College Graduates Criticize Outdated Career Websites

American college graduates are equally discerning when it comes to evaluating the effectiveness of corporate career websites as their European counterparts.

But one recent research effort suggests young American job seekers are far less likely to be swayed by employment opportunities they find online because some of corporate America’s most respected companies have failed to develop the Careers section of their websites to entice increasingly web-savvy job hunters.

Potentialpark, a Swedish research and consulting firm, polled 1,116 undergraduate and MBA students from a range of American universities, business schools, and engineering institutes and developed a framework to evaluate corporate career websites. It then audited 108 American corporate career websites on the basis of usability, employer branding, talent relationship building, recruitment process, application management, and online assessment and feedback.

Based on its audit and survey of the American students, the Swedish firm ranked the careers websites of McKinsey, Deutsche Bank, Microsoft, UBS, and Goldman Sachs to be the five most effective corporate career websites based on graduate job seekers’ attitudes in the United States.

College-educated American job seekers, the research found, are far more likely to apply for employment opportunities if their web search leads them to an advanced career web site with intuitive functionality and workplace experience intelligence that “jumps out at them,” according to students’ responses to the Potentialpark Top Employer survey.

What the designers of the most effective American corporate career websites, the research group found, “have in common is their understanding of the importance of the corporate career website for recruiting top talent.” The survey also found that more European corporations have made the necessary investments in their career sites.

In the opinion of one Michigan-based male MBA graduate who participated in the study, they also understand what their target group is looking for and acknowledge one basic principal: “Potential employees are also potential customers.”

Other student perspectives shared in the survey include:

From American graduates

“Keep it clean and easy to navigate!” — male graduate student, Southern Methodist University

“Create your job pages as if you are selling something. You don’t sell a hamburger that looks disgusting.” — female undergraduate student, Rutgers University

“If the job description is vague, I am sure that the position is undesirable.” — female undergraduate student, Rutgers University

From European graduates

“I often look into the examples of the lives of current employees.” — female student, Solvay Business School, Belgium

“It’s of outmost importance that the site is regularly updated!” — female student, EDHEC Business School, France

“From looking at the career websites I can clearly distinguish that this is the company I would like to work for!” — female student, University of Maastricht, Netherlands

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