We were looking for a way to bring new job candidate leads to our recruiting team. Our website wasn't converting candidates as well as we would've liked and this is our story of how we turned it around.

ATR International is an IT and enterprise-wide staffing firm, and in the staffing industry you have two clients . One is the company looking to your expertise to source, screen, and place qualified individuals. They are the client that is looking for people.

And then there's the other client, the candidate. These are the people that you are looking to place in the positions that the companies are looking to fill.

We’ve been a HubSpot customer for over four years and initially focused on attracting companies that were looking for contract or temporary employees. This was working fine, but we eventually realized we could have a greater impact on the bottom line with a change in strategy.

So in September of 2014, we decided to shift our efforts and put more work into finding and attracting job seekers. The main reason for this shift was because the staffing industry is cyclical. When the economy is in a downturn, companies aren’t hiring, but there are plenty of candidates looking for jobs. And when things turn around, there are a lot of jobs but there aren't enough qualified candidates to fill those position.

We realized that in the current economic climate, we needed to make a shift in how and who we were marketing to, while leveraging the things we already knew about inbound marketing. We needed to market to candidates.

We knew where we needed to start - creating more content and developing our landing pages. Here's what we learned from targeting this new persona.

Segmenting Personas and Our Content Strategy

We knew that we wanted to attract a new type of persona - those that were looking for jobs. But soon thereafter, we realized we actually had two segments within this persona. 

IT candidates are especially hard to find; unemployment in the sector is low and demand is high. So the candidates that we are typically looking for are IT job seekers. But we also place engineering, office, accounting, and scientific professionals as well. Would we market the same to them?

We decided to split our personas (and our leads) into two candidate categories - IT and non-IT. The content is different for the two, since these two personas' funnels are very different.

The non-IT candidates are attracted to content on how to prepare for interviews, optimize LinkedIn profiles, and all that goes with looking for a job. Whereas IT candidates, being in such high demand, don’t need to focus as much on the job search. For IT candidates, it’s about creating content that helps them figure out how to sort through all the recruiters reaching out to them and helping them find the best fit. It’s a completely different type of problem to solve.

Simplifying the Landing Page

Not only were we trying to attract a new persona, but we were also looking to gain more leads. For us, more leads means getting more resumes in the hands of our recruiters through a landing page.

Our initial idea - “let’s just put a simple landing page where people can submit their resume. Let's make the process easier.”

Before we began marketing to candidates, submitting a resume through our site was a more involved process. You had to find the website, find the "Job Seekers" page, click the "Search Jobs" button, find a specific job, click the link in that job posting to open an email to a recruiter, attach your resume to the email, and send it off. That required a lot of clicks and a lot of commitment.

In addition, the job seeker had to know precisely which role they wanted to apply for. We were basically asking the job seekers to do the activities of a recruiter. This went against the whole point of a recruiting firm, which is to make life easy for the candidates. For IT folks especially, where jobs are a dime a dozen, any added friction causes them to look elsewhere.

With all this in mind, we decided to try something new on the website. On our homepage, we added a CTA to a "Resume Submittal" landing page, built in HubSpot, where an applicant could easily submit a resume with an upload and single click.

Confirming Our Instincts with A/B Testing

Over a month or so, we A/B tested the CTA, to see if we were getting traction, and it turned out we were.

The subsequent landing page has garnered increased traffic, lots of increased traffic, each and every month, and resulted in more resume submissions and more hires. We’ve shown month over month growth in the double digits, some months as high as 40-50%.

A comparison of January/February 2016 vs 2015 shows resume submittals nearly tripled. And they are quality increases; the rate of resumes we received and ended up submitting to our clients for consideration was 4x higher in January 2016 and we are on track for hires from these resumes to increase as well, which is the most important statistic.

We have a resource center on our website for job seekers. Prior to this change, we were promoting that on our homepage and trying to drive candidates to our job search function. After realizing the accelerated funnel that both of our personas go through, we A/B tested two different CTAs.

One was for the resource center and the other was to submit a resume. We had a gut feeling on what would work best, but it was important to test this out. Our instinct was right; we had a better click-through rate for the resume CTA than the resource center CTA. It converted more people to submit resumes, which is what we wanted.

This provided great insight into the type of persona that visits our website. Yes, the educational content we are providing is helpful, but the candidates, especially the IT candidates, that are coming to our homepage are looking to find and apply as quickly as possible. 

Competitive Advantage

Speed and quality are what matter most to our clients, and when you can affect either of those in a measurable, positive way, that’s a competitive advantage; something you can use to distinguish your firm. With the prevalence of tools like Monster, CareerBuilder, Dice, Indeed, LinkedIn and others like them, the reality is that often, everyone is fishing from the same pond.

The changes that we’ve made to our website make it easier to connect with job seekers; we’re saving them time and effort and connecting them with jobs that truly match their skills. And not just active candidates, the kind that are using job sites. Our landing pages are making it easier for passive candidates to submit their resumes, learn about potential opportunities and consider making a change. We’ve expanded the pool that we fish in.

Add this to our incredible recruiting team and you get great results - for our clients, our candidates, and for us. Inbound marketing success; a win for everyone!

buyer persona template

Originally published Jun 13, 2016 12:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017