Driving Traffic to Your Employment Website

Most of us have done it before: proudly unveil a glitzy new employment website, and the response is a resounding silence. The truth is that even the most attractive employment website doesn’t insure a flood of job seekers. You must provide a compelling reason for people to visit the site, and employ marketing tactics that build recognition of it amongst your target candidates. This is no small task in the current “buyer’s” (read “job-seeker’s”) market for jobs; you need to be creative to attract the kind of candidate who can add value to your company. Here are some tips that will help you identify your ideal candidate pool, drive these potential employees to your website, and keep them coming back for more. Build It, Target Them, And Then They Will Come The best compliment I ever received in my tenure as a recruiter was being asked what IT (or sales, or marketing, or development) position I held during an interview. Recruiters should know the positions they’re recruiting for and understand the people who fill them. Find out where they communicate on the Internet, what publications they read, what hobbies they’re most likely to have, or what events they frequent. Perform targeted outreach in these places and drive the traffic back to your website. For example, you might be surprised to know that your community’s art and wine festival could have the exact type of visitor you want to hire at your company (college-educated, ages 21-50+, 50% men/women, and 4 blocks away from your competitor’s headquarters…) Set up a booth at the festival and hold a special drawing for prizes where they have to visit your employment site to see if they’ve won. Once you learn more about your target candidate, you’ll begin to think of more creative ways to reach them and draw them back to your employment site. Leverage Your PR Department Your PR department should have a lot of information about the industry that you can leverage: demographics, competition, trade shows, etc. To maximize the effectiveness of your employment advertising or recruiting campaigns, work with your PR department to coordinate your initiative with events and publications. Here are some examples:

  • Communicate to PR that you want to stay in the loop about editorial opportunities. Learn to understand editorial lead times so you can predict when and where an article might appear. Then, place your job ads when the article is scheduled to appear.
  • Always know when and where your top executives are making public appearances and put this information visibly on your employment site so that potential future employees can see your leadership in action. When appropriate, make sure your spokespeople are acting as recruiters at speaking engagements as well. Tell them not to be shy about giving out your employment page URL or announcing what departments are hiring.
  • Get PR on your HR. If you’ve come up with a clever recruiting strategy or campaign to lure employees, why not get PR involved to help you get coverage on your success? For example, an article about your great telecommuting policies may attract more telecommuting candidates.

Make It An Inside Job Don’t overlook some of your most valuable recruitment resources ? your current employees. Their friends and ex-colleagues are often your best bet for new talent. Develop programs to enlist them as active participants in recruiting and driving traffic to your employment website. A referral bonus program that gives employees an additional bonus if their referral gets a good review (after being hired) might be an incentive to get them to refer only the cream of the crop. <*SPONSORMESSAGE*> Advertise! Advertising is a highly effective recruitment tool ? but make sure your money is spent where it can make the most impact. Make sure the banner ads you run on the sites that your target candidates frequent invite a response and drive traffic back to your website. For example, lure potential candidates back to your site by challenging them with games, questionnaires, or contests. If you need to hire a lot of C++ developers, design a “game” on your website that tests their skills in a fun way where a high score makes them “Master of the C++ Universe.” You might awaken their competitive spirit while attracting and identifying qualified candidate leads at the same time. Also, research shows that a viewer is twice as likely to click an animated GIF in a banner ad versus static GIF, but only if it animates one cycle ? endless loops are a real turn-off. Keep Them Coming Back For More You may not get the perfect candidate to apply for a job on your website the first time they visit. To keep the time-taxed industry shaper or the passive job seeker coming back, your employment website needs to offer more than job listings; it needs to provide an EXPERIENCE. The site should deliver content your target employee finds stimulating and attractive. Here are some ideas:

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  • Position your company’s website as the central information depository for industry information: Create a community area where people can congregate to share industry information, discuss techniques and collaborate on problems.
  • Publish a regular column or HTML newsletter that delivers useful content, such as “how-to” information from industry experts. Provide a list of industry-specific FAQs and courtesy links to other information-events, news reports, conference sites and other resources.
  • Give your visitors a weekly or monthly “confection” to anticipate. The treat can take the form of industry tips, gossip, “insider” jokes or cartoons.

Don’t Stop Evolving A Strategy! Collecting and evaluating data is the only way you can measure your success. Don’t be afraid to take a chance, but make sure to measure the results! If the metrics are set up properly, you will know if your newsletter or recruitment ad is paying dividends, or if your presence at an industry trade show (or that local art and wine festival) created a buzz about your company. An impact will register by an increased number of hits on your site. Things you want to make sure you’re tracking on your website include: how many visitors your employment site is getting, where your candidate leads are coming from, and which leads turn into employees. These statistics will help you build upon successful programs and learn from the others. By backing up your creative efforts with solid numbers, you will know which efforts are effective ? and which ones aren’t cutting it. Perhaps more importantly, metrics will help you sell your strategies to management, and provide the clout you need to grow your employment website into a powerful recruitment tool.

Michael McNeal (michael@purecarbon.com) is the Chief Industry Evangelist and co-founder of PureCarbon. Michael McNeal has been involved in fast-paced, high-volume staffing within the high-tech industry for the past 16 years. He became senior director of corporate employment worldwide for Cisco Systems in June 1996, where he developed a recruitment strategy modeled after successful business and marketing strategies. McNeal often speaks at national conferences about non-traditional recruitment methods and how the Internet can be used to remain competitive, and was recognized with Fast Company magazine?s "Who?s Fast ?99" award (issue 20). PureCarbon is the creator of JobPlanet, which was recognized as a "Top Ten Human Resource Product" of 2000 by Human Resource Executive magazine. More information about PureCarbon and JobPlanet can be found at www.purecarbon.com.

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