Millions of candidates use search engines to find an appropriate job which makes search engine optimization strategies extremely relevant for HR professionals to target prospective candidates to their job postings or career pages. However, in order to apply the right strategy, it is quite important to understand the current scenario prevailing in the job market. In an interview, Julie Gentry, president of the board of the Central Arkansas Human Resources Association (a chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management) talks about the latest trends in the job market. Let’s look at how SEO impacts the picture:
- Demographic Changes – The human workforce currently includes four generations. Since each generation has different approaches and attitudes towards the job, it is very important for HR professionals to remain vigilant about the varying issues related to hiring staff from people belonging to different generations. The aging out of the baby boomer generation that forms a very large work group with enormous knowledge and skills is another major concern. It becomes imperative for companies to find a solution to close the knowledge gap when these workers retire. This trend hints that in order to find a right candidate, it is important to optimize a company’s site for all four generations. The exit of baby boomers from the job market needs to be taken very seriously and it’s important to make the site appealing to the experienced workers from this generation in addition to others.
- Increasing Demand for Contract Labor – The traditional reference checks involving just date and title verifications of job candidates’ previous employment is getting outdated. Employers are now increasingly opting for contract labor to take a firsthand look at the work performance of the candidate before appointing the person as an employee of the company. Many HR professionals partner with contract labor companies to find suitable candidates and see whether the contract worker follows the company policies and procedures when they are on company premises. This means it is important for them to optimize their career pages to appeal to candidates who are interested in offering services as contract workers.
- Huge Popularity of Social Networks – The rise of social media has both positive and negative effects on human resource management. HireRight’s 2013 Employment Screening Benchmarking Report shows that 61% of employers used or planned to use social networking sites for recruiting candidates. Recruiters can make use of social media optimization services to optimize their social pages for the right candidates. However, there are instances where employees misuse these channels accidentally or deliberately to post private information, which will finally result in negative reputation. Taco Bell (American chain of fast-food restaurants) issued a statement on June, 2013 defending the embarrassing photo posted by its employee on the personal social networking page, which is a great example how defamatory social posts by employees cause problems for companies. HR professionals can seek help from a SEO firm that offers reputation management services to keep track of what is being said about the company on social network and take efforts to build up good reputation.
- Technological Advances at Workplace – The proliferation of technologies including computer, mobile devices and so on have reduced the communication gap between employee and employer and keep them in constant contact. The positive effects is the increase in productivity. A 2013 CareerBuilder study says 65% of workers search for jobs through mobile devices and that underlines the need for a mobile-optimized site. This study hints at the growing importance of mobile SEO strategies. However, one negative side of such technological advancements is that it keeps employees glued to their companies, robbing them of their personal time, which can have a significant impact on employee morale.
Apart from these job market trends, Julie Gentry also talks about the key mistakes made by people while submitting a job application. According to her, applicants should include all relevant work history, take care to avoid spelling and grammatical errors, and provide professional e-mail addresses and phone numbers with messaging capability when they prepare their resume. She also suggests limiting the use of acronyms related to their industries.