In Recruitment Marketing, getting qualified candidates to apply to your roles is the name of the game. But how do you get more, and if not more, better, candidates to apply? As the Content Strategist for the Life at Capital One Blog on our careers site, the strategy I’ve focused on is driving more of the right traffic to our careers site, and there’s one tactic in particular that’s generated surprising results: a search engine-optimized careers blog.
Coming from an eCommerce background, I’ve found that the best way to get more qualified candidates starts with increasing the right traffic to your site—a solid strategy whether you’re selling toasters or seeking to fill a software engineering role at your company. But focusing on ways to increase organic website traffic may not be something most talent acquisition or HR teams think about, and understandably so, with reqs to fill and so many competing priorities. This is why having a recruitment marketer on your team is so important, because this is the stuff we can focus on!
Let’s face it: Increasing your careers site traffic can feel overwhelming… should you concentrate on job boards? What about social media? Or traffic coming from your corporate site? There is no quick fix, and all of these tactics can drive traffic. However, none of them is a Recruitment Marketing channel that you have complete control over. And that’s why having a careers blog with good, authentic content that’s easily found by job-searching candidates can be surprisingly effective in your recruiting strategy.
When creating the content strategy for the Life at Capital One Blog, the team and I wanted to tell authentic stories of associates, showcase our incredible benefits and highlight our inclusive culture, using an Employee Value Proposition (EVP) and data-backed approach. But we also wanted to make sure we were incorporating SEO best practices into our careers blog so that we could benefit from being the authority of what it’s like to work at Capital One, share what the hiring and onboarding process is like and answer questions to both support candidates and recruiters. That authority coupled with questions candidates were already asking through search engines has helped us use SEO to drive traffic to our careers site and increase our reach, when they were seeking information.
The power of content to drive careers site traffic
So how do you increase your careers site traffic? The traditional recruitment website includes a list of jobs and job descriptions… maybe a company overview, a page or two on benefits and Diversity and Inclusion. From an SEO perspective, you’re not going to get much organic traffic when your site has very few pages to rank in search engines. You are reliant on job boards, like Glassdoor and Indeed, to drive potential candidates to your site.
When I joined the Recruitment Marketing team as the Social Strategist in 2018, my first stop was my best friend in digital marketing, Google Analytics. While exploring our channel traffic, it became immediately apparent that the biggest opportunity for increasing traffic to our careers site was a content play—namely a careers blog. The digital marketing drumbeat, for years, has been “Content is King.” That’s because it’s true. Great content supports your marketing channels, highlights what sets your company apart from others and can drive free traffic through search engines. And we all know that free is an attractive play when it comes to maximizing your budget.
At Capital One, we launched our careers blog in October 2019. When we kicked it off, it had 9 blogs on various topics ranging from highlighting our Business Resource Groups to exploring hiring through our partnership with YearUp. Today, we publish about 8 blogs each month on various topics ranging from associates stories, like Ming’s story on building a Machine Learning team, to highlights on how working fathers are taking care of their families during the pandemic. All of this effort has shown significant results — organic traffic is the #1 way people are finding our careers blog.
Search engines are the surprising powerhouse for increasing careers site traffic
Candidates want to know about your culture, benefits and work/life integration before applying to a job. But that’s not all they want to know, and most people turn to search engines to get that information during their candidate journey. A quick Google search of your company can reveal what information candidates are looking for and what websites are coming up to supply that information.
Search engine optimization, or SEO, has been a marketing tactic used since search engines began and a lot of people get hung up on it being a “keyword” stuffing game. But search engines have long moved away from a simple keyword count and are more focused on the searcher’s intent. What really matters is to understand what candidates are searching for, what genuine questions they have about your company and then answer them in a thoughtful and helpful way, all while keeping your EVP in mind. Pepper in lots of thoughtful stories about authentic associate experiences and let candidates truly get a feel for what makes your company special.
For example, the pandemic upturned, well… everything. Because we had an owned space to publish in-depth content, we were able to quickly respond by creating content to help candidates adjust to this new environment while also supporting recruiters and business needs. Blogs on How to Prepare for a Virtual Case Interview and How to Add a Virtual Background to Your Zoom Meeting helped candidates feel confident and professional when they showed up to virtual interviews—but it’s also content that people outside of our current candidate pool were suddenly searching for, bringing new traffic to our careers site while still meeting our business and recruiting goals. Additionally, we were able to talk about our commitment to the communities we live and work in and our associates.
Relying on social media to increase careers site traffic
From my time as a Social Strategist in Recruitment Marketing, I saw great strides forward in implementing a storytelling-based strategy to attract new followers. Greater connectivity with candidates, increased applications and less sourcing for our recruiters all came from transitioning to a storytelling approach. Unfortunately, all that work was living and dying quickly on social channels, which have varied limits on how long people will engage with you. Did you know that a twitter post only has a lifespan of 18 minutes? Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest have longer lifespans, but they all fall within a max of 4 months. Blogs, however, can continue to have impact for 2 years, without ever updating them, though every SEO practitioner knows you should!
The problem with relying solely on a social strategy, and any websites outside of your own, is that algorithms change, people’s attention wanes and channels that were once incredibly popular can quickly fall by the wayside (looking at you, MySpace). There are also risks when it comes to targeting on these channels due to employment regulations, not to mention potential governmental regulations that seem more and more imminent (TikTok, anyone?). And if you’re running ads, it can get expensive, fast. All in all, while social media can, and should, play a part of your careers site traffic strategy, relying on a single source of traffic is risky. Here are a couple of examples of Capital One social posts:
Are you seeing an uptick in meetings now that you’re working from home? Check out these helpful hints on managing that meeting calendar! https://t.co/ZzI0D1MPwp pic.twitter.com/2WW25AGo78
— Capital One Careers (@capitalonejobs) August 20, 2020
And that’s why relevant content on a channel that we own (our careers blog) is at the center of our Recruitment Marketing strategy.
Email marketing, PR and media partnership all start with content
Consider this question: When you share a social media post, are you linking back to your careers site homepage? Having a careers blog is a great way to own the landing page experience and provide a tailored candidate experience. It’s also a great way to open up and supply other channels and media plays, like email marketing, media partnerships and native advertising. Without the content to support those channels, you just have job pages that go up and *hopefully* come down just as quickly.
The stories and helpful content on the Life at Capital One Blog bring candidates in through search, our social channels and other media buys. Our blogs are formatted to allow candidates to quickly see jobs that may be of interest in a dynamic feed supplied by our job pages—on desktop, you can see them on the left-hand side of all of our blogs. This creates an easy path to conversion so that increased traffic becomes increased apply clicks and more qualified candidates applying to your jobs. A win all around!
The bottom line? You already know that great Recruitment Marketing content that meets candidates’ needs, authentically tells the story of the employee experience of working at your company and highlights your EVP is a solid strategy for continued growth. But using social media as your only channel to share that great content is risky. Algorithms change. Social media channels go in and out of favor. In my experience, a solid data and EVP-backed content and SEO strategy, published in a web space you own like your careers blog is your best long-term bet when it comes to increasing traffic to your careers site.
Images courtesy of Capital One