Online Recruiting and Web Analytics


Recruitment and Web AnalyticsReading an old post on the blog of Ian Thomas, ‘Lies, Damned Lies’, on Web Analytics in online recruiting, and having worked on a couple of Web Analytics projects for online recruitment agencies, together with the OX2 team, we decided to find out which web analytics tools are currently used by the different recruiting companies which have a presence in Belgium, the Netherlands and France at the same time.

What initially aroused my interest in Ian Thomas’post was next paragraph:

One of the loops that people often get themselves into with Web Analytics is an assumption that what you learn from your web analytics can only be applied directly back to the site, or at a stretch, at the marketing for the site. But that’s not true, of course: web analytics can provide all sorts of insights that can be applied across a business, sometimes in areas not related to the web at all.

Read the rest of the post on:

And this last sentence is of course more than true, but typically companies, and this doesn’t apply only to online recruitment agencies, don’t take full advantage of what is possible with the web analytics tool they have.

I have summed up some KPIs for online recruitement sites, and tried to show some possible areas, online and offline, where they could be applied:

  • Most popular content – Which sections of the sites are the most visited and in which sections are the visitors spending most of their online time? Which specific jobs (or jobcategories) are visited the most? Which purely informative sections (such as ‘Career Advice’, ‘Job Hunting Guidelines’, ‘Tips & Tricks’, ‘Salary Calculator’, etc.) are popular?
    >>> Based on this information you could put certain jobs (or categories) in the spotlights, both on the web as in the offline brochure or jobcatern in the newspaper. And the same goes for the informative sections. Which extra information are jobseekers looking for? Maybe it is worthwhile to do some research and to write a whitepaper, again for on- and offline media, about a certain subject. This could also attrack non-jobseekers.
  • Referrers – Which sites are referring the most visitors to your site?
    >>> If you know which sites are referring visitors to yours, you could investigate if those referrers also have offline channels through which you could advertise. If the referrer info would be combined with the most popular content or jobs, you could really target your audience!
  • Newsletters – what is the clickthrough rate, targeted newsletters, conversions after clickthrough
    >>> Again this comes down to content. Based on the most popular click-through links, you can decide on the content for possible offline newsletters. Ideally, you can probably see who opened the newsletter and clickthrough, and which sections did they looked at. So this give you the opportunity to really segment your audience and send them targeted newsletters.
  • Search keyword/phrases – Which search keywords or phrases drive visitors to my site?
    >>> This information, in combination with most popular content, jobofferings, bounce rates, etc. help to optimize the content of on- and offline information. If you have some top search phrases which generate a high bounce rate, you could focus on content about this subject in the future (if it has anything to do with recruitment of course 🙂 ).
  • Internal search – Which jobs, job areas, job location, etc. are most searched for? Which non-job specific content is searched for? Which searches have no results?
    >>> Besides possible actions to take in the navigation structure of the site, all actions derived from search keyword/phrases apply here as well.
  • Conversions – How many visits lead to registrations, subscription to newsletter, putting CV online, apply for job, etc? How many visitors converted?
    >>> At the end the goal of your site is to convert as much visitors as possible. With your web analytics solution you can more or less derive which behavior leads to which conversions, for example certain content blocks or newsletters lead to more online registrations. The same content blocks can than become a focus in the offline communication as well.
  • Segmentation – Based on socio-demografic info coming from an external database (related to the login ID for the private section of the site), all the above KPIs can be segmented by geografical location, gender, age, job, etc.
    >>> With all this valuable information you can really target your audience, and start for example localized offline campaigns or campaigns towards specific age groups, again both on- as offline. In addition, if the resources are available, you can even communicate on a one-to-one level with your visitors (= customers).

There are many more possible actions that can be taken based on the web analytics data, but I hope the above KPIs have already convinced you of the high value web analytics can offer the recruitment agencies. If you have comments or questions, I welcome you to add them at the end of this post.

So let’s take a look now at the different tools used by the different companies I researched for this article (the research was done on 31 August 2007).

Company Site WA Tool
Accent Google Analytics n/a n/a
Adecco n/a n/a Xiti
Manpower n/a n/a n/a
Monster WebTrends WebTrends WebTrends
Randstad Google Analytics + NedStat WebTrends + Google Analytics n/a
StartPeople (Creyf’s) Google Analytics NedStat n/a
Stepstone Omniture Omniture Omniture
Vedior n/a Google Analytics + NedStat (FR) Xiti

While I was checking out the different sites and the web analytics solutions that were used, my attention was caught by something which is not solely related to recruitment companies only and which we experience quite regularly with some European prospects.

If you take a look at the table above you probably notice that, apart from the fact that the majority of the sites isn’t using a tagging-based analytics solution at all, there is only 1 company that uses the same tool in the 3 different countries which I have reviewed for this post. The other companies use either different tools in the different companies, or even 2 tools for the same site.

Why use 2 web analytics solutions on 1 site?
As you can see in the table, and from our experience, it is almost every time that Google Analytics is involved. I am pretty sure that the organisations want to compare the GA reports with the other analytics tool reports, to consider if the free tool can meet their requirements, and as a consequence if they can throw out the other tool. Or it could be that they are using Google Analytics reports especially to report on their AdWords campaign, which are quite detailed.

Why use different web analytics solutions for different sites in different countries?
Too often we see that different country marketing managers take the decision regarding the WA solutions without negotiating with their counterparts in the other countries. This is probably quite common for cross-country companies but let’s sum up some major advantages we feel should not be overlooked if these companies should go for one and the same analytics tool for the measurement of all their sites:

  • Same basis for benchmarks – When it comes to comparing reports cross-country, you want to compare apples with apples. When using the same analytics tool you are sure that the same methodology for capturing data and analysis of this data is the same for all sites, which is a must for cross-sites (cross-country) comparison. Using different tools means you start on the wrong basis.
  • Knowledge sharing (technical, report configuration & analysis knowledge) – Each tool has its specific requirements and processes for tagging a site. The webmasters or IT-department would gain a lot of time if they could count on their counterparts in the other countries in case they need a hand. The same logic is also true for the people responsable for configuration of the reports, and the business analysts who need to dig into the results and take action.
    Additionally, all documents and guidelines related to the webanalytics project could be centralized so they are accessible for all parties involved.
  • Centralized application & data – In case the company would prefer software above an ASP-solution, they would have 1 centralized application which has to be supported by 1 department only, and which keeps all data centralized. And only 1 server (depending on the set-up and traffic of course) should be acquired.
  • Better license price – When confronting the vendor as 1 European company, and with 1 European web analytics project, we know of experience you will get a better deal out of the vendor both on a pricing level as on a support level. Having a gloabel european client is always good publicity!

From our experience working together on projects such as Toyota Europe, Stanley Europe, Bridgestone Europe and Daikin Europe, we can only encourage (european) companies to tackle a webanalytics projects together. As you can see, using 1 webanalytics solution cross-country has only advantages.
But do let me know if you have another opinion, and can think of a good reason why each country should take its own decision when it comes to selecting the right webanalytics solution.
Or if you see other advantages that I overlooked, shoot!


2 Responses to “Online Recruiting and Web Analytics”

  1. Pere Rovira Says:

    interesting article…

    i worked for a couple of years as director of operations for an online employment jobsite, and one of the most useful metrics was the ratio (cvs published) / (job offers published)
    if possible, segmented by categories

    this gives an idea of how many new candidates are entering per job offer. it is essential to reach the equilibrium point for this ratio in order to guarantee enough cvs per job post, and viceversa.

  2. Ilse Says:

    Very interesting post. Thx.

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