Close

Sign up to get the latest news and stories on the future of work.

Subscribe Search

Search form

When launching a new product, digital marketers follow the evidence. They measure everything, reach out to customers and prospects and test messaging, qualitatively and quantitively. They live on a steady diet of A/B testing. Then, based on feedback, they tweak their messaging and alter their offerings quickly. This agile response is exactly what's needed to compete for consumers' attention today.

Compare this process to how HR markets open positions to job seekers.

Even a simple task like posting a job gets mired in requisitions, assumptions and lengthy approval processes. And once that job posting is approved, it's set in stone until an offer is made. What's more, communication with the target audience (job seekers) is a one-way street. Recruiters seldom give candidates the opportunity to offer their feedback on the application process, regardless of whether or not they're hired.

But what if you emulated a marketer's test-driven mindset and approached job listings as an ongoing, evolving experiment that delivers actionable data and facilitates a two-way conversation with the target audience? I predict you'd not only get many more qualified applicants, but also create a process that informs your recruiting strategy with valuable data and insight. Here's how to step into a marketer's shoes and use testing to strengthen your job listings.

Try Different Versions of the Same Thing

To marketers, landing pages aren't final products. They are dynamic templates, living in continuous development. Marketers post an offer, evaluate the response, modify the design and adjust the messaging until they get the quantity and quality response they want. Digital marketers post different versions of the same pages at different times or use different versions at the same time on different sites. You must do the same.

Try multiple versions of every job listing. One job listing might emphasize the company culture as the magnet to attract more top talent. Another version may focus on pay and benefits. A third could include an option to chat, play a game, or interact with a video. Don't be afraid to experiment: Tell a story. Add a video. Uses images. Identify job titles that job seekers using a free keyword volume search tool, and see how your title can reflect the trends that emerge.

Most importantly, learn what works (and doesn't work) by asking questions and lots of them: How many candidates viewed my listing? How many clicked "apply" and then completed the application? How many applicants met my minimum qualifications? What was the best source for these qualified candidates? When a campaign fails to attract enough qualified candidates, recruiters, hiring managers and management alike should be diving into the analytics, getting candidate feedback and making adjustments on the fly.

Ask Job Seekers For Input

Your applicants are a goldmine when it comes to insight into the effectiveness of your recruiting process, so create a two-way conversation with them. Candidate feedback offers you an opportunity to engage with the candidate immediately, build your brand and improve your hiring process with instant feedback.

Hopefully you're already contacting each applicant to confirm receipt of his or her completed application. (If not, shame on you. Stop “ghosting" your applicants!) That confirmation email is the perfect opportunity to invite candidates to complete a quick survey. How many candidates opened the email? How many completed the survey? Why didn't more respond? Each interaction (or lack of engagement) is important in this dynamic digital age. Do what it takes to continue the conversation. You might even consider offering a small reward, such as an e-book you've created offering interview or job search tips.

Adapt to a New Generation of Search

In addition to desktop- and mobile-based search, recruiters now also have to think about voice-activated search. When a candidates asks Alexa (or Siri, Google, Cortana) “Who is hiring engineers near me?" will your job listing be selected for that coveted first result position, also known as “position zero?"

In the world where a shrinking labor pool is converging with the adoption of voice-search, a lot of non-HR related factors such as page speedmobile responsiveness,domain authority and even readability count when it comes to job listing position. The verdict is still out on which factors might influence voice search rankings the most. But the shift to voice-driven search has begun, and the winners will be those companies that continuously test and adapt.

The word "done" doesn't make sense anymore when it comes to writing job descriptions and finessing recruiting strategy. Digital marketers live in a world of continuous testing, making and adjusting strategy, interpreting data, and testing again. HR and recruiters need to do the same.

Photo: Creative Commons