How we helped a job portal increase the amount of received CVs by 154 %

2018 Oct 01
By Katarína Dubovcová

One thing each job portal strives for is to make sure job-seekers who visit the webpage, engage beyond just viewing job ads, but also send their CVs. And yes, sometimes these portals struggle a lot to achieve this. Have you ever thought about what could be done to help them? We have.

The first thing to consider is why a number of sent CVs usually only comes up to a fraction of total number of visits. 

Although many potential job-applicants view and read the ads, they won’t send a CV. Why is that? Surely, for some a specific job offer might not be a good fit. But how about those, who despite being interested in the job, won’t take any action? 

It turns out many of the job seekers do not send CV simply because they don’t feel like they could meet most of the requirements. Some, want the job, but worry it might not be a good fit for them. 

Interestingly, it’s not only about the content, user environment itself and perceived effort play a big role too. If sending a resume takes 10 minutes, it is totally dissuasive for the job seeker.

Our goal:

How can we redesign the job portal using behavioral principles to make more people not only view offers but also send their resumes?

Our approach:

We decided to introduce a few small behavioral interventions at The most accessible, clear-cut solution would be to redesign job offers in order to make them more attractive. This is effective, as shown by several studies which addressed the issue in the past.

However, many job portals, JobAngels included, have little or none impact on what the job ads look like in terms of wording.

Therefore, we chose to focus on the things we had control over, which were little tweaks incorporated directly into the webpage.

First, we looked at specifics spots where introducing some visual information might be beneficial. We tested four behavioral interventions directly on the webpage

The main concepts we used were social proof, (I'm doing what others do - in this case, I look at how many people sent their resume/opened the offer), pop-up windows emphasizing simplicity (people do not like things which require making an effort and so making something easier, increases likelihood that more people will do it), and loss aversion (losing something brings more pain than the joy gaining something provides - in this case, emphasizing what the job-seeker will lose if they don’t act, was presumed to be more effective).

We tested these concepts individually and in combination to see how they would perform. 

Figure 1 Social proof – the number of applications


Introducing social proof increased likelihood that a CV will be sent (figure 1) by 138 %. Did it make you pause? Probably. Because it defies logic, at least, to a certain extent. One would think the more people applied, the less chance of getting the job. Why would you send a CV for it to wind up in a heap of many! Doesn’t make much sense, right?
However, it seems like the natural inclination to follow what the majority (herd), is doing, prevailed. 

Not all of our ideas were equally effective. Pop-up windows designed to empathize simplicity and low effort which sending a CV requires, were less efficient. We reported 13 % to 28 % increase.
Figure 2 A: pop-up window designed to emphasize how easy it is to send a CV.

Trying to tackle this setback, we also designed an alternative pop-up window which also used loss aversion: "Did you find the ad interesting, but worry you won’t meet all requirements? If you don’t send your CV, you might miss out on a great opportunity. All it takes, are a few clicks that won’t cost you anything."  However, this version didn’t perform any better.

The most efficient, was the combination of methods (Figure 3) where a job-seeker could see the amount of already received CVs, and was, at the same time, exposed to a pop-up window highlighting the simplicity of sending a CV.
In this case, the amount of sent CVs more than doubled rising to an astounding 154 %.
 Figure 3 A combination of methods in which we used both forms of social approval, and a pop-up window

Once again, we proved that small, but well-though-out changes are often enough to achieve significant results. With very simple behavioral interventions, we have managed to achieve an extraordinary increase in the number of received CVs.

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