9 Ways to Optimize Your Job Posting

July 17, 2017 Leigh Margaret Stull, CareerBuilder VP Product Development

With today’s rapidly changing search and recommendation engine technology, the rules for optimizing your job postings have also changed.

The general philosophy around job advertising has drastically shifted in the past few years to focus more on the job seeker’s needs – and less on the advertiser’s. This matters because search and recommendation engines are no longer optimized strictly around picking up keywords and promoting the highest bidder. Only a short time ago, postings that contained the same keywords over and over again outperformed less repetitive postings. Today, technology has evolved to detect these tactics (considered keyword stuffing) and rank the job posting lower or, in some cases, suppress it completely.

In short, job postings are the same as any other online content: High quality will outperform poor quality at every opportunity.

So, what do you need to know when advertising in today’s environment? What does quality content mean? Here are nine tips to help reset your job advertising strategy – and win the best candidates.

1. Normalize Job Titles
When selecting a job title for your posting, consider what a typical job seeker would most likely enter. For example, “foodie extraordinaire” sounds exciting for a food service job, but it is not a common keyword term a job seeker would enter. Many companies tend to lean on titles that have an internal meaning but aren’t commonly associated with the actual job, or think using a more creative title will help them stand out. Instead, pick words and use language in the title and description most likely used by the job seekers you’re targeting.

2. Avoid Duplicate Postings
If your recruiting strategy includes duplicate postings of the same position your results will suffer. You might think posting the same job 20 times in each city and varying the job title slightly increases your exposure, but it really just comes across as spamming job seekers. Search and recommendation engines are quickly evolving to catch this type of duplicate content in spam filters. If you’re flagged as a common marketplace spammer, it could affect more than just this specific job posting—it could also hurt the advertising exposure for other jobs related to your company name and brand.

3. Include Salary Information
Job seekers commonly filter by salary to show only the results that include salary information. Additionally, search engines have evolved to detect this specific field. As a result, the postings that contain salary information will get higher ranking and visibility over those that don’t.

4. Add Your Street Address
Job seekers increasingly want to know a company’s physical address before viewing the posting. The click-through rate for listings with addresses is higher, and job seekers filter out listings that don’t contain this information. Companies that list the general metro area or city only are at a disadvantage.

Additionally, with the launch of commute-based search coming to CareerBuilder in the next few months, companies without a specific address will be less likely to show up in the result set at all.

5. Simplify Your Apply Path
More than 80 percent of the applies a job receives come from job seekers who have already joined the CareerBuilder marketplace as a registered user. This means in addition to exposure through online search engines, we’re promoting jobs advertised on CareerBuilder to our existing active job seeker network through search and recommendation technology.

And of those registered job seekers who make up 80 percent of a posting’s application volume, over 50 percent are strictly using a mobile device. The majority will not complete long external application paths and may go so far as to filter out jobs that aren’t available for quick apply. Keep in mind these candidates are accustomed to other one-click marketplaces such as Amazon. Your internal compliance-focused application path is hurting your applicant volume – and your brand.

Jobs with long, complicated application paths also receive less promotion through search and recommendation technology because users don’t prefer this content. Instead, try to push through those obstacles and discover a better way to obtain that candidate information post-apply.

6. Avoid Screener Questions  

If you use screener questions in your internal apply path, you’ll get a 70 percent drop-off rate and your content exposure through online search engines will eventually be impacted. Because job seekers prefer postings without screeners, jobs containing screeners will be ranked lower than jobs without. Find a way to engage and ask those questions after you have the applicant within your applicant tracking system.   

7. Don’t Rely on Company Name 
Search engines aren’t necessarily optimized around company name because job seekers don’t typically search that way. Job seekers search by occupational keyword plus location, keyword only (location blank), and often by location alone (leaving the keyword blank). Of the top 99 percent of keywords entered by job seekers, company name alone is not common.  And for job seekers who do utilize a specific company name in a search query, many top search engines will make relevancy associations based on the job seeker’s intent, displaying common associated jobs by type and not necessarily showing only a listing of jobs for that specific company. 

8. Consider Your Company’s Reputation
If your company's reputation is poor, has a low BBB rating and your jobs are not perceived to be legitimate, your exposure will suffer. Technology is quickly progressing to flag, catch and suppress these types of advertisements.

9. Prioritize Post-Apply Re-engagement
In this new world, post-apply re-engagement is more critical than ever. To avoid damaging your upper funnel exposure, many of your traditional processes must change in order to remove friction from the job seeker’s path to get them into your ATS. This means your post-apply strategy to re-engage and obtain the needed filtering on candidates is more critical than ever. More strategic email workflows around specific positions, next steps and candidate attributes are required in order to minimize the impact on the recruiter filtering through the flood of candidates and put forth a positive impression to the candidate.

Some of these best practices might require buy-in from other departments or just a larger conversation. Including salary information in a posting might be tough for some decision-makers to swallow. However, you can implement them piecemeal or all at once. Every best practice you put into place increases your chances of attracting job seekers, helping your company’s image and filling that open position.

Get even more tips for writing a powerful job posting. 

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