If Talent Acquisition Were ‘Marketing’ – Why A/B Testing Is The Natural Process?

If Talent Acquisition Were ‘Marketing’ – Why A/B Testing Is The Natural Process?

While it would be wrong to directly equate hiring with a ‘marketing activity’, there seems to be an uncanny similarity in the manner in which both are approached. For example, it is not uncommon to see people make important decisions only after extensive research on the web to buy a TV, a car… and to look for a job!

Statistically speaking,

76% of candidates search for jobs through their own research and due diligence.

One of the other similarities between hiring and marketing is the process of delivering qualified leads. If the marketing team provides poor leads to the sales team, the sales team eventually loses faith, and the business falls apart.

Doesn’t this sound a lot like recruiting? If a recruiter fails to provide quality candidates – ones who fit the profile and the company culture – the entire organisation suffers, and manager relationships are also jeopardised.

So, continuing our analogy…

How does a marketing team evaluate the effectiveness of its campaigns? How do they figure out which of them would influence the target audience to buy?

Good marketers swear by the benefits of A/B testing.

A/B Testing, as you all know,  is one of the most commonly used methods to derive data regarding a marketing campaign, backed by scientific methodology. It can be used to test everything from website copy to sales email to search ads.

AB Testing Job Descriptions

Essentially, an A/B test is a way to measure two versions of something, to see which is more successful.

Given the likenesses between marketing and hiring, shouldn’t recruiters be applying A/B testing to their job descriptions (equivalents of marketing campaigns) and other constituents involved in the hiring process?

After all, recruiters want to optimize conversions too – that is maximise the number of actual hires (who fit!) from the applications received.

How A/B Testing Can Be Applied To Acquiring Talent?

The ultimate aim of A/B testing, when applied to recruitment, is to figure out which method helps you attract quality candidates. And… this need not be restricted to job descriptions!

Here are 5 instances where A/B testing can be used while recruiting:

1. Test Job Titles

Because job seekers generally search open positions by job title, it’s very important to use clear and accurate titles for every job posting. Instead of choosing one job title, try choosing two that are very similar but vary a specific keyword or convey something different about the job.

For example, there’s a big difference between an ‘assistant’ title and a ‘representative’ title in the eyes of a job seeker. Test the same job description with two different job titles and see which receives the most or even the best responses. Then file away those results in order to make improvements.

You can float the above job descriptions to two groups and measure which group elicits more responses with quality candidates. The next time you have to prepare a JD, you do it on the lines of the best out of the two!

2. Test Email Subject Lines

If you reach out to passive candidates or job seekers via email, testing subject lines is another great way to learn which phrases best capture the attention of your audience.

Whichever subject line receives the highest open rates wins!

Test Job Listings

3. Test Interview Questions

Although, you may dismiss this one on the face of it, there is merit to this.

Create two versions of a job opening and invite applicants to participate. Each group will have slightly different questions, and you can compare the responses to determine which questions received the most apt responses.

You can also conduct video interviews to understand responses of different questions on the two groups.

4. Test Job Descriptions

This is perhaps the more critical aspect, as this is where the candidate is likely to spend more time.

Test varying job descriptions with the same job titles and see which description garners the most or best responses. Changing how the responsibilities are described or how the company is presented may affect who decides to apply for the job.

There are a lot of ways in which applicants can apply for a job today. Most commonly, applicants apply through online job portals.

To determine which method is best for your organization, promote both through the same outlets (giving equal attention) and see which method receives the most applications.

To understand it better, let’s take an example of sending out job descriptions for the role of a Business Development Manager in your organisation.

Job Description 1 (JD1):

Roles & Responsibilities:

  • Prospect for potential new clients and turn this into increased business.
  • Cold call as appropriate within your market.
  • Set up meetings with the prospects.
  • Connect with the operations team for a smooth delivery.

Skills required:

Networking, Persuasion, Motivation for Sales, Public Speaking.


Any Graduate.

Job Description 2 (JD2):

Roles & Responsibilities:

  • Prospect for potential Clients
  • Cold call to ensure a robust pipeline of opportunities
  • Identify the decision makers of the client organisation
  • Research and build relationships with the new clients
  • Plan approaches and pitches, understand client needs and objectives and develop proposals accordingly
  • Participate in pricing the solution/service
  • Handle objections by clarifying and working through differences to positive conclusion.
  • Submit weekly progress reports and ensure data is accurate
  • Understand the company’s goals and purpose so that you can contribute with excellent performance

Skills Required:

Networking, Persuasion, Prospecting, Public Speaking, Research, Closing Skills, Professionalism, Market Knowledge, Identification of customer needs, Microsoft Office.


Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and 3 – 5 years of sales or marketing experience.


  • You get to attend industry related events like conferences and seminars which gives you an opportunity to create a network with professionals.
  • Since ours is a B2B product, you get to be surrounded by some great Entrepreneurs all the time and learn from them.
  • Directly in touch with senior management

How Both JDs Are Different?

The first JD seems incomplete with very minimal information handed out to the candidate. While the second JD not only lists out roles very elaborately, it also clearly states the educational qualification and experience required, which filters out good candidates for you.

Lastly, always mention the perks of working with your company. A job description is the perfect way to sell your company and showing the candidates the value they will get in return can be a great way to attract talent.

You can float the above job descriptions to two groups and measure which group elicits more responses with quality candidates. The next time you have to prepare a JD, you do it on the lines of the best out of the two!

All of the above requires some analysis, but the results can help you learn a lot about your target audience and how they perceive information about jobs at your company. Using A/B testing can help you recruit better for your organization!


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