hr manager maximizing their job board strategy

How to Maximize Your Job Board Strategy

Are you getting fewer applicants from job boards?

The country is opening back up and we're finding that applicant flow is not what we thought it was going to be.

Look, almost every employer is struggling with applicant flow right now. They're seeing fewer applicants than normal from job boards.

Job boards look different now than they did before COVID.

Guide to Job Board Bidding

Optimize your job board strategy to ensure you're outbidding your competitor's top talent

The look, feel, and the way things are structured appear a bit different. Most folks are worried about what this all means... specifically, how they should respond to it.

It's easy to blame the economy, the government, or COVID... but things opening back up is a mad rush for talent.

What is the largest issue here?

The entire labor marketplace has shifted. All of the struggles I mentioned before are symptoms of the bigger problem that's been going on during the last year.

  • Employer's demands have changed.
  • Job seeker's desires have changed.
  • And, the demand for job seekers has changed.

Most of this evolution was coming along before COVID. But, It appears COVID has sped things up! So much has changed so quickly. A lot of it may have happened without you seeing or knowing it occurred so maybe you're feeling a bit out of the loop here.

The marketplace for talent has become more complex. It's not as simple as it used to be. Employers and HR professionals are going to have to become more sophisticated when it comes to job boards and sourcing. Especially if they want to be able to understand and respond to these changes.

Job boards today are not like job boards of the last decade.

The old job boards came from the world of the newspapers. Newspapers would rank a job through categories, starting with the alphabet. It was under the "Help Wanted" ad and all posted on the same date.

Along came the internet. The internet provided two main things...

  • These "Help Wanted" ads could be posted in real-time. Meaning the open jobs did not all come out at the same time.
  • The ability for an almost unlimited amount of content in the ad box.

This changed the way the job boards displayed the jobs. It started with categories and locations... similar to the way Craigslist looks today.

We then progressed into the world of search-based job boards.

What happened to the evolution of the internet-based job search?

Improving the results was no longer simply about refreshing your post over and over again, like on Craigslist. When the list is organized by the date it is posted, then it is simple... repost the job and it moves to the top of the list.

Job boards now use sophisticated algorithms to decide what jobs to show based on the keywords in the ad.

We no longer have this simple, shared categorization that forced employers and job seekers to speak the same language.

Job boards nowadays utilize keyword relevance and ranking.

Rather than forced categorization, we rely on the algorithm to match job seeker's keyword searches with jobs that are relevant to their search. This has become very robust and sophisticated in order to make sure the job seekers don't see jobs that don't fit them.

To make things even more complicated, free and paid ads are mixed together in any given search. It's not just the paid ads at the top and the free ads at the bottom. They don't put a certain number of free ads per page... they're all mixed in now. And, to be honest, it's actually almost impossible to tell which ones are free and which ones are paid on a lot of job boards.

There are also different ways for the job seeker to apply, now. Whether the job seeker is staying on the job board or going to a third-party career site through their applicant tracking systems.

It is a blessing AND a curse.

It's a curse because It's not as simple as posting and praying anymore. You might be seeing a decline in applicant flow, not because of the economy... but because you haven't kept up with those changes.

It's a blessing because employers can learn how to optimize their results in their ads to get better results. These types of techniques tend to lend themselves to smaller, more agile employers... which allows for some leveling of the playing field.

Simply put, it's worth figuring out.

70% of all applicant flow comes from the job boards.

But, the average employer is only seeing one out of every 100 interested job seekers.

99% of all the people who are interested, never actually end up in your inbox and therefore never get screened or interviewed by you.

There's a huge amount of potential to improve your applicant flow.

Employers who follow this approach will receive a 50 to 300% increase in applicant flow by making some of the changes I'm going to outline.

If all you do is throw money at this without understanding how it works... it may increase your applicant flow but you will be overpaying for the applicants you get by not optimizing the structure.

So let's start this with an analogy so that we can get on the same page...

Job boards are like a massive auction... think eBay.

Job seekers are the eyes, and employers are bidding to get their jobs seen by the job seekers.

The really aggressive employers are getting creative with different techniques. They want to enable job seekers to engage with their ad and convert into an applicant. In order for you to find success in the auction for talent...

You need to analyze your chances of actually winning.

Step one... Identify the supply for job seekers. How many available job seekers are searching in your area?

Step two... Identify the demand for job seekers. How many employers are out there trying to engage the same job seekers?

Step three... Identify how you line up against your competitors. How aggressive are other employers? Do you currently compete in an area with lots of applicants and few employers trying to hire them? Do you live in a place with a low supply of talent, a high demand for talent, and very aggressive employers chasing that talent?

Next, you need to know how to bid.

Step four... Become the highest bidder. This isn't just about money, sponsoring a job, or increasing the pay of the job. Although those things can play their part, there are more important steps to ensure your ad is even in the running.

If your job isn't on the job board, you're not even showing up to the auction and frankly...the rest of this won't matter.

Now, I want you to think about your bid as a combination of a bunch of different variables. Run through each of these variables and give yourself a point if these not only apply to you but also are included in your job ad...

How do you rank against your competitors?

    Keywords... Are you using the right keywords that job seekers are searching for?

    Brand Recognition... Will job seekers find you in the marketplace and know who you are?

    Employee reviews... Do you have a lot of 5-star reviews? Or do you have few reviews, with an overall low ranking?

    Flair... Do you have any flair on your job ads? These are the little tags that job boards put on your job ad. These include things like "easy apply", "responsive employer'', and "urgently hiring".

What's your job offer?

    Job title... Does your job title make sense to the people that you want to engage?

    Pay... Does your ad list an accurate pay range? How does it compare to other jobs in the marketplace?

    Benefits/perks... How does your offer compare to everybody else bidding for these job seekers?

    Location... Do you offer partial or flexible work from home?

    Schedule... Do you offer any type of flexibility within their schedule?

What type of ad are you running?

    Job ad... Is this a job description that's all about you, the employer? Or is it an ad that's focused on the job seeker?

    Transparency... Do you provide specifics about your benefits, perks, and pay?

    Differentiation... Do you highlight how your company, culture, and values are different from everybody else?

    Tone... Is your ad written with a positive and upbeat tone? Is it written in a tone that portrays your company culture? Or, does it sound like a lawyer wrote it?

    Answers... Does your ad answer the job seekers' questions?

    Call to action... Does your ad have a solid call to action? Does it tell them what to do, how to do it, how long it will take, and what the next step in the hiring process will look like?

Each of these things is a point if they apply to you. You might be thinking, "Oh, yes, we check all these boxes!" Remember, this is an analysis purely from your ad on the job boards, not what you talk about in the interview.

Often we create great cultures, benefits, and perks, but we don't actually tell people about them. Or, they're not specific enough in the ad to actually count toward our bid.

Now it's time to tell you how to improve things...

Understand that this is a competition.

You HAVE to be proactive. Rank yourself against your competitors, low, medium, high, and crazy....

    How competitive is it for the type of talent you're after in your area?

    Is there a lack of supply, an overabundance of demand, or a little bit of both?

    How aggressive is your company's job board strategy compared to your competitors?

How do you stand against your competitors? This will tell you how much work you've got to do to respond to the competition.

Now take that list from above and compare your job offer and your ad to the ones of your competitors. Remember, we are only grading what a job seeker would see on the job board, not what you know in your head, or what you tell them in an interview.

Download The Guide to Job Board Bidding.

Go through the entire list and rank yourself. Pick two or three competitors and compare yourself to see how you measure up.

The goal is to figure out how far off you are from your competition.

If you're above average... you probably wouldn't be reading this right now.

If you're average... start proactively improving before your competitors do!

If you're falling way behind the competition... You might not survive. You need to take immediate action to maximize your results from job boards.

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Optimize your Job Board Strategy!

Ensure you're outbidding your competitors for top talent with our guide to job board bidding!

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