6 Worthwhile Ways to Increase the Applicant Flow from Your Credit Union’s Website

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By Christine Pena-Oquist

Applicants generated directly from employer's websites are hired at a higher rate than those generated from major job boards. So how do you maximize those results?

#1 Get your marketing and management teams on board.

This is probably the most important step, as you’re going to need their help and support to effectively accomplish most of the things on this list. But, if you're like many HR professionals, this might also be the most intimidating one. It is no secret that human resource departments have a history of feeling disrespected, ignored, and like they don’t get an actual “seat" at the decision-making table. Well, it’s time to change that!

Often, as humans, we have a tendency to act the way we’re treated--and then a vicious cycle ensues as we’re treated accordingly. Once you understand clearly what an important part you play in the overall success of your credit union and figure out how to effectively communicate it, you might be surprised at the cooperation you get.

 

Marketing professionals understand marketing. Once you explain what you’re trying to do in terms of marketing, it shouldn’t be too hard to get them on board. You can explain to them that though the volume of applicants generated directly from your website is much lower than from job boards like Indeed, the quality of applicants is much higher! Applicants generated directly from your website are 5 times as likely to be hired.

Also, here is an article you could share with them about what hiring and marketing have in common. It includes some interesting data about how your hiring practices affect the overall success of your credit union.

C-level executives tend to be results-oriented. So, they, too, will be interested in hearing what these changes can do for your credit union as a whole. They might find it interesting that credit unions often have to sift through more than 5 times as many applications from Indeed as from their own website for every one hired. Those are man-hours that could be spent elsewhere! 

Management will be glad to hear that though setting up these website improvements might require a few man-hours from your IT and marketing personnel to start with, once set up, it's basically a free source of high-quality applicants that can save your credit union money down the road.

#2 Make sure that you have a "jobs" or "careers" link clearly visible at the top of your website.

As is often the case, your marketing team might have placed your "careers" link in a drop down menu under "about us." They believe as long as it's available in a logical place for those who are looking, it has served its function. There are two problems with that perspective.

First of all, though putting the careers link in this location is fairly standard on credit union websites, most people are not professional job hunters. Just because they’re thinking about getting a new job, doesn’t mean that they know where credit unions normally hide their links for applying. So, they might get a little aggravated looking for it and possibly not even find it.

Secondly, and more importantly, the "careers" link is a form of marketing in and of itself. 

Applicants applying directly to your website usually already have a relationship with your credit union, like what they know about it, and want to be a part of it.

Perhaps they are interested in finding a new job but are on your website for a totally different purpose at that particular moment. It is when they see the "careers" link that they get the idea to apply. If it is not readily visible, you will miss out on all those passive job seekers.

So, think of your “careers” link as a little mini advertisement! Ask your website manager to put it in a prominent place in the header of your website where it will entice potential applicants to click on it.

#3 Make sure that you also have a "jobs" or "careers" link in the footer of your website.

Because most organizations do a terrible job at #2 above, some active candidates have been trained to look at the bottom of website pages. After searching all over menus for a hidden "careers" link, they finally just scroll to the bottom of the page and look there. If this has become a habit, they might not even notice that you actually have a prominent link right in your header.

Your website will generate more applicants if you have a prominent link in both the header and footer!

You may feel that if an applicant is too lazy to check the top of the website, you don’t want to have them as an employee anyway. You should understand, however, that applicants who are in the habit of applying directly on websites have come across many poorly designed websites with hidden or non-existent career page links.

It is not unreasonable for them to assume that if the link is not where they expect it to be, that it isn’t actually there or will be nearly impossible to find. As time-consuming as the application process can be, they can only fill out so many applications in a day. They are too smart to waste that precious time starting a process that looks like it will be frustrating or never end.

#4 Make sure that the job openings listed on your site are up to date.

So, now you’ve started to get more job seekers to apply for jobs on your website, but they’re all turning against you and vowing to never apply with you again. What’s wrong?

Quite possibly, they are spending the time to complete an application and upload their resume, only to find out after completing the process that the job was already filled a month ago. Not good!

According to a 2012 study by Career Builder of 800,000 workers across industries, “Three-in-four workers – 78 percent – said they would talk about a bad experience they had with a potential employer with friends and family. Seventeen percent said they would post something about their negative experience on social media and six percent said they would blog about it.” Ouch.

#5 Make it easy to apply.

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Making job seekers jump through a bunch of hoops (downloading a pdf, filling it out by hand, mailing/faxing/attaching it to an email) will scare many of them away.

This excellent article by Dave Zielinski on SHRM.org states, “According to CareerBuilder, 60 percent of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity.” and “According to a study from recruitment company Appcast, recruiters can boost conversion rates (candidates viewing a job ad who go on to complete an application) by up to 365 percent by reducing the length of the application process to five minutes or less.”

Also, keep in mind that over 30% of job seekers are looking at your jobs on their mobile phones, and they can't download a pdf and submit it from there.

#6 Add the ability for people to do something besides just apply.

The job seekers looking on your website are interested in working for your credit union, but you might not currently have the right opening for them. Most credit unions have a policy against job seekers applying without choosing a specific position. This is great for compliance but terrible for making the most out of those highly valuable job seekers.

Instead of sending them away, why not offer them the ability to sign up for job alerts? This can be handled easily by installing a simple widget on your site from icontact and sending out a weekly email about your job openings. Our clients use a free service from refer.io to handle all of this for them.

#7 EXTRA CREDIT...

If your marketing team has built a Facebook following, the same things above apply to your credit union's Facebook page. Ask them to provide you with a careers tab on Facebook. Then, beg them to post your new openings as updates each time you post a new job. You’d be surprised how many people decide to apply for jobs based on something they saw on Facebook!

 

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