How candidates are searching on SEEK

Search trend: mobile

The rise of mobile is nothing new. We have seen the adoption of smartphones reshape how we communicate and digest content over the past three years. For us here at SEEK, we have also watched it completely change candidate behaviour in how they search, read and apply for roles.

In 2010, less than 2% of SEEK’s visits were via a mobile device. Today, mobile dominates, in Australia, making up 50.2% of all visits. Kiwis are not far behind this trend, with 39.3% of all visits, with visits from mobile devices predicted to hit 50% dominate in New Zealand by the end of this year.


What does this mean for you?

As with any good talent acquisition strategy, you need to be where the candidates are. Mobile is no different, so here are some tips to help get to the right candidates more effectively:



  • Search for your ads and see how easy (or hard) they are to find. Then consider if you need to invest in products like our Premium Job Ad or StandOut Ad to give you better visibility with mobile candidates.

  • Read your ads and determine how easy or difficult they are to read. Do you have bolded sub-headings to assist in scanning behaviour? Are your paragraphs bite-sized (maximum 350 characters)? Are your bullet points punchy (maximum 65 characters)? Do you have interesting content?

  • Apply. Make your application process seamless. If it takes more than 4–5 clicks to complete an application (from the initial search to apply), or if you cannot attach a resume from a mobile device, you’re probably losing them.




Search trend: relevance

Most candidates use a combination of search fields and keywords to derive a relevant match. The top three fields used are:



  • Location – 83% of searches.

  • Classification – 65% of searches.

  • Keyword – 55% of searches.


There are a lot of things that impact a candidate’s search behaviour: the device they are using, where they are when they are searching, how active they are in the job-seeking process and how many matches are returned from their initial search. All of these things impact what combinations they use to match to the right roles.

So don’t get hung-up purely on keywords. Candidates rarely use them in isolation. SEEK’s user experience is simple, it enables candidates to see across industries or dive into specialities. They will most likely use keywords in conjunction with another search field.



Minor search trend: keywords

More than 20,000 combinations of keywords are used each month on SEEK. When we roll up the types of words used, they fall into five main clusters:



  • Job title.

  • Seniority.

  • Industry.

  • Skill.

  • Work type.




So what does this mean for you?

Make sure you use a job title that makes sense and follow these tips:



  • Use a role title that is specific to that field by telling candidates what the actual role is (e.g. 'project manager' or 'business analyst', rather than 'want to work for the best insurance company ever' or 'superstar needed for ultra cool bar').

  • Tell them if the role is for a senior, junior, manager or is a graduate role.

  • Define what industry the role will specialise in.

  • List the skills required and highlight if the role is contract, temp or casual.


SEEK’s search algorithms are advanced and rely on multiple data points in the total job ad to determine an overall relevance score. With the ongoing advancements in search technology, we will be evolving the matching process to be more sophisticated and personalised, based on candidate behaviour, the hierarchy of words and the associated meanings of relevant job titles, along with many other meta-data analysis.

Understanding how candidates search helps you as a hirer make informed talent sourcing decisions.


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