Hacking Your Candidate Funnel – Part 4

The Three Little Pigs – SEO, SEM and CRO

Most new businesses resort to digital marketing to boost growth, whether that growth be new clients or new customers. Many look to AirBnb and Uber as inspiration, given their rapid scaling using digital marketing tactics. We are much the same; Talent Acquisitions functions and employer career sites exist to inform, engage and attract talent to our business.
Most of us will be familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and PPC (Pay Per Click) methods to target audiences and put your advertisement or messaging in front of the right people in the hope that they will apply. Typically, recruitment functions outsource digital marketing to a third party. The campaign runs, and then we wonder why the campaign was successful or why it failed.
This blog is to help you better understand the tactics used to help improve your digital marketing efforts and have more informed discussions with your digital marketing providers. We’ll talk a little more about SEO, SEM (Search Engine Marketing), and CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation).
Did you know that SEO can be separated into two components? On-page SEO and off-page SEO!
On-Page SEO is what we commonly refer to as SEO. Using keywords in titles, heading tags, meta descriptions etc. Writing blog posts with great content also helps with your SEO, as does social sharing of content. Great URL formatting and page loading speeds also help contribute to a better SEO ranking. Think about what people can see when they are on the page and how they can share the content. That’s on-page SEO. Using the URL example (these are not live URL’s) which do you think would rank better;
Some ATS companies and employers for some reason chose the first example above. This doesn’t rank well for Google search results for your company career site. If you have the opportunity to do so, try and take the approach used in the second example. It provides for better indexing.
Off-page SEO is ‘behind the scenes’. Say you’re reading a blog, and within that blog the person references your company page or article and provides a link to it. That’s off-page SEO. An example within our industry might be RecruitingDaily featuring a story about your awesome career page which is then shared by hundreds of people. Think of this as people voting on your content, the more votes the better your ranking. Whilst it is important to have these referral links, it’s just as important where the links are coming from. You’ll hear this referred to as link building.

How do I get more out of SEO?

Have great content. Use keywords and phrases that might be used to search for your organisation or the type of job you are recruiting. Make sure they appear throughout your messaging – but by that I don’t mean getting repetitive.

Have healthy bones. How your site or page is built is critical to SEO success. Everything from how quickly pages load, placement of images or video and how you name them, URL structure, ensuring functional links, headlines, HTML structure, etc., etc., it’s all important. See your doctor – I mean web developer – to help you ensure the bones of your site are set up to maximise its results.
Get more referrals! Don’t just rely on your career site to generate traffic, get more media distribution of your content. Perhaps you’ve just been awarded a huge construction project with hundreds of jobs, OR your employer has participated in a community event, get some media coverage of it and make sure the media outlet refers links to your site. Make sure you use employer review sites like Glassdoor or Jobadvisor to keep your content fresh and updated. Got a great case study? Pass it along to HR Open Source for publication. The higher the quality of your source referrer the better for your ranking.
Most of you will have this in place for your career site home page, but what about each job vacancy? Again, to increase your exposure you should be looking to have individual job landing pages to maximise your search rankings.

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing – SEM – is the process of getting more eyeballs to view your content through free traffic or paid traffic, aka pay per click. You’ll be familiar with most of the more famous tools such as Google Adwords, Facebook, YouTube, JobBoard advertising or the very expensive LinkedIn Advertising solution.
SEM allows you to really target advertising to your audience. Whether it be keywords, phrases, age or location demographics, you can get very specific to where you want your advertisement to appear, and who you want it to appear in front of. It is with SEM where you may conduct testing across several ads, different types of images, font, and keyword use. Continually refining to ensure you get better quality click throughs. Whilst more clicks are great, you need to also measure the quality otherwise SEM could become a very costly exercise.
SEM in my opinion is under utilised and coupled with geolocation targeting makes for a very powerful method of getting your content in front of the right people.

Conversion Rate Optimisation

Conversion Rate Optimisation is how you determine why your visitors are not taking the action you want them to take. Clicking on the advertisement or apply button, or really any kind of interaction with the website through clicks, is what CRO focuses on. Jobvite recently analysed 15 million applications from 2016 and found that only 8.6 percent of career site visitors followed through with an application. Further information can be found here
If you’re complaining about the lack of applicants, I think you might want to start looking at your CRO data. Where are you at now? How can you improve?
As mentioned throughout this series of blogs, it is critically important to research, test (A/B), and apply learnings. CRO is another opportunity to do this. Is it the font type or colour? Could it be the image or words being used? Experiment.
Yes, it’s a lot of time and effort to do all this. But should you know more about growth marketing? Hell yeah. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to filling your candidate funnel with the right talent. What’s it costing your business by not having the right people at the right time?
I’ve spoken to many people about their recruitment marketing budgets. Most people respond with how small a budget they have. But when you ask about the data and how they are demonstrating success, it’s nebulous at best.
Imagine having a discussion with your CFO to increase your recruitment marketing spend by demonstrating return on investment! “Our conversion rate has improved by X, our cost per click has reduced by Y, leading to reduced time to hire of Z, and increased quality of hire. Whilst we did this, we reduced our spend on job boards and LinkedIn.”
Our conversation at the moment is more like “we’ve spent $X on SEEK and received thousands of applicants, none of which we hired, but we got volume so let’s increase spending there. We’ve spent $Y on LinkedIn and got no applications but we’ll continue to invest in job slots for brand presence”.
I’d like to think your CFO or Head of Department would be more inclined to invest more money on a demonstrated return than on a process which keeps sucking the budget dry. Don’t get me wrong, SEEK and LinkedIn play an important role in brand presence, but if you aren’t researching and testing alternatives, then are you really investing in the right places?
This is part 4 of a series of articles on improving your candidate funnel. For more tips, strategies and ideas, check out parts one, two, and three.
Images: Shutterstock

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One Response to “Hacking Your Candidate Funnel – Part 4”

  1. Stan great post again with some great practical and simple advice. The only point I would make A/B testing I think has had its time. What I’m seeing now in the recruitment marking space from companies that are leading the way they have 10 or 20 or more messages they share to their target audience with various CTA’s that over time engage, nurture and convert candidates to apply.


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