Yahoo Gets REAL About Job Searches

In an effort to improve access to job seekers and assist recruiters, Yahoo announced today the launch of "R.E.A.L., a patent pending search ranking system that is based on Relevance, Engagement, Availability and Location," a company press release detailed.

Yahoo explained the process thus:

R.E.A.L. is an industry-first search algorithm that builds on an innovative set of principles derived from Yahoo!'s research in Web search technology. Leveraging Yahoo!'s behavioral targeting and search optimization strengths to rank job listings based on user engagement, R.E.A.L. has moved Yahoo! HotJobs' job search rankings beyond the traditional category-based, date-sorted experience. With the launch of R.E.A.L., "applies" per job listing have increased by 25 percent, a key success metric for recruiters.

"R.E.A.L. is a key pillar in our strategy to deliver the best in performance and value for recruitment advertisers," said Jeff Kinder, senior vice president and general manager, Yahoo! HotJobs. "Yahoo! has shown that relevance matters in search results, and it's powerful to apply Yahoo!'s search technology to HotJobs and see immediate and significant performance improvements. We believe Yahoo! HotJobs has a distinct advantage as online recruitment evolves and insights and technology play increasingly important roles."

The principles of R.E.A.L. are described in a newly released "Playbook" for recruiters, a compilation of best practices for posting, editing and managing job listings, designed to deliver optimal quality and performance. By aligning the goals of recruiters and job candidates, R.E.A.L. creates an indispensable experience that is defined by four critical characteristics of high-performance job listings:

R - Relevance: Matching text in job titles and descriptions to the keywords candidates use

E - Engagement: Measuring how well candidates respond to the job listing

A - Availability: Determining that the positions displayed are still unfilled

L - Location: Showing jobs in a location of interest to the candidate

These four characteristics are part of an insights-driven search algorithm that will continually improve on itself.

"We've started following the principles of R.E.A.L. and have already seen a significant increase in the number of applies per job listing," said Kathryn Jordan, chief financial officer, Fishpond Recruiting. "By applying Yahoo! HotJobs' best practices, we've not only expanded our candidate pool but we're seeing matches with high-quality candidates that are far more relevant to our job openings."

R.E.A.L. also benefits Yahoo!'s Newspaper Consortium partners who have implemented Yahoo! HotJobs as their exclusive online recruitment solution. R.E.A.L. includes location-based job searching features which enhance the ability to narrow or broaden relevant job search results by zip code, city, nearby cities, full metro areas, or entire states. The Newspaper Consortium now reaches 30 percent of all U.S. daily newspapers, and Yahoo! HotJobs has launched co-branded career sites serving more than 425 newspapers with strong local presences.

As part of its effort to be the "must buy" solution for recruitment advertisers, Yahoo! HotJobs has increased job candidate traffic by more than 50 percent over the last year while competitors remained largely flat. As a result, Yahoo! HotJobs has become the fastest growing Web site among the leading job boards and has surpassed Monster.com in the U.S.(1)

For more information about R.E.A.L., please visit http://hotjobsresources.com/ and click on the 'Library' section.

About the author

Frank Watson has been involved with the Web since it started. For the past five years, he headed SEM for FXCM -- at one time one of the top 25 spenders with AdWords. He has worked with most of the major analytics companies and pioneered the ability to tie online marketing with offline conversion.

He has now started his own marketing agency, Kangamurra Media. This new venture will keep him busy when he is not editing the Search Engine Watch forums, blogging at a number of authoritative sites, and developing some interesting online community sites.

He was one of the first 100 AdWords Professionals, a Yahoo and Overture Ambassador, and a member or mod of many of the industry forums. He is also on the Click Quality Council and has worked hard to diminish click fraud.