Practical Ideas For Improving Your Recruitment Website

By Paul Quinn, © 2002

Listed below are seven ideas to help attract more people to your agency's website, build candidate loyalty to your brand, increase job application rates, and generally help to improve the user's online experience.

1. Increase user interaction with visitor polls

Visitor polls represent a win-win proposition for both your site visitors and your agency. Not only can you gather useful information about site visitor's opinions and preferences, you can also use polls to provide your visitor's with fresh and interesting content. In addition, the information gathered from your visitor poll can be further leveraged to improve your profile by writing a press release about the results and distributing the release to career editors from local newspapers and trade publications. Maximise the success of your visitor poll by selecting topical recruitment-related issues and keep the question regularly updated.

2. Offer something for free

Consider adding free salary information, white papers, market trend data… anything unique to your agency with perceived value to your target market. In offering useful content for free you increase the chances of your customers referring other prospects to your site and you position your site as a valuable information resource worth returning to.

3. Encourage your customers to dictate the development of your site

Often the best ideas for improvement come from the very people that your site targets, so offer them a number of options to have their say. This sends a clear message that you care about what they think - you may not always agree with the feedback, but it costs nothing to listen. Check where your feedback option is located. Don't bury it at the bottom of your "Contact Us" page in a small font size as this not only discourages people from using it but also sends a message that their feedback is not important to you. Consider adding a clearly identified feedback option to each page of your site, or perhaps adding a "Your Say" page devoted to listing ideas and comments from site visitors.

4. Identify and promote your most popular pages

A list of the most visited pages on your web site is easily obtained from your site's log files, which are available from your site hosts. Use this information to include a "Popular Pages" heading on your homepage to help direct site visitors to the pages other visitor's value the most. The word "popular" is a proven motivator, helping visitors feel at ease in the knowledge that they are visiting a page that others find useful.

5. Ensure that your site is search engine friendly

Web sites that are optimised for search engine indexing often report a significant percentage of their site traffic originating from that source. Imagine the benefit to a specialist Sydney-based accounting recruitment agency in ranking first in's search results for "Accounting Jobs" and "Sydney". Search engine optimisation can be a complex process yet the rewards are plentiful for those who get it right. However, most recruiters either (a). don't have meta tags in their HTML code to help search engines find their site, or (b). overlook the option of paid search engine or web directory listings on key sites such as Yahoo! and Looksmart. A $400 investment for an express listing on Looksmart's network of web directories can often pay for itself in increased traffic within a few weeks.

6. Optimise your job ad template

Offer candidates multiple ways to apply for vacancies and you will instantly improve your response rate. On your web site's job ad template, be sure to include your contact phone number, fax, physical address and e-mail address as opposed to just having an "Apply" button. People often print out the job online to read and muse over offline and later want to phone the consultant to discuss. It is also a good idea to include an "E-mail this job to a friend" option to make it easy for people to refer other suitable candidates in their network. You may even contemplate adding a referral bonus to your ad template. Not providing options such as these can often mean missed opportunities for the recruiter.

7. Focus on building a community of users

The Internet provides recruiters with excellent opportunities to nurture a loyal group of potential candidates. If executed well, recruiters can easily increase user interaction by adding features such as a candidate bulletin board or online chat facility. By encouraging regular online interaction amongst candidates to discuss issues such as interview techniques, resume tips, industry gossip or even by including an 'Ask the Expert' section, recruiters can form a stronger bond with candidates and help to improve the perception of their brand.

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