HotJobs? Search Now Based on Relevancy

Mar 29, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Yahoo! is getting REAL with its job search results, presenting them now according to how well they match a jobseeker’s search criteria.

Job boards all generally present listings the same way: Job descriptions are matched to a jobseeker’s keywords. The results are then displayed in order of posting date. Now, Yahoo! HotJobs (profile ; site) is starting to display the results in terms of relevancy, meaning that the recency of a listing is less important than how it meets both the jobseeker’s criteria and Yahoo!’s own algorithms.

The company calls the new system REAL, which stands for relevance, engagement, availability and location. Some of these elements were already being used to present results. Jobseekers on HotJobs, and on other boards, have long been able to search by locale and job title, adding keywords to narrow the results.

Now, Yahoo! has finessed its search system to consider:

  • Relevance: Matching text in job titles and descriptions to the keywords candidates use;
  • Engagement: Measuring how well candidates respond to the job listing;
  • Availability: Determining that the positions displayed are still unfilled;
  • Location: Showing jobs in a location of interest to the candidate.

The better a job posting fits the criteria, the higher it will rank in the results list. How Yahoo! will determine if a job is filled is not clear, but the other criteria will depend on how well recruiters write job descriptions. To help them, Yahoo! has posted a REAL Playbook detailing dozens of tips to get better results from their listings. Among them are such suggestions as: keep postings short, 150-250 words; avoid “gimmick” headlines in favor of plain descriptive job titles.

In announcing the new search results system, Yahoo! said it has already resulted in 25 percent more applies per posting, a metric that measures volume, but doesn’t necessarily translate into applicant quality.

However, Jeff Kinder, senior vice president and HotJobs general manager, says, “Yahoo! has shown that relevance matters in search results, and it’s powerful to apply Yahoo!’s search technology to HotJobs and see immediate and significant performance improvements. We believe Yahoo! HotJobs has a distinct advantage as online recruitment evolves and insights and technology play increasingly important roles.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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