Career Site Visitors Drawn to Rackspace’s Culture Channel

Nov 17, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Rackspace is a company doing so much right in the social media space that it’s hard to know where to begin. Numbers are as good a place as any. So consider these:

  1. It has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter.
  2. Its Facebook page is “liked” by almost 2,700 people.
  3. Visitors to RackerTalent, the company’s 8-month old career site,  spend almost three times as many minutes learning about its culture than the average for the entire site, including actually searching for a job.

“Not only can we say it’s good, but damn, this is really great.” That’s Michael Long. He’s head of global talent branding for the web hosting and cloud computing company in San Antonio.

You may recall Long from my post in March. He’s the guy who got the company’s logo tattooed on his arm. Also known as The Red Recruiter, Long shepherded Rackspace’s new career site, first as a consultant, then inside as branding leader. The site launched shortly before the tat got inked.

Long and I spoke at length after the tattoo post, mostly about the new talent site and the plans Rackspace had for it. He had a handful of employees blogging, a few contributing photos, and more enthusiasm for the site and his new job than I could have expressed in words.

Now, here it is, almost nine months later, and RackerTalent has 25 regular — and irregular — contributors blogging about everything from 100 days of Racker-T-shirt-wearing to a straight-from-the-heart declaration of the company’s core values. The Culture channel is so engaging it’s no wonder that visitors spent more than eight minutes reading through it.

Michael Long“These are genuine people here,” says Long, who shared some of the new site’s analytics with me. “They are talking in personal terms about what it’s like to work here; what it means to be a Racker.”

“I think that a big part of it,” he says, explaining why visitors find the content so worth their time.

When Rackspace was planning its recruitment branding and social media strategy, it was less interested in big numbers than in attracting the kind of person who would fit the culture and blossom there. This is, after all, a company that has trademarked the term “Fanatical Support.”

Paul Norman, who was then director of recruiting, said the goal was to give potential candidates a feel for what it meant to be a Racker, and a taste of what working for the company is like. Not everyone is a fit. Nor does everyone feel comfortable with the Rackspace approach that encourages individuals to develop their talents, even when they lead in a different direction.

From the metrics Long has been gathering, RackerTalent is meeting that goal. Besides just the amount of time visitors are spending in the culture channel, those who go there, stay there. The “bounce rate” in October was an astonishing 9.2 percent. For the entire site it was 20.8 percent.

Now the bounce rate is the percentage of visitors who leave a site after visiting just one page. So it’s a good way to measure how engaging that page is. Google’s analytics evangelist, and author of two books on analytics, Avinash Kaushik had this to say about bounce rates: “My own personal observation is that it is really hard to get a bounce rate under 20%.”

At 9.2 percent, it means that 90 percent of the visitors to a RackerTalent culture page go on to read another.

“This is a project that just won’t stop,” says Long. “These are great numbers. They show that people are looking at the kind of people who are Rackers.”

From reading through the reports (RackerTalent uses Google Analytics), Long says it’s clear what job seekers and potential candidates care about and what they find useful. That’s a good yardstick to measure the site’s progress. Don’t just look at the visitor counts, he cautions. By that measure, the culture channel ranks only third, behind the job listings.

That’s probably to be expected; after all, the economy is dismal and people are looking for work. Still, Long says he’s thinking how to improve the engagement there to attract more of those visitors to the culture area.

Long is also looking at Rackspace’s Facebook presence, already robust, with a surprising number of comments for a company that is not consumer-facing.

Some of the content on RackerTalent is turning up on Facebook, some of it posted by Rackspace employees, who also tweet about the blog postings and, of course, jobs.

“It’s an inside-out approach,” Long jokes, with employees pushing out content to the world. “The only way to have them help you is to give them awesome content to spread … When I think about social, it’s about rich content.”

Now with the career site established and some of the heaviest lifting completed, Long is looking at other metrics, to see what’s to be learned there. One he shared is the number of applies. From social media sources, Rackspace gets about 35 candidates for every job. From the job aggregators, the number rises to 100.

“It costs a lot to review all those applicants. If we could get fewer, but higher quality applicants,” he says, not finishing the sentence. “I think social media offers that.”

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
Get articles like this
in your inbox
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting articles about talent acquisition emailed weekly!