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The Truth about Candidate Conversion

about 1 year ago by Matt Comber


It may seem obvious, but not all recruitment websites are focused on this crucial area! Once you are delivering more candidates to your website you'll want to convert as many as possible into registrations and applications to fully justify the investment you’ve made. The truth is there's no magic formula out there - increasing conversions can be achieved in a number of simple ways that can require counter-intuitive thinking.

1.  First Impressions

Wherever a candidate lands on your website, its crucial that the basic design is attractive and actually encourages them to use the site as it was intended.  Simple principals should be adopted to deliver this.  Put yourself in the shoes of your typical candidate - use imagery intelligently to make the website attractive but not to the point that it distracts from key messages or tasks.  Show features they will want to use prominently, present information they will find useful as simply as possible, build navigation that is logical and of course make sure your copy can be easily understood.  Also, the design must be fully responsive for mobiles and tablets, so it will work effectively regardless of the device being used.

2.  Job Search

The most important element for most candidates is job search.  Therefore, we make it easy to find a relevant job at all times by displaying job search as a prominent function on the homepage.  More help is at hand with predictive search (when they start typing, the search box will use what they are typing as a prompt to display relevant options to select from).  This ensures they can get to the jobs relevant to them as quickly as possible, minimising the chances of them leaving the site.  

3.  Registration and Application

Make it as easy as possible for a candidate to register interest by providing options such as LinkedIn as well as your own forms, but remember they must be as simple as possible so as not to deter users from completion.  Ask yourself what the minimum information should be, it can be as simple as name and e-mail address.  The same for apply, make it easy to upload a CV and apply through LinkedIn and ask for the minimum information.  

These elements need to be focused on the task in hand, don't be tempted to surround them with distractions at this stage such as images and deep content.  You may think the page looks bland, but that's the point, they are functional areas where you want the user to be focused on applying and anything that makes this more difficult to complete must be avoided.  

This may all seem obvious, but by adopting these simple principles, you can make serious gains in engagement.  The industry benchmark is to see a 1% conversion rate before a new site is built, with 3% being seen as good.  When we have launched the new site we typically see 5% conversion from unique user to registration and application with 10% being achievable on the best sites.  Also, candidate quality will invariably improve as well.

4.  Keep It Commercial

Of course this has to have a commercial benefit - it means that your investment in a new website will deliver financial returns as you will have a better chance of filling roles for your clients and also reduce your reliance on job boards and their associated cost.

So there is no magic formula, just a series of intelligent approaches and techniques that when combined have the effect of lifting your conversion levels.  Also, this process does not have a definitive end point - refinements should always be considered, trialled and implemented to reflect changing practices and principals and this is something we put into practice with our clients.