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It is better
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John Sumser

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Conversion Rates II
(April 24, 2003) -
- One of our favorite job board owners responded to yesterday's note on VCR (Visitor Conversion Rate):

the term "abandonment rate" better describes what happens when a job board delivers jobseekers to the typical applicant tracking system or corporate employment page. We have even had employers insist that we not link directly to the corresponding job posting on a corporate employment site! They wanted to make the candidate search the hard way.

Clearly, the state of the art in Corporate Employment Websites leaves a great deal to be desired. The Visitor Conversion Rate (VCR) is impacted by a huge range of factors. They begin to come under control when you start to measure them. Measurement illuminates the problem. Analysis drives the experiments. Measurement illuminates the improvement.

Our model of a generic website process assumes that registration is required before searching jobs. This is not the optimal configuration of an employment website. It is, however, the norm. Registration can deliver a stream of benefits to employer and prospective employee alike. The employer gets to begin building a talent community (best case) or a mailing list (worst case). The prospective employee gets privileges associated with registration (job agents, reuse of data).

Once visitors have registered (VCR) the question is "What percentage of registered visitors become applicants?"

Registered User Conversion Rate (RCR) is the percentage of registered users who complete the process of applying for a job.

If this number is significantly below 100%, there is something terribly wrong. People register because they want to apply.

In some very advanced websites, the registration process is described in a compelling way. The combination of employment brand strength (the desirability of employment at a certain company) and a clear message about the benefits of registration can lead to high numbers of registered users who do not apply for a job. In that situation, you would have a low RCR.

Low RCR scores demand action. People who have registered without applying have made an investment of time and energy. They are entitled to a return on that investment. If no return is delivered, the website will generate strong employment brand erosion. Low RCR scores signal trouble in paradise. In the ideal case, prospective candidates are only asked for a time investment if there is a reasonable chance for a return.

One answer is to move the registration process to a point that follows some initial level of qualification. A more complex approach involves real development of the talent community. The ongoing investment and energy required to create a 'real' talent community is often beyond the investment capacity of an HR Department.

There are other solutions to the problem of low RCR scores. Routine measurement and analysis of the RCR score creates an environment that allows them to be imagined and created.

Tomorrow: Applicant Conversion Rate

John Sumser

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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