Full disclosure: I’m a marketer, not a recruiter. But we all know that the overlap between marketer and recruiter is significant. The area in the center of a marketer/recruiter Venn Diagram looks more like a football than the profile of a frisbee. And one of the many areas that overlap is career site optimization.

For marketers, the optimization is all about how to convert as many website visitors into leads and customers. For recruiters, the optimization is all about how to convert those interested in a job or organization into a candidate and hire.

And like not all website visitors are ready to buy now, not every career site or job site visitor is ready to apply now.

For most organizations, the conversion rate is not very good. Jobvite analyzed millions of career site visitors and their actions and found that only 8.6% of visitors turn into applicants. That means that almost 95% aren’t entering your pipeline!  

It’s much the same for marketers.

So what do you do?

In short? Remove the barriers, wipe away the friction, improve the experience, and give your visitors options to connect and engage.

In long, read on for four ways you can stop candidates from leaving your career site and add more to your pipeline. (I also encourage you to check out our previous article on how some of the best recruiting organizations in the world, like Facebook and Google, are doing recruitment marketing and building their career sites).

Understand why candidates leave

The first step is to understand why the heck people come and leave your site in the first place. You could do this one of two ways. The first way would be to conduct a survey and ask your visitors why they are coming and leaving. But this is complicated and time-consuming. Let me save you the trouble. The majority of your visitors are leaving for a few reasons:

  • Not enough information on job or company
  • Application PTSD
  • Fear of being rejected after applying
  • Candidate experience not mobile-optimized
  • Application form too long

I think this list can be boiled down even further:

  • People are scared of applications
  • People have tons of questions
  • People want a great website experience

Address these and you’ll improve conversions. But how?

Reduce the fear of the unknown

Assuming you aren’t going to shorten the length of your application (but you really should), you need to start at least giving your visitors information about what they are signing up for before they start the application process.

How much time will it take?

What information will they need to provide?

When will they expect to hear back from you once they finally complete the application?

Without these answers, your visitors are paralyzed by fear and the only way they know how to escape that fear is by reclaiming control. This materializes into the one thing you don’t want them to do: leave your career site.

In contrast, answering all these questions will reduce the fear that inherently comes with the word ‘application’ and put candidates at ease as they enter the application process.

Answer every single question a candidate asks. No question about it.

Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it? I mean, you try to answer the most frequently asked questions in the aptly named Frequently Asked Questions section. But is this enough? And is it the best experience?

Let me set up my response with an example. This past weekend I was buying groceries online and I came across some unfamiliar protein bars. They looked interesting but before I purchased I had questions. So I clicked into the details and was rewarded with nutritional information. But I couldn’t find the flavors, so I kept clicking. I made a few wrong turns before I found the flavors (do people really want Apple Pie in their protein bars?). Once I found the flavors, I wanted to read reviews so I had to click some more. Again, more wrong turns before I found what I wanted.

Now unlike U2, I did find what I was looking for but by the time I had all my questions answered, I’d done a lot of clicking. And that’s when it clicked. There had to be an easier way.

And there is. It’s good to have those FAQs and the other content on your site like employee testimonials and culture videos. But even so, not everyone is going to find that content, or at least not right away. And just like your website visitors, your career site visitors don’t want to jump through hoops to get answers to their questions. That’s where live chat comes in.

Chat software for recruiting allows your recruiters to be available to candidates to answer their questions before they leave your site. Our clients are using our chat software to engage with visitors right on their job sites and helping them increase that conversion rate by up to 50%.

But wait, there’s more!

Optimize for mobile

Last but not least, you have to make sure that your site is optimized for mobile. (It’s amazing how this still isn’t completely normative for companies in 2018.) This means that the site loads fast. This means that the site is responsive. This means that the text is big enough to read on mobile and that the left-right scroll is minimized. It means that if you have an Apply Now or Chat Now button on the site that these are easy to click on from a phone or tablet (hey, some people have big fingers).

Here’s that paragraph in list form for easy readability:

  • Fast-loading site
  • Responsive
  • Bigger text
  • Minimize left-right scroll
  • Bigger buttons

This should give you a good start.

Now take a second to actually go load your career site on your phone. I’ll wait.

What did you find? I bet there is something to improve. Now go do it.

Get it done

If you’ve made it this far, I’m guessing there was at least one thing that stood out as an area of improvement for your career site. That’s okay. No better time than now to make that change.

Write down the one area you want to improve. Not two or three. Just one. Any more than one and you’ll experience paralysis by analysis.

Now put together a plan to get it done so you can stop your site from leaking qualified candidates.

Joe Matar

Joe Matar is the VP of Marketing at Brazen and the host of the popular video series, Talent Acquisition Talks, and co-host of the popular podcast, Talent on the Rise, where he interviews some of the top minds in the TA and HR industry. With over ten years of marketing experience including an MBA in Marketing from the University of Iowa, Joe Matar made the switch to the HR technology space a few years ago and very quickly noticed the parallels between recruiting and marketing. At times, he feels like he is back from the future. Follow Joe on LinkedIn or Twitter where he posts a weekly video interview with TA leaders.