Watch a Demo

How to get (and keep) candidates’ attention from Google

November 28th, 2023 7 minute read
Marissa Wilson
Talent Acquisition Consultant
The key to successful (and economical) recruitment is to get compelling, accurate information in front of the right potential candidates online.

When candidates begin a job search, they look for companies they know and opportunities that excite them. If you can get your open roles in front of these candidates, you will be reaching a talent pool that is already eager and aware of your brand. While it can take time to source candidates or nurture passive talent, search engine optimization (SEO) ensures you appear in front of engaged talent instantly.

In short, SEO refers to a set of strategies and tactics aimed at increasing organic (non-paid) traffic to a website from search engines. Search engines, such as Google, use complex algorithms to rank web pages in search results based on keywords, user experience, and other factors. Google also scrapes your job ads and collates them in search results based on users’ search terms, such as your organization name or a specific job title.

SEO can be leveraged to reach two types of prospective applicants:

  • People who are already fans of your company and are interested in learning more
  • People searching relevant terms online who may become interested when they come across your site

Here, we’ll share tactics that can increase the likelihood of reaching these candidates, and ways to communicate an attractive Employer Value Proposition when they find you.

For Candidates that find you in search: How to show up above competitors

SEO is an important part of the larger brand-building initiative your marketing team is probably already executing. Recruiters can collaborate with marketing to ensure employer brand and recruitment goals are part of that strategy.

Realistically, if a candidate searches for a generic job title like “sales associate,” they are most likely to click on brand names they already recognize. But if your site is optimized for search you can make sure you appear next to, or even above, competitors and other well-known brands.

Recruiters usually won’t be in a position to address SEO issues without support, but you can use the 5 questions below as a launching point to collaborate with whoever designed and manages your company and careers websites. This could be your developers, marketing team, or ATS provider.

5 Questions to ask to confirm your careers site is set up for SEO success:
  1. Does our careers site have analytics (like Google Analytics or Google Search Console) so we can see how our content ranks in search?
  2. Is our ATS provider ensuring our careers site is optimized so it ranks in search? (If you’re wondering, Pinpoint does!)
  3. Does our careers site have a good mobile experience?
  4. Do our job posts and careers pages have meta titles and descriptions? Meta titles refer to the headline that appears in search, and meta descriptions are the information just below. These help users to understand what information is on a landing page so they can find the most relevant content. This is important for SEO because it improves the user experience, which is a factor in how search engines rank sites.
  5. If you want to get more technical, you can ask about using schema code to help Google and other search engines read our job listings. This is structured data that would allow Google to identify that a certain landing page is a job post, and to match it to relevant searches based on the title, location, and more. The marketing or software development team you’re working with will likely be familiar with this concept.

For Candidates that know you: How to win them over

If a candidate is searching for “[your organization name] + jobs” then you have already won half the battle. These candidates are more likely to apply and stay engaged throughout the hiring process because they are already invested in your brand.

In analyzing 4.5 million applications, Pinpoint found candidates who applied via Google were 3x more likely to be hired than from other job boards. This trend was especially true for companies in retail and the travel, leisure, and hospitality industries, which often have highly recognizable brand identities.

Even if they know your brand and can find you online, you still need to show prospective candidates why they should work for you.

Speak their language

If your job post isn’t bringing in qualified applicants, it may be worth it to rework the description with the hiring manager. In some cases, it could help to update the job title to a synonym that receives more search traffic. Use free tools like KeywordsFX and AnswerThePublic to find alternative titles that might expand your reach.


Communicate your Employer Value Proposition

Treat job posts as advertisements for your company. Emphasize your Employer Value Proposition (EVP) in the role description and responsibilities. Consider including media and information about the hiring manager to give candidates greater insight into a particular team.

Beyond job posts, consider developing more employer brand content to show what life is really like at your organization. A day-in-the-life blog post or video from a teammate will lend credibility and authenticity to your content.

Make the application seamless

Beyond keywords, it’s important to think holistically about the user experience of your careers site and application. In industries where workers are not often at a desktop computer, a frictionless mobile experience can significantly increase applications.

In 2019, a Glassdoor study found that 58% of their users today are looking for jobs on their phones with blue-collar and deskless job seekers especially likely to do so. We see a similar trend at Pinpoint, with high numbers of candidates in the retail and travel, leisure, and hospitality industries applying to job postings via Google**.**

To get recommendations for how to improve the online candidate experience, you can use one of many free mobile readiness tools. They can show you how quickly a job posting or a careers page loads, as well as how the layout looks on different types of smartphones. We also recommend submitting an application from your own device to understand the full candidate journey.

Be brave, take risks, and find that real point of connection

SEO tactics may help candidates find your pages but it will ultimately be the substance that matters most. Relevant and engaging content on your careers website (that can also be shared on LinkedIn and Glassdoor), can help draw in the candidates you need to reach your recruitment goals.

In a recent webinar, Sam Lucking, Senior Recruitment Manager at L’Occitane, shared advice for getting your brand noticed, even if you don’t have the name recognition of an established company:

Every brand has something unique about them, everyone will have a hook. Be brave, take risks, and find that real point of connection. Have fun with it."

Sam Lucking
Talent Acquisition Lead at L'Occitane

In other words, don’t be afraid to experiment and figure out what works to build the company’s brand over time, regardless of your starting point.

Once you’ve made some changes to your content, you can use reports to analyze what channels drive applications. For more detailed tracking, you may want to set up Google Search Console and Google Analytics in partnership with your marketing team.

Whether you’re collaborating with a well-resourced marketing team or going at it alone, a little investment in SEO and employer brand content can go a long way. In an era where everyone is competing for candidates’ attention, even small wins to improve a company’s online presence can catch the eye of exactly the person the company needs to hire.

L’Occitane leverages their employee networks to attract great talent, especially during peak seasons like Christmas.

Discover how they are achieving their hiring goals with Pinpoint.

About the author
Marissa Wilson
Marissa Wilson is a Talent Acquisition Consultant with 10 years of experience recruiting for management consulting, ecommerce, and tech companies. With a passion for knowledge sharing, she has built out resources and delivered trainings on talent acquisition to hundreds of recruiters over her career.

Further reading