How Can Staffing Firms Build a Modern Staffing Website?
I’m the “old guy” in our company.
When I got started in marketing decades back, it was completely different than it is today. And in many ways, so was the staffing industry!
Two decades ago, there was no LinkedIn, no massive online resume databases to tap. The number one source for recruiting candidates was the classified ads run in the Sunday paper. Skill-marketing candidates meant sending out a weekly “hot list” via fax. And executive recruiters had their little black books, which was their “competitive advantage” in accessing professional talent.
But some things seem to never change. Twenty years ago, staffing services were sold through cold calling, drop by calls (armed with donuts and brochures) and networking events. And for many staffing firms, these are still the primary methods of selling today.
In recent years, however, the rate of change – in staffing, marketing, and technology – has begun accelerating. Dramatically. And the pace is only going to pick up. Years ago, Web 2.0 changed the game for staffing sales…and recruiting…and there’s no going back.
Fact: More people will visit your website this year than you talk to on the phone in your lifetime
Let that sink in for a minute. Whether you realize it or not, your website has truly become the foundation of your presence to most of your candidates and to a large extent, your clients. So, is yours a powerful, dynamic platform for sales and recruiting – or is it little more than an online brochure?
The Modern Staffing Website: Factors to Consider
If you want to build a website that attracts, engages and drives both employers and job seekers to take action, here are some of the features your site should include. And if you want more detailed information on any of these elements, you can watch the full on-demand webinar here.
Information architecture is all about getting website visitors – your clients, prospects, candidates and temporary employees – where they want to go on your website as efficiently as possible, from any other page on your site (remember, visitors don’t only land on your home page). The more clicks it takes people to find what they need, the more they’re just going to disappear.
When you design your site, think of how you will drive action from visitors:
- get a job seeker to apply
- spur a prospect to request a workforce consultation
- convince a passive candidate to complete a form to opt into your talent community
- entice an employer to pick up the phone and place an order
One of your primary goals with your website is to generate response: to make sure visitors take some sort of action to engage with you before they leave. As you’re planning each site page, think through those conversion paths – the steps each type of visitor should take when they land on a web page, find the information they need, and then (ideally) take the action you want them to take – so you’re not losing people.
Speaking of which, the number-one place that staffing companies lose people is in the application process. To make yours more “leak proof,” consider:
- Is it easy enough for your candidates to apply from any device? (Your experience should be seamless – whether they’re applying from their desktop or their phone.)
- How many fields do they have to fill in? (Completion rates drop precipitously after just a few fields.)
- How many clicks does it take to apply to a job? (Hint: the goal is one!)
Websites that still use long, keyword-stuffed copy on the homepage for SEO purposes have terrible bounce rates. Why? Because people are turned off by what they see! Most website visitors will only skim your copy; they won’t read every paragraph. So, make sure that copy on high-level entry pages is scannable (i.e., the headlines and subheads tell your story).
This doesn’t mean your pages can’t have detailed body copy; they can. But you should use subheads, accordions and other tools intelligently so that, when an individual is scrolling on a computer (or more likely on their phone), they’re getting the major points of the story. Then, if they decide they want more information, they can drill in deeper.
Your business is continually changing. New people come into work through you or to be hired by your clients. You also regularly add new clients. With each new project or placement, you get new success stories to tell, new testimonials and fresh online reviews. New people join your team, and you may even change or add new services.
Your website should be as dynamic as your business! Modern staffing websites offer tools that build and display dynamic content – things like testimonials, top talent profiles, your latest blog posts and more – so that your site is always fresh, and always presenting your business in the best way possible.
Google for Jobs optimization
Google for Jobs is the first thing people see when they search for a job on Google. If you want Google to display your jobs in that cute little box at the top of their results page, your website code has to be optimized with something called schema markup. This tells Google how to understand and display the information in your job postings.
Automated talent re-engagement
Does your site allow candidates who apply to your jobs to automatically receive updates when you have new opportunities that meet their criteria? When building a new website, include functionality that puts talent re-engagement on autopilot. This way, your company and jobs stay top-of mind with candidates without you even lifting a finger.
While IP (Internet Protocol) address software tracking is not perfect (at least not yet), consider adding technology to your website that tracks the address of each visitor to your website. On the client side, this tech can very often tell you what company an individual is from. If you’re trying to target large or mid-size employers, visitor tracking can provide information about who’s landed on your website – which can be extremely valuable for sales prospecting.
Just a few years ago, responsive websites (i.e., ones where content adjusts to fit the screen it’s displayed on) were the latest and greatest. Today, your website must be more than just responsive; it has to be completely optimized to provide the best possible experience for any user, on any device. People use their computers differently than their smartphones. As a result, the best staffing websites have both desktop and mobile versions, with unique features and functionality designed to maximize conversion on each.
With litigation on the rise and first-time fines of up to $75,000, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, and related legislation and guidelines, is a huge concern for any staffing firm. If your site is like most, people with visual impairment and/or other disabilities may have a tough time viewing content and searching your jobs (either on their own or with the assistance of other technology) because of the way your site and/or job board is designed.
By making your staffing website ADA compliant and more inclusive, you will get more talent applying to your jobs, and protect yourself from wasting money defending yourself in the event of a lawsuit.
So much has changed with SEO in recent years, I could easily write a book just on this topic. It’s no secret that search engines give preferential treatment (i.e., higher rankings in search results) to websites that adhere to their guidelines. Technical SEO strategies and tactics ensure your site meets algorithms’ expectations. That way, search engine spiders can find, interpret and correctly serve up your content to users.
Instead of keyword-stuffing dense blocks of prose, or trying to rank #1 for “staffing agencies in [your market],” hire an expert to do the behind-the-scenes work you need, so you’ll rank well in the organic searches your ideal employers and job seekers are conducting.
What’s Next for My Staffing Firm?
Staffing, marketing and technology have all come a long, long way in the past 20 years. And bigger, faster changes are on the horizon. While nobody can predict the future, investing in a modern staffing website – one that tells your story, ranks well in search, engages people and drives conversion – is a smart strategy to ensure the continued success of your agency.
About the author: David Searns is the Founder and CEO of Haley Marketing, a Bullhorn Marketplace partner, and a leading provider of websites, blog writing, social media and other marketing services to the staffing industry.
Would you like to invest in an extensible solution that will allow you to conquer these obstacles? Check out our new Bullhorn Marketplace site and learn more about the Bullhorn Marketplace partners like Haley Marketing today!