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When it comes down to it, recruiting is an awful lot like marketing. So if marketers are constantly A/B testing their landing pages or calls-to-action, shouldn’t recruiters be doing the same for their job listings?

If you’re still hung up on what exactly A/B testing is, Optimizely describes it as

“a method of comparing two versions of a web page or app against each other to determine which one performs better. A/B testing uses data & statistics to validate new design changes and improve your conversion rates. A/B testing lets you ask focused questions about those changes and then collects data about the impact of those changes.

Benefits of A/B Testing Job Listings

A/B testing jobs is great for a number of reasons. At your company, who usually writes the job listings for your developer positions? Is it the Recruiter or the Hiring Manager? With A/B testing, you can have each person write their own version of the job listing and see which performs better. After testing multiple versions, your team will have a better understanding of what parts of your job listings resonate with developers (and which parts turn them off). But when you get the results of your first A/B test, don't stop there. Always be iterating to ensure that developers see what makes your company unique.

What Specifically to A/B Test

Your options here are endless. Having a difficult time choosing? I’ll give you a few to get started.

  • The title of the open job (ex: Senior Developer vs. Experienced Front-End Developer)
  • Where to list the job requirements in the body of the post (ex: at the beginning or at the end)
  • Including certain qualifications (ex: five requirements vs. than one with 15?)
  • Writing about the company culture
  • Requiring a cover letter upon application

How to A/B Test Your Job Listings

Many applicant tracking systems and job boards actually allow you to A/B test your jobs within their platform. So poke around (or call up their customer support and see if they offer it) and do some tests to get a hang of it.

If you’re posting open jobs to your own website, you can A/B testing things like the page’s layout, the font size or color, using different photos or images on the page, method of application and much more. Do developers drop off after they see that a cover letter is required? Do developers apply to the job more often when the “Apply” button is green? Are candidates clicking away after reading the requirements? Find the answers to these tough questions and adjust accordingly.

Measuring Your Results

To effectively measure results and compare your efforts, it’s important to always have a control and a variation. You’ll likely want to track things like click-through rates to your job posting, average time on the page, and number of applicants. You can also follow the applicants throughout the entire hiring process and see what ended up happing to applicants from each test group.

Other Things to A/B Test

Once you get a taste of A/B testing job, it’s likely you’ll become addicted. In addition to testing out variations of job listings, you can also test things like subject lines in your recruiting emails, images you feature on your company culture website, or the number of fields you require applicants to fill out when they apply for the job. 

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