How to ensure your recruitment website’s UX works for passive candidates as well as active candidates

It’s no secret that candidates continue to prove difficult to source. Office for National Statistics data has revealed that the number of unemployed people is now lower than the number of vacancies for the first time since records began and WaveTrackR data is recording sluggish rises of application numbers (largely driven by the seemingly immune IT & Internet). Filling vacancies is tough at the moment. However, there could be a vast untapped pool that simply need a nudge – passive candidates. And this is why it is vital that the user experience (UX) on your recruitment website is great for both active and passive candidates.

  1. Different candidate motivations

    UX is vital for recruitment websites, as it is all websites – provide a negative UX and your website won’t achieve any of the goals you set for it. In order to create a positive UX for both types of candidate, we need to understand what the two types of candidate are and how they use recruitment websites. Active candidates, or jobseekers, are those actively looking for immediate work. Passive candidates aren’t pro-actively searching for a job but might be willing to consider applying for one if the right opportunity came along. Each type of candidate is at a very different stage of the journey and will therefore have different motivations for accessing your website in the first place, as well as differences in what they do when they’re on it.

  2. Active candidates

    Active candidates essentially want one thing when they land on your website – to find a job. They want to do this quickly and easily so you need to make it simple for them. Clear and intuitive navigation to your jobs page, advanced job listings, job alerts, and a great candidates page are all musts.

    Advanced job search – A huge part of what makes great UX for active candidates is a quick, easy, thorough and accurate job search on a recruitment website’s job page. That means an advanced job search with a range of filters, including job type and category, location, salary range, and keyword.

    Job alerts – If there is no job that currently matches an active candidate’s specifications, the ability to set up a job alert so they can be notified when you do have something suitable makes for great UX.

  3. Passive candidates

    Passive candidates are harder to predict. They may not get past your homepage or they may be in causal browsing mode, scanning a range of pages to see if you offer anything worth pursuing. They are not in a rush and may return to your website several times before making any sort of decision.   

    A stand-out homepage – Passive candidates are more likely to be in browsing mode so your website needs to immediately stand out to visitors and from competitors. That means quality design, a clean format, and clear branding so that you can instantly be remembered. Those first impressions are all-important. At this stage they may not even make it to your jobs page so you need to be memorable for all the right reasons or passive candidates will quickly click away onto a competitor’s website and not return to yours.

    Clear call to action to register – Passive candidates may not want to actively look for a job on your jobs page but rather register their profile and/or their CV so that they can be contacted if a suitable opportunity comes in. A clear call to action on the homepage will mean they can quickly and easily sign up without the need to travel around your website. No visitor wants to do anything onerous but passive candidates won’t go out of their way to find things so easy-to-find, easy-to-click buttons are essential.

    A great blog page – Give passive candidates a reason to return to your website by publishing regular content that’s relevant, insightful, news-worthy, thought-provoking, and helpful. Unlike active candidates, they may not return solely for the jobs at this point in their journey but if they regularly find themselves back on your website to read your blog articles, yours will become a name they trust and return to. Plus, the more times they visit your website, the more exposure they’ll have to your jobs. Consider offering a newsletter that visitors can subscribe to so they have easy access to your blogs.   

There are many other UX fundamentals that apply to both types of candidates, including ensuring your website is accessible, that it’s optimised for mobile devices, and that the overall navigation is intuitive. UX is so important – a negative experience on a website might not just mean the loss of a visitor, it could risk tarnishing your brand. It is vital that all users are considered when it comes to UX but in the current market it is more important that ever to ensure that both types of candidate have a positive and fruitful user experience.

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