For years, hiring teams have ignored SEO and organic search in conversations about candidate experience and recruiting. Over the last 10 years I’ve spent writing in this industry, I can’t think of even one time when I heard SEO for recruiting and candidate experience in the same conversation.
Just look at all the content in talent acquisition that suggests we take a sledgehammer to our ATS, (actually) respond to Glassdoor reviews, or invest in new software. Sure, that’s all important. But when was the last time you read about SEO? If it’s been awhile, I think we should change that right now.
Here’s why: If we’re truly going to put ourselves in the seat of the candidates, search is where our interaction really begins. Not on your career site. Not on Glassdoor. It’s on Google, alongside 300 million job seekers every month who are searching for “jobs near me.” Or “jobs in [insert keyword].”
Yet, we don’t talk about SEO and organic traffic when we talk about candidate experience. Why? I think the data’s misled us. Look at the source of hire metrics, for example. In almost any recruiting trends report for 2018, candidate traffic attribution points to specific websites (i.e.,Indeed and LinkedIn), which leads most to assume, “Oh, I got the majority of my traffic there.” So, they sign another annual contract (and another CareerBuilder rep gets their wings). But if we think one step ahead, we might consider: How did candidates get to those sites in the first place?
In most scenarios, it wasn’t through direct traffic. It started with a search.
Of course, the next question I hear from most practitioners is, “Well how can I influence organic search then?”
Unfortunately, the answer isn’t easy and won’t change with a big budget. It takes a specific and tactical evolution fueled by candidate research to show up on page one, but there are some rules every talent acquisition leader should know and implement this year.
Google for Jobs matters.
Mobile friendly and mobile optimized are different.
Make no assumptions.
Keywords are key.
The difference between the success and failure of any recruiting campaign is the discovery of information. We talk a lot of tactics, but it’s simple, really. If you’re never aware something exists, you can’t talk about it or buy it. If you never knew a job existed, you can’t apply. Make sure candidates know your jobs exist in 2019 with better SEO.