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Candidate experience vs Google experience

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Jim Taylor
Jim Taylor
Managing Director
Published on

It’s getting harder and harder to remember life before Google! Much like any make of vacuum cleaner is referred to as a ‘Hoover’, or any ballpoint pen is a ‘Biro’, we don’t do an internet search for something any more, we just ‘Google it’. 

The world of talent attraction has had Google breathing down its neck since 2017 and the launch of Google for Jobs. It’s the world biggest jobs board and your biggest competitor when it comes to trying to get eyes on your job posts. But by keeping in mind the things that Google relies on when crunching a website through it’s ranking algorithm, it’s more than possible to get your careers website ranking well. And here’s how...

Candidates and Google want the same thing

All too often, I see job opportunities posted onto a bolted-on page of a consumer or corporate website, rather than being showcased on a dedicated, stand-alone careers website. But thankfully, more and more organisations such as EntainDAZN and King that I’ve worked with recently on their careers websites, are realising that their employer brand and their talent attraction need their own platform to be able to better compete with their competitors.

Creating a careers website that’s packed with relevant, engaging and informative content is great for candidates, and it’s great for Google. In terms of ranking for your careers website, Google wants to see what candidates want to see. Quality, relevant content, in the right tone of voice, clearly presented with a great user experience. Your careers website needs to focus on the things that Google focuses on to ensure it’s performing at its best.

But if your careers content is buried within your consumer-focused website then your job opportunities are never going to be seen. You’ll be confusing Google and confusing your candidates, sending out the message that your talent attraction is an afterthought, something that no-one really has ownership of and which candidates have to do all the legwork to discover.

Think mobile-first

It’s an absolute given these days that your careers website has to be designed from a ‘mobile-first’ perspective. Your candidates are searching for their next career move on their phone as they commute to work, at the dinner table, or while trying to pay attention to the latest must-see box-set. 

The number of Google searches using a mobile device surpassed the number of desktop searches some years ago, and that’s a trend that’s only going to increase.

So it’s vital to have a user experience and a user interface that allows for a frictionless search, learn, and apply process from a mobile device. And remember too that Google is giving priority to mobile-first careers websites, so it’s imperative that yours ticks this very important box.

Pay attention to the basics

Google rewards websites that are quick to load, lightweight and accessible.

If you have a high bounce rate, pages with duplicate content, images without alt text and links that are broken then your ranking will suffer - and so it should! There are stacks of great tools available to help you get the basics spot-on, many of them provided directly by Google itself, such as Lighthouse, which runs a quick and clear audit of any web page to review performance.

But I’d particularly suggest you have a look at a tool developed here at Ph.Creative.
Built from the ground up, Job Page Grader is a truly powerful tool that gives stacks of insight regarding the likes of readability, gender bias, sentiment and engagement. Simply copy and paste your job page URL into the Grader and you’ll get a comprehensive report that I guarantee will surprise you. Give it a try.

If you’re not on Page #1 on Google you’re nowhere

Google is more intelligent than ever, and thanks to code such as schema markup it can properly understand what a piece of website content is about. Simply put websites that make use of schema markup rank better in search engine results than those that don’t.

How? Well, the schema markup allows for the job detail content to help Google understand the details of the job, such as location, salary, the closing date for applications, and so on. Which improves your chance of ranking well on Google for Jobs.

So it’s pretty much a no-brainer that you need to use schema vocabulary on your careers website. This, in turn, can lead to a significant increase in click-through rate to your website through rich snippets, images, knowledge cards, and Google for Jobs listings, all of which use schema to help users find what they're looking for.

Similarly, it’s helpful to use Accelerated Mobile Pages, (Google AMP). Developed largely via a collaboration between Twitter and Google, enabling you to create fast-loading mobile web pages, 4 times faster. It’s the ideal way to get your job pages ranking higher in Google on mobile devices. We’ve seen job pages, when published appear on Page #1 on Google competing with the major job boards where naturally the post would have appeared on page 5 or 6. 

Make it personal

Take a long hard look at the journey your prospective candidate is taken on when using your careers website. Personalization of the consumer journey is a well-established tool to drive more sales, and whilst for talent attraction, it may be a trickier thing to achieve there are still ways to add some personalization and help the candidate feel more engaged, by showing them relevant jobs based on previous visits.


Adopting some of the ideas I’ve mentioned here will definitely help you get more eyes on your careers website and job posts. Want to learn more? Download Ph. Creative’s free Beginner’s Guide to Google for Jobs or Book a Demo with a member of our team!

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