How to Beat the Indeed Algorithm and Recruit Talent More Cost Effectively
Using Indeed is one of the best ways at finding new talent for your organization. You can quickly post jobs, get candidates and hire new employees. But, at the same time it can be expensive and come with mixed results. You can run through your budget quickly without finding the right candidate all because of the complexity of the Indeed algorithm. That’s why this article is all about how to beat the Indeed algorithm so you can find the best talent in the most cost effective way possible.
One of the most critical part of a successful hiring strategy is your ability to get quality applicants into the top of your hiring funnel. Any organizations financial success is greatly impacted by the people you hire, so the more quality candidates you can get interested in working for your company, the better.
One area where it can be difficult to get quality applicants is on job posting platforms like Indeed. Although Indeed is one of the most popular job platforms for getting applicants, it can be difficult to get high quality ones. Your ability to do this is greatly impacted by how well you maneuver Indeed’s algorithm. Since Indeed is built as a search platform in a similar way to Google search, data analysis can be extremely beneficial to your recruiting efforts. To really get the full value from Indeed, you need to approach it the same way marketers approach Google SEO strategy to increase job post visibility and prevent your cost per applicant from getting too expensive.
By using a combination data analysis and marketing techniques, you can increase your ROI on Indeed and increases your quality applicant pool by beating the Indeed algorithm. With the right optimizations, you get more quality applicants while spending less budget wise. Below are some of the optimization techniques that can help you increase your quality applicant pool on Indeed and stay ahead of the Indeed algorithm.
Optimization #1: Repost Jobs After 14 Days
One of the biggest factors in Indeed’s job search algorithm is how recent the job was posted. Indeed’s algorithm is set up to provide job posted in the first 14 days better page rankings than posts that are on for longer. If you break it down even further, there is evidence that also shows that within the first 3 days you will get more applicants than in any other time your job is posted on the platform. The reason page ranking is important is that 50% of applicants will stop searching for jobs after page 1 and 70% will stop after page 3. This means the more chances you get to be ranked on the first three pages, the better chance you will have to get quality applicants.
To prove out this theory, we ran 100 simulations of the jobs that are posted on the first three pages on Indeed for a Marketing Manager role in New York. Below is the distribution of results:
There is a 30% drop off between the amount of job posts on Page 1 that have been on Indeed longer than 30 days vs. ones that have been on Indeed for the first three days. Even on Page 2, you’ll notice there is a 35% drop off based on the date of the job post. In the second chart, we take a closer look at what happens if we just look at the difference between job posts from 1-14 days for 15-30+ days. The drop off in page ranking is 29% between these two timeframes. Because of this, we recommended closing any job posts after two weeks and reposting them again. By doing this, it can lead to a 24% increase in applicants.
Optimization #2: Daily Budget Between $10-$30
Another key part to the Indeed algorithm is budget. Indeed’s minimum budget per/day is $5, but there is evidence that being in the $10-$30 per/day range can help you optimize your cost per applicant. The reason is if your budget is $5 per/day, Indeed’s algorithm will show your job post too little after the first couple of days even though you can maintain a low cost per applicant. We’ve found that if you want to optimize your cost per applicant while maintaining a healthy number of applications, the budget for you jobs should be in the $10-$30 per/day range depending on type of job and location. If you go above the $30 range, Indeed will show your job post more, but it doesn’t necessarily result in more quality applicants.
Below is a chart that shows how many applicants our client saw with changes in budget, and then a chart that shows you the resulting CPA. As you can see, once you go above $30 you start to pay more on a per applicant basis without necessarily increasing candidate quality.
Optimization #3: Post Jobs On Tuesdays
Another critical component of maximizing your quality applicants on Indeed is the day of the week that you post your jobs. We’ve found that if you post a job on Tuesday, you will get 15-20% more candidates than if you post on the other days. We believe this is due to the fact that you are maximizing exposure on the first three days of you job posting when people are searching on Indeed. The graph below illustrates the difference we saw in terms of job post by day of the week vs. total applicants. You’ll notice that jobs that are posted on Tuesday consistently get at least 12% more applicants than if they posted it on the other days. The less days you can avoid Friday and Saturdays for job posts, the better as people are less likely to search for jobs on Indeed on those days.
Optimization #4: Included 10-15 Relevant Keywords
Another important optimization we suggested after our data analysis was adding more relevant keywords to the job postings. Similar to Google SEO strategies where the more relevant keywords increase the likelihood that your page will rank higher, Indeed increases your visibility when you put in more relevant keywords in the job description. Ideally, you want to include 10-15 keywords in the job description that you think your audience will search for. For example, one of our clients was looking to hire new entry-level sales associates. When we included keywords like “tech sales”, “startup sales”, or “full-time” to their job posts, it increased their reach and therefore led to more quality applicants. Below are the ranges of clicks we saw on the role when we added more relevant keywords. As you can see the more keywords we added, the more clicks we got. Even by adding at least 5 relevant keywords, their application totals went up 20%, and when they added at least 10 it went up an another 20%.
Optimization #5: Bold Headers + Between 200-300 Words In Length
Another important aspect to getting more quality applicants is your job post format. To see if job post matter, we ran a A/B tests with one of clients to see the impact that the format can make on getting quality applicants. We analyzed the click-to-applicant rate of all their job posts based on the format to see which jobs got the most applications when using different format styles. In the below correlation analysis, we map out the click-to-applicant rate of several client’s posts with different formats. As you can see, the posts that have bold headers and between 200-300 words perform the best in terms of application rate (the lower you click-to-applicant rate, the better). When you go below 200 words, the application rate drops 15% and when you go above 300 words it increases by 20%. Additionally, without clearly marked headers, we saw a 10% decrease in application rate. By setting up a uniform strategy of clear headers and word length for the job posts, there was a 15% increase in applicants across the board.