With over millions of job searches each month on major job boards like Monster, Indeed, and CareerBuilder, are you doing enough to make sure your job postings are searchable and stand out? When you think of Search Engine Optimization (or SEO), you probably think it pertains to online marketing and websites, right? You wouldn’t automatically associate it with job postings, but it’s just as important. Adding keywords to your job description is one way to make your job postings searchable.
Here’s how you can better optimize your job postings for better search results in three simple ways:
Do Your Research (Keyword Research, that is)
When writing your title and job description, it’s important to pick phrases that are relevant to your job posting. Phrases that are too general come with more competition and put you at risk for showing up at the bottom of the results page or delivering unqualified candidates. For example, instead of using basic phrases like “customer service” you should specify “customer service manager,” “call center customer service representative,” or “medical customer service.” The goal is to get as specific and relevant as you can to reach the most qualified audience (so you don’t have entry-level candidates applying for an upper-level position). If you’re stumped for keyword ideas, try out free keyword research tools like Google Adwords Keyword Tool to get keyword ideas.
Another way to research keywords in the job description is to look at competitor listings for similar postings and create a list of the keywords that they are using. Import your list to a free word cloud generator such as WordClouds so you can visually see the most used keywords being used.
Pick a Searchable Job Title
When creating a job title, you want to choose something that is simple and concise. Be careful not to use this an opportunity to “sell” your posting or get creative (eg: “Top Performers Wanted!” “Rare Opportunity with Great Company!”) because that makes your posting potentially unsearchable. Don’t title your job ad, “Chief Happiness Officer,” “Fashion Evangelist,” or one of these other ridiculous job titles. To better optimize your title, include the job description with career level or job type (part-time, full-time). Including the acronym to a job title along with writing out the job itself is also important. For example, if you’re hiring for a Registered Nurse, write out “Registered Nurse (RN).” By doing this, you’ll likely catch people who are searching out both of those common phrases.
Keep the job title accurate and concise (anywhere between 5 – 80 characters), and do not write the title in all CAPS. It is also important not to include any special characters unless you are looking for a C# developer. Keeping your job title simple, yet informative will make it easier to read and find.
Optimize Your Job Description
The job description is the meat and potatoes of your posting. A search engine populates the results of listings that have the most relevance, and relevancy begins in the description of your job posting. So how can you accomplish this? Using the results from your keyword research, pick 3 phrases and use those throughout the copy in your description. By using your keywords frequently, your posting will become better optimized and more likely to appear often. It’s also important to note that while you want to be relevant, make sure you don’t over-stuff your description with keywords so frequently that it starts sounding unnatural.
Indeed offers a great resource for writing job descriptions and even offers sample templates.
Make sure to include a strong, opening paragraph to explain the job and company culture. The ideal candidate is busy and doesn’t have time to read every detail of the job description so your opening paragraph needs to stand out and “sell” the candidate on the job early on. Be honest and do not exaggerate or underplay the responsibilities. It is also a good idea to provide an idea of your company culture that might attract applicants. Not only include employee benefits, but also the cultural vibe. For example, does your office allow telecommuting? Does your office have a dress down policy? Mention any benefit that would set your organization apart from your competitors. If you want to see more on this topic see our article on Why Employment Branding is Essential for the Job Recruitment.
Optimizing a job posting can be time-consuming. If you need help with writing one or are not sure which keywords are the best for your posting, you can always consult with your marketing department for optimization help. They’ll be your best resource for helping you craft a searchable and creative job posting.
Recruiting, hiring, and onboarding are the three stages in the path to acquiring a happy, productive employee. At its core, each is about making a connection. A thorough understanding of the psychology of communication is the greatest tool one has in ensuring the success of this process.
How to Recruit
Find Job Candidates
Potential applicants typically fall into one of three groups: active candidates, passive candidates, and current employees. While recruiting tactics differ for each, most candidates are motivated by the same basic needs. However, the avenue for finding each type of candidate will differ.
About 30% of the global workforce is made up of active candidates. These are people who are pounding the pavement (or the keyboard) in search of a new job. They may be unemployed or unsatisfied in their current position. Active candidates are more ‘traditional’ in that they can be found at career fairs and on Internet job boards. They’re checking out careers pages to see what’s available. And they’re highly motivated to find something, often as quickly as possible. Although active candidates are often seen as less desirable than passive candidates, there are plenty of brilliant people out there who are looking for a new career. A layoff or temporary unemployment shouldn’t give hiring managers pause unless there are larger problems.
This type of candidate has been on the rise largely due to social media channels. Social networking has given companies access to the information and professional details of people who aren’t necessarily looking to find a new career. It offers an entirely new area of recruiting, and there are new and different rules for how to recruit these passive candidates. The first step in recruiting a passive candidate is getting that person’s attention. In order to do that, you’ll need to understand the intrinsic motivation of that person. How? By starting a conversation.
Promoting a current employee isn’t typically thought of as “recruiting,” but the same techniques and strategies often apply. A current employee who is happy in his or her position may take some persuading, so the same techniques apply. These candidates can be among the easiest to recruit, and it’s one of the best ways to fill positions. Other employees will see that their colleague’s work has been rewarded, and will be motivated to work harder in pursuit of their own professional goals.
Assess Job Candidates
The usefulness of personality tests for corporate recruiting is hotly debated. While it shouldn’t necessarily be the deciding factor, it can provide advantageous information if a company knows what it is looking for. The best corporate personality test provides insights into the strengths and potential weaknesses of a candidate.
Cultural fit plays a huge role in the success of a new hire. If a candidate doesn’t feel like he or she fits in, it will be difficult to prosper in the position. Corporate culture doesn’t happen by chance. It has to be defined by stakeholders and promoted internally and externally. Potential applicants will judge a company based on the culture it portrays, which is why a clear and appealing brand persona is a must.
Hiring managers should be aware of any propensity they have for unconscious bias in hiring. Bias is an inescapable part of being human; everyone harbors some kind of bias. Recruiters and managers need to know about any bias they are particularly susceptible to, so that they can avoid flawed logic when assessing candidates.
How to Hire
Know the Market
The job market has changed dramatically over the past twenty years. Corporations no longer hold all of the cards. Instead of remaining lifelong employees, Millennials change jobs frequently, often in as little as two to five years. Employers have to sell themselves just as much as candidates do. The key to a successful sales pitch lies in knowing one’s audience.
Know the Candidates
So what, exactly, are today’s job candidates looking for? There are dozens of articles out there covering the broad strokes. Employees want to work for companies that care about work-life balance, that are giving back to society, and that share similar values. There are also basic needs the recruitment process must meet. Will the candidate make enough money to live nearby? What kind of job security is offered? Once these essentials are guaranteed, recruiters must figure out how to recruit a candidate based on that person’s unique goals.
The hiring process should be a dialogue. The company and the potential new hire are each seeking something out of the relationship. Want to know how to get a candidate to accept a job offer? Make sure the offer is tailored to what that person wants from a career. The only way to discover that is to ask!
Know the Needs
It can be tempting to cram an incredible person into a role that just isn’t the right fit. That’s not to say that a brilliant person shouldn’t be snatched up when one is encountered. However, that person may need flexibility within the role to exercise his or her brilliance.
By the same token, companies often tend go overboard on their lists of ‘requirements’ when writing a job posting. This can discourage wonderful candidates who may be perfectly qualified for the position. Assess the needs of the position with a critical eye and determine which qualities contribute to success. Does the receptionist really need a college degree, or is an outgoing, people-pleasing personality more of a priority? Be realistic and open to candidates who don’t precisely fit the profile to find those diamonds in the rough.
How to Onboard
Onboarding is an ongoing process. But those first few weeks are key to successfully integrate a new hire into a company. Onboarding new employees is a group effort. A new hire is taking on not just different job duties, but finding his or her place within a small group. “Office politics” aren’t optional, as much as one might wish them to be. Instead of fighting it, companies should teach new employees the informal norms as well as the written rules.
Mentoring programs, lunch and learns, and socialization opportunities are critical to help new hires find their niche within the larger spheres of their departments and the company as a whole. Onboarding can start well before the first day of work. Onboarding software takes care of the paperwork, signatures, and information dissemination so that the new hire can get going from day one.
Like corporate culture, onboarding is going to happen whether it’s intentional or not. Companies need to control and formalize the onboarding process so they can help new hires succeed. When a company develops strategies around how to recruit, hire, and onboard a new employee, the processes should be seamless and cohesive. The trick is to retain the human element. Human resources and hiring managers are not going to be automated anytime soon. Give each applicant a chance to stand on his or her own merits, tailor an offer to the individual’s needs, and check in frequently for a successful onboarding experience.
Ten Tips to Succeed
- Sell the Company. Applicants have options. What’s the unique selling proposition? And how does it match the needs of the applicant?
- Try Multiple Avenues. Superstars can be found on LinkedIn, at career fairs, and in the office.
- Use Data. A flooded inbox is overwhelming. Online applications, pre-screener questionnaires, and resume keywords can score and rank and unqualified candidates. An applicant tracking system does much of this automatically.
- Stay in Touch. Communication is key. (Did we say that already?). Stay in touch with past applicants. Respond to current applicants to keep them abreast of what’s happening. Thank applicants for their time.
- Avoid Bias. Bias takes many forms. Recruiters need to be aware of their own.
- Don’t Underestimate Active Candidates. Motivated, interested applicants take time to reach out to the company. That’s worth a second look.
- Communicate. Candidates shouldn’t slip by just because they aren’t getting what they way. Encourage applicants to talk about what works (and doesn’t work) for them.
- Analyze Needs. Know what the company wants before listing the job. Job postings overloaded with must-haves rule out candidates who may be perfect.
- Promote Corporate Culture. Company values can be a determining factor in whether or not someone applies for or accepts a job. It can persuade someone to accept an offer. And it sets the stage for successful (or unsuccessful) onboarding.
- Stay Engaged. New hires need nurturing. Check in regularly with the employee, manager, and colleagues to ensure that everything is going well.
- Following these simple tips can make a difficult situation easier all around. The power dynamic isn’t easily navigated, but mutual respect (and communication!) can lead to happier outcomes.
Are you creating effective job postings? If you find yourself looking through dozens of unqualified candidates, the problem might be with the way you’re advertising your openings. To understand how to write a listing that will attract the candidates you want, we have to get back to the basics. Just what is a job posting? And what kind of information do you need to include?
What a Job Posting Should NOT Be
A job posting should not be a copied and pasted job description. Most job descriptions are hundreds of words long. Your potential candidates are going to be scrolling through to find the relevant information. If a requirement is buried deep in your job listing, they might not see it. On the other hand, you can’t just snatch a few brief, vague lines from the job summary and expect to get high-quality candidates. Your professional time is limited, but if you don’t “pay now” by writing a great job posting, you’ll pay later when you have to read and respond to those unqualified applicants.
Components of a Job Posting
What is a job posting? Every good job posting contains certain elements. Here’s what you have to include.
This may be one of the trickier parts of creating your job posting. It’s the first thing the job seeker sees, and often what entices him or her to click on your ad. You need to accurately describe the job, using words that someone might type into the job board search engine. Don’t title your job ad, “Chief Happiness Officer,” “Fashion Evangelist,” or one of these other ridiculous job titles. If you’re looking for a marketing manager, the words “marketing manager” should appear at least somewhere in your job title. Your job title should also indicate what level you are looking for — senior, associate, entry level, lead, etc.
But you want to stand out from the thousands of other “marketing manager” postings out there. After all, what is a job posting but an advertisement? Add something special to your job title. What makes this job stand out from its competitors? Think about your USP – unique selling point – and include that in your job title. Here are some examples:
- Entry Level Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 Company
- Top-Paid Senior Marketing Manager for Century-Old Company
- Entry Level Marketing Manager Position with Advancement Opportunities
- Start-Up Needs a Lead Marketing Manager Ready to Take the Reins
- Want to Work in the Heart of Boston? We Need a Head Marketing Manager!
Each of these job titles incorporates at least one important selling feature, whether it’s prestige, salary, security, career path, autonomy, or location.
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list of duties your prospective employee is expected to perform. That’s what the job description is for. Instead, choose three to five of the most important and most challenging types of tasks your employee will undertake. Make broad strokes rather than emphasizing specific duties. For example, a receptionist is expected to “act as a professional, friendly representative who serves as the first contact point for our customers, greeting everyone in a friendly manner and ensuring each client is taken care of.” That’s more descriptive (and a much more interesting job!) than “answer the phone and make appointments.”
Remember, you’re selling yourself here. Skip the boring responsibilities and focus on what makes this job special. Think about a real estate advertisement. It doesn’t mention things like “toilet included” or “every room has a floor” or “the front door has a window.” It focuses on the things that will really impress! Everyone knows a receptionist is going to answer the phone and make appointments. When you have limited space and your candidates have a limited attention span, you’ve got to really wow them.
If you have requirements, state them explicitly and without any doubt. Say something like, “In order to be considered for this position, you must meet the following minimum qualifications.” That will be more likely to discourage an unqualified candidate than language like “the ideal candidate will have experience with…” In the latter case, an applicant might think, “Well, I’m not the ideal candidate, but I’m still a good one!”
Clearly delineate your needs versus your desires. Separate the must haves from the nice-to-haves. You need to be very obvious about what will and won’t work for you. Otherwise, you’re going to waste the candidate’s time as well as your own.
Add any extra details that make your job stand apart from others. Today’s marketplace is global; don’t neglect to mention your location! Be specific here. Everyone wants a shorter commute! Here are some additional points you may want to mention:
- PTO policy
- Work-from-home policy
- Corporate culture
- Educational opportunities
- Interesting projects your company has been involved with
- Other benefits and perks
Make Your Elevator Pitch
So what is a job posting, in short? It’s your elevator pitch. It’s a quick, to-the-point summary of the best things about your company and this position. It describes why your company is a great place to work and who will be successful in the job. You don’t have to include every last detail. Focus on primary responsibilities and the must-have credentials and experience. Use bullet points to avoid long, intimidating blocks of text. Make sure your job posting is concise, interesting, and informative.
Before you post your job, ask someone else to take a look at it. A fresh pair of eyes can help you identify weaknesses you may not have noticed. What would you think if you were looking at this position? Would it inspire you to apply, or would you simply pass it by?
With the recent acquisition of ApplicantStack, we are updating our logo to match the SwipeClock branding. We are excited to unveil our new logo!
We will now be a part of the WorkforceHUB suite:
WorkforceHUB is a one-stop source for payroll and HR related information. Employees get the information they need through a single portal, saving time and reducing errors or miscommunication.
The portal includes core HR workflows, employee engagement tools, payroll records and easy connection to third-party apps. TimeWorksPlus and TimeSimplicity come plugged into the hub, complete with all their timekeeping and scheduling capability. Employees access the portal via smartphones, tablets or other web-connected devices.
Manage Your Workforce Easier Than Ever
Punch tracking, job costing, break enforcement, time-off requests, time card approvals and accruals. All TimeWorksPlus features included.
Build schedules based on business need, skills required, labor law constraints, employee preferences and much more. Manage multiple shifts with ease. All TimeSimplicity features included.
Bi-Directional Payroll Integration (select platforms)
Give employees easy access to pay stubs, 1099s, direct deposit receipts and W2s. Empower them to update tax details (W4) and personal information.
Simplify the new hire experience. Step employees through activation, benefits, handbook review and more. Ensure timely and accurate completion of all tasks.
Streamline benefits renewal and change processes. Provide cost analysis, selected benefits, and benefits summary confirmation. Step employees through enrollment including electronic signature.
Add structure to the review process. Create your own questions and track responses. Attach employee and manager review documents. Drive the process to completion.
Easily build workflows for any common task. Automate processes that require acknowledgment to ensure compliance.
Create and display alerts within the portal. Use templates for common alerts. Set triggers by recipient type or hire date. Build custom fields such as next review date. Copy the manager.
Publish a company directory and announcements, birthday list, recognition wall and more. Enable an anonymous suggestion box. Provide a document and link library, and require read receipts for key items such as the employee handbook.
LEARN HOW SWIPECLOCK CAN HELP YOU
See why more than 30,000+ employers manage their teams with our products.
Click here to learn more.
For more information about the SwipeClock acquisition, click here to learn more about the acquisition.
If your recruitment metrics have taken a dive recently, you may want to consider investing in recruiting software like an applicant tracking system. But don’t take our word for it! Independent research has found that technology can significantly improve key performance indicators (KPIs) like cost-per-hire, time-to-fill, and quality of hire. In one survey, 89% of recruiters said that recruiting technology was either “extremely” or “very” important for performing their jobs well.
Reasons Why Companies Don’t Adopt Recruitment Technology
(Source: Software Advice survey)
So what’s the holdup? Why haven’t some companies gotten on board? Don’t let cost be a deterrent. Recruiting software can save you far more money than it costs by lowering your cost-per-hire and time-to-fill, increasing quality of hire, and improving other recruitment metrics. Here are three ways an applicant tracking system can help you hit your recruitment metrics this year.
A good applicant tracking software is easy to learn and intuitive to use. Some companies worry that they will lose time and productivity as they switch from paper to software. But the long-term benefits of modernizing will surely outweigh the costs of any ramp-up time. The aforementioned report found that 95% of recruiters were able to learn the software with minimal difficulty. One of the major benefits of recruiting technology is a decrease in the amount of time it takes to fill positions. By filling positions faster, the company benefits from the productivity of a larger team right away.
Hire More Easily
You don’t have to be a technology guru to use recruiting software. Aside from quick implementation (especially by cloud-based providers), applicant tracking software is designed to make recruiting easy. You can directly post and promote advertisements to multiple job boards and career search sites with a single click. You can set up templates and automatic email triggers. Hiring managers have a place to collaborate, and candidate information is located in a single repository. An applicant tracking system will streamline and organize the recruiting process.
If you’re currently using a recruiting software and it’s causing you headaches, it’s time to choose another one. Most recruiting software companies offer a free trial so you can get a feel for the system before you buy.
Budgeting is critical in business, especially as you’re growing. Some SMBs feel recruiting software isn’t affordable or worth the cost. They stick with a homemade or manual process and miss out on the savings technology offers. The hard truth is that a manual process costs you time, money, and resources. In the long run, you’ll spend more to hire additional staff to take on the work overload and make up for an inefficient process. As your HR department works harder on tasks that could be automated, key recruitment metrics suffer, inadvertently affecting the quality of your new hires. A good recruiting software system enables individuals to streamline the recruiting process, so fewer people are needed to do the work. A recruitment management system is one tool you can use to boost your ROI and your key performance indicators.
Are you having trouble hitting your recruitment metrics? Consider signing up for a free trial of a recruitment management system like ApplicantStack. Not sure how your KPIs look? An applicant tracking software helps with that, too. It automatically tracks and reports your recruiting metrics, so you can see exactly how far you’ve come.
ApplicantStack joins forces with SwipeClock to provide the best HR labor management solutions for SMBs across the country
Cary, NC, Release Date: January 15, 2019.
ApplicantStack has been acquired by workforce management software company, SwipeClock (https://www3.swipeclock.com/) and will be joining their workforce management solution portfolio. SwipeClock provides HR labor management solutions including time & attendance, scheduling and employee self-service software. The addition of ApplicantStack will give them a best-in-class applicant tracking and onboarding solution to add to their product suite.
“We’re excited to join SwipeClock’s family of premier HR solutions for small and medium-sized businesses,” stated Nathan Shackles, CEO of ApplicantStack. “Joining SwipeClock will enable us to further enhance our ApplicantStack Recruit and Onboard products while also providing our customers access to an integrated set of HR labor management solutions.”
ApplicantStack will continue to operate as a division of SwipeClock with the same products and level of service it has in the past. ApplicantStack’s products and services will continue uninterrupted.
“Applicant tracking and timekeeping are among the most compelling requirements for small businesses,” said Coleman Barney, SwipeClock CEO. “The acquisition brings together two extraordinarily complementary products that our partners and their customers can start using right away. This is a natural fit with our strategy to extend and expand our solution with other HR services of value to small and medium businesses.”
ApplicantStack: the affordable, easy-to-use, full-featured recruiting and onboarding system trusted by 2,500+ companies since 2009 to automate and streamline their recruiting and onboarding process.
We spent our careers in human resources, bogged down with paperwork and craving more time and resources. Our goal is to provide organizations the tool we always wish we had. We created ApplicantStack, a simple, gets-the-job-done software that has everything you need and nothing you don’t. It’s not another thing to manage, but the tool that helps you manage your day.
To learn more please visit: https://www.applicantstack.com/
SwipeClock is a leader in simple and affordable workforce management services. Our more than 1,000 partners have empowered more than 30,000 businesses to reduce labor costs, comply with regulatory mandates, and maximize profits. SwipeClock cloud products (WorkforceHUB, TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity) and hardware clocks (TimeWorksTouch, TimeWorksTUFF and others) provide instant employee access to automated timekeeping, scheduling, leave management, HR dashboards, and other HR resources. With SwipeClock, employers transform labor from a cost of doing business to a competitive advantage.
To learn more please visit: www.swipeclock.com.