If you visit nearly any page on Amazon, you’ll notice one thing atop every one: an open search box to find products. Though we’re not experts as to why Amazon does this, we can be reasonably sure of one thing — it’s there to drive sales. Amazon undoubtedly has massive amounts of data to support the premise that the most important question they can answer is, “Do you have the product I want?”
Empowering customers to get a fast, simple and accurate answer to that question is the first step in enabling an informed buying decision. Put another way, if you weren’t looking for information about a product, why would you go to Amazon in the first place? Now apply this same thinking to career sites: the “product” is a job. While this may seem obvious, it’s key to thinking about the candidate journey, where the ultimate goal is an informed hiring decision that serves the greatest mutual, long-term interests of both candidate and employer. Today, we have new evidence that the first, most important question an organization can answer for a candidate undertaking this journey is, “Is there a job that makes sense for me, in a place that makes sense for me?” This evidence points to a simple conclusion: Using candidate behavior data to make job searches easier and more accurate has significant implications for recruitment outcomes. Here are the critical success factors:
First: Make it easy for candidates to answer their “first most important” question
Career sites that force candidates to click a button or link to search for a job see, on average, 56% fewer searches conducted and 62% fewer apply “clicks” executed, when compared to companies that offer a conspicuous, “consumer-like” search option on the pages of their career site.
Second: Automate inclusion of the search criteria that’s vital to most job candidates
By delivering products ordered online to customers at unprecedented speed, Amazon has reduced the importance of physical location as a limitation to successful transactions. For most jobs, however, location remains critical. Over the past 18 months, we’ve observed that 75% of all searches were based on location only, and only 16% of these searches were specified at a state or country level. “Baking in” this understanding of location as a critical factor also influences candidate outcomes.
- Career sites that engage candidates to enable location services see on average 116% more job searches, see 34% more clicks on a resulting job and achieve 64% more apply clicks from candidates using search during their visit.
- Career sites that included the job location street address in the search results drove, on average, 91% more search result “clicks.”
One might think we are overstating the impact of search on the ultimate goal — which, again, is an informed hiring decision that serves the greatest mutual, long-term interests of both candidate and employer. And considered in a vacuum, these results would imply a lot of ‘heavy lifting’ for job search functionality. Regardless of how ‘smart’ search is, or how quickly, easily and accurately search answers the, “Is there a job for me?” question, results like these might stretch credibility. But adapting search to account for a deeper understanding of candidate behavior is only one piece of the puzzle.
Stay tuned for part two of this post, where we will look at the second piece: What takes place after we’ve connected the candidate to the job.