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What you should look for when sharpening your digital profile for applicants

23/03/2023 2023/03

Have you ever searched the internet for open social media profiles of job applicants to get an unfiltered picture of them? If so, you are in very good company. Back in 2018, the digital industry association Bitkom reported that two-thirds of all recruiters would do this - and since then, the number has probably increased significantly. There is nothing legally wrong with this, as long as you only collect freely available information. However, don't forget that there are two sides to this coin. It is true that digital job platforms and career sites have become the most important channels for potential employees. However, these people are also very good at thoroughly screening possible future employers in the digital world in general. On the following lines, we would like to give you tips on how you can also optimise your digital profile - not only with a focus on your effect on researching applicants.

Make sure you have your own website

The first contact with companies may be made on third-party platforms, and sometimes it has even been outsourced completely. However, from the employer's point of view, the third party portals all have at least one suboptimal component, because they are under foreign control, so to speak. This means that you can hardly do anything there outside of your company profile to manage your image. 

Only your personal company website offers you truly complete control over all matters relating to your company's image. This must be easy for visitors to use, professionally designed, clear and always up to date in order to satisfy contemporary digital tastes. This is true even if your company does not have a direct digital business approach. Furthermore, there should be a career section that you can link to from job platforms.

A pleasant side effect is that if you optimise your website for search engines and carefully list it on Google, you can attract applicants who are looking for a new employer via the search engine.

Make sure all information is mobile optimised.

The smartphone has long since achieved the greatest market penetration of all internet-enabled devices. With their comparatively small and usually vertically oriented screens, these devices are conceivably ill-suited to displaying (web) content that is optimised for horizontal orientation on large screens. 

Therefore, your website should also be built according to the so-called Responsive Design. This means that it automatically adapts to different screen sizes and formats. Therefore, you should consider the target group structure of your applicants: Sometimes classic computers no longer play any role at all for these people.

In this case, you should follow amobile-first or even mobile-only policy - two relatively new design and concept approaches for websites that are strongly oriented towards mobile users.

Keep control over third party reviews

Reviews on the web are an inherently trustworthy gauge of employers for many people. The downside to this is that you don't have full control over how you and your company are rated. 

This can be your undoing. Even one bad evaluation (no matter how exaggerated or unrealistic it may be) in the wrong place for you can have a strong deterrent effect on future applicants. 

In principle, you should therefore regularly check all important platforms and quickly take action against blatantly exaggerated or even untruthful evaluations and comments - there are usually reporting systems for this. 

Furthermore, you should always analyse reviews and respond to them promptly:

  • Politely thank people for positive reviews;
  • In the case of negative reviews, offer to talk in a comment or, depending on the situation, show your point of view - for example, if disappointed former employees or rejected applicants make bad comments about you. 

But as tempting as it may be to present yourself in an exclusively positive light, you should be wary of such digital options. It is no longer a secret that bought (i.e. fake) reviews have long been an omnipresent factor on the internet. 

This is not only true for traders, but also for companies in their role as employers. However, it is usually easy to see through such fakes - and their detection can be devastating. Therefore, if you are rated on the net, on the one hand they should be exclusively native reviews, on the other hand they should show the entire spectrum of opinion. 

Bad ratings may hurt, but they are acceptable from an HR point of view - if only because a digitally enlightened applicant community would most likely wonder why a potential employer only has top ratings, when statistically there should be outliers to the bottom.


Never be afraid to speak the language of the target group clearly. 

The tone and wording of your digital presentation as an employer and in job advertisements can have a significant impact on how people perceive your company when they first contact you. 

Perhaps you have already seen photos of job advertisements on social networks that seem to have broken with all conventions because they were relentlessly honest, cheeky or wittily worded. Typically, such photos are very often shared, positively rated and also commented on. 

Of course, this is partly due to typical social media mechanisms. Partly, however, the success comes about because the language used differs positively from typical, non-committal HR-speak. Please do not misunderstand: Presenting yourself in a respectable light is undoubtedly important. However, you should never ignore the groups of people you are addressing. 

Therefore, your wording should fit the linguistic framework of these people. Your job advertisements do not have to be spasmodically cheeky or designed according to the motto "the main thing is unconventional". However, you should always try to go beyond the boundaries of standard HR language and only use what your corporate identity dictates as a benchmark. Authenticity should take precedence over everything else.

Offer a streamlined application process

The digital world offers an incredible number of opportunities to make the entire applicant process a time-saving and straightforward affair. Unfortunately, however, many employers make insufficient use of this:

  • Pages and pages of forms and drop-down menus
  • Upload functions with small data sizes and file format options;
  • Questions that, even when interpreted broadly, do not add value from an HR perspective.

In fact, these kinds of processes may well put off applicants who have been won over by your company through other digital measures. 

Good advice: When designing the digital part of your application process, constantly try to put yourself in the shoes of the applicants:

  • You are a sought-after person in times of a cross-sector shortage of skilled workers. 
  • You have already chosen this company as the addressee of your application from a large or small group.
  • You would like to send your relevant information as quickly as possible so that you know quickly in our fast-moving times what your chances are with this company. 

In many industries today, employers are the ones who have the "short end of the stick", as many vacancies are matched with sometimes dramatically fewer applicants. A sharp digital profile should therefore make such standards as the submission of application documents as quick, simple and efficient as possible - so that both you and your applicants can quickly move on to the essentials.

About the Author
Maria Winter
Online Marketing Manager

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