Qualified Applicant Pool Fills Fast When Employers Use the Right Keywords

August 22, 2011

The job-hunting scene is experiencing a dramatic change, which provides challenges and opportunities for employers.

Where once job boards reigned as the predominate medium to find jobs, search engines such as Google, job aggregators such as Indeed and social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook are becoming important tools for today’s job seeker. As these sites become a larger part of the job-search strategy, it is vital for employers of all sizes to learn how to ensure their jobs are visible on these newer mediums.

The common denominator in maximizing visibility across search engines, job aggregators and social networking sites are keyword searches. Job seekers will commonly use keywords that apply to their desired position and location to find jobs on the Internet. To increase a job’s likelihood of being noticed, human resources practitioners must first research what keywords are commonly used as it relates to that position.

The goal in choosing the right keywords is to use the words and phrases that qualified applicants would search for, not the words or phrases your organization uses internally to classify a job, such as Java Programmer vs. Programmer I. To get an idea for what keywords should be included, consider looking at competitors’ advertisements for the same position.

Talk to your employees in the same position and their managers about commonly used words and phrases that correspond to that position. You can even look at industry-specific websites, blogs or trade publications

With your keyword list in hand, take a look at the following free keyword tools to get some final ideas, and more importantly, to see the actual number of searches being run for each of your keywords:

Writing job titles, descriptions to increase visibility
When writing your job titles and descriptions, keywords need to be used in both the title and the body of the job description itself. The description should provide enough information to generate interest and sell the opportunity to drive as many job seekers as possible to your careers page

Job titles should be as specific as possible. For example, “senior financial analyst” is better than “financial analyst.” Keep in mind that the more general or broad a keyword phrase is, the more results the search engine will retrieve, thus reducing the visibility of your positing. You’ll also want to include variations of your job title, based on your keyword list, such as, “certified nursing assistant-CNA.”

   Advertisements for job boards can be shorter, but the job description that appears on your careers page should typically be at least 250 to 500 words to maximize search engine optimization. Ads posted to Twitter are limited to 140 characters, so only the job title, the city/state, a link to the job on your careers site, and the #jobs hash tag should be used.

Getting your jobs listed
Once you’ve created job titles and descriptions with the right keywords for maximum search engine optimization, it’s time to get them posted. Here are some tips to ensure your jobs are viewed by the most qualified candidates possible:

• Tweet each job using the proper formatting.

• Provide links to your Twitter account on your careers page to push job seekers to become followers.

• Provide “tweet this” icons to allow job seekers/employees to tweet your jobs to their followers.

• If your career site has a proper XML feed, you can set it up to auto tweet job postings.

Job aggregators
• Use your XML feed, provided by your career site or applicant tracking system, to automate job postings with job aggregators.

• Once your XML file is registered with job aggregators, new jobs will be retrieved daily.

• For more traffic, try sponsoring your jobs.

Search engines
• Ensure your career site is properly coded (i.e., not an iframe, proper usage of job titles in page titles and headings)

• Each job needs its own page—not combined onto the same page.

• Ensure search engines can find each job (not stuck behind a search box).

• Build your page rank by generating links from your company website and other websites to your careers page.

• Build XML Site Map of all the pages and job listings on your careers page, ensuring it is properly formatted to get new jobs quickly listed.

• Register your careers page with each search engine, and submit your Site Map to ensure speedy indexing.

Effectively promoting your open positions on the Internet generally has little to no long-term costs, but it does require an investment of time to properly set things up. Once this is accomplished, HR professionals should see a substantial return on investment in the way of qualified candidates.

Workforce Management Online, August 2011 -- Register Now!