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The golden rules for recruitment website CTAs

An effective call-to-action (CTA) drives conversions. Fact. Without including CTAs on your recruitment website, the opportunity to direct your users on the path you wish them to take through your website, perform the necessary actions and eventually apply for a job/register their CV/contact you to discuss using your services is lost.

Think of CTAs as signposts, helping users to navigate through your website and urging them to perform specific actions. The perfect CTA should be persuasive, compelling, clear and concise and must do one or more of these…

Offer benefits

If the action you are asking your users to take won’t benefit them or their business, why should they take it? Clearly state what the user will gain from clicking on the CTA button. For example, ‘Discover opportunities’ – you know by clicking on the button you will be presented with a range of career opportunities. The benefit doesn’t have to be some sort of freebie, it simply has to fulfil a need. With that in mind, don’t offer something in your CTA that you don’t provide when clicked on. See below for more on that.

Lead to immediate results (of some kind)

The easiest way to deter a user and result in a higher bounce rate? Not providing them with what has been promised in the CTA. If you click on ‘apply’ you want to be able to easily apply for that job immediately. Click on ‘contact us’ and you want clear contact details and a simple, concise contact form. Click on ‘candidates’ and you want to be taken to a page, or series of pages, that explains just what the candidate process is and what services are offered.

Rouse curiosity and evoke emotion

Using evocative language on CTAs can rouse a user’s curiosity and evoke emotion, prompting them to click on the button to find out more. Words such as ‘discover’, ‘learn’, and ‘view’ leads the mind to contemplate the possibilities and opportunities that might await if the user were to click on that button. All good non-instructional copy evokes emotion of some sort and simply using more exciting words will evoke the right kinds of emotion in your users. ‘Discover’ is a great example as it promises so much, especially when used to describe the embarkation of a new career. After all, searching for a new job can be an incredibly emotional experience for a variety of reasons. Harness that to evoke curiosity as to what you can offer and how you can further their journey.

Create urgency

Urging users to take action immediately can avoid the “I’ll do it later” attitude – once a user leaves your website there’s no telling when or if they will return. This can be achieved simply by adding the word ‘now’ or ‘today’ to the CTA, e.g. ‘apply now’, ‘contact us now’, ‘email your CV today’, and so on. Choice of colour can also create urgency. For example, a red button might evoke a stronger feeling of urgency than a pale pink button. Always ensure the colours complement the colour scheme of your website though or it could have a jarring effect. Colour psychology can be incredibly advantageous on a website if used well.  

Be concise

Ever known a CTA to be more than a few words long? Buttons have limited space and need to catch the user’s eye quickly so CTAs must convey what they want the user to do in just a few short, simple words that are easy to read and enable quick judgement making. ‘apply now’, ‘clients’, ‘candidates’, ‘read our blog’. Often simplicity really is the best tactic. Each of these is either a clear action or directed at a specific user type. In 1, 2 or 3 words the user knows exactly what to do and can more easily decide instantly whether it is something that would be of benefit to them.

Be easily clickable

The button design must stand out and be easy to click or tap, something that is particularly essential on a mobile device. Use contrasting, bold colours, clear text and ensure there is enough white space around it to easily finger tap. Revealed in a case study on its website, testing platform VWO found that decreasing the amount of clutter and distractions around the CTA on a client’s homepage increased the conversion rate by 232%. However, you design the CTA, ensure you keep it in a button format – that makes it easily distinguishable as a clickable CTA and avoids confusion. Make it easy for your users.

Placed intuitively

Critical to UX design is Fitts’ Law, which theorises that the further away a target is and the smaller its size, the less likely a user will land on it. In other words, place your CTA in a position that a user will most likely gravitate towards. It may be a 2, 3 or even 4 step process, though the fewer eye movements or least amount of scrolling the better. For example, a user may be drawn to your logo at the top, then move down to the marketing copy and hero image, then be drawn down again to the CTA. In this case, the logical place for the CTA would be immediately below the marketing copy/hero image, in a central position. Place the CTA intuitively and your conversion rate will increase.

A well crafted and positioned CTA will help to further the user journey in the right direction, generate leads and/or encourage candidates to apply for jobs. However, it is vital to remember that the action is proceeded by what is promised. Ensure the ‘contact us now’ button leads to the contact page and that the information on that page is clear. Make sure the ‘register’ button takes the user to the candidate portal and that the registration process is simple. You’ve put the work into creating a compelling CTA that users are clicking on – don’t fall at the final hurdle by making that action hard for them to complete or you could lose them. Test, test and test again! 

CTAs may use simple design elements and few words but they contain within them the power to convert visitors into clients or applicants – a mighty feat for a single button.

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