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How will Google for Jobs affect the recruitment industry?

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Originally published in Recruitment International’s November issue

 

Optimising Google for Jobs

As Google for Jobs gains momentum in the UK, RI’s latest ‘Marketing for Recruiters’ event delved into the impact it could have on the recruitment industry with Enhance Media’s Giles Guest

On Wednesday 12th September, Recruitment International held its ‘Marketing for Recruiters’ event in London. The session was led by Giles Guest, director of recruitment marketing company, Enhance Media, who shared his insights into Google for Jobs. Labelled as possibly the biggest shake-up for the recruitment industry since LinkedIn, the platform is Google’s entrance into the jobs market, which sees its job board embedded at the top of jobs-related search results.

The jobs that will appear on this platform are based on relevancy and complying with Google for Jobs’ set criteria. Optimised searches (those that comply with the criteria in the best way) will appear at the top of the Google for Jobs platform. Guest explained that the platform is set to take off with Google’s power behind it, and will also be able to provide candidates with a host of other relevant information, including commute times. Anyone that has a Gmail account or an Android phone will also be able to set up job alerts to come through to their emails or phone respectively.

Reasons behind the launch

Google has explained the move to launch a job board with several reasons including, to improve the candidate experience, to remove multiple listings of the same job (the Google for Jobs platform will only show one version of the job), to counteract the saturation of job boards and aggregators on its search pages, and to remove confusion around vague job descriptions (in its platform, Google will not share badly written job adverts).

Reflecting on the real reason behind the move, Guest suggested that this may really come down to protecting its market share. He highlighted that in the jobs space, Google has seen the rise and dominance of LinkedIn and Indeed; it doesn’t want to get to a point where people decide to go to these sites directly. It also wants to avoid becoming a ‘bounce on/bounce off’ service, where people use it to find another site, then leave Google for a prolonged period of time. Reacting to other developments in the industry, with Microsoft purchasing LinkedIn and the launch of Facebook Jobs, Google couldn’t afford to become irrelevant to jobseekers. Rather than being a focus on making money, the move was more about increasing data and protecting the company’s $750 billion market cap.

Google for Jobs launched in the US on 22nd June 2017. Guest explained that around six months before launching in a country, Google starts testing the platform with around one or two per cent of the population in that area. So far, it has been rolled out to the US, Canada, parts of South America, and Africa, India, Spain and the UK. There is also live testing happening in Japan and Europe, with Australia predicted to have the platform by the first quarter of 2019. Guest said that Google shouldn’t struggle to release the product in any areas aside from China and Russia, where it is not the number one search engine.

Supporting the platform

Google is currently working on tools to support Google for Jobs, including Cloud Job Discovery, which will offer the ability to replace the search facility on a website with the Google for Jobs search facility. This could offer better matching and searching results, as most websites aren’t able to understand synonyms (searching for ‘sales’ but also seeing jobs listed under ‘business development executive’), but Google can. It will also be developing Google Action, a facility similar to the ‘book now’ option Google offers for restaurants, which will mean candidates don’t have to leave Google to apply for a job. Currently 88 per cent of candidates use Google to search for a job (NORAS 2018), 82 per cent of employers use Google to search for recruitment companies (Rose 2017) and 58 per cent of recruitment consultancies use search engines as their number one source of placeable candidates (Aggregated Analytics 2017).

With Google’s new platform come winners and losers. Employers are set to see opportunities arise from the platform, which will give them the option to list jobs on the Google for Jobs platform for free. Aggregators will see a massive threat from Google for Jobs; Indeed is a direct competitor with this platform. Jobs boards will also see some level of threat from the platform, but not to the same extent as aggregators. Considering the opportunities and challenges for recruiters, possible challenges include, an increase in employers listing jobs directly rather than through a recruitment company; extra work involved to make a website Google for Jobs compatible; consultants will need to do more work to ensure job adverts are of a high quality; there is the possibility of falling behind if the company isn’t listed, and competitors could also use this as something to sell against you. Opportunities include the added advantage of removing the job board and aggregator competitors; extra candidate traffic from more Google searches; better quality candidates from the more refined search capability; the opportunity to beat rivals who are not listed; and client wins from being Google for Jobs compatible.

Meeting Google’s criteria

In order to be listed on Google for Jobs’ platform, Guest emphasised that recruitment companies need to ensure their job descriptions meet the set criteria and ensure their website can be read by Google correctly. There are four main elements needed to be listed on Google. Firstly, each job a recruitment company shares on its website needs to have 23 specific markers that Google requires. These markers vary from critical information, such as job title, description and date posted, to those of medium importance, such as work hours and job benefits. Google will also need to be able to ‘see’ these markers using job schema, which is embedded in the company’s website.

It is also vital that Google knows when jobs are created and deleted. This can be achieved using a continuous ‘jobs only’ daily XML sitemap feed. This XML feed is separate from the one used for SEO and a company’s normal sitemap. Finally, a website must be set up for Google for Jobs best practice. This includes having accurate salary (in the US, Google has begun to estimate salaries when one isn’t provided), an exact job location (to enable Google to calculate the real time commute), refreshing jobs at regular intervals (Google prioritises fresh posts), all job posts contain a call to action, and that SEO on-site complies with best practice.

Creating a strategy

To prepare for Google for Jobs, Guest stressed that recruitment companies need to have a strategy in place, which could involve an audit, reviewing applicant tracking systems (ATS) and content management systems (CMS), ensuring jobs comply with the 23 markers, identifying whether the XML sitemap is Google for Jobs legible, and planning for the future of appearing on Google for Jobs. With all of this planning, Guest highlights that the less thinking companies make Google do in the process, the better and more likely they are to be listed higher on the platform. There is a basic test page on Google to understand whether a company is Google for Jobs ready and has the basic schema installed. With regards to optimisation, however, it is not yet known how this is calculated (there’s no set algorithm, but it is believed it is related to the combination of the four main elements).

 

How are you preparing for Google for Jobs? Why not get in contact with Becky and share your thoughts? becky@recruitment-international.co.uk

To find out more about Enhance Media, head to their website: https://www.enhancemedia.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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