Online Recruiting—Is Your Site Applicant-Friendly?

For many employers, online recruiting has become the primary means of soliciting candidates. However, the system is not without its challenges. In today’s Advisor, we’ll look at how to measure the effectiveness of your online recruiting program.

When measuring the effectiveness of your online recruiting program, it is important to measure what matters to your organization. Program your recruiting websites to maintain records on the number and quality of online applicants. Here’s what to look for:

How many? The first metric for your online recruiting site is simple—how many people are getting on your site and looking at the recruiting area. This will tell you how effective the website is at steering people to the right place. Counting visitors may be done programmatically and may be divided into unique (or new) visitors and return visitors. To measure the effectiveness of online advertisements, create a counter on the advertisement that shows how many people “click-through” the advertisement to your recruiting site.

Where do they go? Once people have clicked through to your recruiting site, you want to see where they go, which jobs are viewed the most, and which information sections are of the most interest to jobseekers. You may also want to know how long a potential candidate is staying on your site—the so-called “stickiness” of the site. If potential candidates are rapidly leaving the site, you will have to investigate to figure out why you are not holding their attention.

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How good are they? Measuring the costs and quality of the candidate drawn in by your online recruiting site is very much like measuring the quality of any other type of candidate. However, the costs associated with Internet recruiting tend to be far lower than more traditional recruiting methods. The most common measurements of recruiting success are:

  • Cost to hire
  • Time to hire
  • Turnover
  • Absenteeism
  • Measuring new employee performance
  • Performance versus qualifications
  • Reviews
  • Time to achieve full contribution
  • Compatibility
  • Employee attitude
  • Hiring manager satisfaction
  • New employee satisfaction
  • Hidden recruitment costs (additional training, lost employees, bonuses)
  • Financial impact of recruiting

In most cases, no single metric will adequately gauge the performance of the recruiting function. The use of several individual metrics to measure a function is often referred to as an HR “dashboard” and will provide a more complete story of how the recruiting function is meeting goals

Is Your Site Applicant-Friendly?

When gauging the utility and “friendliness” of your recruiting site, also consider:

  • How much detail you provide on job specifics
  • How clear your instructions on how to respond are and how easy it is to respond
  • How you acknowledge receipt of résumés and what additional communications you provide
  • Whether your site uses internal language and acronyms that an outside jobseeker may not understand
  • Whether applicants are asked to fill out lengthy forms
  • Whether applicants are asked for their Social Security numbers or other personal data
  • How many clicks it takes to locate a list of job openings

To gain an unbiased perspective on just how friendly your site is, you may want to have individuals outside of the organization “test drive” the site as an applicant, and provide feedback on site usability. Test drivers should be totally independent and feel free to criticize site functions.

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Optimizing Your Recruiting Website: Hot Tips

In order to fine-tune your corporate employment site even more, think about adding at least some of the following optimizations, if they are not offered already:

— Privacy/security measures to protect applicants’ information
— “E-mail a friend” option for sending openings of interest outside the site
— Elimination of login or registration requirements
— Simple, plain-English keyword terms and phrases that will show up in Internet search results
— Bios of company officers and leaders
— Link to HR e-mail or “ask a question” (and make sure to respond promptly)
— Photographs of facility, people, and company events
— Listing of employment benefits
— Company’s community involvement, “green” philosophy, etc.

In tomorrow’s Advisor, the pitfalls of online recruiting, plus an introduction to the “lawsuit preventer,” audit checklists.

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