The business of matching job hunters with employers continues to change rapidly. Technology is making it easier to connect, yet it can also overwhelm those on both sides of the job-hunting equation with information and choices. Indeed, the world’s No. 1 job site, with more than 200 million unique monthly visitors from more than 60 different countries, helps make those matches efficiently. Paul D’Arcy, senior vice president, and Kevin Walker, senior director of employer insights, discuss the job board landscape and tips on how employers can improve performance.

Q: What makes Indeed’s business model different from that of traditional job boards? 

Paul D'Arcy, Senior Vice President

Paul D’Arcy, Senior Vice President

D’Arcy: Indeed’s mission and focus is to help people get jobs, and our business model flows from that. We started out as a search engine, leveraging technology to bring together jobs from all over the world onto our site for job seekers to find. Those jobs come from direct employers, from many of the world’s largest job boards, from staffing agencies, and from people posting directly on Indeed. Unlike most job boards, when you come to Indeed, you see all the jobs, not just a narrow set of paid job ads. If you are looking for a job this is what matters: You want know all of the best options for your next opportunity.

Another way Indeed differs from traditional job boards is that we send millions of job seekers to career sites for free as a result of the aggregated jobs that are organically posted onto our site for free. When employers, job boards and staffing firms invest in our solutions that drive more job seekers to their jobs, we charge them based on performance — the number of job seekers who click on their job. All of this makes Indeed very different, but also highly effective.

 Q: Competition for talent is aggressive. Can you give tips for staffing firms on how to stand out on a job board?

Kevin Walker, Senior Director of Employer Insights

Kevin Walker, Senior Director of Employer Insights

Walker: Employers need to approach their search engine efforts like a science, not necessarily an art. In other words, they need to use data to make decisions. Tactically, that means developing quality job content through impactful job titles and descriptions for the positions they’re trying to fill. While this can be excruciatingly hard, it’s one of the most important things needed to perform well on a search engine. The title and job description data are what we use to determine if a job is relevant or not, and it’s also what job seekers use to determine if they’re interested. Focusing on great job content will dramatically improve performance. There are two levers to pull: content and the investment in search engine marketing. Treating both of those with a high degree of scrutiny and science will help produce better results.

 Q: How have advances in technology and the tight job market affected how many active job seekers visit your site?

 D’Arcy: While there are concerns that the tight job market in the U.S. and other countries will limit growth in the job space, we have not seen this happen. In fact, we’re seeing more job seekers today on Indeed in the U.S. and around the world than we have ever have — and in fact, we just passed a record of 250 million unique visitors in a single month in January. We’ve also seen significant growth in the number of résumés that users have posted on Indeed — we now have more than 100 million active résumés on the site at any time.

Walker: Strategy and tactics will be different if you believe the job market is active rather than passive. A lot of people claim that the good candidates are passive and you have to go out to source them. But we haven’t found evidence that that’s actually true. Rather, industry research shows only 5% of job seekers hired in the past year were truly passive. The average tenure in jobs is also becoming shorter and the gig economy is exploding. According to our data, the share of searches for flexible work is up 32% year over year. Similar research shows that once hired, active candidates perform better in their new roles than passive candidates. They are more interested and excited. Often, a truly passive candidate is there because you paid them more. All these things are driving people to become more actively engaged in understanding what’s going on in the job market.

 Q: There seem to be new competitors in the job search space. How are you planning to compete? Are you creating any new products that will benefit the staffing industry?

 D’Arcy: Today, we do see more players entering this space, and we expect others will come because jobs provide purpose and livelihood — it’s a space that’s important to people. That being said, Indeed has always been focused on one thing only: helping people get jobs, and that dedication to improving the job search experience will only continue. We are obsessive about data and getting the best results — helping people and employers find the right match. But in this space, there is still a lot of work to do, a lot we can do to make job searches better. We’re going to continue to release new products and features that will make job searches easier on both sides.

 Walker: We’ve got an entire team of folks who are tasked with serving the staffing industry — and our ear is always open, listening to their needs. That said, people don’t look for jobs differently if a staffing firm is making the placement vs. a direct employer. We are always looking at how we can get people closer to that hire. For example, we recently acquired a company called Interviewed, which offers online job assessment tools, so that employers aren’t overlooking amazing talent.

 Q: Talk about Indeed’s résumé database, including your policy on sharing contact information.

 Walker: We have 100 million résumés in our database, and it’s growing at a rate of 2.6 million new résumés per month. Recruiters can easily send a direct message to a candidate on our platform, and the response rate for this is unmatched: Employers are hearing back 60% of the time from prospective job seekers. But we do not provide contact information until the job seeker says, “I’m interested.” At that point, we make the formal introduction and contact information is passed back and forth. This goes back to our commitment of putting job seekers’ needs first.

 Q: Because you can track response rates with your résumé contact model, what best practices should staffing firms follow for contacting candidates in your résumé database?

 Walker: It really comes down to personalization and spending the time to communicate why you’re interested in a candidate. The response rate is affected by how much detail the recruiter provides in that initial message about why they’re reaching out. If you do that and do it well, you’ll see response rates well above average. Some staffing firms have asked for a bulk contact feature to allow a recruiter to contact a lot of people at once about a job. We have made this available, but contacting 30 or 40 people at one time doesn’t produce nearly the quality results that personalized contact does.

 Q: How does a company’s brand affect how candidates respond to recruiters? What do you do to help companies with branding?

 D’Arcy: The company’s brand has a big impact. The first thing a job seeker sees when searching for a job is the job title and the name of the company. If they’re hearing from a recruiter, they hear the recruiter’s name, the company, and the specifics of the job. In both cases, the name of the company provides an opportunity for differentiating — and if perceptions are positive, that certainly is helpful. We do a lot to help employers build a brand. On Indeed, we have Company Pages that showcase over 18 million reviews that come directly from employees, as well as questions and answers and employer content. It makes it easier for organizations to share their stories, drive engagement and strengthen their brand.