Career Site vs. Corporate Site: Should You Have Both?

Oct 17, 2012

There are many scenarios that determine whether a company should have both a corporate site and a separate career site, all of which are driven from the organization’s workforce strategies, complexity of the company, talent they seek, and the depth of the employer value proposition story that needs to be told.

What do I mean by this? I’ll explain below how the two sites differ, but in conventional behavior, job seekers would arrive at corporate sites and navigate to career content right from the corporate site’s navigation. The career site is therefore just a subsection of the corporate site. It is a subsection structured the same way as all the other subsection pages are.

A separate career site is a self contained and oftentimes separately hosted site that has its own main home page, its own priority navigation, and sub-navigation pages separate from the corporate site’s navigational pages. It has its own unique address for SEO and marketing strategies, and is linked to from the corporate site. In some cases, the career site may take on a different theme and design from the corporate site that is specific to the employer brand. But in most cases, the key core essence and elements from the corporate brand are woven into the career site design.

The Corporate Site

Conventional structures of a corporate site contain career site content within the structure of the corporate site. That seems logical because corporate site content has similar information about the organization as a whole — who they are and what they do. The diverse range of audiences of a corporate site is seeking a variety of information about the organization. They include investors, press, consumers, partners, educators, vendors, and job seekers. This tends to add layers of corporate content with career content that the job candidates have to sift through, and proves to be somewhat limiting to allow the employee value proposition to tell its story.

Corporate sites are the digital channel that enables the company to connect its brand, its business, and personality to its audiences. Although they have multiple different types of audiences, the site’s primary content focus is B to B and/or B to C. Ironically, we also know that in most cases the highest percentage of traffic of corporate sites goes to careers.

The Careers Site

The complexities of organizations create challenges for corporate sites — it’s hard to tell the employer brand story with depth and breadth. Companies with multiple brands, multiple business units, locations, and opportunities present numerous challenges to candidates who simply want to know what it’s like to work there, and where they could ever fit within the organization, much less if there are relevant jobs that matches their skills and personality. We also know that job seekers are connecting to opportunities through search and social aggregated content. Therefore a separate vanity URL is needed along with strategically organized and optimized career site content.

The Differences

In looking at the audience of a career site, there are two different states of mind coming in.

First, there’s a passive seeker who is curious, and may not officially be looking but would always leave the door open to possibilities. They are the ones with whom your competitors are trying to hold onto, who may or may not have misperceptions about you as an organization to work for. They are the ones who need the most engagement into your employer brand proposition.

Then there are the active seekers. They want to efficiently access content that will enable them to decide if there are relevant jobs that they qualify for and whether there’s a fit for them in the organization. Adding on to that are new behaviors and technologies in which candidates have adapted to in accessing and connecting to companies as places for their careers. Social platforms become career site content aggregators, enabling employer brand content to be experienced everywhere.

With all this said, you have a corporate site that has a variety of audience types with different agendas, and career content that needs a bit more real estate to speak to one type of audience with two levels of motivation. The corporate site needs to deliver on the brand promise to its stakeholders and its customers. And this brand  must be articulated through the lens of the employment experience promise that the career site must deliver — not just through content, but also through a carefully crafted architecture that enables the experience in and of itself to deliver insight into what the company is like to work for. This is where it becomes challenging for a corporate site to encompass the digital architecture and environment of a career site.

Ingredients of the Career Site

What makes you different?

– Employment value proposition
– Engage me with your story
– Allow me to participate


– Where do I fit?
– What is relevant to me?
– Profiling/global vs. local

Show me the jobs!

– Accessible at all times
– Simple relevant search

Socially enabled:

– Content is sharable
– Jobs are referable
– News alerts are feed-able
– Experience is expandable

Optimized for:

– Social
– Search
– Mobile

Companies like P&G, Disney, Walmart, Walgreen, etc. have chosen distinct strategies that are separate from the corporate site, in order to meet these challenges of the career-minded audience. They have gone to the point where any similar content that the corporate site may contain is not duplicated, but re-applied through the context of what it means to you as an employee. All this has successfully communicated the employer brand promise while co-existing with a corporate site without any fragmentation or confusion to the users.

In some cases this is not always the ultimate solution for some companies … companies that are centralized to one recruiting system approach, or companies that may not be built out of complex divisions and brand markets and have multiple types of work environments within the organization. Their story is much simpler to be told to the career-minded audience and the need for separate environments is not necessary. But we find the constant need of new skills and talent, emerging media, and the rapid adaptation to new behaviors in content consumption is redefining the career sites we know of each day.

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