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Leveraging the Search Habits of Today’s Job Seeker

Young girl peering disdainfully over classified ads

There’s a lot of young talent out there, and as the Baby Boomers continue to retire from the workforce, it’s crucial that organizations harness the best and the brightest of the Millennial Generation – but relying on traditional attraction techniques is a sure fire way to ensure those shining stars remain out of sight. Attracting the Millennial job seeker means understanding and leveraging not only current job search habits and patterns, but also anticipating where they’re headed.

How today’s job seeker seeks

According to job search engine, Indeed, Canadians search online 1.3 times more than the worldwide average, beating out both the United Kingdom and the United States in searches per searcher. Indeed also notes that, along with travel and real estate, job hunting is increasingly done via online search engines. When it comes specifically to how people search, they typically only type in two terms: the job title they’re looking for and their desired location. That’s it. Seems simple – obvious, really – but it’s one of the best things you can know when drafting a job description. The key is to take advantage of search engine optimization (SEO) as much as possible to ensure your target, tech savvy (which all Millennials are) audience can actually find you.

But it’s important to remember that SEO isn’t about maximizing the amount of people who find your job description; it’s about maximizing the quality – the suitability – of the people who find it. Ideally, the volume of applicants should decrease, leaving you with fewer resumes to review, most of which are from individuals you could actually hire. The life of the job seeker and the life of the employer are therefore made easier.A job seeker thinking about a job description

However, this streamlined candidate attraction doesn’t mean corners can be cut everywhere. One might assume, particularly because of the stereotype that every whippersnapper job seeker has a short attention span (what with the rap and the rock n’ roll and the MTV), that the shorter the job description, the better. But that would be a mistake, particularly from an SEO standpoint. According to Indeed, the average job description should be between 700 and 2,000 words. And this makes sense. For one thing, if you’re attracting higher quality candidates, the more interested they’ll be in your job description, and so the more details they’ll want to know.

But search engines themselves are changing the way they grant websites and webpages authority. The algorithms they use to rank results have been moving farther and farther away from recognizing specific keywords to identifying more and more complex criteria, including inbound links and even more ethereal-sounding standards, such as “conversational queries”, “readability”, and overall “high-quality”. Part of the quality equation is having detailed, yet succinct information – not too long, but not too short either.

Today’s job seeker is a job seeker on the go

If a job seeker is willing to read a job description of up to 2,000 words, it’s because they’re a quality candidate interested in what they believe may be a quality career move. That should be reason enough to have a succinct, non-interrogative application procedure. Too many questions, particularly if their relevance to the job is unclear or questionable, will drive many a modern job seeker out of the application process. Millennials are closer to hackers than slackers, after all. They pay attention where attention is due.
A job seeker holding a mobile deviceIt’s also important to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly. Sales of mobile devices are dramatically outpacing that of PCs. In fact, almost as many tablets shipped worldwide this year as did PCs. Next year, more tablets than PCs are expected to ship, marking a trend that will see more and more tablets ship every year while PCs decline.  Applying for jobs on the go, especially through apps like Adecco’s own jobs app, is becoming the norm. If you force a Millennial job seeker to wait until they’re in front of desktop or laptop (which they not even have) to apply to your job, by the time they’re home, they may have already forgotten about you.

The job seeker of the future

Despite the fact that including one’s picture on one’s resume is a faux-pas because it can land organizations in legal hot water (which is why employers often throw out such resumes to avoid accusations of favouritism or discrimination based on appearance), social media has changed not only the way some employers screen applicants – although, as discussed in “The Rise of Social Media in the Workplace” in Issue 13 of Adecco Canada’s own Lēad Magazine, viewing an applicant’s social media accounts for screening purposes comes with its own legal implications – but it has also changed the job seeker’s relationship with potential employers. Many argue that the Millennial job seeker wants to be seen not only in pictures, but in video too.

Truly savvy job seekers will tailor their entire online presence to appeal to their employers of choice. It has even been predicted that resumes will inevitably include more and more links to applicants’ social media accounts, acting as a kind of nexus to the various skills, experiences, accomplishments, connections, and recommendations they can now showcase to the world like never before.A job seeker of the future checks out job postings with a visor

Of course, as much as the job seeker will continue to hone their own personal brand using social media, so too must the employer. Presence on social media is imperative for myriad reasons: reach, reputation management, thought leadership, customer engagement, and, of course, talent engagement (in fact, according to Indeed, 83% of candidates say that online reviews of employers impact who they apply to). Like virtual recruitment, social media is here to stay, but it will continue to evolve. Many do not think of the relationship between the employer and the job seeker as an arms race, but it is increasingly becoming so. The more savvy a business gets, the more it can attract savvy talent. Likewise, the more savvy talent gets, the more they seek savvy businesses. Those on both sides who adapt, thrive. Those who don’t, well…

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