Google now penalizes your bad candidate experience. Here’s what happened.

Google Jobs silently launched a new feature: “Direct Apply”. And it could be a big danger for the business models of job boards and aggregators.

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Google is one of the big gatekeepers of the internet. Next to its massive search business, the behemoth from Mountain View constantly tries to horizontally enter new markets – e-Commerce (Google Shopping), social media (Google Plus), travel (Google Flights).

Sometimes Google is successful at that, sometimes less – but with the massive amount of reach that gets funneled through Google’s primary product, the search engine, it’s always something to take into consideration.

Google Jobs has been flying under the radar for a while, but with the recent update, Google shows its clear ambition to drive the talent-centric mindset of Talent Attraction further.

Let’s dive into the recent update of Google Jobs and what its implications are.

For Starters: WTF is Google Jobs?

Google Jobs is not a specific tool – it’s the way Google displays jobs within its organic search results.

Let’s say you’re looking for “engineering jobs hamburg”. Google will show this:

Google Jobs search result
Google Jobs search result for “engineer jobs hamburg”

Now, how does Google get to that information?

The magic trick is called structured data. Anytime you look for specific information on Google, you will see a lot of structured data (also referred to as schema).

This data is delivered to Google through specific code snippets – websites telling Google “look here, this is a definition!”. Or in the case of Google jobs, “look here, this is a job”. So telling Google that the information on your job board or aggregator is indeed a job, helps display it on the search results – a prominent place to find your job.

How to structure jobs for Google jobs

An actual code snippet will look something like this:

Google jobs code snippet
Google jobs code snippet

Next to the job title and the location, Google also asks for a ton of other information – the more you provide, the higher your chances are for being displayed prominently. So information such as

  • Job location
  • Remote or not
  • Employment type
  • Salary

Is highly relevant to your job post (you can find the entire documentation here).

And that’s where Google’s little update comes in. Because it massively influences how you will be able to showcase your jobs in the future.

The Google update that might change the job market

Last week, Google added “Direct Apply” to their structured data. Now, what does that mean?

Google Direct Apply
Google Direct Apply

Direct Apply is defined as follows:

We define a direct apply experience in terms of the actions that are required from the user to apply to the job. This means that a user is offered a short and simple application process on your page without unnecessary intermediate steps. If the user has to click apply, complete an application form, sign in or log in more than once in the application journey, it means that you aren’t offering a direct apply experience.

Google Developer Portal

This means that the candidate experience is actually a factor in how Google displays your job. The candidate has to hoop through 15 logins and redirects to apply? Your job will be last in line. You don’t offer a great UX to the candidate? Well, you might get significantly fewer candidates.

For aggregators, job boards, and ATS providers, this is a huge step. Because it means that a better candidate experience will directly translate to more organic traffic for your job posts.

The race is on.

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