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The 12 Ways You Can Improve Your Corporate Careers Site

by Nov 6, 2012, 5:15 am ET

It’s amazing how many companies say that “people are at the heart of our business.” Oh really? So how come so few employers bother to really develop their careers site to try to attract absolutely the best person for the job? How many bother to develop it beyond a simple list of current vacancies?

Most companies don’t have a very good careers site. Some suggestions follow:

Avoid Visibility and Death by Clicks

Have your careers, current vacancies, or a jobs link on the front page of your website. Don’t hide it as a subheading on an “about us” drop down … put the button/link on your homepage slap bang in front of everyone who comes to your site. Someone who isn’t actively looking might just take a peak at your jobs, but only if your site makes it easy to find them. It also makes a clear statement of how important recruiting is to you.

Here’s the rule. If a job seeker can’t find your jobs within one click (yes, only one) you’re making them work too hard to find them. Check your own website. Can a job seeker find your jobs in one click from your homepage? You may well have a careers link on your homepage (which is great) but are you then hiding the jobs somewhere so they have to click, click, and click until they eventually get to them? Don’t make them click more than once to find them. By all means sell the company with lots of content and sections on why you should join (see points below), but first things first: “Show me the jobs.”

Let Me Send My CV to You Speculatively, or Let Me Register for Job Alerts

I’m really interested in working for you and I’ve glanced round your website but can’t see a vacancy that’s quite right. But I want to send you my CV in case you have something suitable coming up shortly. How do I do it?

As a minimum you need some kind of statement: “If you can’t see a suitable vacancy please email your CV to …”

Build up a talent bank of candidates without having to do any work as the candidates just populate it for you.

Very few careers pages allow a job seeker to submit a speculative application into a talent bank, thus missing out on an easy way to fill future roles and even fewer allow them to register for job alerts. If you don’t have this you’re missing out on a great way to let prospective applicants know about your jobs the moment you start hiring them. If you don’t want to use an ATS, get your IT team to put together a very simple job alerts tool, whereby the candidate can sign up for email alerts when you have a matching vacancy.

Add Some Video … to the Job Description

These days it’s not difficult to create a video. You just need a webcam and load them onto YouTube.

People respond to people, so what’s more interesting: a load of words, on a page or a link to a video from your prospective line manager outlining the key things they’re looking for in the perfect applicant?

Job applicants love it. It makes the company look innovative and it makes you look like you’re really trying to impress them as well as giving the applicant a feel for what their boss is like.

Add Some Video … About the Company

The careers section must have a section entitled something like “What’s it’s like to work at (xyz).”

Then instead of dull profiles of a few people or vague statements from the CEO about a ‘fun, work hard/play hard atmosphere,” how about a couple of 30-second interviews/profiles of staff members outlining what it’s like. So everyone knows they will only say positive stuff, but it gives the company a human face and people sell the business more than words on a page ever can. Better yet, get a full company video made and plonk it on your careers site.

Give Your Careers Site a Different Look

Let’s be honest: 99% of companies just list their jobs on a page frame identical to every page on your website. One word: boring.

The marketing bods will have heart failure at this next suggestion (“no, no it has to match the other pages, colors, and style sheets to maintain our brand integrity”). To which I say, “utter tosh!”

If you want to impress candidates, make it obvious that your careers site is different and not the same as all the other sections. Recruiting the right people matters so much to you that you’ve been prepared to build a separate section, a different layout, design, etc, etc. You don’t have to go mad. Just talk to the web guys and girls and ask them to mock up a new layout incorporating some or all the points included in this article but make it look different so the candidate knows you’re trying to impress them.

Get Social

Make it easy for everyone who views your job to be able to spread the word to people they know on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or good old-fashioned email.

Make sure you get your IT team to include these social options at the top (not the bottom) of every job (don’t worry, they’ll know what to do, but just in case they don’t, see addthis.com).

Tell People It’s New

If the vacancy is a new job, then tell everyone it’s a new job in the job details:

“We’re growing quickly and this is a new role …”

There aren’t many other things you can do to make a job more appealing than stating that. People want to work for a growing company, not one standing still, so if it’s a new job, don’t be shy, tell the world.

Consider a Live Chat Option

I’ll bet you haven’t got a place on your website where a candidate can ask a question anonymously. A live chat option is a great way to allow a job seeker and the employer to talk with each other without either side revealing their email address or who they are. If you don’t offer this, you’ll miss out on candidates who might have applied if their questions were answered.

Everyone will have come across a live chat option at some stage. You visit a website and a box pops up … “Would you like to chat to an operator,” or words to that effect, and if you’re hiring a lot of roles, you’ll be surprised just how many people will have questions. A live chat link is an ideal way to communicate with job seekers who are curious but no more. Answer their questions and you may well get an extra applicant you wouldn’t have otherwise have got.

If you don’t think you’re doing enough hiring to justify a live chat option, at the very least offer a separate email address just for communicating with job seekers: jobseekerhelp@mycompany.com or something similar.

Using an ATS? Stop Making People Jump Through a Thousand Hoops

This is a real big one. If you’re using an ATS, please remember that most are not very candidate friendly. All candidates complain about this, and yet the big ATS providers persist in creating painful application processes, typically starting with the dreaded “Please register to apply.”

STOP MAKING CANDIDATES LOGIN/REGISTER/FILL OUT A BILLION PAGES BEFORE THEY CAN APPLY.

If a candidate has to register before they can apply, an awful lot of very good candidates who are maybe just browsing and not actively looking will just walk away. Far from helping you, your clunky ATS is losing you top applicants.

We always work to the 60-second rule. If it takes more than one minute to apply, the application process is too long. Yes it’s perfectly reasonable to include screening questions, but not so many as to make the process arduous. Two or three at most.

I recently looked at an application process that said at the beginning, “this application will take you no more than 25 minutes to complete.” Nothing more needs to be said.

Add a Bit of Fun

It doesn’t really matter how, but try to add a bit of fun to the careers site. A list of job vacancies is all well and good, but a prospective applicant wants to know the company has a lighter side.

Try a quiz or an online game and then put the scores up in a box score showing how your employees have done with the teaser: “Can you get into the top 10?” Jobseekers will give it a try to see where they rank amongst your employees. It doesn’t have to be part of the application process; it’s just a bit of fun but it gives a clear message that not only have you got great jobs on offer, but you’re also a fun place to work.

Get Some Photos

If you can’t do a corporate video, make sure you post some photos of the office environment. The more a candidate knows about what it’s like to work at your company, the more likely they are to apply.

Have a “5 Reasons to Join Us” Section

It could be a 10 reasons to join, but create a separate section and list all the unique features that will appeal to a job seeker. Ask existing employees if they had to sell the company to a friend of theirs what they’d say to impress them. “We’ve doubled headcount in the last 12 months.” “You can work from home two days a week.” “You get free childcare.” “We have a team night out every month.” “We’re the market leader …” “We’ve just opened three new offices/sites in the last two months alone.” Get creative. Remember you’re selling to them as much as they are selling to you.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  • http://www.imomentous.com Sylvester Pascal

    Great post nick, given the no.of vacancies in the market I am sure these tips will surely help the corporates to improve their career sites. Do you think that the corporates should also concentrate on Mobile optimized career site? 94% of the fortune 500 companies do not have mobile optimized career sites. 1 out of 5 recruitment search is done on a mobile and the number is expected to go higher by the end of 2012. Do you think that its high time that the corporates think about mobile?

  • http://www.brandemix.com Jason Ginsburg

    These are all excellent points, and many of them match the strategy we follow when helping clients create their employer brand.

    Videos not only showcase your staff but also your office. I remember one of Google’s videos showing an employee skateboarding through the work area. Rackspace’s videos show off their unique workplace — a former mall. And why stop at the building? Use your video to showcase your neighborhood and your city, especially if you’re asking people to relocate. How close are you to a public transit station? How many restaurants are nearby? How close are theaters, shops, sports venues?

    Also, social media can’t be overestimated. UPS is famous for hiring over 1,000 people via social channels, text messages, and QR codes in 2011. Some companies are even hiring via Pinterest! If you don’t have a careers social channel (and LinkedIn doesn’t count), then you’re missing out on millions of young and not-so-young prospects who spend their time there.

  • http://www.linkup.com Adam Luckeroth

    Good list. I would suggest that HR/Recruiters/Hiring Managers read this list then apply to a job on their site with this in mind.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thanks, Nick. As a job seeker, I’d want:
    1) Find the job I’m looking for within 60 sec
    2) Apply for the job I’m looking for within 60 sec (as you said)
    3) Additional objective information (as Jason said)
    4) No subjective information- hype/market speak/corpaganda, etc.- wouldn’t trust it…
    5) A virtual Candidate Care Rep I could work with to make my application experience professional and pleasant- I know a company that will handle this for the organization…

    Cheers,
    Keith
    keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  • http://www.sigrecruiting.com David Chandler

    I like companies that have a “HOT JOB” listed front and center on their site. Something that really stands out.

  • http://www.ikrut.com Nick Leigh-Morgan

    Sylvester: I’m not convinced you necessarily need a radically different site for mobile as opposed to the standard site designed for tablet/desktop/laptop. The screens on mobiles are getting bigger and sharper and with easy zoom functionality it really is quite easy to scroll between jobs and apply without much difficulty. We tested our own system (www.ikrut.com) which creates microsites for clients on a galaxy note recently and it worked fine. A touch fiddly but nothing which made me think we needed to redesign things. We’ve yet to test on the new iphone and with only a 4 inch screen it could be awkward. The huge popularity of the 4.5 – 5.5 inch mobile phone/phablet is (my hunch) going to be the default setting for mobiles soon. At this size I think most sites work (just).

  • http://www.sparkhire.com Josh Tolan

    Great post! The point about utilizing online video was especially important. With 6 out of 10 employers using video interviews to screen candidates, it makes sense to pay attention to online video. After all, candidates are recording video resumes to sell themselves to employers. Take a page out of their book and use online video to sell yourself to candidates. You’ll find when candidates know more about your position and company culture, better fitting candidates will apply for your open jobs.

  • http://www.imomentous.com Sylvester Pascal

    Hi Keith, have you ever tried to apply for a job using a mobile app? If yes what are your thoughts on that. If no then please watch the employee connect and career connect vidoes in the link below and you will understand how easy this technology is to apply for a job.

    http://www.imomentous.com/videos/

    Hope you find this useful.

  • Keith Halperin

    Thank you, Sylvester. I’ll check out the videos.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  • http://www.ascendify.com Lauren Smith

    You’re right on with point #2, Nick.

    Give job seekers a way to say they’re interested without the commitment of applying.

    Kind of like dating…

    If applying for a job = marriage, then joining a talent community = flirting

    http://www.ascendify.com/talent-community/

  • Keith Halperin

    @ Sylvester: Thank you. I’ve checked out the videos.
    1) The employee engagement area: I don’t understand why being able to do company work on personal time would increase employee engagement.
    2) Would most companies with a clunky, lengthy, user-unfriendly online application system supplement/scrap it with your more efficient online system? If the mobile job application process is simpler than the non-mobile one, it would encourage candidates to apply through the mobile one.

    As a recruiter, I’m more interested in an app/system that lets me work from anywhere, as opposed to an app/system that lets candidates apply from anywhere.

    ………………………….

    @ Lauren: I’ve come around to the point where it would make sense
    for a company that’s interested in developing a pipeline to develop a talent community. At the same time, I’ve run into few companies (even the largest) that have the bandwidth/willingness to create a talent pipeline. Conceivably, creating a talent community might be an efficient, low cost of being able to create a pipeline for companies that have felt (rightly or wrongly) they don’t have the resources to do so up to this point.

    Cheers,

    Keith keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  • http://www.startribune.com/jobs Jeff (Jeffrey) Perry

    I like the “5 Reasons to Join Us” suggestion. I recently came across a “Ten Reasons You Should Work At…” (I particularly like #7 and #8). Check it out at http://www.tstmedia.com/careers

  • Pingback: 12 Ways to Improve Your Mobile Career Site (Part 1) - SnapHop

  • http://blog.snaphop.com Kerry Skemp

    Loved it so much we made our own version(s) for mobile! Great tips that apply on all channels, with some mods for mobile.

  • http://www.mycompas.com Jack Smith

    Keith, you couldn’t have said it better.

    In fact we came out with a case in Feb of this year that said just that (link below). We literally re-designed and engineering our Applicant Tracking Software to attract and allow candidates to apply fast.

    We have one of the best in class Applicant Tracking career site integration on the market.

    http://web.mycompas.com/2012/02/it-shouldnt-be-that-hard-to-apply-for-a-job-3/

    Jack Smith | Creative Guy @ COMPAS Technology
    http://www.myCOMPAS.com

  • Jim Rose

    I’ve seen quite a few statistics mentioned, both here and elsewhere on the mobile recruiting market for both search and the job application process.

    Has anyone ever seen any information on the use of moble by Job Level and/or Years of Experience??

  • http://www.imomentous.com Sylvester Pascal

    @ Keith: Fair Enough. I understand that most of the employees prefer not to work during their personal time but thats not all of them. There are departments for example like Vendor operations where the manager needs to be on Mobile 24/7.

    Regarding career connect: My answer to that is most companies are not ready yet but will be on mobile very soon. The best part is the app allows both the recruiter and the recruit to work from anywhere. We have actually researched on all the Fortune 500 companies and to our surprise found out that 94% of them don’t even have a mobile optimized career site. Again as I mentioned this technology needs awareness. You can find the details our research in the link below, please let me know if you have any more questions.

    http://www.imomentous.com/download/

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  • http://www.imomentous.com Sylvester Pascal

    Nick- I understand your concerns around having a mobile career site, but trust me even with mobile phones like apple iphone, nexus, galaxy note etc its time consuming and sometimes annoying to maximise and minimise the screen size to read content and search for a job you are looking for. where as if given the option of a mobile career site with a Job app, that will be the perfect combination for any company. I personally sat down for week to come up with the data for the Fortune 500 companies to check if which one of them had career site, the whole process of adjusting the screen size gave me a head ache! You can see the details in the link below, http://www.imomentous.com/download/. If you are still not convinced let me have your number to call you back with a free demo of the product I am talking about. You’ll be stunned looking at the no.of features this single app can offer.

  • http://www.minnesotatechjobs.com Eric Putkonen

    Hi Nick,

    Great article!

    The 60-second rule for applying is a bit much…I would be happy if the application process could be kept to 5 minutes or less.

    I know this could be done if you removed most fo the fields from the ATS (which most in HR/recruiting doesn’t really look at anyway).

    I would also say that the videos have to start off right away with what the candidates want to know. It is said that 50% of people stop viewing a video after 10 seconds and it’s over 75% stop within the first minute. Keep the videos short (3 minutes max, shoot for 2) and have the best content hit right away – not some introduction or build up section of video.

  • http://www.jobbook.com Antoine de Brabant

    Great tips. You can also encourage candidates to apply via video CVs, and most importantly have a simple and effective on-boarding process. I’ve talked to countless HR directors and managers who have lamented the fact that they are loosing a very high percentage of interested candidate during the application process. If it’s a multiple step process, using a bland sign-up / resume creation / application process, most applicants (especially Gen Y) will simply give-up. It’s almost like waiting in line at the DMV… No one wants to do this.
    Secondly, all of these suggestions are fantastic, but not every company has the budget, or IT department, or even proper modern website architecture to implement such features. Live chat, Video integration, social media sharing functionality, integrated twitter feeds; half these things will require extensive R&D or a couple lottery ticket wins to implement for established companies.

    Here’s a good example of a free way to use a third party service to do all of this and more, without having to risk your time and money. Try applying for a job and you’ll get a good idea of how to improve your career site in minutes:

    http://www.jobbook.com/en/employers/gilt-groupe/

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  • Keith Halperin

    @ Jack: Thank you.
    @ Eric: IMHO, 5 minutes is too long an app process.
    @ Sylvester; Very true- a Vendor Ops person who is on 24/7 SHOULD be looking for a job where s/he ISN’T on 24/7. Also, if a system allows complete recruiter mobility so that we can effectively work wherever we are in the world, that eliminates the need for highly-paid local people- globalization works its magic once again.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  • heeyoun shin

    Great post. I will check our career site again. I’d like to adopt some suggestion to that site.
    Thanks.

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