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Google for Jobs Made a Change. Indeed, “Hold my beer”

Updated: Nov 24, 2021

On the heels of the Google for Jobs change, where Google has thrown down the gauntlet to remove barriers to get a person who has an interest in a job to the application process – Indeed has countered by throwing up a new “feature”. This feature forces all potential candidates to register with Indeed – literally blocking candidates from getting to company websites until they register from a webpage thrown up in the middle of the process.

As Google has demanded that we lean into candidate experience, a construct that Indeed has championed for years, their logic has always been, “build it candidate-centric and candidates will want to find work on Indeed.”  Indeed has used this logic for years to justify removing other job sites’ jobs, limiting staffing firms’ access to candidates, and controlling the access to organic jobs.  So, this new change seems counterintuitive.  Why make it harder for candidates, especially in a labor market that is so tight?

Perhaps if we look at it through a different lens, the long-term view.  What is Indeed trying to accomplish? Why would they buck one of their fundamental tenets?

What changed & what’s the impact?

On Indeed, when a candidate sees an opportunity they are interested in, they click on the job, a slide-out appears, the candidate can pursue the details, and then decide they want to apply and they click the big blue button.  That button might say ‘Apply Now’ or ‘Apply on the Company’s Website’.  And that has all stayed the same.  The change is what happens after you click on the big blue button.

  1. Apply Now:  this button moves the candidate into the Easy Apply workflow, which previously would give candidates the option to register with Indeed or to just apply to the specific job.  Now candidates must register.

  2. Apply on the Company’s Website:  this button now introduces candidates to a new screen where they must register with Indeed to get routed to the job on the company’s website where previously it would simply open a new screen with the job details on the company’s career site.

On the surface, this shift impacts candidates equally – if they apply to a company by using Indeed’s Easy Apply or by clicking off to the company’s website. But practically, this might have a very different impact in the short term for companies depending on which method they use.

If your business has already adopted Indeed’s Easy Apply methodology, this may impact flow in a minor way.  The candidate’s expectation was already set, they were going to give Indeed their information, so we might see a small impact.

But if your business had made the choice to use the ‘Apply on Company Website’, you had already made a choice to reduce the volume by sacrificing the Indeed mobile traffic – but now, if a new candidate finds your job first [the job they are most interested in] they are going to have to put in a significant amount of work to get through that first gate.   Once the candidate has given Indeed their details, the process becomes more seamless.

What should you do?

Measure, measure, measure.  What is happening to your candidate flow this week that is different than last week or in September?  It may be a one-day, week, month dip, and then it normalizes – whatever that might mean in this hiring market.

Adopt Easy Apply. If you see a significant dip in your candidate traffic and you have leveraged the ‘Apply on Company Website’, it might be time to change.  If your experience with Easy Apply hasn’t been ideal [specifically, you have found that you are not getting quality while drowning in too many unqualified applicants] consider an alternative like Native Apply that replicates your questions and data needs from a candidate in the Indeed experience.

Few companies are big enough or powerful enough to change the direction of Indeed or Google, but you have the ability to run faster than those companies who are competing with you for talent.  Get ahead of the laggards by finding a way to adjust your process quickly to ensure there is minimal impact to your business from Indeed’s change.

Good luck and Happy Sourcing!

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