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David Mills
By David Mills on October 06, 2021

Top Staffing Agencies' Digital Candidate Journey

Why review the top staffing agencies' digital candidate journey?

Staffing agencies and staffing intensive businesses like homecare, healthcare, and skilled trades deliver one primary value to their customers - skilled people. For most, attracting and winning that talent is their greatest challenge (75%+), with the candidate journey almost always starting and then progressing online. The quality of that experience is one critical part of what sets winning staffing agencies apart from those who are struggling with enough candidates to keep up with placement opportunities.

What do candidates need in a jobs page?

  1. The big lesson that we've taken from the job listing sites is that job seekers want to review job opportunities- seems obvious. But the pathway from job application to a great hire and long-term retention is anything but a straight line-MORE HERE.
    Job listings sites and the idea that job shopping online is a good solution has commoditized work and staffing, which hinders the efforts of staffing agencies to differentiate and stand out in the market. If everyone just uses a job board to applicant tracking system (ATS) process, then the only differentiation is salary, benefit or current opening. If we allow that to be true, then it's all just shopping.
  2. Job seekers that are able to get to know the company are much easier to recruit, and nearly 70% of recruiters report that the best tool for that is the company webpage, which often presents little beyond what they already found in a job board. The company webpage is the anchor for the digital candidate journey and creates the experience that sets an agency apart.
  3. While almost all staffing agencies use an ATS, its purpose is for process more than recruiting. The digital journey has to stand independent of the ATS, be trackable, easy to iterate, engaging (and frankly, a much better experience than the forms and interaction requirements of most ATS systems).
  4. Websites are generally created and controlled by marketing departments, but when it comes to the digital candidate journey, it's the recruiting team that reaps the rewards or the pain. Much like the marketing & sales relationship, marketing & recruiting roles also have to be highly cooperative.
    Both teams need each other, so that the tools of marketing can be applied to the work of recruiting (recruiting marketing) effectively. A clear insight into what the best staffing agencies are doing online can set the stage for what these teams can create, together.

increase visibility in marketing

The question is not whether job seekers want and need to look at open positions, but rather how we craft the right hiring journey to take them beyond just shopping for jobs. 

Almost 70% of job seekers have a negative experience with an application experience and make sure that others they know don't apply at that company after it happens. This is one outcome of a poorly designed digital candidate journey or sometimes just reliance on a job board to ATS process that does little to educate, inspire, or engage the candidate.

Moving beyond the mechanics of hiring to actually creating a powerful employer brand based on candidate and then employee experience, all starts with the digital experience. There is much to learn from those who are winning at this process.

How we selected the top digital candidate journeys:

We reviewed the top 30 websites that are receiving most of the 110,000 monthly online searches nationwide for people that search including the words, "staffing agency." We ignored company size because the internet is the great equalizer - job seekers can't tell how big a company is, and every staffing agency needs to learn from what is working.

Since the Story team reviews or builds homecare and staffing websites almost every day, we decided that instead of just picking our favorites, we would apply a two part test to each of the websites.

Our two-part digital candidate journey test:

  1. Website performance evaluation using web-experience software. Our software creates a performance score that identifies the key elements of a positive website experience. This is a score between 1 and 100. The candidate experience on the website not only tells Google if they should send more traffic, but it sets the stage for whether the interaction between the candidate and the staffing agency will be smooth and seamless, or frustrating.
  2. Does the career page engage and inspire using ideals and visuals that elevate the industry and its workers? 
    Does the career page appeal to the unique personal drivers that bring people to consider a new role?
    Does the career page tell the job seeker about the next important steps in the process?
    Does the career page provide social proof that other people love working there?

Nine ways that homecare career pages have to stand out:

  1. Does the career page engage and inspire using ideals and visuals that elevate the role of caregiving?
  2. Does the career page appeal to the unique personal drivers that bring people to consider a caregiving role?
  3. Does the career page tell the jobseeker about the next important steps in the process?
  4. Does the career page give consistent clear guidance or a confusing action message?
  5. Does the career page provide social proof that other caregivers love working there, and that it is either a long term relationship or an important career step?
  6. Does the page function just as well on a mobile device? (Active caregivers are likely to search on mobile first)
  7. Does the page balance the need for open position information with other key facts that inspire and educate the caregiver about the company culture?
  8. Is the page visually appealing and avoid a "wall of words" or visual appearance that makes it unpleasant or hard to view?
  9. Does the career page make it obvious that this is more than just "another job board," because something special is happening at this company?

All the pages that we reviewed did not score equally on the nine ways that career pages need to stand out. The pages that we selected have multiple elements that make them standout, while like every website they still have room to improve. (In Story's view, no website should ever be done). There's opportunity to learn from.



2. 76% of hiring staff say attracting quality candidates is their biggest challenge. (CMD Recruitment)

3. 41% of recruiters say filling entry-level positions is one of their biggest challenges. (Finances Online)

4. 75% of hiring staff agreed that attracting passive candidates is more of a challenge, as they tend to respond at a much lower rate. (CMD Recruitment)

5. 70% of the global workforce is composed of passive talent. (Finances Online)

6. Three quarters of hiring staff say it’s easier to attract top talent when the candidate knows about your organisation, confirming that employer brand is a powerful business tool. (CMD Recruitment)

7. The most effective talent branding tools include company websites (68%), online professional networks and social media. (Finances Online)


Published by David Mills October 6, 2021
David Mills