Understanding the jobseeker: why the ‘little things’ mean a lot

In a global online job search market, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to jobseekers’ cultural and language differences, says David Rudick, vice president, international markets at Indeed

April 2014 | By David Rudick, Indeed


In a global online job search market, it’s more important than ever to pay attention to jobseekers’ cultural and language differences, says David Rudick, vice president, international markets at Indeed

Thanks to the internet, the parameters for recruitment strategies and consumer expectations have changed with regard to the job search experience.

A deep understanding of the jobseeker requires continual assessment and understanding of the cultural landscape. For example, 10 years ago smartphones were not a factor in the job search journey. A decade later, they play an integral role in internet use and the search process – almost one half of jobseeker traffic to Indeed now comes from mobile phones. 

Understanding jobseekers means working continuously to stay ahead of their demands. Before making any amendments to the service, we must first ask: “What’s best for the jobseeker?” Today’s demanding consumer will not settle for anything less. 

The local job posting landscape

To get under the skin of the jobseeker, you must first understand the market in which they are located. This insight is the absolute bedrock of delivering quality search results. 

This doesn’t result from a few hours’ research from a head office based in one location, but should depend on deep analysis from genuine experts in each region. Dedicated teams of local specialists in each target market are the key to ensuring that all available job sources are pulled in, to provide a comprehensive search result for that area.

These regional experts lie at the heart of ensuring the smooth running of the job search. 

Of course, the scale of this challenge varies from country to country. For example, jobs in Brazil and India are concentrated in big cities, while jobs in Germany are much more evenly distributed throughout the country.

Cultural differences and technological maturity

The patchwork of different application methods at play in each country must also be considered. 

While public sector bodies in India still expect jobseekers to bring a printed copy of their CV into the office, many emerging economies see most jobs search (and subsequent applications) conducted via mobile devices. 

High digital penetration in countries such as the UK and Australia creates an environment where jobseekers are generally open to posting their CVs online. Meanwhile, jobseekers in countries such as Japan or Germany, where privacy concerns are a high priority for consumers, tend to need additional reassurance before they feel comfortable and can be persuaded to upload CVs online.

Intelligent search across geographical borders

Finally — and perhaps more importantly — the most effective search engines add a layer of human insight behind the technology. Local experts play an important role here, bringing an understanding of culture as well as  their knowledge of local terminology. It is easy to get these things wrong, which will lead to poor search results for jobseekers in different markets. 

This can be something as simple as thinking ahead when it comes to common typos, such as not leaving a space between two words. In the UK, for example, search results should not be impaired if jobseekers forget the space and search for ‘RoyalMail’. 

An understanding of geographical differences in search terms is also highly important. In the UK, a jobseeker who types in ‘FIFO’ is likely referring to the term in an accounting context, and should be delivered results accordingly. However, someone using the same acronym in Australia will be referring to Fly-In, Fly-Out jobs in the mining industry.

This knowledge of the language must extend even deeper to understand grammatical differences. Delivering comprehensive results for secretarial job posting for a search of either ‘secretario’ or ‘secretaria’ in countries that have masculine/feminine alternatives for job titles is essential. This intelligent search may seem obvious, but its delivery requires an intense and disciplined method that takes patience and years of experience. 

Of course, user interface is important, and can be tweaked as necessary to align with the messaging and ‘calls to action’ that resonate best in each country. However, this is worth nothing without a constant focus on the jobseekers’ behaviour and requirements. 

In the global online job search market, building a trusted relationship with the jobseeker should be the single most important goal. The competition is fierce but with a sharp focus on the jobseeker the ‘little things’ really do mean a lot.

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