How to convert more candidates on your career page

Mar 01, 2018 - Joe Matar
And if I’m not here when you get back it’s likely because I’m drinking a hoppy, fruity, bitter IPA from a local D.C. area craft brewery called Aslin Beer Company (and yes, I am writing this in the evening, so the beer drinking is slightly more acceptable right now than while I am at work). Okay, you’re back. And I’m back. Sadly, I’m sans beer in my hand. But it’s close by and the piney, fruity aroma is percolating around my nose. So let’s get to it so I can get back at it. Did you find the number? If not, I highly recommend you start tracking this number. I’ll get into why in a second. And if you already do track this number, awesome. To give you some context of where you stand compared to others, Jobvite conducted a study where they analyzed millions of career site visitors and applications and they found that 8.6% of career site visitors turned into applicants. Interesting...But let's dig in deeper.

Invest in low hanging candidates

So first, why is this number so important? Well, I think this number is an indicator of how well you are taking advantage of the warm candidates on your career site. We all know how hard it can be to find talent these days. It’s a topic that has been written about ad nauseam. The phenomenon is so ubiquitous that it even has its own name: war for talent. I’ve certainly used it frequently. Just go check out my last three blog posts and you’ll find the phrase peppered throughout (how’s that for a shameless plug?): Where does chat software fit in your talent acquisition technology stack Your recruiting process is broken and costing you great talent What is a chat event? And because it’s used so often, I decided to abbreviate it in the remainder of this post as ‘wft.’ Just don’t get it confused with ‘wtf.’ Although the one can lead you to wanna scream the other. So the wft has made it increasingly difficult to find candidates. As talent acquisition professionals, we are all investing in marketing and networking and career fairs to find top talent. Which we shouldn’t stop doing. But we should re-asses and re-prioritize where we are spending our time and resources because the visitors on our site are warm candidates ready for us to connect and engage with. It’s a bunch of candidates that are knocking on your door looking to continue the conversation. It’s low hanging fruit. And unfortunately, in many cases, the only way we know how to answer the door is with a call to action to apply. Apply. Apply. Apply. It’s more ubiquitous than the use of the phrase war for talent in my posts. So here are a few ways to reverse this trend and get more conversions on your career site.

Provide candidates with options

Sometimes my section titles are so good I don’t even feel like I need to say much more. But I will because I want to give you some examples. It’s important to realize that every candidate on your career site didn’t come their the same way, with the same perspective and background or with the same goal in mind. So you have to provide each of these distinct cohorts with the thing they are looking for. The challenge is knowing what to provide and to whom. But as a savvy talent acquisition professional, I’m sure you’ve done research on your candidates. You know in interviews what questions candidates are asking. You talk to your hiring managers and find out what conversations they are having with candidates. And you are pouring through your career site analytics to see where candidates are coming from so you can be as targeted yet comprehensive as possible with the content that lives on your career site. And speaking of the content that lives on your career site, may I suggest starting with answering candidate questions?

Answer candidate questions...in real time.

So you have all this knowledge about your candidates. Now what? Well, some candidates may have questions they want answered before they consider applying. This information should make its way on your career site in the form of FAQs or employee stories. This content is great. But a static website can never answer every candidate question. One way to provide this resource for visitors is through chat software which allows a recruiter to connect and engage with a candidate in real time or at a scheduled time so that candidates get all their questions answered. In addition to providing an awesome candidate experience for the candidate, you also benefit from collecting candidate information like an email which can be used to nurture the candidate later on down the road.

Exchange information for content

Another way to convert site traffic is to provide candidates with valuable content in exchange for an email address. Just as a marketer promises its audience kickass content in exchange for an email (psst, don’t forget to fill out the form below to keep getting our kickass content. Sorry, another shameless plug) so should recruiters. This could be anything from additional information on the application process to general information on how to find the right job.

The fear of the unknown

You want to know one of our biggest fears? It’s the fear of the unknown. And if your ultimate goal is to get a candidate to apply on your site but you don’t paint a really detailed picture of what happens once they start the application process (I mean like Rembrandt level of detail) then it can leave many candidates paralyzed out of the fear of the unknown. So describe your application process. How long will it take? How many questions will they need to answer? And what happens next? And how long will that take? Oh, and while you have their attention, consider describing the interview process. In that same Rembrandt style you’ve gotten so good at.

Get into the mind of your visitors

I think all of these ideas culminate into one core concept: get into the mind of your visitors. And from there you must provide different paths for different visitors depending on their needs. By doing so, you’ll likely be able to increase your career site conversion rate and take advantage of more of those warm leads engaging with your digital ecosystem.

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