Here’s Proof That Content Will Bring You the Most Important Job Applicants

evidenceContent is far more effective at encouraging applications for those with the most experience and helps entry-level applicants self-select out of the process.

You see, usually when we talk about the power of content in recruitment marketing to attract candidates and drive applications, we have to do so in abstractions. Those of us who think about content marketing know that it can impact and influence site visitors, but we haven’t had the proof.

Until now.

We looked at a single career site of a large telecom company that has almost three thousand job openings currently listed. We wanted to see if the content it has on their site was having an impact. 

The Value of Content Hides in the Averages

Our initial figures weren’t good. In the 556,000 visits of the first quarter of 2015, only 25,000 even saw any content. That’s a pretty tepid 4.55 percent. Even worse, only 2.55 percent of apply-clicks interacted with content. By itself, that might suggest that content isn’t creating the kind of impact we want to see. But then we broke the data down and were surprised by what we found.

Looking at the data by career stage reveals that applicants at different career stages think of the application process very differently. Entry-level applicants are just looking for a job. Executives and people with more skills and experience are more selective in where they apply.

We examined 10 random job roles within each of four career-stage categories: entry level, two to five years’ experience, 6-10 years’ experience, and more than 10 years’ experience. We added up the traffic and apply-clicks to those jobs and looked at how many of them had an interaction with content.

The result: content doesn’t impact a huge number of applicants, but it has a huge impact on the most important roles.

Content Is Mostly Read by Experienced Candidates

For example, job types that have the most traffic and applications (entry level and 2-5 years of experience) have the lowest content use rates. But the higher you go in experience, the more likely the applicant was to read content. At its highest level, of those applying for jobs requiring more than 10 years’ experience, 8.5 percent interacted with content.

Content Increases Applications for the Hardest to-fill Roles

content indexWhile that still seems small, we went deeper. We compared the application rate of those who didn’t see content and those who did. At the entry level, reading content actually lowered the likelihood of application by 70.4 percent. But at the highest level, those reading jobs requiring more than 10 years’ experience were 278 percent more likely to apply when they interacted with content.

We call this the Content Impact Index: content’s impact on the likelihood of someone applying. In this research, the Content Impact Index for someone with a great deal of experience is almost three timer the norm.

Content Lowers Application Rates for Your Overflowing Roles

apply click ratioInteracting with the content is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it gives the company a way to drive good applications. On the other, by showcasing what working at a company is really like, it might be pushing away other applicants — applicants who wouldn’t be a good fit. It’s very hard to measure that impact, but we felt it should be included.

This means that in the jobs where you are getting overwhelmed with applications, content encouraged people to self-select out of the application process, making the hiring manager’s job easier.

Article Continues Below

And in roles where the difference between a good candidate and a great candidate could mean the difference between stagnation and growth, candidates who read content were almost three times likelier to apply.

Granted, this is a single company, and a lot more data collection will be done, but we think this helps prove the value of content in recruitment marketing. Are you using content to tell your story and encourage the best applications?

Are you able to measure the impact your content is having on driving applicants?

  • George Peacock

    Good article. We have had v similar experience to this with our own clients (we supply careers, recruitment, ATS systems). We particularly noticed that in roles where there was greater role targeted content added to a careers site that our employers perception of quality has increased. I do appreciate that measuring quality is by no means perfect – but our employers report lower spurious applicants i.e those who patently don’t match stated requirements and better engagement from candidates who have applied.

    I think you have really put your finger on the message that its not about overall engagement rates. A good careers site will help candidates screen themselves out and save clogging up the overall system. Basically its a win win all round and saves everyones time – candidate and employer.

    • James Ellis

      Exactly! When prospects in different career stages react inversely to content, a single “metric” ends up canceling the actions out, leading to the assumption that content didn’t make an impact.

  • Maura Satchell

    Excellent quick read, thanks! I came over here from the link in your Measure the ROI article on LinkedIn. Can’t wait to read it, but I like what you’re noting and would be curious to see results from other companies. Thanks again!

    • James Ellis

      We certainly are looking across multiple brands, but the way we have to pull that data is painstaking. Look for a more comprehensive post in the winter!