Get More Out of Job Boards

Mar 5, 2008

Most job boards offer two primary services: a resume bank of registered candidates and the ability to post your jobs online where job seekers may see them. The tips below will help you enhance your ability to use both of these services to find better candidates and have your jobs found.

Most major job boards also offer excellent self-help, have resources dedicated to assisting you in learning how to use advanced features, and provide you with a variety of detailed statistics. You just need to ask. Once you’ve selected the tactics that you wish to execute, make sure that you consult your job board to determine how to implement them within their services and syntax.

The tips below have been made intentionally generic as to be applied to any job board.

Using Boolean Resume Bank Searching to Uncover Hidden Gems and Return Relevant Results

Boolean logic is a fundamental component of resume search engines across all job boards. With two simple tricks, your results will improve regardless of what job board you use.

  • Increase results using buckets, such as similar terms, synonyms, and common misspellings to get greater results. This concept is really simple. In order to increase your results and make sure that you cast a wide-enough net to find the candidates you are looking for and your competition might have overlooked, you need to get creative.

    Say that you are looking for a “Great Plains Functional Analyst.” Now, the basic search would be: “Great Plains” OR “Functional Analyst.” But what if the candidate’s last role was as a Dynamics GP Consultant, and that is what appears on her resume? Your search would not uncover this candidate, so what should you do? Simply use buckets of like terms to increase your search net and return more results. The like terms can be synonyms (e.g., “Dynamics GP” OR “Great Plains”), similar terms (“Functional Analyst” OR “Consultant”), or even common misspellings (“GreatPlains”).

    In order to expand our earlier search, let’s create a Dynamics GP bucket to include all the ways someone might search: (“Dynamics GP” OR “Great Plains” OR “GreatPlains”) and combine it with our title bucket (“Functional Analyst” OR Consultant) to create a new improved query. This advanced query would look like: (“Dynamics GP” OR “Great Plains” OR “GreatPlains”) AND (“Functional Analyst” OR Consultant).

  • Eliminate False Positives using “Not” or Additional Qualifiers. Sometimes, more results means more manual screening. Once you refine your search and start flexing your advanced-query muscles, you may find that some candidates who do not belong are flooding your result set. Typically, this occurs when a keyword can mean multiple things. Let’s review two techniques to reduce false positives. First, imagine that you are looking for a Solomon consultant. The basic search would be: Solomon AND Consultant.

    Try running this query in Google. You’ll find a handful of Solomon consultants; however, a majority of your results will be candidates who have worked in the past for Solomon Smith Barney. How can we eliminate these false positive results? Simply by using the “not” operator to eliminate all results with “Smith Barney.” The advanced search would look like this: Solomon AND Consultant NOT “Smith Barney.”

Remember to consult your job board for proper syntax and experiment! The best thing to do is to keep tweaking your query until you get the quality and quantity of resumes you are looking for, and then save that query for future use.

SEO: Get Your Jobs Found and Get On Top!

Search engine optimization has been around for years now. It refers to techniques used to improve the placement of websites on Web search engines through relevancy, and mastering the relevancy logic that determines the position results are placed. But what does it have to do with recruiting? Run a simple job search on one of the major job boards for “Great Plains” and 1,582 results are returned!

Just like Web search engines, job search engines have algorithms that determine relevancy when a candidate conducts a job search. If your job is buried toward the end of the search results, chances are that fewer candidates will see your job and your applicant pipeline will not be as rich. Some factors, such as the date the job was originally posted, may affect the results and be out of your control; however, there are things that you can do.

This is an area that requires working closely with your job board, for each board has specific code that determines placement. But there are some techniques that can be commonly applied.

  • Most Important Words in the Job Title. Make sure to keep your job title short and include the most important keywords. Many searches give extra significance to the words found in the title. For example, if your job title is “Implementation Consultant” and a job seeker looks for Axapta, a job with the title “Axapta Implementation Consultant” will have better placement in the search results.
  • Keyword Stacking with Caution. Make sure to repeat the use of keywords most commonly used; however, most search logic has advanced to a point where simply listing a keyword multiple times will not improve results. The best tactic is to keep your job descriptions short and simple while repeating keywords in the tile, responsibilities, and skills sections. Make sure that you are using the keywords that candidates will search for. Some job boards track and will share this information with you.
  • Job Board Specifics. This is an area where you need to work closely with your job board. Some boards have specific tags and categories that affect candidate searches. Others will provide you statistics on the number of views and the number of applications to see what is working and what’s not. We’ve even seen some boards’ results affected when you stick keywords into the JobID, so ask and play around. You’ll be surprised by what you will find.

The best way to implement this tactic is to search jobs on the board you are posting and see who is appearing on top. Figure out why, and use their techniques. Keep trying until you see your desired results, and remember to contact your job board representative for help and statistics!

Advanced Features: Tracking and Automate

Job boards are competing fiercely, and they continue to release updates and new features that, depending on your recruiting process, may be of great value. Some of these features are very easy to use and are included in your service fees.

  • Tracking. Many job boards now offer basic applicant and candidate tracking. For organizations with more than three recruiters, it’s best to purchase an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that essentially provides customer relationship management capabilities where candidates are considered customers. The basic ATS features on the major job boards are continuing to improve. They provide greater functionality, allowing you to do things like track notes on candidates, the status of a candidate, and e-mail and application activity. This is a great feature for a small organization with a limited budget.
  • Automated Searches. There are two types of automated searches. Job boards feature both. The first and most useful is a feature that sends you automated alerts when a candidate matches one of your saved searches. Imagine that you’ve created the advanced query using the techniques described above and would like a continuous daily feed of candidates who match. Candidates, on average, have a two-week shelf life; that means you need to contact them faster than your competition. This way, you’ll be able to get a hold of them the same day they posted their resumes.

    Another great feature that is intended for job seekers that may also be of use to you is the ability to save automated job searches. For one, you can keep an eye on the competition by seeing who else is recruiting for the same things you are. In addition, you can verify that your jobs are getting out there to candidates who are relying on these automated searches.

Remember to work closely with your job-board providers in exploring how to enable these features and techniques. With some minor adjustments, you should see immediate and long-term impact on your recruiting results!