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Work in Progress

The New Sheriff in Town: Google Jobs

Work in Progress columnist Kris Dunn advises companies that find the recruitment marketing world has passed them by in the Google for Jobs era.

If you follow the recruiting space, you likely would agree that three trends have dominated the recruitment marketing landscape in the past five to 10 years.

LinkedIn has become the candidate database of choice for recruiters, Glassdoor has forced HR and recruiting leaders to acknowledge the importance of company reputation via aggregation of anonymous ratings, and Indeed has parlayed the power of jobs SEO/search into a dominant business model.

But the more things change, the more they stay the same. Those market positions/origins converge as each of those recruitment-marketing vendors has sought to monetize their business model.

Translation: LinkedIn, Glassdoor and Indeed all sell job postings as a primary driver of revenue. Some have found that embedding job postings in bundled offerings is the only way to fully monetize the features that made them famous (LinkedIn, Glassdoor), and one has fully redefined what a job posting is by owning candidate search and making you pay for preferred placement to access candidate attention (Indeed).

But each of the business models is reliant on and subject to one important behavioral trend: Candidates aren’t using job boards as a starting point for job search, they’re just typing the name of a company in a web browser (or conducting a search like “jobs in 30328”), and away they go.

That reality built Indeed into the powerhouse it is today. But there’s a new sheriff in town — Google for Jobs.

Google for Jobs can be described as a new search results feature when you use Google for search.  The feature is simple: For searches with “clear intent” (e.g., “head of HR jobs in Chicago” or “entry-level jobs in Boise”), Google shows a formatted preview of job listings scraped from various sources under a generic tag, “jobs.”

Google for Jobs currently includes job postings from sources like LinkedIn, CareerBuilder and Glassdoor, but also job postings hosted on a company’s own website — if the bots like the formatting of your careers site.

Google for Jobs doesn’t include listings for Indeed. And that should make you blink as an HR/talent/recruiting leader.

The Google for Jobs search results serve to push organic listings at your company on Indeed, Glassdoor and other providers to what is known as “below the fold” status on their screen. That means candidates must scroll to find some of the results from the providers you currently pay to drive traffic to your jobs. That’s potentially a big problem.

What’s an HR/recruiting leader to do? Here’s my advice to avoid waking up one day and finding the recruitment marketing world has passed you by in the Google for Jobs era:

  1. Understand your current recruitment marketing spend. You’ve likely spread your budget across multiple partners, and that’s good. Understanding the allocation will allow you to sense where you have the most risk if performance changes at any source of traffic.
  2. Pledge to experiment with 10 percent of that spend. Whether your budget is $10,000 or $1 million, you should always reserve a tenth of your spend to experiment with new sources of traffic or hires. Unfortunately, there’s not a way to pay for listings in Google for Jobs — it’s aggregation of other sources now, although that could change over time.
  3. Maximize your career site jobs postings for Google for Jobs. There’s technical documentation that shows you how to format your career site job postings to maximize your company’s inclusion in the Google for Jobs ecosystem.  Find someone to partner with at your company on the technical side and do what’s required.
  4. Routinely try to determine how your openings are performing on Google for Jobs. Your listings with partners included in Google for Jobs (CareerBuilder and LinkedIn among others) will automatically be included. Searching for your jobs on a routine basis tells you how those vendors — as well as your own career site — are performing. Be systematic and take a detailed look each month.
  5. Monitor source of applicant flow and hires and take action if one of the partners you allocate budget to sees a 10 percent or more dip in performance.  Know your numbers and keep an eye on performance. Once a source that’s traditionally delivered consistent results for you has dropped 10 percent, that’s your “canary in the coal mine” event. Don’t wait until the source is down 30 percent to take action and move your spend.

The naysayers will tell you Google’s had a lot of failed experiments — Google Wave and Google Plus among them — and they’re right.

Candidate behavior toward job search suggests that those expecting Google for Jobs to have zero impact are misguided at best. Keep your eye on the performance of postings you currently pay for and adjust accordingly for best results.

Kris Dunn, the chief human resources officer at Kinetix, is a Workforce contributing editor. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com. Follow Workforce on Twitter at @workforcenews.