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Examples of Search Suggest and Auto-Complete use in a job search

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 6:23pm Sunday 07 February 2010    Print Article

Search Suggest and/or Auto-Compete is a function usually applied to the keyword field of a job search form. The use of these functions enhances the users search experience through a "suggest as you type" or auto-complete functionality built into the job search form.

For example, as you start to enter letters/numbers into the search field, the function automatically conducts a search and returns any search results matched to that query. You can then either select the relevant keywords or continue typing. You can read more about this topic in a dissertation (PDF) by Ingmar Webar titled Efficient Index Structures for and Applications of the CompleteSearch Engine.

Using a search suggest or auto-complete function can...
  • reduces the chance of misspelled queries by guiding users to desired queries
  • reduces the typing effort required by users
  • speeds up the search-experience by reducing the need to type long queries
  • improves the quality and precision of queries
  • lets the website influence search choices instead of being passive observer
Metrics you can use to determine if this function could be a success for your job search form...
  • fewer keyword misspellings
  • fewer "did you mean" requests and lower usage of "did you mean" suggestions
  • fewer "0 results returned" searches
  • lower number of searches/session metrics
  • can lead to lower "time on site" metrics
  • users can find what they are after faster
The MyCareer job search example (above right) starts the search based on 2 letters/numbers. search function is based on 1 letter/number and shows the number of jobs matching the search criteria. Unfortunately the search function on both these examples only matches the start of a keyword string. ie it will not return suggested results if you type "ccount" of "accounting".

CareerZone search is based on 1 letter/number and returns search results that are in the job title. These results are grouped and sorted by the job title.

One of the best examples of search suggest is from as it matches results within in the job title, and also within the job advertisement.

This search suggest example from Yahoo7 has the option to turn the function on or off.

You can also apply this functionality to the location field. Below are examples from MyCareer and Hippo.

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Article Tags: autocomplete autosuggest autofill job search job board recruitment website user experience ux search suggest drop-down job search form job search metrics keyword misspellings did you mean 0 results returned

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