How Can Recruiters Continue To Grow In A Google Jobs World?

It’s no exag­ger­a­tion to say Google’s jour­ney to world dom­i­na­tion, though hin­dered at times, is still in full swing. In its lat­est round of tests, the search giant appears to be mak­ing a move into the recruit­ment indus­try – an indus­try worth a whop­ping €450.4bn...

Aaron Dicks By Aaron Dicks from Impression. Join the discussion » 0 comments

It’s no exag­ger­a­tion to say Google’s jour­ney to world dom­i­na­tion, though hin­dered at times, is still in full swing. In its lat­est round of tests, the search giant appears to be mak­ing a move into the recruit­ment indus­try – an indus­try worth a whop­ping €450.4bn per year.

In just the past few weeks, it has launched a beta appli­cant track­ing sys­tem and tri­alled a jobs pack, which is sim­i­lar to the local pack, and which it has now con­firmed will be a fea­ture in the SERPs. In light of the­se tests, should recruiters be wor­ried? Absolute­ly! But the changes also rep­re­sent new oppor­tu­ni­ties, as we’ll explore here.


The recruit­ment indus­try is huge. In the fight to grab the atten­tion of job seek­ers and employ­ers alike, a range of gar­gan­tu­an aggre­ga­tors have grown, as well as local, much small­er recruit­ment agents seek­ing to thrive in indus­try nich­es.

It’s a mar­ket­place that you’d be for­given for sug­gest­ing is too com­pet­i­tive for any new play­ers. But we’re not talk­ing about a new play­er here — we’re talk­ing about the world’s most used search engine, which has pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ence in tak­ing over silos in this way — just look at Google Flights and hotels as two oth­er exam­ples.

As Google seem­ing­ly primes itself to make a big move into the recruit­ment mar­ket, exist­ing recruiters are no doubt wor­ried. If his­to­ry tells us any­thing, it’s that Google can do what it likes with the SERPs and when it finds a for­mat that works, it’s not averse to mon­etis­ing that for­mat either; such as Google Shop­ping. All of this means that recruiters could be look­ing at reduced SERPs vis­i­bil­i­ty and the need to spend on paid adver­tis­ing, where pre­vi­ous­ly that need hadn’t exist­ed.

What exactly is Google doing in the recruitment space?

So let’s break this down. What exact­ly is Google doing in the jobs space?

So far, a few things. First, eagle-eyed Twit­ter user @Aaranged spot­ted a new jobs tab with­in the Google user pan­el. This hint­ed at a new area of focus for Google, but was soon removed, pre­sum­ably after test­ing was com­plete.

Then came a jobs pack test, spot­ted by anoth­er Twit­ter user, @Dan_Shure. In a for­mat sim­i­lar to the local pack, jobs were being dis­played, show­ing job title, descrip­tion, loca­tion and basis (full- or part-time). After click­ing, the user was tak­en to anoth­er page with­in the Google envi­ron­ment, pro­vid­ing more infor­ma­tion on the job before – final­ly – send­ing them to the job orig­in once the user was ready to apply. While Job­Post­ing has long been an agreed schema for­mat, Google seems to be mak­ing use of it more and more to show­case job con­tent in dif­fer­ent ways.

The final piece to the puz­zle was the beta appli­cant track­ing plat­form, which was released in April and which could lend itself to mak­ing Google a more promi­nent part of com­pa­nies’ recruit­ment process­es, too.

It all adds up to a pret­ty pow­er­ful mes­sage for recruiters: Google’s com­ing to get you!

What does this mean for the recruitment industry?

Like the trav­el indus­try before it, the recruit­ment indus­try can expect to see big changes in the way jobs are shown in search results.

Estab­lished recruiters, even names as big as Total Jobs, Mon­ster and Linked­In, will be wor­ried. Their dom­i­na­tion of the jobs SERPs is under threat and there’s noth­ing they can do to stop it.

Small­er or less estab­lished recruiters may see this as an oppor­tu­ni­ty. As the big play­ers are quashed by Google, the focus will, in the­o­ry at least, open new oppor­tu­ni­ties for those that can take them – as we’ll explain lat­er.

For those search­ing for their next job, the par­ty line from Google will no doubt be that it is offer­ing up those jobs list­ings in a clear­er, eas­ier man­ner, enabling the searcher to browse with­out hav­ing to move between web­sites to do so.

What should recruitment SEOs do?

There are a few things I’d rec­om­mend to any­one work­ing in SEO either in house at a recruiter or on the agen­cy side, but I’d be keen to hear from the com­mu­ni­ty with any oth­er sug­ges­tions.

Essen­tial­ly, it all stems from the idea that Google is try­ing to show the best jobs results, so a focus on qual­i­ty con­tent and best prac­tice schema markup will be key.

Schema markup: That’s the big one. In its jobs pack, Google is using struc­tured data to pull out those com­po­nents of each job – job title, loca­tion, full- or part-time, etc. – so there’s an oppor­tu­ni­ty for recruit­ment SEOs to imple­ment schema markup and take advan­tage of this.

I prefer the JSON-LD method of insert­ing struc­tured data as it keeps data and design/build code sep­a­rate. You can find a guide to imple­ment­ing Job­Post­ing markup, includ­ing exam­ple code, here.

Recruit­ment SEOs should also invest in non-job-relat­ed con­tent. This is where the job searcher will still be active, but Google doesn’t seem to be mak­ing a play. Think “how to suc­ceed in a job interview”-style guides, or cat­e­go­ry land­ing pages that pull togeth­er indus­try-speci­fic jobs tips with cur­rent avail­able roles. All of this will, in the­o­ry, still be up for grabs.

Should recruiters be worried?

Yes. Blunt­ly put, recruiters and jobs aggre­ga­tors do have cause for con­cern with the­se lat­est updates from Google. It’s a bold move from the search giant but given that recruiters are play­ing in the Google envi­ron­ment, it’s unlike­ly to be a game they’re going to win.

The threat of the recruit­ment game becom­ing pay to play in terms of SERPs is also very real. Google mon­e­tised Shop­ping very suc­cess­ful­ly and there’s no rea­son it wouldn’t again, espe­cial­ly given the high val­ue of the recruit­ment indus­try already.

With that said, it’s not a com­plete game chang­er. Recruit­ment SEOs will still, in my opin­ion, be able to be vis­i­ble in the SERPs through strate­gic con­tent mar­ket­ing and a focus on non-job key­words, as well as best prac­tices across jobs them­selves (e.g., schema markup). It remains to be seen how users will respond to the new for­mat, too, and in an indus­try where searchers are inclined to browse more than one source, Google could become sim­ply anoth­er source of jobs infor­ma­tion alongside exist­ing offer­ings.

What do you think? Do you work in recruit­ment and are you wor­ried? Per­haps you work in anoth­er indus­try that’s been affect­ed by a “Google takeover”? Let me know your thoughts and tips in the com­ments below.

Aaron Dicks

Written by Aaron Dicks

Managing Director, Impression

Aaron Dicks is the managing director of award-winning digital marketing agency Impression. Aaron specialises in technical SEO and is passionate about putting his advanced web development skills into play when looking at how businesses can grow online. He’s also very, very tall…

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