What affects the success of a job ad?

This will be a short post but one that I think is important to understand as you are evaluating your process and budget  spend.  For every one of your recruiting advertising sources, you are making educated decisions based on the recruitment metrics you capture on all the job boards, social networks, niche sites and other distribution sources you use.

However, metrics like views, apply clicks, contacts and applicants can give a great broad idea of how well different sources perform but they will also be affected by a number of underlying factors that will affect the overall performance. It’s important to keep this in mind while analyzing your data.

Let’s look at some of the factors that may affect the performance of specific job ads in your process.  All of the following will have some affect on the performance of a job ad:

Where it’s posted:  First and foremost, the job distribution sources you use will have a great effect on performance.  And in this case, you will want to try to match up the right sources (job boards, niche sites, social networks, etc.) that provide the best match with the audience you are trying to attract.  The key here is to make sure you are consistent in the job ad text you use on all these channels so there is no outside factor that affects conversion rates in the candidate attraction process.

Job Ad Messaging:  This probably has more of an effect than most organizations realize but the length and quality of your job advertisement will more than likely impact a candidate conversion from them viewing the job ad and deciding to enter the application process.  In many cases, this will be a source independent factor and affect your overall apply click rates on the aggregate.

To test the impact of job ad messaging overall, you can do A-B testing for a specific job.  Keep the same job title but post two different job descriptions.  Track the % of candidates that move from views to apply clicks.  This will help you understand and improve your messaging for future job advertisements.  Here are some things you might want to try in improving your job ads.

Expectation Match:  One thing that might be happening if you are getting lower than expected performance from job postings is that your job title might not match the candidate’s expectation of the requirements, seniority and/or job responsibilities for the position.  If you are seeing a big drop-off, it might be helpful to take a look at your job titles vs. the job titles for your competitors for similar positions.  This can help you better match your titles to what candidates are really looking for and expecting for that type of position.

Application Process: Your applicant rates will be affected by the length and complexity of the application process.  In general, there will be a give and take for organizations to create a process that gathers enough information on a candidate to do an initial screening decision and have it be short enough for a candidate to actually spend the time to finish the process.  If getting enough applicants is a big problem for you, this is one of the key areas I would focus on.

We talk a lot about measuring the quality of the sources you use in your recruitment marketing strategy.  However, please keep in mind it’s also important to understand the other factors that will effect your conversion rates that are source independent.  In aggregate your overall conversion rates from one step in the recruitment funnel to another can give real insight into where you can improve your process and convert more candidates into applicants.

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