The rapid adoption of analytics in the business world over recent years has helped take out the guesswork from many activities that historically relied primarily on intuition. Marketers, for instance, consult information about online audiences to make promotions more effective, while HR managers can similarly harness the number-crunching tools and resources that are available on the web to improve their job ads.
A solid message
The first step to attracting qualified candidates is, needless to say, writing an appealing job posting. The bar isn’t as high as for an applicant who must set their resume apart from hundreds of other submissions, but the ad still needs to provide an impression of professionalism on the part of the poster. Managers can handle the task directly in Word without having to manually dissect every sentence thanks to a native writing analysis engine called Editor that Microsoft rolled out a few weeks ago.
Located where the old “Spelling & Grammar” panel used to be, the tool employs artificial intelligence to identify issues that aren’t picked up by a normal spell checker. Editor can, among others, point out subtle grammatical errors like the use of “effect” instead of “affect” that often slip through the cracks and might give the wrong impression to a candidate. It’s complemented by a readability scoring feature available on the Proofing panel in the settings menu that provides the ability to check how difficult it is to read a posting.
Word assesses text based on the Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade tests, two benchmarks that are commonly used in the education sector to measure the readability of written materials. The feature is designed to provide high-level recommendations, means that an HR manager doesn’t need to aim for the maximum score all the time but should strongly consider reworking a sentence if the results are too far off the mark. It’s possible to generate an even thorougher evaluation using Readable, an online text analysis tool that employs six different readability benchmarks and has been featured by Harvard University’s web publishing group.
Posting the ad
Once the writing is done and a job posting has been published, HR managers can start analyzing the responses to identify potential areas for improvement. In a small business, the work is usually straightforward enough to use a spreadsheet tool such as Excel or Google Sheets. Besides the fact that many professionals are already familiar with at least one of them, the two service have the added benefit of packing built-in data visualization features that can make it easier to keep up with the numbers once they start adding up.
Logging the performance of job postings makes it possible to conduct A/B testing, a method born in the marketing world that involves experimenting with different variations of an ad and comparing the results to find the best version. With openings posted on dedicated job sites such as Monster and Indeed.com, managers can try different titles to see how many applications they attract. Indeed.com makes the task particularly easy by providing a publicly accessible database of activity trends on its portal. A company seeking an analytics professional, for instance, might see that job postings with the term “data scientist” draw more interest than those which only contain the keyword “unstructured data” and tweak its ad accordingly.
This approach also lends itself to assessing the performance of job postings shared through social media. Companies can track metrics such as the number of people who clicked on a a job listing and the volume of submitted resumes to gain an idea of whether or not a vacancy is attracting sufficient interest. When amassed over a period of time and combined with other data sources, this information has the potential to help managers realize a much bigger return on the resources they invest in recruiting.