The UK’s recruitment industry is massive – it employs 96,400 people, turned over almost £28 billion in the tax year 2013/14 and helped 630,000 people find permanent employment.

The Recruitment and Employment Confederation’s latest industry trends report highlights a plethora of positives, especially as the nation’s economy continues to recover. It’s clearly a great time to be in the employment business.

Of course, the report also emphasised some of the challenges that recruiters commonly face; issues that were echoed by several recruiters we contacted. Can search marketing help recruiters overcome these problems? We posed the issues to our experts and here’s what they said:

Problem #1: “I’m not attracting enough new business or the right candidates for my vacancies”

With over 23,000 agencies in the UK (as at end of 2013), differentiating yourself from the others and attracting quality candidates is vital. It can also help you win more client business and grow.

Eli Zheleva, SEO Specialist says:

“Getting qualified organic traffic means putting your website in front of the right audience. The first thing to do is to ask yourself if you want to attract candidates in a particular geographic area. If so, does your website say that? If your website hasn’t had local SEO done, you need to do that to maximise the exposure in local search. Verifying your Google+ MyBusiness page and adding your business details to highly authoritative directories, such as Yell and Yelp, are two easy ways to let search engines know of your target region.

“Another quick win is to ensure each job listing page is optimised for the advertised job. Last but not least, make sure people will have a good on-site experience. Review the loading speed, site structure and clarify calls to action. It will be a shame to put all that effort into getting people to the site and letting them go.

“Applying those techniques will help with your organic visibility. It is also worth considering running a PPC campaign at the same time to further increase your reach.”

Problem #2: “I find it difficult to get people to engage on social media”

Social media has provided an effective channel through which to communicate, raise brand awareness and develop loyalty, yet many recruiters bemoan the fact that they struggle to get Facebook likes and/or Twitter follows – or any engagement at all.

Heather Clark, Social Media Specialist, has this advice:

“Don’t post job adverts; instead talk about issues that everybody has to encourage participation and shares. Give them content which means something to them and also positions you as an authority on the subject. Make sure your online content supports what people are searching for – we would check data to determine those searches, then would create interesting content around those search terms. Capitalise on trends, too.

“Another action we’d take is to identify what we call ‘influencers’ – so people who are well-known in specific areas and who also have a big Twitter following. Drawing them into a conversation or managing to persuade them to retweet a post can do wonders for your social reach – you could gain lots of followers/ fans as a result.

“Finally, make sure you use the right hashtags so that people can find your posts in the first place.”

Social engagement

Problem #3: “It takes too long to fill clients’ vacancies”

You might have thought that the advent of social media, especially professional networking site, LinkedIn, might have made it easier to source and screen candidates, vastly reducing timescales; but you’d be wrong.

Alex Balmer, Digital Marketing Advisor, explains:

“With PPC, we can target all the different search variants that people use to look for their ideal job. Covering a wide range of terms, you can appear for a vast amount of relevant searches and serve up the most appealing ad message to entice job hunters into clicking through to your site – so we are actively appearing in front of people with a need for a job that falls under your specialist areas. This is opposed to job boards that merely hope candidates see a role and apply.

“What’s more, we can serve ads to candidates who want more specific, personal interaction; those who might search, for example, ‘marketing recruitment agency Portsmouth’. Job boards attract a lot of people who are not qualified or experienced in a particular role. Using PPC, we can help you appear alongside searches that target specific skills or levels – i.e. only senior marketers will search ‘senior marketing manager’ or ‘head of marketing’.

“Casting the PPC net that wide will ultimately save recruiters time when sourcing the right candidates, enabling them to fill those roles far more quickly!”

Problem #4: “People don’t seem to return to my site”

You’re successfully referring lots of people to your site, but they don’t hang around for long, nor do they tend to return. In fact, they are ‘bouncing’ within seconds. You want to not only keep them reading, but encourage them to explore the site further, what can you do?

Dai Howells, Content Specialist recommends:

“It’s a good idea to use data to discover the kind of content that people want, find out what they’re searching for and what interests them. If we write a piece of content that answers their questions or is perfectly suited to their needs, they might return. The more of this type of content that’s published, the more they’ll return. Soon, they’ll equate the site with quality, fresh material and won’t just stumble upon it but actively seek it out.

“Additionally, it pays to build a better social media presence, so people can follow them and get regular reminders of the brand, thus delivering future visits from customers that may otherwise have forgotten about them altogether and moved on.”

search marketing terms

Problem #5: “Visitors aren’t registering, submitting applications or getting in touch”

In the SEO biz, we call this issue ‘incomplete goals’; the actions which are highly prized and make a difference to you are not being completed. It can be a tough one to overcome.

Thomas Light, SEO Specialist, advises the following:

“You would probably look to identify the reasons why people aren’t signing up. It could be that most of the traffic is from people who are researching, rather than looking for jobs right now, so they might be reading the interesting articles on finding a job, etc, but are not actually ready to apply. This is great, however, it means that the site content is doing its job in attracting people at the early stages of the ‘buying cycle’.

“After you have figured that out, it would be a good idea to look at the calls to action on the page. Is there a natural place for the user to navigate to? Does the website give enough reasons to sign up with them (i.e. why they are better than Monster, Indeed, Reed, etc)? We would also check whether their sign-up forms were too long to fill out, as that could also be a reason why people are not completing the goal.

“Essentially, we would carry out a thorough UX (user experience) review to identify the obstacles and put the appropriate steps in place to minimise them.”

We’re here to help

As you can see, an integrated search marketing strategy can help recruiters prevent, reduce or even totally overcome some of their biggest problems. With plenty of recruitment experience under our belts, we’re well placed to help you with yours. For more details about how we can help your business, give one of our knowledgeable experts a call.