Okay, so I had to eat my words last week. It actually wasn’t bad, and I am hoping the result was worth the effort. One session I attended during the 2013 Alabama SHRM Conference was focused on using keywords in job ads to find more applicants. I was interested in learning 2-3 new tips, because I assumed that I already had a good handle on search engine optimization, utilizing keyword searches, etc.

recruiting with keywords

Let’s be more high tech than this in our recruiting practices, okay?

Then I realized how much I knew but wasn’t putting into action. And that’s a humbling sensation.

I can’t remember the speaker’s name, but he was fantastic. If someone remembers please drop a comment below and I’ll edit the post later. 

Six key points

As a blogger, I have a good handle on keywords, search engines, optimizing content for search, etc. But I’ve been lazy with my job postings online. Confession over, now let’s move to the good stuff.

  1. Studies show that the first search result in Google gets over 50% of clicks. That’s major. The same theory could be extended in part to job boards. The top results in a search will get the majority of the traffic. That, of course, brings us to the question–where do your job postings show up in job board keyword searches?
  2. Go to the job board where you posted your job and do a few searches for related terms, words in your posting, etc. For example, if you posted an “accounting intern” job, search for “accounting intern” or “accounting internship” or “entry level accountant” and see how many times, if any, your job posting shows up.
  3. Those other terms I used are related terms, and you should have them in your job postings to ensure you cast the widest net. Some people will never search for your exact job title, so try to broaden your title to be generic while still being narrow enough to reach your target candidates.
  4. Don’t use job titles as position titles in a job board posting. Nobody goes to Indeed.com looking for “accountant II.” They do go looking for “junior accountant” or “accounting specialist” or “staff accountant.” So try to incorporate some of those words into your position title when you post it online. I’m restating myself here, but it’s critical.
  5. Location is key. If you are in a small town next to a big city, be sure to use words for the city in your job ad to get traffic from those sources as well. Nobody is looking for software engineers in Nowheresville, IL, but if Chicago is 20 minutes away, then use Chicago as your job posting address.
  6. If you get nothing else from this post, think of it from this perspective: write job postings like job seekers think/search, not like you categorize them. Write about what the person does, not what the job is. A great example given was “accountant jobs” and “accounting jobs.” People search 20 times more often for “accounting jobs” than they do for “accountant jobs” in Google.

Use metrics and measurement or risk failure

Recruiting is a competitive game

Using Twitter to post jobs

Twitter job search testimonial

Final thoughts

As I said early on, I didn’t really learn anything that I didn’t already know, but taking the time to apply what I know to recruiting is the key takeaway for me. I’d love to hear some thoughts from others who have done this successfully!

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  • One thought on “Job Search, Recruiting with Keywords, and #ALSHRM

    1. Ben,

      I’d like to see job postings go beyond the “take the job description and post it on a website” method. I admit my guilt to doing this just as have many others. I did find, however, when I wrote a LinkedIn job ad as an advertisement rather than a job description that I had a much greater ROI on the money spent for the posting.

      For Twitter…The location and use of keywords is “key” so I agree with you 1,000%. I think it is still a hurdle for many to even accept that Twitter can be of use to them – much less a tool for recruitment.

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