Alexa, Find Me a Job: How voice search will affect the staffing industry

From Siri to Alexa to Google, in-home assistants and voice search are quickly becoming part of our daily lives.

According to OC&C Strategy Consultants, 13% of US Households owned a smart speaker in 2017. That number is expected to skyrocket to 55% by 2022. Coupled with voice search on smartphones and other devices, comScore expects 50% of all searches will be done by voice by 2020.

With such a quick adoption rate in the US, many consumer trends have shifted. Google reports that 62% of users plan to make a purchase through their smart speaker within the next month and a whopping 58% use them to create weekly shopping lists.

As consumers become more and more comfortable with voice search, queries will begin to expand to other areas as well. This could have a huge impact on the staffing and recruiting industry — and the companies that lay the groundwork now will have a huge advantage.

So how does voice search affect staffing?

  • Millennials use voice search in masses. eMarketer reports that 35.8% of millennials use voice-enabled assistants at least once per month. That number will climb to just about 40% in the next year! If you want to recruit younger professionals as part of your mix, you need to optimize your website for search.
  • It’s being adopted at all ages. Millennials aren’t the only ones using voice search. In fact, Tech Crunch reported that the average superuser (someone who spends twice the amount of time using personal assistants) is a 52-year old woman.
  • Voice search isn’t all mobile. It’s not just mobile devices and smart speakers that are contributing. Pura Virji from Microsoft reported that 25% of searches conducted on the Windows 10 toolbar were from voice search.
  • Consumers prefer voice. 
    Google found that 52% of smart speaker owners like to receive info about sales, promos and more from companies.

PREMIUM CONTENT: Largest Staffing Firms in the US: 2018 list

How can staffing and recruiting companies use assistants and voice to gain market share?

More people are using voice search. Most smart devices are voice enabled. Smart speakers are commonplace. Staffing companies need to evolve and embrace this shift–especially when faced with such a far-reaching talent shortage. Here are several ways that staffing and recruiting companies can improve their sites and make them more voice search friendly:

  1. Add more Q&As
    People use voice search to ask specific questions. Write more content around common questions people ask about employment:
    – Answer questions about interview tips and best practices.
    – Address what to wear on an interview.
    – Outline what to include on your resume.
    – Share local employment outlooks.
    – Outline salary ranges for different types of positions you recruit for.
    Get very granular with your questions and answers and put each one on its own page.
  2. Use Natural Language
    With traditional search/SEO, you may optimize a site around specific search terms like: “staffing companies St. Louis” because that’s how people type a search query into Google. With the increased usage of voice search, we need to change that thinking. Google reports that almost 70% of requests to the Google Assistant are expressed in natural language. So instead of “staffing companies St. Louis” a voice search may be likely to say: “What are the best staffing agencies in the Greater St. Louis area?” Using more natural language throughout your site and answering very specific search queries could help you land more traffic.
  3. Include Schema Markup on your site and jobs.
    If you want to show up on Google for Jobs you already need schema markup on your jobs (Here’s a bit more info on Google for Jobs). It’s also very important for voice search. Using schema can help increase the chances you show up in search with a featured snippet, which can help you pop up at the top of voice searches.
  4. Create properly formatted list articles.
    Creating articles that answer a specific search query and putting them in a list format makes it easy for Google and other engines to crawl and extract answers. Writing list articles like this one will help with overall search traffic and voice search.
  5. Get local.
    A lot of voice searches are local. 58% of people used voice search to find a local business or info in the last year. Include content/copy with terms like “-near me” or “-around me”.
  6. Get speedy and secure.
    For both voice and traditional SEO, you need to make sure your site is on SSL (secure) and it’s speedy. Sites that are secure and fast will rank higher.
  7. Create a custom Alexa skill
    Amazon’s developer account allows you to create a voice skill/news briefing to highlight your top jobs. Setup a voice alert customized for your business, local market, industry with things like recent articles or top jobs.

“Alexa, Find Me a Job!”

We may not be quite there yet, but voice search and digital search assistants are becoming increasingly ubiquitous and important to the staffing industry. Use the tips in this article to ensure your firm ranks well as employers’ and job seekers’ searches continue to evolve.

Brad Smith

Brad Smith
Brad Smith is director of SEO and social media marketing for Haley Marketing Group. He can be reached at bsmith (at) haleymarketing (dot) com.

Brad Smith

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