Later this month I will be traveling to Calgary, Canada on behalf of CareerBuilder to speak to some of their potential customers about the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) in the recruitment industry, or as they refer to it: “recruitment SEO.” Recruitment SEO is the strategy that employers use to tap into the talent pools searching online for jobs. Companies looking to outsource their job portals, or online recruitment strategies should read this post.
Many companies use an Applicant Tracking System, or “ATS” to manage their job applications and resume data. Data is fed to the ATS either through internal sources, such as the company’s website, or through external sources like job and resume boards such as CareerBuilder.com. The ATS makes it much easier for employers to manage the recruitment workflow, as well as data mining, collecting and reporting.
Problems with ATS
Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) have been a little slow to the SEO game. Some of the problems that have plagued their systems (and still do) are blocking the search engines from indexing the job content in the robots.txt file, putting searchable content behind password protected areas that a search engine cannot access, using improper URL structures that lack target keywords or that are overly dynamic, and much more.
Applicant Tracking Systems have also failed to address mobile content, and how to exactly integrate social media into the process. In essence, the ATS systems were built to manage the recruitment process, and not the online marketing process. But this is where CareerBuilder’s Talent Network tool comes in. They leverage your existing ATS by putting their platform on top of it, enabling you to leverage your online marketing components. Not only that, but you also get CareerBuilder’s proprietary algorithms matching your job postings to qualified candidates instantly.
Want the top talent? They need to be able to find you.
According to ERE.net, a recruitment intelligence community, there are over 124 million job related searches through Google each month. Below are some global search volumes for some general job descriptions, using the Google Keyword Tool:
I’m going to pick on Rackspace as an example of what enterprise companies are doing for recruitment, and then show you how it can be improved. Rackspace is a big magnet for talent here in San Antonio, and attracts techies from all over the country (and the world) to come and work for the company with Google-style perks.
If I do a search for “jobs at racksapce”, it can easily find their job recruitment portal – www.rackertalent.com. But what if I don’t know who Rackspace is, and I’m a java developer from New Jersey? What if my wife and I are moving to Texas, and I need to find a job there? If I search for “java developer jobs in texas”, not only do I not find Rackspace in the first page, but I don’t find them in the first 10 pages! They are not listed in some of the other Job Search Engines (JSE’s) like indeed.com and others.
3 Ways Rackspace Could Improve Their Recruitment SEO
1. Use unique URL’s with keywords. For example, on this Java Developer job listing, notice how the URL stays at www.rackertalent.com/careers/? They would be better served with a URL such as www.rakcertalent.com/jobs-in-texas/software-development/java-developer/. In this case, we would recommend “jobs in Texas” as the intermediary page that accumulates all of the jobs in Texas, then by category, such as “Software Development” – then onward to the job details page.
2. Customize the Title Tags and Meta Descriptions. In this case, they are using the exact same title tag and meta description throughout the entire site.
3. Create unique job description detail pages. This entire site is dynamically generated, which was probably a lot of fun for a developer, but does not create any SEO value. In fact, according to Google, RackerTalent.com only has around 200 pages in their index to cover the 156 open jobs, the blog and other content on the site. They are leaving all of the job position data out of the search engine index.
CareerBuilder’s Talent Network platform could alleviate these SEO issues, and immediately find matching candidates for their 156 openings.