them) that match my search criteria.
I can see how active they’ve been, what jobs they’ve applied for and much more. These jobs don’t even have to be posted by my recruitment business, they can be from any recruitment company.
This means I have access to the same candidate pool as my competitors and my competition can see my candidates if I’m posting jobs via these boards.
Job boards are a good channel for candidate acquisition, that’s a fact. Let’s look at the benefits of Indeed:
Why wouldn’t recruiters want access to a database of over 100 million CVs? It’s also an aggregator for job sites, other job boards and careers sites. This means job seekers only have to look in one place, as do recruitment consultants. However, through our work within the recruitment sector, we’re frequently hearing the same complaints about job boards over and over again:
Does this sound familiar?
Currently, your recruitment website is being used as a job board posting via your aggregator, such a Broadbean, to all channels.
Job boards are constantly investing in their own marketing, we can all remember Reed.co.uk’s ‘Love Mondays’ campaign. Unfortunately, if you’re not proactively marketing your website, you’re going to see very little success.
Now we’re not saying that recruitment companies should stop posting jobs via job boards, it’s still a viable route to market for candidate attraction. However, we do believe that your website shouldn’t be treated as a job board but invested in as your own branded candidate and client prospecting tool.
At Venn, we’ve found the best ways to attract both active and passive candidates, in this candidate-driven market via your website.
We class active candidates as those who are actively looking for a new role. You want to be found by these candidates as they’re ripe for a career change and can bring revenue to your business quickly.
Optimising your website for search engines such as Google, Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo means that your site can be found where your candidates are looking for you.
You can see from the numbers below that the ‘Mecca’ is the centre of the Venn diagram - to “rank for competitive meaningful queries”, those that your clients are using to search for your services.
Completing the tech setup and keyword content is a vital stage and allows you to create the foundations that will help you with the next step, build your domain authority. This is important because Google isn’t just a place filled with your direct competitors, it also features search competitors, and this could be anyone creating content for keywords you’re trying to rank for.
Below we’ve included an example of ‘direct’ vs ‘search’ competition, The example is for a ‘Devops Engineer’ and we’ve purposely not added ‘jobs’ on to the end of this search to demonstrate indirect competition.
By ticking all the search engine optimisation boxes you ensure that your website is ranking when candidates are actively on their job hunt. Targeting active candidates means you can quickly find those who are ready to move jobs immediately.
Google for Jobs launched in the UK in the middle of 2018 and at Venn, we’ve seen some good results for our clients off the back of this. For your jobs to show in the format below your site has to be configured correctly but once done, you should see start to see traffic and conversions off the back of this.
Below is an example of the traffic and conversions Google for Jobs can bring to your website:
This product is fairly new to Google and we’re still yet to see what the next steps might be. One thing we have noticed is that if you post your job on your website and on sites like Indeed, it’s currently giving preference to the bigger job boards. We believe this is down to the Google Algorithm prioritising bigger brands, those with authority.
Google is constantly looking to find a quicker and more efficient way to help their users and ensuring you’re featured on Google for Jobs means that you can capture candidates looking for a quick job change. However, we believe that as with most of Google’s products, this feature will be monetised at some point, so watch out for Google’s paid job ads soon!
We said you shouldn’t forget about job boards and we meant it. If you can see that a job board is working well for your brand by driving traffic and converting well, this should be a part of your candidate acquisition strategy.
At Venn, we believe in building the value of your brand and where possible you should direct the candidate back to your website, so they can apply for the role there. This means they could also apply for other jobs via your site and we can encourage them to register with your business or sign up for job alerts.
We know from working within the recruitment market that the best candidates aren’t always actively searching for a new job. The very best people for the role may be ‘in the market’ and not ‘on the market’. As such, you need to take a slightly different approach to get in front of these candidates.
To put your brand in front of passive candidates you have to talk about something of interest to them. You need to know their industry inside and out and create great recruitment related content around that sector.
Venn work with Eurostaff and their Marketing Manager (at the time), Glenn Southham, made the brave decision to remove all jobs from the website because they only wanted the best candidates ‘in’ the market not ‘on’ the market. Instead, Eurostaff opted for a Content Marketing approach that put them in front of the very best candidates.
Eurostaff works in the tech industry and would regularly run meet-up events with leading industry partners and clients. In the run-up to, during and after the meet-ups Eurostaff and Venn would generate content around the event topics to drive both candidates attending and those who couldn’t to the website.
Glenn now runs his own Consultancy Business, TwoEnds https://www.twoends.co/, specialising in Recruitment Marketing, he’s shared with us his approach with Eurostaff:
What made you decide to take all jobs off the Eurostaff website?
It was a two-fold decision.
The first is that I wanted the website to be different from the vast majority of recruitment firms who treated their website as a job board.
You’ll never compete with the established job boards and the aggregators such as Indeed and Google For Jobs in terms of number of jobs and listings so why try? Add in the fact that recruiters are notoriously bad at advert writing, I felt I’d rather have no content (of that type) at all rather than pages of sub-standard content.
The second reason was that our strategy was to become the go-to place for insight and opinion in the sectors we were recruiting for. This involved crowdsourcing content from our clients and candidates, highlighting our events a lot more and being a lot more opinionated. “The Mashable of IT Recruitment” is how I described the new site.
By creating great content that appealed to your desired candidates what results did you see?
The visits to the website dropped. The number of applications dropped. But I was OK with that, I expected it.
What we did see is that the time on the site increased as well as the number of pages visited increased. Visitors were investing more time in our content, our brand, our people than ever before and taking actions (CV submissions, direct contact) based on this rather than aimlessly applying for jobs for the sake of it.
Did you find the quality of the candidates via the website was better than the job boards?
100%. Job boards tend to attract the most active candidates on the market which are usually high in volume but a lower in quality. We found that although people were not applying for specific jobs on our website they were having interactions and conversations with our consultants that were of a lot higher value when converted. The indirect approach meant a cooperative relationship with the consultants, but we knew this from the start of the project.
We also had an increase in inbound enquiries from clients to fill open positions which is the holy grail (especially when a common pushback on taking the jobs from the website was “if clients can’t see the jobs we recruit for why would they use us?). Showing you care, understand and interact with the communities you recruit for is of a much greater value than 500 jobs that start with “Our client is looking for…”
If you’re creating great content, you’ll need a way of getting it in front of candidates. You can do this by building up your social following on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and even Instagram.
If you don’t have a strong following yet, don’t worry social media is still an option. Paid targeting options across each of these ‘big four’ platforms mean you can put yourself in front of your desired candidates. Targeting options across these social media channels include:
Although you wouldn’t usually associate some of these channels with your typical ‘job search journey’ we’re trying to get your brand in front of the relevant candidates before they even begin to look for a job.
We’ve found from experience most recruitment companies don’t leverage alternative media channels, meaning they’re missing out on a huge pool of potential candidates.
We’ve also had feedback in the past that ‘Facebook isn’t relevant for my business, I’m looking at Director level roles’ - Facebook has over 44 million active users in the UK and 46% is over 35 and under 65. Trust us when we say Directors are on there, just ask our MD!
Total number of Facebook users in the United Kingdom (UK) in January 2018, by age group and gender (in millions) (source)
Much like paid social media targeting, advertising across the Google Display Network allows you to work with websites that your candidates visit when browsing online.
Options for targeting include:
On both social and via display there’s also an option to ‘remarket’ to candidates. This means once they’ve visited your website but haven’t applied for a job you can reach out to them again to encourage them to come back and drop off their CV.
Targeting and remarketing can get quite technical but it’s all about reaching your potential candidates at the right time, in the right place.
Post-GDPR your email list may not be as big as it once was but it’s a great opportunity to grow your email lists from scratch and ensure you’re segmenting along the way. Email can be a great way to target active candidates who have signed up to your job alerts on site but it’s also a great way to stay in touch with candidates you’ve worked with in the past.
In the UK, the average duration somebody stays in a job role is around five years. If you’re creating great content, relevant to the sector you work in, and your candidates, there’s no reason they would want to unsubscribe from your mailing list. This means that you’re at the forefront of their mind when the candidate is ready to move on to bigger and better things.
If you’re going to build your own brand and invest in your website as a stand-alone channel, not just a job board, you need to make sure it’s delivering a return on investment. You also need to make sure that if you’re investing in job boards, they’re also meeting with your business needs.
We’re going to cover the tracking of your website and job boards ROI as a separate blog topic but as a starting point you should be looking at:
Having your own website in this digital climate is essential for growing your company. it’s important you begin to grow your own unique candidate pool that gives you an advantage over the competition and takes the data away from the job boards.
Go grow your brand and your business! Good luck.
We think great things happen when bravery meets strategy.