Ohio and NAS – Great places to work!
Glassdoor.com just announced its 2014 Employment Satisfaction Survey, and it’s no surprise that Ohio has all three major cities in the Top 40 (at least, it’s no surprise to anyone who lives here).
I moved to Cleveland two years ago. What really impresses me about the area is that it’s steeped in history, the majority of the population still has a great sense of community, and we get to take advantage of the great amenities of “big city” life: major league sports, the symphony, theater, concerts, world-class museums, etc.
Another amazing aspect of Cleveland is how friendly people are…especially the ones I work with here at NAS. Sure, we have our fair share of work to do – our company is growing like crazy. However, everyone here is very professional and takes their jobs seriously, but we also have fun at work.
My job at NAS Recruitment Innovation also happens to be very emotionally rewarding, too. We partner with companies, building out and updating their career website technology. It offers the opportunity to work on projects that help people find jobs, plus we get to work with some of the biggest brands in the world – most of our clients are on the Fortune 500 list.
Like the Glassdoor Employment Satisfaction Survey displays, the work environment NAS has here in Cleveland is really something that employees at other companies could envy. Two years ago, NAS moved its corporate office to Rockside Road in Valley View, just off 77 and 480. Not only is this new location great for an easy commute and access to great food options like Starbucks, Melt, Potbelly, Chipotle and the Winking Lizard, but it’s also across the street from the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the historic Towpath walking/biking trail. It’s not unusual to see several employees on the Towpath and park trails during lunch or after work.
NAS has monthly parties, as well – either for holidays or what we call “Thirsty Thursdays.” Recently, the USA vs. Germany World Cup match was put on the big screen and pizza was provided so everyone could cheer on Team USA. These are just some of the perks that help create a great work environment.
With NAS’ business booming, we have several job openings in IT and Inside Sales. If you or someone you know wants a great place to work, where you’ll make a real difference, check out the open positions NAS has below.
Feel free to click through and apply, or forward this article to a friend.
Are you not getting the results you want from your current online job posting? Does it seem like no matter how many times you post a position, you cannot attract the qualified candidates your company needs? Larry Engel, Patty Van Leer and I were discussing this ubiquitous challenge the other day and determined what are the most important actions you can take to address this situation.
You’re about to discover three specific tips from you can use to improve your online job descriptions. These changes can help make your job postings more effective for job seekers and search engine exposure.
Why search engines?
Tip #1: Consider the Search Engine to be your first job seeker
85% of candidates use search engines like Google or Bing to research jobs.
Search engines are a huge job seeker resource – exposure on search engines means exposure to job seekers. But typically, job aggregators and jobs boards dominate search results, especially for generic search terms like “administrative assistant jobs.” For terms like this, the typical employer has virtually no chance to compete for exposure. The numbers are against you.
Among other things, search engines reward sites that have a large amount of useful content. Aggregators and job boards have content out the wazoo (that’s a technical term, by the way) – for example, Indeed has over 3 million search results related just to the phrase “administrative assistant.” How many administrative assistant openings do you have?
You are in a battle to own your brand.
But it’s more than just the job titles that aggregators and job boards want to leverage and “own” – they want to use your company name also. For example, when people search for jobs using your company name, it’s common to find that Web services have created thousands of pages using your company name to help their pages rise to the top of the search results. So candidates follow a link because they are interested in a job with YOUR COMPANY and are presented with not just your openings, but those of your competitors as well. Your brand value has just been hijacked. The good news is:
You can take back your control for the most critical search terms.
Tip #2: Fix your Job Titles
Your job titles are confusing job seekers – and Google.
A 2012 Monster survey of 2,030 job seekers revealed that 64 percent of respondents said they would not apply if they didn’t understand the job title.
The job title is possibly the most important aspect of your job description because it is the first thing the online job searchers will see. In fact, online job searchers use the job title to determine which jobs they want to look at closer. If your job title is confusing or unclear, you are likely to miss out on some of the most qualified candidates. It is best to be as specific as possible and make sure the job title matches the job description.
Don’t be clever.
Some companies like to come up with their own witty or fun job descriptions as a way of encouraging their staff in the workplace: Retail Jedi or Brand Evangelist. While this may be fine in the workplace, these unique job titles should not be used for online job postings. This will only confuse many job seekers, and according to the statistic listed above, more than half of them will not apply. It is best to create just a simple job title that makes it clear what type of position you are offering: trade in your Jedis and Evangelists for Sales Associates and Brand Managers.
Internal and organizational job titles mean nothing to job seekers.
ATS’ are often filled with job titles that fulfill internal staffing and organizational needs. Here’s a typical job title from an ATS system: “Sr. System Admin III.” Right from the start, you can see that this job title is most likely straight out of the HRIS system and is not optimized for job seeker search behavior. A very a simple way to improve the search results and traffic for this job is to spell out all of the words/terms in the job title.
When creating job titles, remember that you want to match the set of search terms that would most likely be searched by job seekers. Use complete words with their proper spellings – that’s how most job seekers search and those are the words the search engine needs to find. It’s a little bit of SEO you can easily and quickly do yourself that will make a huge difference in helping job seekers find your open positions online.
How to fix a title like “Sr. System Admin III.”
Search engines don’t guess at what you mean — they only look at what you actually say. Make sure you spell out entire words. In this job title, the word “Sr.” is a problem. If someone searches using the word “Senior,” your job posting probably isn’t going to show up in the results because you’ve used the abbreviation “Sr.” in your job title.
Replace “System” with the plural form “Systems.” Most job titles on career sites and job boards use the plural, because by adding the “s,” you can capture traffic for both forms of the word—Systems and System. If you happen to use the word “System,” and a candidate searches for “Systems,” your job posting will not appear.
The same logic applies for “Admin.” By using the full word, “Administrator,” you’ll be able to capture traffic for both “Administrator” and “Admin.”
Ultimately, you would normalize to an ideal title of: “Senior System Administrator,” or “System Administrator” – Senior.
You can make exceptions, of course, but limit them to common acronyms and industry-specific abbreviations – and understand that you won’t be included in search results for those who spell out the whole word (or words).
These changes are easy to make, and can help increase exposure and traffic for that particular job.
Tip #3: Reorder Your Job Description Content
If you are like most companies, you want to promote your brand with your company name and most likely include an “About Us” or company overview paragraph in each of your job descriptions.
While this overview section is often placed at the beginning of a job description, that placement might actually be hampering your job posting’s click-through rate (CTR) from certain sets of search results. For example, search engines will display the first 160 or so characters of a page’s body text (unless a specific META description has been designated by your webmaster for that page). For some of your applicants, this may not be a big deal, but others will move on to the next search result for a different job that better describes the actual position in the first few lines – this is especially true for highly competitive job titles that return many pages of search results.
Don’t take a chance on what information will appear in search results for your job listings.
What you should do instead: Keep the company overview section – but put it at the end of your job listing. Be sure to write an engaging first sentence that restates your job title and includes relevant keywords to grab the attention of potential applicants as they scan through hundreds of similarly named job title search results. Repeat the job title and experience credentials as they serve as keywords that Google sees as relevant, rewarding you with higher results.
These are just a few tips for creating a job description will help you better inform the job seeker and promote search engine exposure. It will also help increase your chances of taking back control of your brand on search engines while obtaining qualified candidates for your company. You should always evaluate every job title and job description prior to posting them online to ensure they meet these standards.
 Careerbuilder 2013 Candidate Behavior Study – December 2, 2013
Photo by Kate Hiscock
Kevin Hawkins has provided integrated marketing solutions and digital insights to a diverse roster of NAS clients spanning multiple industries. With 15 years of experience in Internet development and consulting, media planning and segmented audience targeting, Kevin approaches solutions from both a strategic and technical perspective to produce solutions and strategies that integrate Social Network Marketing, SEO/SEM, site development, mobile marketing, video development and more, with end-to-end metrics tracking performance.
Whether the job seeker is a member of the long-term unemployed, recently out of work, or even employed but exploring their options it’s important to understand that they are going through a stressful, time-consuming process. The easier you can make their experience, the better chance you have of helping them find the right job and having a good impression of you as an employer.
Here are three simple changes you can make to provide a better, stress free, Candidate Experience and create a great impression with job seekers.
1) Let Me Know Where I Am
Job seekers arrive at your opportunities through a variety of paths. Search engine searches, job aggregator listings (like Indeed or Simply Hired), job postings, emails, even print ads. No matter what profession they belong to, nor what job they are looking for, for a few seconds they all have the same question the moment after they click on a link or type in that URL.
The question is: “Am I in the RIGHT PLACE?”
You have about 4-8 seconds at that point for the job seeker to do decide if they are going to stay or click the BACK button.
You might be wondering how to ensure you can keep their attention and help them stay engaged.
Here’s how you show them they are in the right place.
Five simple tips:
- Use proper branding to ensure they know who you are. If you had branding on a job posting before they come to this page, the branding show match as much as possible.
- Use the headline to say ‘You’re in the right place’ – this is one of the first things someone will look at – if it doesn’t match the primary reason they’ve come to the page, they will most likely leave.
- Give me the information I asked for. If a job seeker clicks on a link about Benefits, don’t send them to your Home Page.
- Show images that support the content accurately. If I am looking for a job as a nurse – show me a nurse in the proper setting. At least show me the appropriate clinical setting – some to help orient me.
- Provide simple navigation – it has to be easy to find and understand.
Proper branding and consistent navigation through the experience is critical to re-assure the job seeker that they are in the right place.
2) Let Me Find It Quickly
We know from experience (and data) that most job seekers want to find a position first – a job description of a position that matches their skill-set.
Yes, there is a lot of other information that is important to the job seeker – company culture, benefits, and your history, even how different departments are structured and how they function. That’s all important – LATER. After they find a job that’s a good fit and determined they are interested in taking the next step with you.
Job seekers want the shortest distance to their information.
Does your navigation work?
While some studies have shown that people will click and click and click until they find what they need, most successful tasks are associated with fewer clicks – maybe three or four. Once the user has arrived at your career site they should be able to get to the information they want swiftly.
Is your navigation clear? Make sure your job families organized in a way that let’s someone easily understand: I have to go HERE.
Good navigation improves the ability for users to predict what they will find if they follow a link on a website. Use plain language in places where it will be seen and avoid using made-up words or branded slogans as navigation options.
It’s just like shopping online
Think about it this way: if you’re looking to buy a new TV, do you start by researching a company’s return policy and product warranty options? Typically you look to see if they have the product you want first. Once you’ve determined they have something you want to buy, then you explore the details of doing business with them. It’s the same way with job seekers and your organization.
Poor Job Titles = Confusion and Stress
Some experiences are insanely frustrating for job seekers – bringing them to pages that offer job information, even the headline might contain a particular job title like “Network Systems Analyst jobs” but when they look at the actual content on the page all they see is a list of random positions, none of which match that career area – or their needs. The result is confusion, stress and frustration.
You can reduce job seeker stress, and make a great impression as an employer by simply getting the job seeker quickly to that job description in a consistent, branded environment.
Make the experience about THEM and not about YOU.
3) Let Me Take Action
All of this:
- Letting the job seeker know they are in the right place
- Providing a strong branded environment
- Using congruent imagery on a page
- Clear page headlines that match expectations
- Making job content available in a few clicks
- Focusing on the job seeker’s information needs.
All of it is really about one thing: Make it easy for me to complete my goal.
So far we’ve discussed the user’s primary activity. It’s right there in what we call our target audience: the job seeker. This is both what they are and what they do: I am looking for a job. Let me find it. Now we have to address the underlying motivation: Now that I’ve found it, make it easy for me to take action.
Job seekers typically have one action option: apply for a job. A clearly worded button, well placed next to your job description, is sufficient to take them into your ATS to begin the job application process. At that point your career site, your brand presence has done the majority of the work in helping the job seeker reach their goal. If they’re ready – this is when they click and enter the job application process.
But sometimes they aren’t ready to click the ‘Apply Now’ button.
There could be a few reasons for this: there isn’t a position available at the time; they don’t have time to complete an application at the moment; they are gathering a variety of job opportunities to re-visit later – whatever the reason, they aren’t applying right now. It’s important to give them an opportunity to take action that requires little effort on their behalf while keeping them engaged.
Give job seekers an option if they aren’t ready to apply.
Talent Network sign-ups are the ideal alternative to the application process. Joining a Talent Network allows solidifies their relationship with you, knowing they are going to get some kind of email contact from you and even automated job alerts.
You have a warm job seeker lead and they don’t have to keep track of a browser bookmark for your site which means less stress for them.
For a Talent Network sign-up, the less fields the better: name, email, current position, zip code and even phone number. You could add a few more, but they should be carefully considered. Remember, we want to keep the job seeker relaxed, and the less you ask for, the less the job seeker has to worry about.
The Candidate Trust Benefit
If you follow these steps, you can ensure that job seekers have a stress-free experience…all designed to genuinely help your prospects while simultaneously creating goodwill, building your brand, and providing you a growing Talent Network pool and applicants.
Kevin B Hawkins has provided integrated marketing solutions and digital insights to a diverse roster of NAS clients spanning multiple industries. With over 15 years of experience in Internet development and consulting, media planning and segmented audience targeting, Kevin approaches solutions from both a strategic and technical perspective to produce solutions and strategies that integrate Social Network Marketing, SEO/SEM, site development, mobile marketing, video development and more, with end-to-end metrics tracking performance.
Since the beginning of Google Analytics, Google has been allowing webmasters and marketers the ability to see the search keywords that are driving search traffic to their webpages. Marketers use this data to help create keyword-focused content and a better user experience. However, for the past two years, Google has been withholding referring keyword data and increasing the percentage of “keywords (not provided),” partially due to secure search trends.
According to an article in Search Engine Watch, a Google spokesperson recently commented, “We added SSL encryption for our signed-in search users in 2011, as well as searches from the Chrome omnibox earlier this year. We’re now working to bring this extra protection to more users who are not signed in.”
This “keyword (not provided)” trend has been tracked over the past two years by the website (Not Provided) Count. On this website, you can plainly see the alarming rate at which Google is removing referring keywords from their data. In just the past week, the rate has skyrocketed. As of 9/25/13, this website is tracking Google’s keyword blocking at 76%. As a point of reference, I checked all my websites’ analytics and got a similar number for month-to-date September. When I check yesterday’s specific data, I get a higher number—87%.
Google’s choice for 100% protected keyword referral data is not clear. They have made no official comment to date on the subject. All we know for sure is that soon 100% of all Google’s referral keywords will be blocked!
Finding your referring keywords to help build content is definitely going to be more difficult with this change, but not impossible.
Here are 6 Keyword Research methods you can use:
The first thing to remember is that Bing and Yahoo! always show the referring keywords for their search traffic. However, you would need to be using an analytics service (e.g., Omniture, Webtrends, BrightEdge, etc.) in order to see that data. There will also be some limited data in your Bing Webmaster Tools account.
As for Google stats, you still have the ability to see the past 90-days of referring keywords data in your Google Webmaster Tools account. You won’t get as much data (limited to the top 2,000 keywords), and it definitely won’t be as accurate as Google Analytics used to be.
Does your website have an on-site search function? That will be your best resource to see what search terms are popular for your website. Hopefully your site has a dashboard that will allow access to this information. If your website is built on a WordPress platform, you can use one of the WordPress search analytics plug-ins to accomplish this.
If you run Google AdWords campaigns, you also have good keyword data in that account. Download your keyword volume data and analyze that. You can also run branded keyword campaigns and look at which of those keywords are driving traffic to your pages.
Don’t forget about keyword ‘suggestion’ tools such as Ubersuggest, Google Suggest or Google Instant. Google Instant is the name of the text auto-complete function that runs when you type in the Google search box. Google Suggest works on every one of their search queries. The “related keywords” reside at the bottom of each Google search engine results page.
Google Trends is another available option. It will show you a keyword’s popularity and trends over the past 9 years. It’s an awesome tool that even allows you to compare multiple keywords over time.
One final note: as you’re compiling all this new data, watch to see if some of these sources have “geo-localization” or “personalization” influences. If those do exist, you’ll want to weigh that into your future keyword marketing decisions.
As SEO Strategist for the NAS Interactive Division of NAS Recruitment Innovation, Larry Engel oversees the research, design and implementation of search engine optimization (SEO) methods for client career sites. His recruitment agency experience includes 12 years in account management, 5 years as a Certified Google Advertising Professional (AdWords GAP Program) and 2+ years’ concentration in SEO. Larry also has OMCP Master Certification in Social Media Marketing (SMM) and recently completed a mini MBA in SMM from Rutgers University.
As part of our ongoing series ‘The Insider’s View,’ we give you access to the thoughts and opinions of top HR leaders, specifically around their views on The Candidate Experience. Our goal is to have a one-on-one conversation, with honest and real answers, absent of any unnecessary buzzwords or fluff. It’s our hope that this information gives you helpful tips or spurs new ideas for improving your candidate experience. Click here for other conversations in our series.
This month, I’m excited to feature Robin McCord, Ed.D., the Director of Learning and Development & Employment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. While I’ve only known her a short amount of time, I’ve been thoroughly impressed not only with her level of knowledge but also the passion she brings to her role. She has some challenges that many of us would dream of…namely working for a prestigious organization where people line up to apply. The sheer volume of applications puts pressure on managing the process so St. Jude can deliver a great candidate experience, something Robin doesn’t take for granted.
Below you will get a taste of Robin’s passion for creating a best-in-class Candidate Experience, while always remaining true to the critical mission of St. Jude. Enjoy…
What does ‘Candidate Experience’ mean to you?
Anyone applying for a job at any company has a preconceived notion of what that company is like and how it operates. They have an expectation of the hiring process, as well. The candidate experience represents how closely the reality of the entire process approximates these expectations. This is why every step is important; from clicking on the company’s careers website, completing the online application, communicating with recruiters and assistants, interviewing, receiving an offer and onboarding. It has to be user-friendly, quick, fair and transparent. St. Jude enjoys a reputation as an innovative, world-class organization, and the candidate experience should reflect that.
What is the biggest recruiting challenge you face today?
Achieving the successful candidate experience that I described above. We received over 40,000 applications for about 600 openings in our last fiscal year. We are the number one place Millennials want to work according to a recent survey. It often feels like everyone wants to work here, yet many of our jobs are highly specialized and require very specific skill sets that are not easy to find. Given our critical mission to find cures and save children, most jobs require prior experience so new hires can immediately contribute. With this volume of applicants, it can be difficult to provide a stellar candidate experience for everyone, especially those we must decline.
What has been the best change you have implemented this past year?
We are implementing two major changes that are critical for our long-term success. First, we are reviewing every third-party service provider to ensure we are getting the best service possible. In cases where we are not satisfied, we change providers. Then, we are integrating technologies to free up time currently spent on manual tasks, such as constantly checking to see if background checks or drug screens are complete. We want all the systems to be integrated so we can intervene only when necessary.
Second, we are working to build more strategic, consultative relationships with hiring managers. As we free up time through technology integration, we are changing the expectation for recruiting staff to evolve from being a tactical recruiter to a recruiting business partner. We want the hiring managers to see us as experts who can help them meet their business goals through strategic selection.
How do you define success in delivering a superb Candidate Experience?
I want every candidate to say “Wow” or some variation thereof, at least once. Even if they don’t make it past the initial application screen, I want them to be impressed by some part of the careers website or ATS. I want people to have the same impression of the candidate experience that they have of St. Jude – we are world class in everything we do.
What keeps you up at night?
Metrics. We need to review our metrics to ensure they are meaningful to someone besides HR – namely hiring managers and senior leaders. We have good historical metrics, but we are lacking in business impact and predictive metrics, including quality of applicant pool, quality of hire and satisfaction of applicants/new hires. I would like to have the perfect mix of 10 or fewer metrics that truly informs our operations and ability to add value to the organization.
Matt Adam serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Talent Strategist for NAS Recruitment Innovation. Having spent nearly 20 years as a recruitment strategy consultant for a diverse client roster, he has worked with a wide variety of organizations to develop effective recruitment marketing strategies that define and shape an organization’s recruiting efforts in today’s interactive marketplace.
Matt is also a featured industry keynote speaker on topics such as Employment Branding, Best of Class Career Websites and Mobile Recruiting.