Recruitment Websites -
The 'Must Have' Functionality That Many Don't
By Paul Quinn, © 2002
In part two of this three part series about the most common
recruitment agency website mistakes, we take a look at some
of the 'must have' functionality that many recruitment agency
websites currently lack.
If your site isn't able to perform the most essential of
job seeker functions, chances are it will be overlooked
in favour of your competitors' sites that do. The good news
is that offering 'must have' functionality doesn't have
to be expensive - in selecting the right technology provider
you can easily utilise proven recruitment software on your
website instead of paying your web designer to re-invent
Listed below are nine website functions that you should
consider to maximise investment in your site:
1. Accurate Job Search Engines.
Offering user-friendly and accurate job search functionality
is a crucial aspect of any recruitment website. After all,
it is highly likely that the main reason that a candidate
has come to your site is to search for suitable jobs. So,
how well does your site's search engine stack up? Does it
allow candidates to search by job title, salary, location,
date or job reference number? Does it allow candidates to
perform keyword searches and use Boolean queries such as
"AND" "NOT" and "OR"? Does
it allow candidates to browse a summary of jobs listed by
key categories such as permanent, contract or temp? Try
posting a job to your website and then seeing how easy it
is to find it using the search criteria a candidate may
use to find the job. In making it as painless as possible
to help candidates to find their ideal role on your site,
you significantly improve your chances of attracting a greater
flow of candidate applications.
2. Job Alerts.
Consider this - a high quality candidate visits your site
and browses your available jobs. After five minutes of browsing
it becomes apparent that there's nothing suitable for her
at this point in time. What happens next? She probably leaves
your site (without registering her details) in search of
the greener pastures of your competitor's website.
So what could you have done to capture her details before
she left? In offering site visitors a "Job Alert"
feature (also known as a "Job Agent"), you lessen
the potential for 'losing' candidates to the competition.
"Job Alert" subscribers simply fill in their job
search criteria and e-mail address and are then alerted
via e-mail as soon as a suitable job is found. In fact the
"Job Alert" feature is so effective that one major
Australian recruitment technology provider maintains that
over 60% of all candidate applications originate from job
alert subscribers on recruitment agency websites that offer
visitors a job alert feature. That's a pretty compelling
reason to consider investing in "Job Alert" functionality.
3. Online Applications.
Does your site offer candidates an online application form
that mirrors the details you require for your candidate
database? Are you able to automatically input candidate
data into your candidate database after approval from a
"database quality gatekeeper"? By only supplying
site visitors with an e-mail address to respond to job ads,
you guarantee that both the content and format of responses
you receive will be of vastly differing standards. More
importantly, the information you receive probably won't
be in your preferred format and will therefore increase
the amount of time required to spend screening online applications.
4. Online Profiler.
Does your website offer candidates the ability to store
and update their profile or contact details online? Why
not make it easy for both the candidate and your agency
to keep information current by offering candidates a "self
serve" candidate profiler page where their resume,
contact details, preferences and availability are stored?
The candidate wins because s/he has one central place to
go online to access their employment details, and you win
because you don't have to field the phone call or e-mail
request, or have to re-type information into your database.
This also improves the accuracy of your database and encourages
repeat visitation to your website.
5. "Refer a Friend" Feature.
We've all experienced the incredible power of 'Word of
Mouth' at some stage of our recruitment careers - so why
not encourage it on your own website? Consider adding words
to your job template to the effect of:
"Not suitable for this role? Perhaps you know someone
else that may be? Click here to refer a friend and in return
we'll show our appreciation by shouting you and your friend
to the movies! Click Here."
6. "Print This Job" Feature.
Often candidates may not want to apply online for a role
they are interested in: they may be surfing from work and
be afraid that their boss will see, they may want to think
further about the role, they may not have an up-to-date
resume available, or they may just prefer to apply at a
later stage. Whatever their reason, it's crucial that you
make it easy for them to print the job. Many website designs
are not printer-friendly, often cutting off the right hand
portion of a job ad upon printing. This can easily be overcome
by offering a "Print this job" feature that simply
opens a new window containing a printer-friendly version
of the job.
7. Online Vacancy Submission for Clients.
Typically, the majority of traffic to recruitment agency
websites is candidate-related. However, that's not to say
that current or potential clients won't visit your site
from time to time, or that offering client-targeted functionality
and content is not important - far from it. Online vacancy
submission forms inviting clients to 'put you to the test'
are one simple way to help you assess how much client-related
traffic your site is receiving and gauge whether your site
is appealing to clients. Consider offering clients a guaranteed
24-hour response time following their online submission
to discuss the role. This will help to build their trust
that their vacancy will be given the prompt attention it
8. Feedback Forms.
Make sure you offer site visitors an easy way to offer
feedback about your site. Perhaps you can prompt them to
provide feedback on specific aspects of your site. For example,
do they have difficulty understanding your recruitment process?
Were they able to follow the online registration process
- what did they find difficult? What suggestions could they
make to improve the site? By encouraging their comments
(and subsequently acknowledging their feedback) it sends
a clear message that you're interested in their opinions.
It also provides you with invaluable ideas on how to improve
your website from the very people that count - your customers.
9. Auto Responses.
In an ideal World, recruitment consultants would have the
time to craft an individual response to each candidate application
they receive. In reality, however, this is deemed both impractical
and unrealistic for busy recruitment consultants. One practical
measure you can take to help address this, however, is to
acknowledge applications from your website with an automatically
generated response. Auto responses are a useful way of informing
applicants that their application has been received, and
outlining how the recruitment process will work from there.
The other advantage of automating your responses to applications
is that you can ensure a consistently high standard of written
communications to candidates. So, whilst a personalised
message will always be the most effective form of acknowledgment,
a well-written auto response is a smart alternative.
NEXT ISSUE: In the final part of this three part
series we examine the biggest recruitment website promotion
mistakes - in our article: "Build
and they DON'T come?!"
To read the first article in this series - click here: "How
to keep your content from crashing".
Back to article index.