Most major breakthroughs look simple in hindsight. Nothing could seem more obvious to us now than gravity or the roundness of our earth (well, to most of us anyway) But neither looked obvious at the time.
The most profound breakthrough of our time, the internet, revolutionized the way we recruit and hire. But, like most breakthroughs, it’s taken a long time to recognize the depth of the impact. Despite huge advances in technology, recruiters today still follow the same basic processes as recruiters in 2008 -- hell, even 1998. The process still begins with a job description. That description gets posted to the internet and looks almost exactly like its paper ancestors. Recruiters spend most of their time responding to applications from candidates who most likely (most don’t really know) found the job on a major job board. Most of the time left is spent searching the internet for candidates with less common skill sets (generally highly technical or very senior roles).
The major advances in recruitment technology to date have been characterized by acceleration. Monster and CareerBuilder kicked everything off by taking Job Descriptions and pasting them on a web page. Applicant Tracking Systems became more necessary than ever as the ability to search and find jobs on the internet increased the demand for companies to host their job descriptions online and more effectively manage the increasing volume of applications.
About a decade or so later, a small, bootstrapped company called Indeed began carrying this technical evolution to, quite nearly, a point of perfection. Neither Monster, nor your ATS, nor Indeed changed the mechanics of recruiting, but each advanced recruiting a step forward. More people are searching and finding more jobs than ever before. This profound acceleration of the speed at which a job opens and attracts applicants has made recruiting and searching for a job easier than ever before. If we want an answer to why people change jobs so often now, as opposed to the past, I suggest you start there.
Source: 2015 Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Study
At essentially the same time LinkedIn did for the resume what Indeed did for the job description. Today the resumes of most professionals (especially in the US) are online and available for free. No matter how much you love to hate LinkedIn, no matter how much you resent those ever increasing fees (and you should, more on that at a later date), the truth is, as a recruiter, LinkedIn has made a basic part of your job so easy, if you described it to your 2007 self she wouldn’t believe you.
There has been a lot of innovation in the recruitment technology space since Indeed and LinkedIn came on the scene. And the pace is only picking up. But no other companies come close to the profound impact of these two.
It’s never been easier for recruiters to find qualified candidates. At the same time, it’s never been easier for candidates to find jobs that match their interests. On the surface, this should mean that hiring qualified people has never been easier or more affordable. And to a significant extent, this is true. But, at the same time, it also makes things much, much harder. By eliminating the old problem of discovery, we’ve created new problems of attraction and retention. When everyone has access to the same groundbreaking tools, things get easier, but they also get much harder. Suddenly, as your old problems disappear, you're faced with a host of new challenges, none of which are familiar or as easy to solve.
Indeed and LinkedIn eliminated major bottlenecks in the recruitment process. But they eliminated those problems for everyone. The result is that in order to recruit more effectively it’s no longer enough to make it easy for candidates to find you, or to make it easy for you to find candidates. You now have to do both of these things better than the companies competing with you for top talent.
If you ask Indeed, the solution to this problem is sponsoring your job ads. If you ask LinkedIn, the solution to this problem is buying more InMails and more profile views. Neither solution is wrong, per se. However each solution offers only marginal gains for major increases in cost. You would be crazy not to take advantage of Indeed and LinkedIn. But you might be even crazier to rely on them.
Indeed, LinkedIn, and the ever increasing group of Indeed and LinkedIn imitators have essentially solved the problem of quantity for recruiters. Companies looking to make recruiting a competitive advantage need to look beyond quantity to quality.
The rise of online job boards took place not only on external sites, like Monster, but also on internal sites: company career pages. Nearly all companies looked to their Applicant Tracking System to host their jobs online. And very little has changed since those early days of the internet.
Taleo Job Descriptions, 2016 and 2007
Whether you use an old standby like Taleo or ADP, or one of the old new wave like iCIMS or Jobvite, or one of the new new wave like Greenhouse or Lever, your job descriptions look pretty much the same. Not only does a Greenhouse job description look a lot like a Taleo job description, but both look almost exactly like the paper job descriptions our recruiter forebearers once shared by hand.
Your job descriptions and applications are the axis upon which your entire hiring process turns. And it is exactly at this point that we’ve seen little to no innovation in recruiting. The only thing we’ve managed to do is make that old paper job description and application form readable. First on desktops. Now on mobile devices.
As Chris Forman likes to say, we’ve paved the goat path. We’ve taken an old outdated technology, and dressed it up a bit. Despite paradigm-shifting improvements in technology, companies are still operating under the same job advertising paradigm they used in the 1990s. We’re not only due for a change: we desperately need it.
Your job description and application forms are the engines that convert curious candidates into committed applicants. They should be designed to encourage as many form completions as possible. Instead, most job descriptions and application processes look and feel like they’re designed to evoke nightmare memories of sitting in a poorly lit HR office filling out paper forms.
If you spend much time researching how to improve your job descriptions, you'll likely find article after article on how to write them. Many recruiters have made great progress in this area. The problem is, we've all stopped there.
According to a recent study, articles with images get 94% more views than articles without. By adding breaking up text with attractive images you exponentially increase the likelihood that someone will read all the way through - and click apply.
Another study discovered that [color increases visual attention span and content recall by 82%.
Many companies invest substantial amounts of time and money into the /Careers section of their website. Meanwhile, they leave their jobs looking like they crawled out of 2001. This results in a major disconnect between investment and potential.
On average, only 5%-13% of your candidates are likely to view your Careers section before applying. 100% of candidates that visit your site will view your job descriptions. For most of them, your job description is their introduction to your employer brand. And for nearly every company, this is a huge problem.
50% of the workforce sees their current job as a placeholder. And the numbers are growing. But here’s the thing: while nearly everyone is open to new opportunities, few of us are ready to endure virtual torture to indulge our Monday morning blues.
Transforming your job description and application process from an outdated hassle into a high performing conversion engine will revolutionize the way you recruit. This is the #1 problem facing nearly every company in the country.
Here’s the good news: whether you’re using Taleo, Greenhouse, iCIMS, etc.: we can help. Changing your ATS might improve your recruiters’ quality of life. But transforming the way you attract and convert candidate interest into applications will drive unprecedented advances in applicant quality, cost per hire, and time to fill.
The concepts behind our work here at Hiregrid are simple. We should make our jobs look as attractive as possible in order to attract the highest quality talent. We should make the application process as accessible as possible so we can capture the elusive but real interest of people currently employed and not actively looking.
Transforming your job descriptions and applications into powerful engines for candidate conversion will finally push your recruiting reach beyond the active job seeker, to the 75% of people who aren’t looking, but can still be convinced.
A great marketing campaign with bad landing pages is a bad marketing campaign. Upgrading your job descriptions and applications into high converting landing pages is the key to great recruitment marketing - regardless of where you advertise. With one change you can increase application volume and quality (much more important) all while decreasing your cost per hire.